Hiking the Jesus Trail in 2014.

Hiking the Jesus Trail in 2014.

Announcing: Jesus Trail, 2017

Each year, thousands of sightseers view the land of the bible through the window of a tour bus. A few seek a deeper experience. If you are among the latter group (or know someone who is), I invite you to try Galilee on foot. There is no better way to slow down and appreciate the Heartland in a fresh way.

In January of 2017 we will leave the crowds behind and traverse the hills of Lower Galilee on a marked path known as the "Jesus Trail." Starting in Jesus's boyhood home in Nazareth, we will walk to the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The hike will be strenuous at times, but cool and possibly even wet in the winter.  We will be supported by dedicated vehicle to help carry gear and have all arrangements fixed by the good folks from Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies. While subject to change, our itinerary will be as follows:

Day 1 - Tuesday (Jan 3) Departure

Depart the USA for an overnight flight to Tel Aviv.

Day 2 - Wednesday (Jan 4) Arrival

Arrive in Tel Aviv. Transfer to Kibbutz Lavi for dinner and overnight.

Day 3 - Thursday (Jan 5) Hike from Nazareth to Sepphrois

We begin our hike of approximately 5 miles in Nazareth, Jesus's hometown. Hike to Sepphoris and explore the ruins of this Roman capital of Galilee. Sepphoris is remembered as the traditional birthplace of Mary and a possible place where Joseph and a young Jesus labored. Return by bus to Kibbutz Lavi for dinner and overnight.

Day 4 - Friday (Jan 6) Hike from Kibbutz Lavi to Moshav Arbel

After breakfast, depart Kibbutz Lavi and walk across expansive fields to the Horns of Hattin, a twin peak where the Crusader forces suffered defeat in a decisive battle in 1187. After enjoying the spectacular views, continue down the ancient volcano to Nebi Shueib, the Druze shrine to Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses. Explore the shrine before continuing through the former Arab village of Hittin destroyed during Israel's war of Independence in 1948. Admire the olive trees as we make our way to Moshav Arbel and a 4th-century synagogue. After almost 10 miles of hiking, return by bus to Kibbutz Lavi for a comfortable rest, dinner, and overnight.

Day 5 - Saturday (Jan 7) Hike from Mt Arbel to Capernaum

Travel by bus to our starting point for this day of travel. We begin on top of Mt Arbel with a stunning view to the Sea of Galilee and many coastal towns and villages. Descend Mt Arbel into the Wadi Hamman along a pathway taken by many travelers in the region, possibly including Jesus and his disciples. Continue to the ruins of Tabgha and Capernaum and contemplate their significance. This hike will include some scrambles and be nearly 10 miles in length. Travel by bus to Tiberias for dinner and overnight in a new hotel.

Day 6 - Sunday (Jan 8) Jordan Valley

Site visits on this day will all be accomplished by bus. Travel down the Jordan Valley from Tiberias to Jericho. Stop at Qasr el-Yehud and soak your feet in the Jordan. Climb the ruin mound of ancient Jericho. Continue from there to Bethlehem and visit the traditional site where Christ was born. Dinner and overnight near the Old City of Jerusalem.

Day 7 - Monday (Jan 9) Jerusalem

Explore the old city of Jerusalem on foot. Sites include the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Via Dolorosa, Western Wall, and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Return to hotel for dinner. Depending on the flight schedule, the group with either overnight in Jerusalem or transfer to Tel Aviv for a late night flight home.

Day 8 - Tuesday (Jan 10) Return to USA.

This program is sponsored by The Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies, an interdenominational study center with offices in Lakeland, Florida (www.JCBS.org). It includes the basic tour and guided sightseeing, roundtrip airfare from New York (JFK), Fuel surcharges and government taxes, administration fees, entrance fees, hotel gratuities and program fees, continental breakfast and dinner daily, box lunches on hike days, deluxe motorcoach, first class hotels.

For additional details contact Susan at the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies at (888) 431-7902 (option 1, ext 287). You may also email her at sandrus@travelwithus.com.