Construction detour leaving Nazareth

There’s still construction on the northern edge of Nazareth, which began in April 2012.  At the edge of Nazareth you will reach a fence. Continue around to the right on the north site of the area, rejoining the marked trail closer to the gas station on road 700 below.

The map below was made when the construction began and still is relevant today, but you may need to take a slightly wider detour to pass the affected area.
Updated November 27, 2012

Jesus Trail in The New York Times!

Check out the latest press on the Jesus Trail, a feature in The New York Times, entitled Hiking Through Biblical Backcountry! Join author Brad Wetzler on his journey from Nazareth to Capernaum: by Rina Castelnuovo for The New York Times


2012 Jesus Trail Free Map Available

The Jesus Trail team is proud to announce that the new Jesus Trail Free Map (3rd edition) is now available, both in hard copy and PDF download!

The Jesus Trail Free Map is a colorful brochure with an overview of the Jesus Trail, including a sketch map, descriptions of the points of interest, elevation chart, list of accommodations, transportation information and more. The map was generously sponsored by local businesses, including accommodations, taxi drivers and local attractions.

Get your copy today! You can download the PDF now, or please send your mailing address to to receive a hard copy in the mail for free. This map is shipped from Nazareth, Israel and may take 2-3 weeks for delivery.

The paper copy of the map is available at many locations in Nazareth and Jerusalem, including the Fauzi Azar Inn, Jerusalem Tourist Information at Jaffa Gate, and the Abraham Hostel. If you would like Jesus Trail maps at your location, just let us know.

[Download Jesus Trail Free Map]

*The Jesus TrailFree Map is intended as an informational overview for planning and not for navigational purposes. We recommend that hikers obtain the Jesus Trail guidebook, which has high resolution topographical section maps.

Mark’s Jesus Trail Hints and Tips

Mark has been a Jesus Trail volunteer for the 2012 spring season, and here are a collection of his hints and tips for walking the trail.

Updated October 2012.

April 2012

  • Leaving Nazareth is a bit tricky because you will be walking in the city where the markings are harder to see. Once you get to the top of Nazareth (past all the stairs and big uphill) you will come to a newly constructed roundabout, where you will turn right along the ridgetop.  In about 10 minutes, you will reach a second roundabout. make sure that you take the second left option at the roundable, not the very first one. The marker on a stone on the inside of the roundabout is a bit faded and sometimes hard to see.
  • After the roundabout follow the road downhill until it turns into a dirt path, make sure to take the detour to the right around the construction, and head towards the traffic light marked on the map to the right at the bottom of the hill near the gas station visible below.
  • After Zippori the trail continues with other trails and is marked as an orange dot. All of the trails keep upwards heading to Mashad.
  • In Mashad the Jesus trail splits from the other trails at the mosque and heads left downhill into the town. After it splits left, stay on the right hand side of the road and look carefully for the marker its faded to a yellow color and is harder to see, which indicates a right turn. (Don’t continue on the Israel trail marked white/blue/orange, which crosses the main road and goes uphill in the direction of Har Yona/Mt. Tabor).
  • After the Catholic Wedding Church in Cana, the trail turns right, and the guesthouse is one minute further down the trail and is on the left hand side.
  • When you reach the Golani junction, there is a lot of construction, and you need to look closely for a building surrounded by a fence and on the fence is the trail marker. If you get lost just head to the road and walk north along it and cross the roads at the cross walk/ traffic light. To pick up the trail, head east along the side of the road (the side with the McDonalds) and you will pass a small gas station after that there is an underpass turn left (heading north) on the trail/ road from the underpass and you will be back on the trail.
  • After you descend from the Horns of Hatin, the trail will put you out onto a paved road. The official looking trail markings will tell you to head right, but follow the spray- painted arrows and dots pointing left that will take you to the entrance of Nebi Shu’eib. A few meters before the Nebi Shu’eib entrance, the trail will cut down the hill on the right, follow it down passed the ruined village and mosque. Continue on the road until you meet back up with the trail where you will want to make sure that you turn left to continue around the valley and on to Arbel.

Jesus Trail Shortcuts

Here are some helpful shortcuts for the Jesus Trail in case you are unable to finish some of the stages, or wish to walk a shorter distance.

