A self-supported mountain bike route from Mt. Hermon in the north of Israel to to the Red Sea at southern part of the the country. The route will take you through the historical places and landscapes that make the holy land so beautiful and special. It will be a long ride from Mt. Hermon, the highest mountain in Israel to Eilat riding through the Golan Heights, Sea of Galilee, Galilee mountains, the evergreen Mt. Carmel, Coastal Plain leading to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Negev and Arava deserts, and finally the Eilat mountains, ending at the shores of the Red Sea.Photos by: Yoav Lavi, Limor Shani, Ilan Shacham, Paul Errington and Steve Heading
What to knowStart: The route departs from Majdal al-Shams, a lovely town located on Mt. Hermon. The Race starts on Thursday the 9th of April 2015, at 7:00am. The Trail: With a length of 1,400km and elevation gain of 20,000m it is not going to be an easy ride, and there are little “easy miles.” while the route passes along gravel roads, there are many technical single tracks and ancient roman roads sections, and once in a while, a hike-a-bike to keep you all freshed up. This route is like no other; rough, painful and challenging – but also rewarding and FUN. Camping: The route was planned to provide maximum safety for all riders and as such it is safe to bivy with common sense everywhere. Clearly, when crossing more populated areas, as with any event, bivy is less recommended, but crashing for the night in a room at a small guest B&B / zimmer can be an option. See links below for list of recommended camping location. Weather: The best time of the year to ride in Israel are during Spring and Autumn. However, heavy rain and muddy conditions in the northern section, or extremely hot weather in the southern section can still surprise you even in these recommended periods. April to early May are usually the best times – the combination of longer days with more daylight and greener surroundings after the rainy season make for the best riding experience. Resupply: There are many resupply points along most of the track, but once you get into the desert, you will have to traverse 100-120km sections between water points, passing through deep desert, so be prepared to carry 6-7L water minimum. See links below for list of resupply stations.
ResourcesHoly Land Challenge Website Holyland Challenge GPX files – HLC web site includes a “download” section with various resources
- GPX of the track and POI files
- Maps: A deck of maps was created including the entire route and the POI along the route. The purpose of these maps is to provide additional high level orientation and it should be used for planning purposes only
- Services along the trail: POI along the route marked with available resources: water, food, bike service shops and possible camping/sleeping spots. Do note that most of these locations have certain opening hours, so they may, or may not be open when you actually get to them!