By: Avi Eisen and Ben Levitas
One of the great things about Israel is how the Land and landscape blend together. A great example of this is Tel Yarmut: an undiscovered gem, all-age appropriate hike, located on the hills to the west of Ramat Beit Shemesh. A great chance to rediscover Israel as a couple, a family, or alone.
Tel Yarmut's archaeological findings were initially discovered in 1970 by a group from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Since 1980, 20 additional excavations have taken place on Tel Yarmut; there have been four different layers of findings on Tel Yarmut that date from the early bronze age and the beginning of the Byzantine period. Yarmut was first mentioned in Joshua’s conquest for Israel and later as a city in Judah, and is located between Tel Beit Shemesh and the Tel Azekah National Park.
The steep climb is a cool 15 minutes or less for adults, but no more than half an hour going very slow. While being a little hard (kids under 6 or 7 will probably need to be carried), when you get to the top it's all worth it. The first reason is the view – throughout the climb, but significantly more so at the top, lies a beautiful view of adjoining hills and valleys from all sides. The second reason would be the history – or biblical history to be exact.
Anyone familiar with the biblical stories of Joshua will be awed by seeing the exact location where some of the stories occurred - Joshua’s conquering of the Canaanite city of Yarmut during his conquest of Israel. The third reason is archaeology – new discoveries are dug up all the time. We recommend sitting under one of the shady trees at the top, cooling down, and walking around to enjoy the overall serenity and sense of history.
How to get there: Take the Sha'ar Hagay exit from Highway 1 to Highway 38. Continue past the South entrance to Beit Shemesh to the entrance of Ramat Beit Shemesh on the left. Approximately 1.5 killometers on the right you will see a well-defined dirt trail going up a steep hill. You will need to continue further up the Ramat Beit Shemesh road for another ½ kilometer to find a place to park your car, and follow back to the trail by foot.