Trekking along the Jesus Trail in the Galilee immerses hikers in biblical history and offers many historical sites of religious importance, lots of nature and spectacular views.
The Jesus Trail is a 65 km (40 miles) hiking and pilgrimage route in the Galilee, leading from Nazareth northeast to the Capernaum area on the northern bank of Lake Kinneret. The trail traces the route Jesus himself may have walked, linking key historical sites related to his life and ministry.
As you walk through the historical trail you see sheep grazing and the rolling Mediterranean landscape all around, it’s easy to imagine Jesus walking the same paths as he left Nazareth behind.
The biblical reference for the Jesus Trail is based on a verse from the New Testament Gospel of Matthew. Jesus left the small hilltown where he was raised and moved to Capernaum where his disciples gathered, his followers grew, and his message spread.
The main part of the trail begins in Nazareth and passes through Sepphoris, Cana (Kafr Kanna), the Horns of Hattin, Mount Arbel Cliffs, the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Tabgha, and the Mount of Beatitudes. There is an alternate return route which passes by Tiberias, the Jordan River, Mount Tabor, and Mount Precipice. The trail is public and free for anyone who wants to hike and camp along its course. The Jesus Trail is marked with a blaze of three stripes painted on rocks along the way (white, orange, and white).
The Jesus Trail was designed in the tradition of pilgrimage hiking trails around the world. The geography and distances involved allows the trail to be walked as a series of day hikes for a total of four days, with each day's hike being 13 to 19 km (8 to 12 miles) in length:
• Day 1: Nazareth to Cana via Sepphoris – The trail begins in the center of Nazareth at the Church of the Annunciation, goes through the Old City of Nazareth and then ascends via steep stairways to the ridge overlooking the town. From there the trail goes out into agricultural fields towards the extensively excavated ancient city of Tsippori (Sepphoris). After passing through the Arab village of Mash'had the trail arrives at Kafr Kanna, the traditional site of the New Testament account of Jesus turning water into wine.
• Day 2: Cana to Kibbutz Lavi – After leaving Cana, the trail follows almost entirely along forests and through natural and cultivated fields and ends at the outskirts of the modern Kibbutz Lavi, which is located near the hill of the Horns of Hattin.
• Day 3: Kibbutz Lavi to Moshav Arbel – This hike goes from hilltop to hilltop, from the panoramic view at the Horns of Hattin, past the Druze shrine of Nabi Shu'ayb in the small Arbel Valley, through striking scenery of a historically dense landscape, to end near the Jewish agricultural cooperative (Hebrew: moshav) of Arbel.
• Day 4: Moshav Arbel to Capernaum via Mount of Beatitudes – After ascending Mount Arbel there is a descent down the cliff to a small fertile agricultural plain adjacent to the lake known as the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret). Then the trail arrives at the northern shore of the lake to the church at Tabgha which commemorates the New Testament account of Jesus feeding the multitudes, then to the church and gardens at the Mount of Beatitudes, which commemorates the Sermon on the Mount, and then finally arriving at the ancient lakeside fishing village of Capernaum with its extensive ruins and modern church.