Yarkon National Park, east of Tel Aviv, extends over 13,000 dunams (3,250 acres), It encompasses two focal points: Tel Afek (Antipatris) with its fortress overlooking the Yarkon springs, and the Yarkon sources, where the stream and its banks are rich in plant and animal life.
The Ottoman Fortress, Binar Bashi, was built in 1571 atop the ancient mound of Tel Afek. The Yarkon (Rosh Ha‘ayin) springs are clearly visible at the foot of the fortress. On the eastern slope of the mound is the British Mandate pumping station, from which Yarkon spring water was once channeled to Jerusalem.
The ancient city of Afek controlled one of the most important passes on the Via Maris (the Way of the Sea). The Bible says that the Philistines gathered there before a decisive battle against the Israelites (11th century BCE). The Israelites settled in Afek in the beginning of the 10th century BCE following King David's victory over the Philistines. In the Roman era, Herod the Great built the city he called Antipatris there; the Roman main street and the city’s commercial district were discovered south of the Ottoman fortress. According to the New Testament, the Apostle Paul spent the night there on his way under guard from Jerusalem to Caesarea.
A trail along the upper Yarkon Stream begins near the mound and leads to the Yarkon sources. The visit can be combined with a tour of the pumping station by calling the Mekorot water company: 03-938-8961.
The Sources of the Yarkon
Although the springs are capped and mixed with water from the National Water Carrier, a large enough volume flows to support aquatic plants, especially the beautiful yellow water lily, which blooms in summer.
Among the interesting heritage sites in the park is the vaulted el-Mir flour mill, the easternmost mill on the Yarkon. To the west is the walled Kassar Courtyard, with its well and reservoir, which the owner, Salim Kassar of Jaffa, sold to the Jewish pioneers of Petah Tikva in the 19th century.
The Yarkon Ecological Education Center
The center provides group tours of the area, focusing on the interrelationship between people, the stream and its environment.
Campground at Yarkon National Park
How to get there:
The Yarkon sources entrance to the park is east of the Hod-HaSharon-Petah Tikva road (no. 40) between the Yarkon and Segula junctions. The Afek entrance is on the Petah Tikva-Rosh Ha‘ayin road (no. 483) between Kibbutz Giv‘at HaShlosha and Kibbutz Einat. The Rosh Ha‘ayin train station is near the Tel Afek entrance; Dan buses 27, 7, 17 and 93 also stop at this entrance. Bus 561 from Tel Aviv stops at the Baptist Village near the Yarkon sources entrance.
Length of tour: 2 hours-all day
Don't miss: yellow water lily pool; Binar Bashi fortress
Other facilities and attractions: playground with equipment, basketball court, volley ball net, ping-pong tables, picnic tables, barbecues, physical fitness trail, ecological education center.
Hours: April-September 8 A.M.-5 P.M.
October-March 8 A.M- 4 P.M.
Last entry one hour before above closing hour
Phone: Education Center: 03-903-3190
Fax / Email: Yarkon sources compound: 03-938-8464; Afek compound and education center 03-903-0735
Entrance fee: Adult: NIS 29; child: NIS 15;
Israeli senior citizen: NIS 15
Group (over 30 people): Adult: NIS 23: child NIS 14
Overnight Camping: Adult: NIS 50; child NIS 40
sleeps (up to 3 people)
NIS 250 per night
Entrance to dogs: no entrance to dogs
Accessibility: The area has wheelchair-accessible trails and picnic tables. Visits to the fortress, the Canaanite and the Roman ruins are accessible with assistance.