Banias - Nature Reserve
and Archaeological Site

Banias has a long and interesting history and you can still see remnants of it today. As well as beautiful nature trails along the wooded banks of the Hermon Stream, you can see ancient ruins from the Roman and Crusader periods.

The Spring

This is where the Hermon Stream has it source, at the base of Mount Hermon. From there it flows southwards until it runs into the Jordan River. The Greek god, Pan, was worshiped here in the 3rd century BCE and the area was known as Paneas (pronounced Banyas in Arabic). The Greeks believed Pan lived in a large cave where the spring started and the grotto became a place of worship.

You can still see remnants of the temple that Herod the Great built in honor of the Emperor Augustus. His son, Philip, later made Banias his capital city and renamed it Caesarea Philippi.

A short walk from the spring you can see the recently excavated ruins of a palace built by Agrippa II.

The Waterfall

Banias waterfall is about 3.5 kilometers (2 miles) downstream from the spring. It is more impressive in winter or early spring, but the park is green and beautiful and worth a visit all year round.


Nature Tails

There is a marked trail between the spring and the waterfall which takes about 90 minutes. Alternatively, there are shorter loop trails which take you past other places of interest ...

  • the Officer's Pool - a hot spring built by the Syrians and used by their officers.
  • an ancient Roman Bridge
  • remains of a flour mill
  • a hydroelectric station which once supplied electricity to a Druze village
  • a water-powered flour mill still used today by two nearby Druze villages. If you feel like a snack,this is the place to buy hot Druze pitta bread, lebane (sour cheese) and za'ata (hyssop) - delicious!

There are two entrances to the site - one near the waterfall and the other one, which is a few minutes down the road, near the spring. The entrance fee to get into the nature reserve isn't overly expensive and is worth the money.

TIPS! If you don't want to do the walk between the spring and the waterfall, you can drive down to the other entrance and use the same ticket.

You can get a combination ticket to include also nearby Nimrod Fortress. Alternatively, buy a discount ticket for six sites at only 90 shekels, available from the Israel Nature and National Parks Authority (INPA).

For prices and opening times phone:
04-690-2577 (Spring)
04-695-0272 (Waterfall)

Click here for more of my favourite walks and hikes.

Other cool places to visit in the Golan Heights:
Nimrod Fortress - Medieval fortress with amazing panoramic views!
Sa'ar Falls - Nature trail with beautiful waterfall in winter and spring.
Gamla - Historical site with large colony of Griffon vultures.

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