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Trail along the train tracks, Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh

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Trail along the train tracks, Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh

I took the train from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv last week, and for much of the trip between Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh I noticed a trail alongside the train tracks -- it looked like it would be really nice for a mountain bike ride. Mostly it would be downhill, and I could then put the bike on the train to go back to Jerusalem.

Does anyone know about this trail? I can't quite figure out where to pick it up -- on the return trip, by the time the train got to the zoo station it wasn't there anymore.

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1. Re: Trail along the train tracks, Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh

It's a lovely walk, and in my back yard!! (I'm a hiker, not a cyclist, and I've walked much of it more than once.)

The best place to start is just east of the old Bar-Giora station. Cycle along road 386 (past Ein Kerem), and about 1.5 km after the sewage plant on your right, immediately before the bridge over the railway, turn right onto the track.

Once you are on the path keep going. You will eventually come out in the middle of a cement works. Continue in the same direction until you get to the road. Turn right (on road 38) and there is a bus stop there, on the right. Buses (route 415) go every half hour from Beit Shemesh to Jerusalem, and you can put your bike in the luggage compartment of the bus (no charge for the bike). If you prefer to return by train, turn left when you get to road 38, and immediately after you cross the railway tracks turn left at the traffic lights, then left again to go down to the railway station.

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2. Re: Trail along the train tracks, Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh

Actually, there is a bike path from Jerusalem all the way downhill to Tel Aviv, set by the KKL (the Jewish National Fund, JNF in English). This path goes along the tracks from Jerusalem till a few kilometers before Beit Shemesh. This journey is about 30km long, so you would be needed to be fit and carry enough water and food. It is necesary to buy the map before doing such a trip (as an Israeli I bike a lot, but always carry the map of the paths when I bike at the country)

The path starts at the Jerusalem Biblical zoo, and ends at road 38, near the junction with hwy 44 ("Shimshon" junction). Shuffaluff already gave you details from there (bus #415). DO NOT RIDE ON HWY 38 ! This is a dangerous highway (at this section, from road 1 to Beit Shemesh), even for cars! there are many ups and downs and you can't see whose behind the next hill.

If you want to take the bus to Jerusalem - it's from the eastern sidewalk (traffic towards north). If you want to get to Beit Shemesh - take #415 the other way (towards south) and descend at the train station (there is a stop). However, do note that the train from Beit Shemesh to Jerusalem is infrequent, so check schedule so you won't find yourself waiting 2 hours.

Here are sketch (Hebrew) maps (printing them does not replace the necessity for an actual trails map!)

* Jerusalem-Tel Aviv bike cycling path: eyarok.org.il/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Jer…

The part I was talking about is from the red arrow at the bottom-right corner, all the way to the yellow exclamation mark on hwy 38 (this is Shimshon junction).

* The first part of the trail is actually part of the Jerusalem Park. So, here's a bit more detailed map of the first part of what I've described: jerusalempark.org.il/download/files/JerPark-…

There is a nice stop at Ein Lavan ("Lavan" spring) which you could take.

After you buy a map, go to a tourism/KKL information center to get marks on the map for the "interesting" places.

* Entry point - go to the Jerusalem biblical zoo. At the far end (western end) of the parking lot you would find the entry point. Here it is on Google maps: http://goo.gl/maps/Sx0to

* KKL / JNF hotline: 1800-350-550

* Train Schedule: http://www.rail.co.il

* #415 schedule: http://www.bus.co.il

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3. Re: Trail along the train tracks, Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh

>>Actually, there is a bike path from Jerusalem all the way downhill to Tel Aviv, set by the KKL (the Jewish National Fund, JNF in English). This path goes along the tracks from Jerusalem till a few kilometers before Beit Shemesh. This journey is about 30km long, <<

It is about 30 km by road from Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh (I know, I do it by bus to and from work), so the bike path just from Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh must be more than 30 km. From Tel Aviv it would probably be more like 70 km (it is 60 km by road).

You don't really need a schedule for the 415. It leaves Jerusalem at xx:00 and xx:30, and from Beit Shemesh every 20 minutes from 9:20 until 13:00 (the 415 buses in the early morning are much less frequent because most people leaving Beit Shemesh then are commuters who take the express buses) then every 30 minutes. So you would never need to wait more than half an hour. (There are other, faster, buses that do this stretch, but they don't stop where you need to get on at the end of that biking/hiking trail.) Last bus from Jerusalem on a Friday (during daylight saving time) is at 16:30, and from Beit Shemesh at 15:30.

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4. Re: Trail along the train tracks, Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh

1. Since the bike path does not follow the road, overall length (Jerusalem to Tel Aviv) is about 125 km.

2. The Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh part is about 30 km.

All lengths I mentioned are according to the KKL website, which paved this path.

See for yourself (Hebrew):

eyarok.org.il/2010/…

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5. Re: Trail along the train tracks, Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh

Amos, I just wanted to make sure that nobody thought Jerusalem to Tel Aviv was 30 km, which might have been inferred from what you wrote!

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6. Re: Trail along the train tracks, Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh

Thanks for all the replies. I did the ride this morning, and it was wonderful! The section from the zoo to the 386 was harder than I expected -- the trail doesn't stay close to the train track and there was more climbing than I anticipated. But once I was along the track it was a pretty easy ride. Since I didn't know how long it was going to take, I rode faster than I might otherwise (wife wanted not to be left with kids all day) -- I left at 7:40am and was in Beit Shemesh before 10am. Next time I'll do it at a more relaxed pace.

Again, though, it was a really good ride.

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7. Re: Trail along the train tracks, Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh

Glad it worked out! And did you take the bus or the train back?

Incidentally, if you like watching trains there's a really good viewpoint from that path. Let me know if you want details. That's in addition to seeing trains passing each other (from opposite directions) at the old Bar-Giora station.

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8. Re: Trail along the train tracks, Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh

Hi every one

I just took this ride today and it was wonderful, a very nice path.

I was wondering how is the next part of the path ( direction to Tel Aviv). Is it possible to ride from Bet Shemesh about 30 - 50 km and catch the bus to Jerusalem ? Do you have any suggestions ?

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9. Re: Trail along the train tracks, Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh

There is no path from Beit Shemesh towards Tel Aviv that you can cycle (or walk) along. Here and there are some short unconnected parts, but nothing continuous as there is in the other direction (Beit Shemesh to Jerusalem).

Do you want something specifically starting from Beit Shemesh? How about the area to the north of Beit Shemesh, around the Tzora forest? There are lots of bike paths there. If you end up somewhere near Nachshon Junction (the junction of roads 3 and 44), you can take a bus back to Jerusalem from there - routes 437, 438 and 446, and you would never need to wait more than about half an hour for one or another of them to turn up.

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10. Re: Trail along the train tracks, Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh

Of course there is a path from Beit Shemesh to Tel Aviv, it is part of the bike path from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. The next part of the path is from Beit Shemesh to Ben Shemen forest ("Mitzpeh Modi'im" spot). "Mitzpeh Modi'im" is adjacent to hwy 443, and there is a bus stop through which many buses pass, mainly to the nearbly largest city - Modi'in. (here's the bus stop: http://goo.gl/maps/qhI4I - behind it - Ben Shemen forest, note the (lots of) cars of travellers). From Modi'in take a bus to Jerusalem.

For Hebrew readers - all the info is from the link I gave in post #4 of this thread.