Yatir Forest – Israel’s Largest Desert Forest
Israel’s Largest Planted Forest: The Yatir Forest in the north-western Negev is named after the Levite city whose ruins are found within it. Yatir Forest proves that we can combat desertification and heal the wounded earth.
The Yatir Forest, which covers 30,000 dunams, is named after the Levite city whose ruins are found within it. Scripture states: “To the descendants of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron and the open land around it, the city of refuge for those guilty of manslaughter, and Livnah and the open land around it, and Yatir with the open land about it, and Eshtemoa with the open land about it” (Joshua 21:13–14).
The forest is located at the edge of the desert, on the lower slopes of the Hebron hills northeast of Beer Sheba. This is where the Mediterranean region’s orchards and scrublands meet the desert vegetation typical of the Negev and the Judean Desert.
Because of its varying height – between 400 and 800 meters above sea level – and the fact that it faces southwest, the area receives more than its share of rainfall (between 250 and 275 milliliters per year on average). The air is dry and the climate relatively comfortable, and during the sultry summer afternoons, the forest is cool and pleasant. It is cold in winter.
- Special Sites in the Park: The Foresters’ House, The ruins of a Roman road, The ruins of ancient Yatir, The cistern and cave trails, The Yatir reservoir.
- Facilities: Archeological or Historic site, Marked path.
- Additional Sites in the Vicinity: Lahav Forest, The Joe Alon Bedouin Museum, The Negev Memorial, Tel Ira, The ruins of ancient Sussia, Tel Krayot, Tel Arad, The ruins of ancient Uza.
- How do you get there?
To Yatir Forest – From the central region – Shoket Junction towards Arad (Route 31). On the way to Arad, near Tel Arad, is a road (Route 80) that climbs toward the forest’s eastern section.
The scenic route – This dirt road, which is suitable for all types of vehicles, turns right (eastward) from the road that connects Metar to the other communities of the southern Hebron hills (Route 6002), approximately six kilometers from Metar. ATVs may drive on the dirt roads that turn off from the Arad–Shoket Junction road (Route 31) and from Mount Hiran.