From the entrance to the Tabun Cave and from the top of the cliff on the northern bank of the stream, on the Geological Trail, there are spectacular views of the Carmel coastal plain.
Status: The area was declared a nature reserve in 1971 and was expanded in 1994. Reasons for the Declaration:
Location in Israel:The nature reserve is on the Carmel Coast, at the foot of the Carmel Mountain
The nature reserve is very rich in fauna. The animals in the reserve are representative of those living on the Carmel, including mammals, such as wild boar (Sus scrofa), common badger (Meles meles), rock hyrax (Procavia capensis) and bats, raptors, various species of song birds and reptiles.
The reserve is typified by Mediterranean woodland, with a natural forest of Jerusalem Pine (Pinus halepensis) along the ridge. The vegetation on the banks of the stream is divided - on the southern bank grows rich Mediterranean vegetation, while the vegetation on northern bank is poor in woody plants and rich in grasses. On the high cliffs grows a range of cliff plants, among others "Cretan Cabbage" (Brassica cretica), which grows in Israel only along Nahal Me'arot. The vegetation growing in the Nahal Me'arot nature reserve is typical of the low hilly Mediterranean area. Within the boundaries of the reserve the slope facing south is low in woody vegetation and rich in grassy plants, while the slope facing north is rich in thick Mediterranean woodland trees. This phenomenon is unique here because the distance between the two slopes is only a few dozen meters.The southern slope is more exposed to sunshine and therefore is typified by vegetation more resistant to dryness. Here the common carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua) is dominant and is accompanied by the mastic bush (Pistacia lentiscus). The northern slope is dominated by the common oak (Quercus) and Broad-Leaved Phillyrea (Phillyrea latifolia), up which climb the Etruscan honesuckle (Lonicera etrusca) and the Tamus vine. On the tops of the ridges, on Rendzina soil developing on chalky rocks, grow Jerusalem Pine trees and shrubs of Genista fasselata, a plant unique to the Carmel. Another rare plant growing there is cytisopsis pseudocytisus.
The cliffs create a special habitat in the reserve. Plants typical of the cliffs are the Dianthus pendulus - a species of carnation, golden drop (Podonosma orientalis) and golden henabane (Hyoscyamus aureus). On the slopes of the western cliffs the Jerusalem spurge (Euphorbia hierosolymitana) bush is widespread. In places which suffered from fires, the spiny broom (Calicotome villosa), sage-leaved rock-rose (Cistus salviifolius) and pink rock-rose (Cistus creticus) are common. On the cliffs of Nahal Me'arot grows the perennial "Cretan Cabbage"(Brassica cretica), a wild relative of the cultivated cabbage, which grows only along Nahal Me'arot, and is therefore an endangered plant in Israel.
Other rare species growing in the reserve are the small laurestine tree (Viburnum tinus) (growing in the reserve as a bush), Yellow wort (Chlora perfoliata), Cytisopsis pseudocytisus growing on the chalky rocks, Palestine stonecrop (Sedum Palaestinum) and sweet clover (Melilotus italicus) - an annual, of the Papilionaceae family, with yellow flowers.
The reserve contains a succession of prehistoric cultures lasting about a million years, a rare phenomenon in Israel and the world, and it is the only site in Israel presenting to the public the life in the prehistoric period on the site where it occurred.
The study of the caves was begun in 1928, and it continues intermittently to this day. Human remains have been discovered from the lower stone age.
There is a steep cliff in the reserve, consisting mainly of a reef of fossilized marine rudist bivalves. In the rest of the reserve the rocks are dolomite, hard limestone and chalk typical of the Carmel.
On the west of the Carmel and in the Nahal Me'arot nature reserve there is a cliff which is actually a reef consisting of fossilized marine creatures who lived in the sea 115 to 90 million years ago. The most common fossils in this cliff are those of rudist bivalves, which became extinct about 65 million years ago.
The rudist bivalve consists of a lower, roughly conical valve that was attached to the seafloor or to neighboring rudists, and a smaller, upper valve that served as a kind of lid for the organism. The rudist was able to open and close its upper valve at will.
Many caves on the Carmel, among them those along Nahal Me'arot, are on the reef cliff. The reef rocks are full of holes, so water can percolate through them relatively easily, dissolve them and create cavities. The cliff on the west of the Carmel was created due to the fact that, in the geologic past, it faced the sea and absorbed the impact of the waves.
On the eastern side, the Carmel consists of hard limestone and dolomite, which create a landscape of steps and terraces. Dolomite is formed in shallow seas or lagoons, and it may be that the rudist reefs blocked the sea thus creating the lagoons behind them, which led to the development of these rocks.
Nahal Me'arot is a seasonal stream, in which water flows only in winter, the rainy season.
Nahal Me'arot drains the western side of the Carmel, and streams feeding it come from the area between Daliat Al Carmel in the north and Kerem Maharal in the south. The length of the principal channel is about 12 kms, and its drainage basin stretches over approximately 40 square kilometers. Since it is a seasonal stream, water flows in it only from the winter flooding. The stream's drainage basin is in an area where annual rainfall averages about 700 mm.
When the stream reaches the Carmel coastal plain, it becomes an alluvial stream, creating an alluvial plain. This part of the stream has been regularized by the Carmel Drainage Authority, and is routed between fields and settlements to prevent flooding.
How to get there
On Highway No. 4 (Old Tel Aviv - Haifa road) 8 kms. north of the Faradis Intersection.
For those coming from the north, there is no left turn (continuous white line). Continue to the entrance of Moshav Geva Carmel.
After about 500 meters, turn around and return towards the north.
Bus route 921 from Tel Aviv to Haifa. For details call Egged Information.
What else is there:
Regional information station, regional instruction center, marked trails - geological, botanical, accompanied by information sheets, souvenir store, cafeteria.
Single Adult- NIS 22;
Child- NIS 9.
Groups (over 30 persons): Adult- NIS 19;
Child- NIS 8.
Students: NIS 9.
The entrance to the Park is closed one hour before the times given below:
Sundays thru Thursdays and Shabbat: 8:00 - 15:00
Fridays and eves of religious festivals: 8:00 - 16:00
Sundays thru Fridays and Shabbat: 8:00 - 16:00
Fridays and eves of religious festivals: 8:00 - 15:00
On the eves of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Pesach: 8:00 - 13:00
In the Nahal Me'arot nature reserve adaptations to make the site accessible to people with disabilities are being made. Adaptations currently in place include: