Meet Yarkon National Park
The Yarkon National Park is divided into two parts: The Yarkon river source springs and Afek. Together they constitute a green lung and an island of tranquility in the middle of the most populated region in Israel.
Major Centers of Interest
- The squill trail
- Paddling pools
- Antipatris Fort
- The British water pumping station
- The recreation area and amusement facilities
- The winter pool
- The artificial lake
- Walking route from Tel Afek to the Yarkon springs via the water-lily pond
Yarkon springs area:
- Walking along the Yarkon river
- The Yarkon bream pool
- The Al-Mir flour mill
- Night camping area
- The Yarkon rapids
- The recreation area and amusement installations (picnics and barbeque area)
- The “romantic” path
- The concrete house
- The “Pillbox”
Particulars of the Major Centers of Interest
The Afek area:
- The Squill trail – a walking route along which squills (Drimia maritima) were planted in 2011. The inspiration for selecting squill to mark the trail came from the ancient practice of using the plant as boundaries between fields. The Squill Trail is a circular route passing through sites from the Roman, Ottoman and British periods.
- The Paddling Pools – above the artificial lake a few paddling pools were built at the end of 2012, and visitors are invited to paddle in them (bathing is prohibited in the lake itself).
- Antipatris Fort – the fortress at the top of the Tel was built between 1572 -1574 in the Ottoman period, and is called “Binar Bashi”, an Arabic corruption of the Turkish name Pinar Basha, literally – “fountainhead” or “head of the springs” (in Hebrew – Rosh Ha’Ayin). The fortress is known mistakenly as Antipatris Fort, after the Roman city that existed here. The function of the fortress was to guard the Afek Passage – the narrow pass that connected the hills of Shomron with the sources of the Yarkon river. This pass circumvented the marshy region and was part of the ancient Via Maris that traversed the length of the country.
- The British Water Pumping Station – a facility erected by the British in Palestine during the Mandate, which was part of the facility that conveyed water to Jerusalem. The water was collected in pipes at the Rosh Ha’Ayin springs and transferred to filtering pools for cleaning and then to a chlorination structure. Thereafter the water was conveyed to an underground reservoir and to pumping stations, and from there it was delivered to Jerusalem. The old structures seen in the Afek area are the pumping station, the sinking and filtering pools and the chlorination structure. Opposite there are buildings that served as offices and residence for the British soldiers who guarded the pumping station, which today are used by the Nature and Parks Authority.
- The Recreation Area and Amusement Facility – the place can be used for picnics and barbeques.
- The Winter Pool – the winter pool in the Tel Afek area is a unique habitat containing a number of amphibians, primitive crustaceans and water insects. The aquarium standing in front of the pool displays the creatures that live in it when it is full of water.
- The Artificial Lake – a narrow peaceful waterway flows into the lake originating from the National Water Carrier pipeline. The lake was built in a natural basin located there, in order to create a suitable habitat for water fauna and for leisure and recreation purposes.
- Route from Tel Afek to the Sources of the Yarkon, via the Water-Lilly Ponds – the water-lily pond in the Yarkon National Park enchants the visitor’s eye due to its extensive river vegetation and blue water. The yellow water lily (Nuphar lutea) with its impressive flowers grows in the pond, as well as other plants and creatures unique to the area.
The Yarkon Springs Area:
- Walking along the Yarkon River – a walking path has been prepared and wooden piers installed along the river. During the walk along the path, ancient agricultural facilities come into view. These facilities exploited the river’s water over the years: the Kasser farm, the Al-Mir flour mill and the pumps building.
- The Yarkon Bream Pool – the Yarkon bream (Acanthobrama Telavivensis) is an endemic species that used to be widespread in Israel’s coastal streams, but had almost disappeared due to pollution and drying up of the streams. In order to prevent the eradication of this species, individuals were grown in a breeding facility, and their descendents were returned to the river into a pool located to the east of the Al-Mir flour mill, within a fenced-off area, protected from human disturbance and pollution.
- The Al-Mir Flour Mill – an old flour mill that was in operation during the Ottoman period, one of the largest pools in Palestine. The flour mill is named for the Arab village Mir which existed here in the 19th century. An ancient dam collected the water in the river channel and diverted it to the mill.
- Night-Camping Area – in the Yarkon Sources park area there is a fenced-off night-camping area, including toilets, showers, drinking water, cooking areas and lighting.
- The Yarkon Cataracts – as part of the activities to rehabilitate the river, a project was begun to agitate the water in the river and build a dam at the meeting-point of the Yarkon with the Kana stream. The purpose of agitating the water is to increase flow speed, thus improving conditions in the river habitat.
- The “Romantic” Path – a beautiful path roofed over with vegetation, leading to the “concrete house.”
- The Concrete House – the first structure in Israel made of concrete. It was built by the “Palestine Company” in 1912, and was used as a pumping station that delivered water to the orange groves of Petah Tikva.
- The Railway Station and the “Pillbox” – the Palestine Railway line was built in 1922, on the initiative of Petah Tikva residents in order to connect the region to the main line that went from Emek Yizre’el southward, to Egypt. The railway transported agricultural produce to the ports of Haifa and Yafo, as well as passengers on the Petah Tikva – Rosh Ha’Ayin line, and was called the “Hebrew Railway”. The “pillbox” was built by the British during the Arab revolt that occurred between 1936 and 1939. It is a small structure that served as a post for the guard who watched over the railway line and the bridge above the river from rioters. On the structure the British crown and the letters P.R.R.D. are painted, which is the name of the Palestine Railway guard detail.
Yarkon National ParkUseful Information
Entrance to the park closes one hour before cited closing timeSummer hours: Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 17:00 - 08:00 Friday and holiday eves: 16:00 - 08:00 Winter hours: Sunday–Thursday and Saturday: 16:00 - 08:00 Friday and holiday eves: 15:00 - 08:00 Holiday eves: 13:00 - 08:00 Yom Kippur eve: 13:00 - 08:00
- picnic area.
The park is currently being made accessible. People with mobility impairments who wish to visit the archeological site and the lake are recommended to visit with a companion.
The National Park – provided they are leashed and muzzled
The Night Camping area – dogs are forbidden.
- Children’s play facilities
- Basketball court
- Volleyball court
- Table-tennis tables
- Eating tables
- Barbeque facilities
- Family fitness route
The Yarkon Source center is on the Hod HaSharon – Petah Tikva road, between the Yarkon and Segula Intersectios.
There is an entrance from the east into the Baptist Village and the National Park. The Afek Park center is between Ganim Intersection in Petah Tikva (the Petah Tikva – Lod road) and Rosh Ha’Ayin, Road No. 483, between Kibbutzim Giv’at HaShelosha and Enat from the north.
For those coming from Highway 6, exit at Kessem Interchange.By public transport: Egged bus No. 561 from Tel Aviv to the Yarkon Springs (to the Baptist Village intersection only).
Dan buses Nos. 27, 7, 17 and 93 reach Afek.
|Adult in group||₪ 24.00|
|Child in group||₪ 12.00|
|Israeli senior citizen||₪ 14.00|
|Group leaders’ room||₪ 350.00|
|Subscription – adult||₪ 38.00|
|Subscription – child||₪ 32.00|