From the forest to the desert, here are 6 of the best mountain bike rides in Israel.
The country of Israel is not only the home of some of humanity's most ancient historical sites, but it also offers a bevy of fantastic singletrack spread across the nation. From long-distance epics to tightly-woven trail systems, the well-built Israeli singletrack is just begging you to come sink your knobbies into its grippy dirt.
Israel is most famous for its desert landscapes, and the desolate Negev Desert is home to the best backcountry mountain biking in the country. Instead of loop-style rides, in the Negev, you'll find the first sections of the long-distance Israel Bike Trail (IBT) to be completed. The Israel Bike Trail currently runs from Mitzpe Ramon to Eilat, but eventually, it will run all the way from the northern end of the country, near Mount Herman, to the southern terminus of Eilat. In this guidebook, you'll find one of the best segments of the IBT: the stretch from Mitzpe Ramon to Be'erot.
There's no two bones about it: heading deep into the Negev Desert to mountain bike is a demanding backcountry excursion. If you're not quite up for such an epic adventure and would prefer a scenic ride through a beautiful forest instead, the loop on Anava and Hertzl in Ben Shemen Forest will be right up your alley. This scenic pedal is easily the best mountain bike ride near Tel Aviv.
Similar to Ben Shemen, Ofer Forest offers an approachable loop ride on the Ridge Line Trail. On the other hand, the loop ride on Adulam and Kanim is a bit more demanding, with steeper and more extended climbs. Both of these rides, along with the trails in Ben Shemen, are true cross-country mountain bike trails.
If you're looking for a bit more challenge, the Misgav trails serve as a popular draw for advanced mountain bikers. The trails here have even played host to an enduro race in the past.
Finally, if you're looking to grab some hangtime on your mountain bike, the Ariel Trails might be your best bet. You'll find plenty of built-up trail features scattered throughout the network, with wooden jumps, bridges, wall rides, gap jumps, skinnies, kickers, tabletops, and more. If you want to get sendy, Ariel is the place to go!
Israel offers a wide selection of diverse mountain biking opportunities—these selections are just the highlights! The deeper you dig into the mountain bike scene, the more singletrack gems you are bound to discover.