As hikers begin to climb up Mount Gilboa from the surrounding Jezreel and Jordan Valleys and to look out from the mountain’s heights, they gain bird’s eye views of the surrounding communities, the patchwork of agricultural fields surrounding them, and – on a clear day – the distant outlines of major cities like Haifa and Nazareth.  Hikers don’t need to rely solely on the stunning views, however, to experience the beauty of the site; Mt. Gilboa is known throughout the region for its incredible springtime display of wildflowers.  Especially known for its namesake, the Gilboa iris, the mountain offers springtime adventurers countless chances to wander off the trail and to picnic beneath the trees in the middle of broad expanses of waist-high flowers and grasses.  To see the irises in particular, follow the road signs on a short detour from the path to the Gilboa Iris Nature Reserve.

Mount Gilboa is cited as the location of a major biblical battle in which King Saul, battling the Philistine armies, fell on his sword and died.  His successor, King David, upon hearing of Saul’s death, cursed the mountain in his lament for the defeated ruler.

Sites in the Gilboa Region:

Beit Alfa

In a small kibbutz at the foot of the towering Mount Gilboa, discover the remains of an ancient synagogue and spend some time examining the fascinating religious artwork preserved inside.

Beit She’an

Stroll down a colonnaded street through the ruins of one of this region’s oldest cities, pausing to take in the traces left by over 6,000 years of diverse civilizations.

Gan haShlosha

Gather your energy for the taxing ascent up Mt. Gilboa by wiling away a few hours splashing in hot springs and napping under palm trees in this beautiful park.