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The Ben Shemen Forest is home to the best mountain bike trails close to Tel Aviv, and one of the top rides in all of Israel.
While there are a number of singletrack trails and forest roads to choose from in the area, the route shown here is a loop that combines two of the most popular trails: Herzl and Anava. Ben Shemen is a relatively flat forest, and the trails here are all very approachable for intermediate riders.
Cross-country pedaling is the name of the game in Ben Shemen. When combined, Herzl and Anava create a lengthy 35-kilometer ride with 725 meters of elevation gain.
This long loop is perfect for getting in some endurance miles, but if you aren't up for quite so much distance, these two trails can easily be divided into shorter rides. "The trail starts and ends at Mitzpe Modi’in, passing through the ancient forest of Ben Shemen including the oldest Cyprus pine forest in Israel," according to [TouristIsrael.com](https://www.touristisrael.com/mountain-biking-in-the-ben-shemen-forest/3715/).
In addition to this ancient forest, you'll also enjoy viewpoints, historic sites, and archaeological sites along the way.
These trails are well-built and well-signed, which can be a rarity in certain areas.
Both of these factors make Ben Shemen a very approachable ride and an easy way to begin exploring the mountain bike scene in Israel.