Hike 9: Down Nachal Kelach to the Little Switzerland area, up to Bet Oren, to Ein Alon and up through the Alon valley.
Remember to take out MORE than you bring in.
The blue trail starts on the south (the right if you are coming from the University) side of Route 672 along side the road going down to Bet Oren. Follow the blue blazes to the west across Route 721. For a few minutes the path is in a broad valley and follows the road, but then it goes into a very narrow gorge with dense native woods of Kermes Oak trees(Quercus calliprinos) and Pistachio trees (Pistacia palaestina). After about an hour of scrambling down this path you will reach a wall. Follow the blue blazes up and around the wall and you are in the heart of Little Switzerland, and the junction with the red trail.
Follow the red trail up to your left (south west). There are amazing views. In a little less than an hour you will reach the Bet Oren Horseback riding stables. Cross Route 721 and follow the black trail back down the other side of the mountain. Here is the heart of where the forest fire burned but now (26April 2014) it is green with young growth and well marked. You will pass close to the memorial for those killed in the Carmel Fire and then further down when you reach Route 721 again you will pass an ancient Roman rock quarry. Cross route 721 to the look out point and there opposite the parking area between the fence and the field school is the beginning of the green trail going west, down hill into the Carmel Pools preserve.
The green trail meanders up through this wide valley with its year round stream, it passes the Alon year round spring and goes up wadi Oren on smooth water eroded rocks. In the winter there are numerous pools that have larvae (a lot like tad poles) of the native Israeli fire salamander (Salamandra infraimmaculata) in them. These are, of course, a protected species and should not be collected or disturbed. The green trail then climbs out of the wadi and enters a wide valley (Alon Valley). Here the path widens into a dirt road. A few minutes on the dirt road will bring you to the junction with the blue trail.
Follow the blue trail to the left (northwest). It soon starts to climb out of the valley and climbs Nachal Alon back up to the Damon Junction.
Getting to the trail and back:
Take Bus 37 aleph to the Damon junction, this is the second stop after the University. The 37 bus starts down in Bat Galim, goes through Hadar, Central Carmel, Ahuza and ends either at the University or if it is a 37 Aleph goes all the way to the Druze villages.
Damon Junction is about 2 kilometers past the University. Turn right towards Bet Oren and then immediately left into a parking area.
Pictures from the hike.
Blue Trail 4166, Taffy down below
Blue Trail 4166
Red Trail 4171, Taffy ahead
Red Trail 4171, view of burnt forest and Haifa in the distance.
Center of the burnt area near Bet Oren, Taffy by burnt out tree.
Green Trail 4151 near the Alon year round spring.
Green Trail 4151, entering the Alon Valley.
Field of buttercups in Alon Valley, Blue Trail 4178