Hiking Day 1: Nazareth to Cana (13.4 km):
●      Taxi from Nazareth to Zippori NP – ask Fauzi Azar staff for help (saves 7.8 km)
●      Bus #28A or 343 to Tsipori Branching stop, walk paved road into park entrance (saves 4.5 km)

Hiking Day 2: Cana to Lavi (14.4km):
●      Bus #28, 29, 30 and 431 from Cana to Tur’an entrance on highway 77, hike south up red trail to join Jesus Trail route (saves 4 km)
●      Bus #28, 29, 30, 31 and 431 from Cana to Golani Junction (saves 10km)

Hiking Day 3: Lavi to Moshav Arbel (13.7 km)
●      Taxi to from Lavi to Nebi Shu’eib (saves 6.1 km)
●      Walk the paved road from Nebi Shu’eib to Moshav Arbel (saves 4km)
●      Taxi from Nebi Shu’eib to Moshav Arbel (saves 9.6 km)

Hiking Day 4: Moshav Arbel to Capernaum
●      Walk back down from Moshav Arbel to Nakhal Arbel (blue trail) to reach Wadi Hamam (green trail) instead of going up and over the cliffs (saves 1km & easier walk)
●      Bus #841, 963, or 63 from Migdal entrance to Kfar Nakhum Junction (saves 6.9 km)

Calling a taxi:
●      Days 1-2: Nazareth to Golani Junction, call Maazen @ 04-6574076
●      Days 3-4: Golani Junction to Capernaum, call Chiki @ 050-7535661

*Note: Costs for these transfers are not included in the Jesus Trail Tours package.


Jesus Trail in Backpacker Magazine


by Dennis Lewon, photos by Jason Florio

Every hike is a pilgrimage, but this new path from Nazareth to the Sea of Galilee is holier than most. Literally following in His footsteps, the 40-mile route immerses hikers in biblical history. …

[Read the full article here]

Tony Blair's visit to Nazareth: June 20th

I’m now sitting at home after the successful visit of Mr. Tony Blair to the Fauzi Azar Inn and Jesus Trail. Thinking about today’s excitement, stress and relief, I can describe this long anticipated visit as a tornado storm that hit the Fauzi whose long-term results are yet to be seen.

We were preparing for this visit for the last week, making the inn as beautiful as it can be and writing a program where everyone will know what to expect. I was getting ready and preparing the message I wanted to deliver. As the date came closer, I got more and more anxious and must confess that I didn’t get much sleep the night before.

Working six years transforming the Fauzi Azar Inn from a small seed and PowerPoint presentation to what it has become has been challenging with its ups and downs. Having Tony Blair, the former Prime Minster on the UK, visiting my creation, the inn, offered a rewarding reassurance to the time, energy and resources I have invested in the process.

The visit itself was like a storm. It started after a thirty-minute delay with Suraida and I waiting at the street entrance to the Fauzi. We received signs from the security person standing 10 meters ahead of us as Mr. Blair and his entourage were getting closer and closer.

Finally we saw crowds of photographers leading the way and Mr. Blair himself in flesh and blood smiling and coming to approach us.

We became part of the eye of the storm, loosing track of place and time while surrounded by dozens of photographers, Blair’s staff and personnel, people from the Nazareth municipality including the Mayor and his deputies, police staff, high-level security, Fauzi Azar Inn guests, volunteers and staff and special friends we invited for the event.

From the second we shook hands with Mr. Blair we were on the mission of staying in the storm’s eye while many others trying to get the same spot for themselves. Mr. Blair was acting naturally keeping both Suraida and myself next to him and at the same time interacting with the crowd – waving, smiling, shaking hands and exchanging a few words with some of them. The eye of the storm was moving up the stairs where Mr. Blair cut left to shake people’s hands, and I was trying to follow the rhythm by introducing him to our volunteers and guests.

The storm’s eye entered the Fauzi hall where we placed a board with Jesus Trail map (very wise idea!) and the Jesus Trail Guide book.

Suraida was pitching the Fauzi Azar story brilliantly with the storm swirling around and above.

Then it was my turn.

I had so much to say but was told by the great Stefan Szepesi (Thanks you Stefan!) that there is only one minute left, I heard voices from all over advising me what to say: “To encourage people to visit Nazareth”; “Ask for money”; “Support the Jesus Trail” and more that I can’t recall.

I remember saying that: “I was born in Israel and that after backpacking around the world for a year I learned that tourism can be a great force that bridges between people from different cultures, religions and nationalities and in the same time contributes significantly to local communities. Also, I have witnessed how it can support local businesses, change an area’s image and empower and raise the self-esteem of the local people.”

“Here at the Fauzi Azar Inn and the Jesus trail we are using existing infrastructure and local resources to encourage interaction between people and to create a shared interest between the different communities of the Galilee – Jewish, Christian & Muslims.”

I gave Mr. Blair the Jesus Trail guidebook and kept fighting to stay in the storm’s eye. I showed him on the Jesus Trail map how Jesus Trail, the first trail in Israel that targets international tourism is creating a share interest between the diverse community in the Galilee.

