Og river starts in the eastern slopes of mount Scopus is Jerusalem and ends near Kibutz Kalia in the dead sea, running for 30 km. The river is dry most of the year except on rainy days in Jerusalem area, when water floods and runs quickly through the gorge, swiping everything in its path, rounding the corners of the rocks, turning large rocks into small pebbles.
The lower part of the river is open for hiking (when the river is dry) : fun and a bit challenging. It is possible to hike either upstream or downstream. There are three dry waterfall locations, climbing up or down is done by built-in ladders.
The river is named after the plant sumac. Sumacs are shrubs and small trees that can reach a height of 1–10 meters. The fruits of the plant are ground into a deep-red or purple powder used as a spice in Middle Eastern cuisine to add a lemony taste to salads or meat. In Arab cuisine, it is used as a garnish on dishes such as hummus .Sometimes it is used in the spice mixture za'atar. Although “Og” is the Hebrew name for the sumac, very few Israelis actually know that, so don’t ask for “Og” on your hummus. Unfortunately the sumac is not growing in the part we can hike; however there are a lot of caper bushes.
We choose to hike up the river, because it is easier to climb up the waterfalls. The path from the parking leads to a wide riverbed, with steep walls, that soon enough narrow, and we find ourselves in a shady canyon.
We climb 3 waterfalls in the path. The first one is the longest, about 6 meters. The children a bit afraid at first, enjoy the climbing, taking good care not to miss a step. After the third water fall, we walk for a while in a canyon till we reach a 4x4 road. The path will lead now up to the ridge, enabling a good view of the canyon we have just come from.
The landscape is dry, as we walk up the ridge we see the dead see on one side, and on the other side ancient round hills, where nothing grows. These hills stop the clouds from moving further, and causing the whole area to be desert.
On our way back to the parking we walk on the sandy hill, looking at the calm blue dead see.
It seems that going up was a good decision,because it gives you the control of where and how you put your legs.
Here is a description of going down, according to the writer a terrifying experiance
Length : 3 km, walking time 2-4 hours
Starting point : 300m south to Kibutz Almong entrance.
Kibutz Almog is on road 1between Jerusalm and Jeriho.
Map number 8.
It is not allowed to hike when there are dangers of floods. Call for info : 02-6233221
On weekdays hikes should be coordinated with the army : : 02-5305372