Length of route: 23 kilometers; length of the two additional loops: 4 kilometers.
Time to complete: 2-4 hours
Level: Intermediate plus
Character: A circular route, mostly on single trails
Technical level: Intermediate
Suitable for: Skilled cyclists only
Markings: The route is marked with low wooden signs bearing a red bicycle symbol.
Season: All year round
Starting and finishing point: The KKL-JNF recreational area at the entrance to Kibbutz Beeri, approximately 200 meters before LaMedavesh cycle center. Accessed from the road between Saad Junction and Re‘im Junction (Route 232).
Beeri Single. Photo: Ilan Saham, KKL-JNF Photo Archive
Turning right as we leave the recreational area, we reach the boundary of the Beeri Badlands Nature Reserve, which conserves the fissured landscape of these loess hills that are covered with a wonderful combination of desert and Mediterranean vegetation. Here the trail turns west along a series of steep ascents and descents beside the fence of the abandoned Beeri Ostrich Farm, then continues alongside a hill planted with agaves – the remnant of a past experiment whose initiators hoped to sell the plant’s fibers to the rope-making industry.
At this point, the trail plunges down into a narrow gully that winds along in the shade of Beeri Forest’s eucalyptus trees. At the end of the forest you will come to a precipitous ascent known as HaSakin (“The Knife”). Here you will find post no. 6 (4.5 kilometers). The route emerges from the forest and crosses an asphalt road. On the right is the Nahabir security post, the original site of Kibbutz Beeri, and on the left is a KKL-JNF recreational area with water and toilet facilities.
Clearly marked paths. Photo: Dondi Schwartz
The single trail rounds a fortified post from the period of Israel’s War of Independence and follows the road down a steep descent along a stony sandy path.
Ride carefully here, then make your way up through a pine forest to hills that were mined for sulfur during the period of the British Mandate. At the foot of one of the hills, you can see barrels placed there by the British in 1945 as a landmark. This is the highest hill in the area (post no. 7, 6.2 kilometers). From here the trail descends to two shallow sulfur mines. When you emerge, turn left past the concrete road on the left that leads to the sulfur plant and continue until you reach the end of the road (post no. 8, 8.0 kilometers). A green signpost indicates the way to Nahal Shaarta, and to one of the most pleasant and smooth sections of this single trail, described by cyclists as three and a quarter kilometers of pure enjoyment and adrenalin rush. The section ends with a short steep descent that provides a brief glimpse of Nahal HaBesor and its impressive landscapes.
LaMedavesh cycling center, Beeri. Photo: Dondi Schwartz
You have now reached Luna Park Number 1, or, if you prefer, the Roller Coaster, where you cycle down the gully amidst a whole series of up-and-down hills and cross an asphalt road from which you can take a shortcut back to Beeri (post 10, 11.2 kilometers). Otherwise, you can continue on to where Nahal HaBesor meets Nahal Grar. The route continues along the northern bank of Nahal Grar, reaches a dam and climbs up from it steeply to the left (post no. 11, 14.7 kilometers) towards the water installations in the KKL-JNF forest. Here the trail winds and bumps over furrows (post no. 13, 16.7 kilometers), passes through the carpet of anemones area next to Kibbutz Re‘im parallel to the main road, bumps over more furrows, rouses you with a burst of speed and turns left.
All the way along the next section of woodland, and on the other side of it too, we are in Luna Park no. 2, another bumpy ride down a gully that crosses the field towards Beeri. On the far side the route meets up with a road through the fields that leads us gently back to the parking lot where we started.
Information: Avivit John, LaMedavesh, Beeri.