Meet Hula Nature Reserve

The Hula Nature Reserve is a site of world-wide importance for water birds and is a most important wet habitat in the Middle East

Principal Points of Interest

  • The lake – the restored lake is a tiny remnant of the historic Hula Lake. This lake is an important attraction for water birds, which can be viewed from the floating bridge.
  • The marsh – a shallow area at the edge of the lake, where papyrus and the common reed grow in profusion. The marsh area serves as a hiding place for a range of animals.
  • Observation tower – a three-storey tower is one of the principal attractions along the walking trail in the reserve The tower gives a view of the marsh and the lake, enabling bird watchers to observe the activities of the migrating birds who winter in the region.
  • The floating bridge – a platform about 600 m. long, built like a long covered bridge, providing a concealed observation platform (hide) over the lake.
  • Water buffalo – within the reserve lives a herd of water buffalo (Jammus). The water buffalo herd in the Hula nature reserve is currently the largest in Israel.
  • Fallow deer – a view of a fenced-in area, in which lives a small herd of Persian fallow deer (Dama Mesopotamica).
  • The Euphoria Visitors Center – a new and sophisticated visitors’ center inaugurated in 2006. The center provides an interactive presentation, displaying to visitors the fascinating story of the Hula Nature Reserve and its fauna and flora, particularly the story of the migrating birds. The presentation consists of a 3-dimensional video, giving viewers a unique multi-sensual experience:
  • Garden shelter for rare water plants – within the reserve there is a garden shelter for rare water plants which typified the Hula region before it was drained. A few of the species on the site are endangered in Israel, and the garden shelter makes it possible to restore the population of these plants and return them to the wild.
  • Indication of the water level of the Hula lake before it was drained – in the vicinity of the box office at the site there is a sign indicating the western edges of the historic lake.
  • Raft – the draining of the Hula was one of the largest engineering projects in the first decade after the establishment of the State of Israel. This project is commemorated near the entrance to the reserve and the raft, which was used for the drainage works, is also displayed.
  • The Founders’ Grove – a large grove of old eucalyptus trees at the entrance to the reserve. Nearby there is a grove of younger trees where the public may visit, serving as a day camping area and a place for picnics and barbeques. In this area of the grove the eucalyptus trees are more spaced out to prevent fire hazards.
  • The Lake – the restored lake is a tiny remnant of the historic Lake Hula. The lake is the center of attraction for water birds, and they can be observed from the “floating bridge”. The Hula is mentioned for the first time in the writings of Josef Ben Matityahu (Josephus Flavius), as a region named “Oulata” between the Galilee and Trakhon (the Biblical “Argov”), in which there are marshes and lakes. The name “Hulata” also appears in the Jerusalem Talmud, and is one of the seven seas surrounding the Land of Israel; however, this name is apparently not connected with the Hula as we know it. Another historical name for the Hula is “Somkhi”. This name is also mentioned for the first time in the Jerusalem Talmud in the form of “Yama Samkho”. Some believe that “Mey Marom” mentioned in the Bible, in the battle between Joshua Bin-Nun and the Kings of the North (led by the King of Hatsor, close to the Hula) is in fact the Hula. A number of interpretations have been given to source of the Aramaic name “Hulata”, among them “Hilata”, which means valley in Aramaic, and the word “Hilat”, used in Arabic as a name for the papyrus reed which is wide-spread in the Hula marshes.
  • The marsh – a shallow area at the edge of the lake, where papyrus and the common reed grow in profusion. The marsh area serves as a hiding place for a range of animals. Unlike the lake-bed, which is chalky soil, the original marsh area was based on peat – organic material common in marshes all over the world, created from vegetation that sank into the water.
  • Observation tower – a three-storey tower that is one of the principal attractions along the walking trail in the reserve The tower gives a view of the marsh and the lake, enabling bird watchers to observe the activities of the migrating birds who winter in the region.
  • The floating bridge – a platform about 600 m. long, built like a long covered bridge, providing a concealed observation platform (hide) over the lake.
  • Water buffalo – a herd of water buffalo (“Jammus” in Arabic) lives within the reserve. This is a large cow-like animal, with curved horns, which thrives in marshy regions. There is evidence for its having been bred in Israel since the 8th century A.D. After the establishment of the State of Israel the animal was no longer bred in this country, and the herd in the reserve originated from individuals that were found after the 6-Day War in the Bet Tsayda valley (“HaBeteha”) north-east of the Kinneret. The herd in the Hula nature reserve is currently the largest in Israel.
  • Fallow deer – another herd living in the reserve is that of Persian fallow deer (Dama Mesopotamica). This animal is one of the herbivores that were typical of the groves and woods of this country up to the 19th century. Decades after the species had become extinct in Israel, at the beginning of the revolution in Iran, a few individuals were brought to Israel to the Hay-Bar reserve on Mount Carmel in a daring operation, and over the years they were released from there into the wild in the western Galilee and in the mountains around Jerusalem. Besides the Hay-Bar on the Carmel, the Nature and Parks Authority established a few more herds of fallow deer, and the herd in the Hula reserve is one of them.
  • The “Euphoria” Visitors Center – a new and sophisticated visitors’ center inaugurated in 2006. The center provides an interactive presentation, displaying to visitors the fascinating story of the Hula Nature Reserve and its fauna and flora, particularly the story of the migrating birds. The presentation consists of a 3-dimensional video, giving viewers a unique multi-sensual experience.

