Little Switzerland Mountain Biking in the Carmel Mountains

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Trails

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Location

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Address
University of Haifa, Haifa
Directions
The route starts in the car park just opposite Haifa university overlooking the sea in the heart of the Carmel mountains.

The Carmel Mountains near Haifa in Israel have some neat mountain biking.  Known as Little switzerland there is natural cross ocuntry riding in a geat rocky setting. Overall the riding is moderately graded by UK classification standards due mainly to it's distance (@35k) and numerous climbs, rather than technical sections.

Carmel Mountain MTB Trails

  • There are options for smooth (slightly rocky) terrain on the easy side but there is also the the option for some much harder technical sweet short sections that if you do either up or down are very rocky with a number of drops and no clear visible line to navigate
  • There is something for everyone really. If you are new to biking or unfamiliar with the route then I would recommend you walk these first (it is always when it goes very singletrack) before deciding on doing them and there is always another easier route. All in all this is a great ride.
  • The route heads down on the national mtb trail of Israel (which as an aisde covers whole country from North to South). This is a smooth road for riding and apart from the headwind and the view to distract you this is where you basically warm up with the numerous short ups and downs as you traverse along for a few miles to reach the start of the Little Switzerland ride.
  • From here the off road bit up then down starts leading you to a great view overlooking the mountains.
  • Important to remember the route goes in both directions so watch out for oncoming cyclists and keep to the right. The route is also heavily used by walkers. So make sure any descent you are doing at speed where the track is narrow is clear. All adds to the excitement of course.
  • The route has a wide path in most places and is like a English bridleway with mainly smooth sandy surface but with good  (unlike an English bridleway!) The corners come often and you can take them with some good speed as they are wide. I reckon we did 3 or 4 descents in total and the scenery was green and pretty awesome and the surface terrain pretty similar throughout.
  • One of the climbs was very technical. Tough rock steps and no clear line to navigate.  Like wise if you did this route the other way (nothing to stop you turning back then this would be a hard downhill XC route). Do check it visually first though as there is no clear line.
  • There was on the last descent a very steep rocky terrain that was recommended to walk down only due to danger. I reckon though if you were a very experienced biker on a bike with good suspension you may want to give it a go. But I would due to lack of clear line choice walk it first most definitely as the drops and rocks are big and sharp.

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