Established in 2007, the none-too-subtly-named Jesus Trail in Israel is a series of hiking trails and pilgrimage sites beginning in Nazareth in the Galilee region. The 85-mile route links together Sepphoris, Cana, the Horns of Hattin, the Arbel Cliffs, the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Tabgha, the Mount of Beatitudes, the Jordan River and Mount Tabor.
Needless to say, the trail is best tackled in bite-sized chunks. A good place to start is the 40-mile segment that wends its way from Nazareth in the north to the sweeping vista of the Sea of Galilee by way of Arab villages and kibbutz farmland.
Inspired by the Camino de Santiago in Spain and Peru’s Inca Trail, the venture was hatched by Israeli entrepreneur Maoz Inon and David Landis (an American) in an effort to bring attention (and much needed tourist money) to smaller businesses in remote locations that have heretofore often been overlooked by travelers on a tight schedule.
Inon and Landis (a Jew and a Mennonite respectively) also claim the project is designed to bring Jews, Christians and Arabs together in the spirit of possessing a shared historical past. If the interactions between Arab villagers and religious tourists of all different stripes are any indication, their plan seems to be working. There is even a segment that passes through the occupied West Bank and various Israeli military checkpoints.
Ample maps and guide material exist to assist the curious, and a non-profit-administrated website that offers mountains of helpful information, tips, itineraries, and warnings.