Jesus Trail Philosophy
Our mission is to provide the best possible hiking routes between locations that are significant to the biblical story of Jesus in the Galilee region of Israel, and to provide resources and services for responsible ecotourism along the trails. We strive to offer an experience of walking in the footsteps of Jesus in a way that is authentic, relational, and educational for travelers, pilgrims, and locals. We strive to provide accurate and helpful resources on hiking in Israel, educational adventure travel, and sustainable ecotourism to the international community.
Our vision is for the Jesus Trail to serve as:
a bridge to build transformational relationships and understandings between nationalities, cultures and religions in the Middle East
an economic stimulus to support the livelihood of local communities through responsible, grassroots ecotourism
an epic hiking route that increases connection to the natural world, that encourages environmental care through a leave-no-trace approach
We hope that travelers of diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds will gain a new understanding of the life of Jesus through the people and land that shaped his historical context along the Jesus Trail. Today, encounters on the trail still serve as opportunities to extend and receive hospitality with diverse groups of people. Modern travelers can practice living simply and traveling light, gaining wisdom from the spirit of Jesus’ words from Mark 6:8-9: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic.”
We strongly encourage all to walk with a leave-no-trace approach, respecting everything they encounter in order to improve the surrounding environment. We believe that trails are made by walking, and invite all sojourners to take the first step and begin a journey of adventure, discovery and transformation.
The Jesus Trail was founded to serve as a world-class trekking route, a platform for historical and spiritual learning and a bridge that brings together diverse people and promotes interactive with diverse local narratives. We strive to offer experiences and services that are ethical, sustainable and available to all people. The Jesus Trail does not promote any one theological or political perspective, and we aim to work together with local and international persons and organizations with diverse perspectives.
We do not discriminate on the basis of religion, theology, race, creed, ancestry, gender, age, disability, or orientation. If individuals or groups use the Jesus Trail to promote an agenda that is divisive, discriminatory and/or counterproductive to the philosophy and vision of the Jesus Trail, we do not endorse these perspectives and initiatives and reserve the right to not work together with these initiatives. We will continue to work with local partners to maintain an identity that is consistent with our stated goals and philosophy.
How do we know this is where Jesus actually walked?
Jesus spent the bulk of his life and ministry in the Galilee region, and we can be fairly certain that he walked between the towns and villages mentioned in the New Testament. Most towns and villages from scripture have historical ruins that can be traced back to the first century, and geography often defines and limits the best ways that people would choose to travel on foot between these places.
In modern Israel, many of these historic routes overlap roads and highways. Our preference is to stay as close to the historic routes as possible, but not at the expense of a dangerous or miserable walking experience. Some sections of the Jesus Trail trace paved Roman roads and ancient paths, but where this is not possible we seek trails that emulate experiences authentic to those of ancient travelers.
We feel that by combining locations and routes with confirmed historical significance with a primitive and natural walking experience, travelers will experience the best of both worlds in terms of historical and experiential learning.
The Jesus Trail Team