The 850km Israel Bike Trail runs from north to south from Mount Hermon to Almog Beach, Eilat. It is generally based on the Israel National Trail. The trail winds its way through the countryside, passing areas of great natural beauty and sites sacred to the great religions. The INT serves as the backbone for many of other marked trails, an integrated nation-wide network, designed to foster nature conservation and to preserve the special character of each geographical region.
The fourth section of the IBT is 55km from Amirm To Kinneret. It is one of the classic experiences to mountain bike ride the descent to the Kinneret, (Sea of Gallilee) and just because once can never be enough, this route does it twice, so we get full biking gratification!
The Israel Trail proper falls into Nahal Amud and will follow its precipitous course. TheBikeTrail instead skirts the eastern side, above this mighty gorge with its craggy cliffs indented with caves, and rejoins the Israel Trail for the more gentle stretches to the Kinneret before the climb to the Arbel cliff.
The trail is memorable for the succession of classic views of the Kinneret Lake as they unfold on the descent . Already from Amirim ,at a height of 540 meters, we can see the Kinneret, cradled in the Gallilean Mountains, 740 meters below us (the unique experience of cycling below sea level, accounting for the discrepancy!) but this is nothing compared with the splendour of the of the view from Arbel Cliff and the final descent of the mountain bike ride where it seems as though one is perched precariously over the lake.
The route is littered with sites and places to visit, assuming they are not inadvertently passed on the way as these descents can be addictive! But if you can manage to pull up, nip in to see the pillar of rock from which Nahal Amud derives its name (Ammud being Hebrew for pillar) ,or, on your way down the lower part of the gorge, park the bikes next to the bubbling stream (in season!), have a sandwich, and climb up to the Skull Cave where the remains of pre-bike riding man were found. The mountain bike ride on the path in Nahal Amud can get muddy around the fields and orchards in winter, so be warned ! If you get stuck there is no lack of fruit and veg for picking whilst carrying the bikes.
After the entrance to Nahal Arbel there is a long circuitous ascent to the cliff 350 meters above. This is quite technical in places as the lower part of the valley is basically a river bed where water flows in season and it is necessary to hump the bikes and skirt the stream (and cows!) in places.
This site was the location of a battle between Salladin and the Crusaders. A classic ambush , the Crusaders had no place to run as the hoards descended from the cliffs on either side. We can make it , though, by pushing on up-stream, bikes being perhaps a little more versatile than horses and mules.
After absorbing the magnificent view we have another great descent through fields above the lake until Kibbutz Kfar Hittim. Here we hit the road for a while and head up to the upper neighborhoods of Tiberias before the final, magnificent descent to Moshava Kinneret, with some of single-track thrown in, as the sun is setting over the lake.