Park in the parking lot of the Oren Junction Nature Reserve, then walk to Route 4 and catch any northward bus to the Sefunim Bus stop, which is only about 5 minutes away by vehicle. Walk away from the parking area and the sea (east), and follow the red blazes, on the dirt road with tall trees bordering a banana plantation on your left (north). After a couple of minutes you will reach a gate. Go though the gate and close it behind you. Then go straight ahead up Nachal Sefunim on the red trail. You will pass an old abandoned mine built by the English. Listen for the high, bird like, alarm calls of the numerous Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis) that live in the rocks on the left (north) side of the wadi. You can often see family groups if you look carefully towards their calls. After about 20 minutes of climbing you will reach the bat caves on your right (south). If you reach the junction of the blue trail you’ve gone too far, it is a minute back. You can hear the bats squeaking when you climb in the caves. It is permitted to briefly shine a flash light at them, but make sure not to disturb their roosting.
Then continue up the red trail. A minute from the bat caves you will pass the blue trail going up and south. Continue up on the red trail which goes down for a few meters and then continues up Wadi Sefunim. About 25 minutes from the bat caves you will reach areas that were burned in the fire. In the winter and spring the undergrowth was startlingly green, with lots of wild flowers, making the burned area less somber than you would think. About 40 minutes from the bat caves you will reach the junction with the green trail.
Take the green trail which continues up Wadi Sefunim straight ahead towards the east towards Bet Oren. (The red trail turns north and ends up in Tirat HaCarmel see hike number 1 for information about this trail). After about 50 minutes of walking the green trail will bring you to a dirt roads on the western edge of Kibbutz Bet Oren. Turn right (south).
In less then ten minutes the trail goes off the dirt road, to the left, into the forest. This turn is very easy to miss.
The trail then meanders through the forest for 10 minutes until it reaches another dirt road. Go right on the dirt road for a minute or so and then the trail again goes left steeply uphill into the forest.
About 15 minutes later the trail again joins a dirt road. Turn right down hill and in less then ten minutes the trail again goes of the dirt road to the left for a brief time until it reaches another dirt road. Here there are no blazes.
Turn left (east) and walk down hill towards Bet Oren until you can find a path steeply down to your right (south) which will take you to another dirt road. This is now the blue trail which goes down along the ridge of Nachal Oren. The blue trail continues as a dirt road for only about 5 minutes. It then becomes a narrow path which gradually descends into Nachal Oren. There are spectacular views along the whole trail. It takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to walk down to the bottom and reach the red trail.
The trail now follows the river bed. Another 40 minutes of scrabbling along the rocks brings you back to the Oren Junction Nature Reserve and the end of the hike.
Iris, Iris vartanii, אירוס הסרגל
Getting to the trail and back:
Take bus number 202, or 221 from the Hof HaCarmel Central bus station in Haifa and get off at the Nachal Sefunim bus stop - pronounced Sfonim (
Drive south on route 4 to the Bet Oren Junction. Turn left on route 721 for a few meters and then turn into the Nature Reserve parking area and park there. Get off at the third stop Nachal Sefunim pronounced Sfonim (ספונים). If you have two cars you can leave one of them at the Oren Junction and the other at Nachal Sefunim.
Pictures from the hike
Red trail, 4174, nachal sefumin (נחל ספונים)
Cyclamen, Cyclamen persicum, רקפת מצויה
Aleppo pine, Pinus halepensis, seedlings after Carmel forest fire
Green trail, 4173
Blue trail, 4172, down to Nachal Oren, נחל ארן
Red Trail, 4183, in Nachal Oren, נחל ארן