Then someone shoved me the Fauzi Azar guestbook and I asked Mr. Blair if he would be willing to sign it. While knowing that we had used all the time that we had and that the storm must go elsewhere, I called all Fauzi Azar staff and volunteers for a photo up. We got great photos!

And then in two seconds the storm was over. It was very powerful and energetic.

Afterwards, Fauzi Azar Inn staff celebrated Norhan’s 20th birthday, and we began in making the inn ready for today’s arrivals. My wife went home to take the kids and I returned later on by public transportation.

And yes, I also shared my vision for tourism with Mr. Blair –

In my vision, I’m booking our guests in Nazareth at their next accommodation in guesthouses in not only in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Amman but also in Beirut and Damascus.


Students use Jesus Trail as Classroom

Following close in the footsteps of Jesus Trail’s oldest hiker, Merrill, students from Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia converted the Jesus Trail into an outdoor classroom. The 17 students hiked the trail as part of a three-month semester abroad program in the Middle East. Led by Professor Linford Stutzman, the students had already studied Arabic in Syria, traveled around Israel and Jordan, and were on their way to Athens and Rome. Even after their previous adventures, they still counted the trail as a highlight of their travels.

As the students skirted mud, visited ancient sights, and ate their packed lunches, Professor Stutzman would stop the group to give a history, culture, or geography lesson. He said, “this is the ideal place to be challenged as you sweat and walk through mud and dust and feel the rain or the hot sunshine and think of Jesus, because you have time to think with your whole body instead of just your brains.” While seeking to bring the history of Jesus alive in narrative form, Professor Stutzman mentioned that “most of our understanding of the biblical story is the information that we get from the text or imagination… add location and participation in that mix, and you have a realistic imagination.” “To me,” he said, “that is one of the beauties of the Jesus Trail.”

Those hiking in the group also had much to say about their four-day experience on the trail and staying in local guesthouses. The group not only visited historic sights along the trail but also enjoyed a Shabbat meal at Yarok Az organic goat farm and shared in a baptismal service at the Sea of Galilee. Other highlights included the Mt. of Beatitudes, dipping their feet in the Sea, the Horns of Hattin, and the cliffs of Arbel. Andre, upon arriving at the Horns of Hattin said, “You look back to see where you’ve been and you can also see Capernaum, so it kind of puts into perspective what you’ve done the past few days and what lies ahead of your journey. It’s a metaphor for life.”

After hiking the trail, what advice did these 19-21 year olds give? Joel said, “The trail really has two parts. There’s the actual walking part where you hike and need to be prepared with normal good footwear and water. For the other part you just need to think, spend some time while you’re walking just thinking about what you’re doing, where you are, and what it all means.” Allison’s advice was, “Be prepared for anything!”

Read students’ reflections on the Eastern Mennonite University Cross-cultural Blog:

Mini Documentary: Walking the Jesus Trail in First-Century Costume

Betsy and Philip hike the 60km/40mi Jesus Trail attempting to re-create 1st Century life as authentically as possible as they journey. This includes (among other things): eating only foods available in the Galilee in the first century; cooking over fires; traveling the route on foot; sleeping in tents; and wearing first century dress. Watch this mini documentary following their journey from Nazareth to Capernaum.

Palm Sunday in Nazareth

All morning we heard the bells. Other than their ever joyful clang, the streets of the Old City were quiet on this warm Sunday morning, but as we sauntered down the deserted avenues in our Sunday best, trickles of well-dressed families joined our descent towards the Basilica. Suddenly we came out onto Casa Nova street with a burst of sunlight and a blaze of bagpipes. We joined the hundreds of Nazareth Christians and international tour groups straining to see over heads to the parade of bagpipes, flags and young people playing drums. A procession of children holding large palm fronds reminded us what we were celebrating. Across the narrow street our local Catholic friends waved to us. Needing interpretation for the events around us, we squeezed through the crowd to join them.

Palm Sunday in Nazareth, along with Good Friday, welcomes the largest annual crowds at the Basilica of the Annunciation. We joined the multitudes including little children in white dresses and suits carrying candles and flowers. This festive occasion is a celebration of children and grandparents, we were told. After following the procession, including palms, bagpipes, and priests, we crushed into the largest church in the Middle East for Mass. Built to hold over 800, the Basilica overflowed as local Christians came to celebrate the days before Jesus’ crucifixion.

Two thousand years ago, Christians believe Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, stepping on the palm fronds laid by those who hoped this miracle worker would be their king. In this peaceful way, he began a week long journey towards Easter called Passion week. Today we walked, in our black shoes and high heels, over palm fronds from local trees. We held olive branches blessed for peace. After the celebration, each of us returned home carrying this symbol of peace for another year.