Featured Photo

Dive in to the warm waters of Gan Hashlosha

This national park in Israel is a year-round destination for water lovers.


September 30, 2014 | Latest Photo Prev Next
Gan Hoshlasha hot springsGan Hoshlasha hot springsPhoto: ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock
September 30, 2014 | Latest Photo

If ever there was a place where water was the perfect temperature, no matter what time of year, this is it. Even with an autumn or winter nip to the air, swimmers like the jubilant one featured in the above photo can jump in and enjoy a balmy 82 degrees at the Gan Hashlosha Nature Reserve in northern Israel — thanks to this spring's location along a heat vent in the earth's crust.

"Hot springs are formed when heated groundwater finds an avenue to the earth's surface," Doug Hanson, a geologist for the Arkansas Geological Survey, explained to From the Grapevine. Hot Springs National Park is one of the most well-known examples of thermal springs in the United States. "The thermal waters at the park are 4,400 years old and are thought to come from a depth of 7,000 feet."

In Israel, it is the Great Rift Valley that is responsible for the geological activity that allows heat to escape, warming the groundwater, which in the form of the Amal Stream then flows out as a thermal spring and into expanded pool areas. The result is a relaxing and rejuvenating swim for visitors from fall until summer and every season in between. On warm, bright days, the pools are filled with people who relax in the shade of the lush greenery. 

The spring at Gan Hashlosha park is not the only body of water like this in Israel: there are even hotter thermal springs in Ein Gedi near the Dead Sea and Hamat Gader near the Sea of Galilee. Warm, mineral-rich water has myriad health applications, from soothing the symptoms of arthritis to simply enjoying the relief of pure relaxation. But perhaps the most important benefit of hot springs like this one is the abundant plant and animal life that can thrive around it. In a relatively arid climate, Gan Hashlosha is truly an oasis. 

Photos and SlideshowsPhotos and Slideshows