Mount Hermon dominates the view in the northern Golan Heights as it is snow capped for many months of the year. Most of the Hermon lies in Syria and Lebanon.
Since the Arab-Israeli war in June 1967, about 40 square miles (100 square kilometers) of Mount Hermon’s southern and western slopes have been part of the Golan. Mount Hermon is famous as Israel’s ski resort – albeit a small one by comparison with European or American standards and one that in some seasons suffers from insufficient snow fall.
Mount Hermon is also well known as the “eyes of Israel” – because of its strategic importance defending Israel and as a forward observation point towards Lebanon and Syria. It was the scene of some famous battles especially in 1973.
The nature reserve is open all-year round. However, the ski resort is only open at the peak of the winter season (usually from January to March) where there is a lot of snowfall — enough amount of it to accumulate on the ground to make the place ideal for snow-related activities such as skiing and sledding.
It is worth visiting Mount Hermon even if there is no snow, because of its unique attraction and beauty. The ski resort is now trying to create an all year round attraction with scenic rides on the ski lift and extreme sports. There are guided walks from the top of the ski-lift to see some of the views and nature. It is incongruous to see the huge artificial snowman and the snow ploughs when the temperature is in the mid 30’s in August!
There are many walks in the Hermon National Park, but, due to the sensitive position it is hard to give guidance here. Please remember that you are in a sensitive border area, so don’t be tempted to stray from the road and footpaths (there are minefields.) Obey the signs and the instructions of the soldiers in the area. Often it is preferred to target the trails away from the peak areas such as the Banias, the Saar Waterfall and Stream and of course nearby is the impressive Nimrod’s Fortress – all worth a visit in their own right.
See the Hermon & Northern Golan Photo Album.
Druze Villages near Mount Hermon
There are three principal Druze towns – Majdal al Shams (Tower of the Rising Sun), Masaada & Ein Kunya. The Druze are very friendly, but, please respect their customs. There are a number of restaurants (not kosher); in Majdal al Shams there is an impressive statue of Sultan Pasha al-Atrash who led the rebellion against the French in 1915, and in Ein Kunya there is a tomb that is attributed to Jethro (Moses’ father in law). The Druze also sell very tasty seasonal fruit from road side stores – it is the worth travelling especially to Golan for the cherries and honey.
Accommodation near Mount Hermon
The village of Neve Ativ has many small hotels and zimmers. As Neve Ativ operates the ski resort it is often possible to get packages. There are also some zimmers in the Druze Villages. The distances are not huge – so any accommodation in the Northern Golan will be reasonably close to Mount Hermon.
Getting to Mount Hermon
At the end or Road 98. Explore the Druze town of Majdal al Shams and then climb on Road 98. It is quite a long drive, but the views are well worthwhile.
See Hermon Info Site.