Nahal Alexander is a 45 kilometer-long river that starts in the West Bank and spills out into the Mediterranean Sea just north of Netanya. A nice trail takes walkers along the river’s edge, through areas filled with trees, populated by lizards, and accommodated with many benches, barbecue grills, and children’s play areas. Luckily, it’s easy to take advantage of this location and the many sights along the way on a year-round basis!
If you’re interested in the full walk, you can start out at a park that sits along the river, just north of Ma’abarot. The park is unnamed as far as we are concerned, but it’s sandwiched in between Route 5700 and Route 4. You can enter the exact coordinates (32.3676452,34.9085302) into your GPS, and it should get you there. If you start your walk in the morning, this would be a good place to eat breakfast, as the park has plenty of picnic tables. Afterwards, follow the red trail under the Route 5700 bridge (this will have you heading east).
The trail is straight-forward and easy to walk. You’ll pass several more picnic spots that are located in heavily-wooded areas, adjacent to jungle gyms, and out in the open with barbecue grills nearby.
The most popular destination (and the rough halfway point between your starting point and the Mediterranean Sea) is Gesher Hatzabim (Turtle Bridge). You’ll need to turn left and cross the bridge in order to get to the park that is often frequented by visitors. This is a great place for families to hang out, as there are many picnic benches available up above the big, grassy park. This site is also one of the only places in Israel where Nile Soft-Shelled Turtles can be spotted and observed. These large creatures can grow to be 1 meter long and often weigh about 50 kilograms. You’ll see them swimming around under the bridge and near the lookout points by the park.
Once you’re done at the park, cross the bridge again, going back the way you came. This time, however, turn left to continue on the trail that you were on before instead of turning right and heading the way that you came from. The trail will pass several gardens, lookout points, and wooded areas, making the walk an extremely enjoyable experience for people of all ages. Early on, you may even be lucky enough to see young turtles hatching from their shells along the water. This typically happens in the summer months, so keep your eyes peeled if you happen to be walking the trail during the summertime!
Eventually, you’ll switch onto the Israel National Trail. This won’t require much work; just look out for the trail’s white-orange-blue symbol. After this point, the majority of the rest of your walk will be on a road that’s in between the Nahal Alexander and Hadera Eucalyptus Forest. Forests like the Hadera Eucalyptus Forest can be found all over Israel, as they were planted in the country’s early days in an effort to combat swamps and reduce the risk of malaria.
As you walk, look out for khirbet Samra (Samra ruin), a 19th-century mansion that remains perched on top of a hill overlooking much of the surrounding area. Besides once being Abdullah Samra’s home in the 19th century when he was the owner of many of the lands in this area, the building has also served as an Ottoman Police Station and a customs post. Walk up the hill to check out the cool surrounding views as well as the house itself.
When you continue along the trail, you’ll walk under the Haifa-Tel-Aviv Highway  and reach a sandy parking lot. On your left, behind the lot, you’ll see an entrance to Alexander Stream National Park and Beit Yanai Beach. Head out onto the beach to watch Nahal Alexander spill out into the sea. This is a quiet and pleasant beach; enjoy a walk along the water and watch the kite-surfers from the beach’s kite-surfing school do their thing.
Don’t forget to figure out your method of transportation before you head out! We recommend that in order to save yourself the walk back to your car once you’ve completed the walk, you bring two cars and park one at the end of the route by the Mediterranean Sea.
If you prefer a shorter walking distance, start at Gesher Hatzavim, turn left after the bridge, and head towards the Mediterranean.
Map of starting point, midpoint, and end point of full walk:
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Adam Schrag 2015