National Geographic hails Israel National Trail as "epic"

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

National Geographic this month added the Israel National Trail to its short list of the world's most "epic" hiking trails.

The Israel National Trail was officially marked in 1995 by bringing together portions of other trails that make up Israel's impressive trail network that spans over 6,000 miles (in a country that only measures 300 miles from end to end).

"The Israel National Trail delves into the grand scale of biblical landscapes as well as the everyday lives of modern Israelis," wrote the magazine. "But beyond the immense sense of history and breaking news, the trail powerfully connects to something that often gets lost in all the headlines—the sublime beauty of the wilderness of the Middle East."

The article goes on to note that despite its tiny size, Israel is home to a wide range of landscapes, not to mention the most densely packed selection of holy sites anywhere in the world.

Israel was actually one of the first countries to make it a national project to mark a trail network. This came about because of Israelis' deep affinity for hiking and exploring their ancient homeland.

Israel's Foreign Minister noted in response to the National Geographic article:

"The Israeli passion for hiking has biblical roots -- just as the Israelites conquered this land, so too can modern Israelis stake their claim by walking every trail and nature path. Along the way, numerous archaeological sites add visceral detail to the history of the Jewish people in the Holy Land."

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