1. The hidden lake – the Hula Valley in the past and the present. The story of the creation of Lake Hula, accompanied by a geomorphological model of the lake.

2. Birds of the Hula – the Center displays examples of species of birds typical of the region, including residents, migrants and extinct species.

3. Animals in the Hula valley – animals typical of the reserve, among them mammals, such as the wild boar, the buffalo and the otter, fish, amphibians and invertebrates.

4. Hula Trivia – participation in an interactive, multi-participant trivia quiz.

5. Migration map – a map of birds’ migration routes worldwide, including the major migration routes in our region

6. “Euphoria” – a unique multi-sensual presentation enabling the viewers to “fly” with the birds from northern Europe to Africa and back. The experience includes viewing a 3-dimensional movie on moving seats accompanied by special effects.

The Visitors Center is air-conditioned and is suited for visiting all year round. Entry to the Center is in groups of maximum 50 persons. Guided tours for families begin every hour on the hour, and group tours leave every twenty minutes.

  • Garden shelter for rare water plants – within the reserve there is a garden shelter for rare water plants which typified the Hula region before it was drained. A few of the species on the site are endangered species in Israel, and the garden shelter makes it possible to restore the population of these plants in order to replant them in the wild.
  • Indication of the water level of the Hula Lake before it was drained – in the vicinity of the box office of the site there is a sign indicating the western edges of the historic lake. The maximum depth of the lake is presently two meters. However, in most places it is only 70 cm. deep.
  • Raft – the drainage of the Hula was one of the largest engineering projects in the first decade after the establishment of the State of Israel. The project was designed to prepare extensive areas for agriculture. The struggle against the drainage of the lake led to the establishment of the nature preservation organizations in Israel. This project is commemorated near the entrance to the reserve, and the raft which was used for the drainage works is prominently displayed.
  • The Founders’ Grove – a large grove of old eucalyptus trees, named after the founders of the nearby Moshava – Yesud HaMa’ala. Most of the grove was planted around 1890, and another part was planted after the Hula was drained, in the 1950s. The grove consists of tall, impressive trees, constituting a unique habitat, attracting a variety of birds and bats. Many species of insect-eating bats have been documented here, and diurnal and nocturnal raptors nest here (such as the common barn owl (Tyto alba), the Eurasian scops owl (Otus scops), and the Eurasian hobby (Falco subbuteo), and song birds, including the Eurasian Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus) and the European bee-eater (Merops apiaster). In the past, this grove was the only place in Israel in which a European roller (Coracias garrulus) nested (in holes in tree-trunks). Action is also being taken in the grove to restore to the wild the white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) – the largest of the raptors that were living in the Hula Valley before the lake and marsh were drained. Part of the grove serves as a camping ground at the entrance to the reserve. In this area the trees are more spaced out to prevent fire hazards. The rest of the grove is not intended for visitors, due to the concern for the collapse of trees and falling branches, as well as to preserve the rich biological diversity in the grove.

Hula Nature Reserve

Useful Information
Opening Hours

                                        Entrance to the park closes one hour before cited closing time                                    
Summer hours: Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 08:00 - 17:00 Friday and holiday eves: 08:00 - 16:00 Winter hours: Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 08:00 - 16:00 Friday and holiday eves: 08:00 - 16:00 Holiday eves: 08:00 - 13:00 Yom Kippur eve: 08:00 - 13:00
Contact us
Phone: ‎04-6937069, 04-6860114- להזמנות לעופוריה Fax: ‎04-6959602
Access

  • Parking

  • a floating bridge

  • restroom facilities

  • a visitor center

  • entrance area

  • wooded picnic area


Entrance to dogs

No entrance to dogs


Other attractions

Souvenir and book store, picnic area, wheelchair access.


Getting there
How to get there

On the Rosh Pina-Kiryat Shmona road (no. 90), turn east 3 km after the Yesud Hama‘ala


In Waze, type: Hula Nature Reserve

Tickets will be available for purchase online soon.

Money Saving Tickets
Entrance fees
Type Fee Remarks
Adult ₪ 35.00
Child ₪ 21.00
Adult in group ₪ 30.00
Child in group ₪ 18.00
Student ₪ 30.00
Israeli senior citizen ₪ 18.00

Map of Hula

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