Israel’s Jesus Trail blends religion, history and stunning views

Imagine going on a hike and being able to step back in time, visiting places you’d only read about. It’s an itinerary ripped not from a history book – but from the Bible. The “Jesus Trail,” a hiking trail in Israel, attracts thousands of tourists from around the world every year, especially during the holiday season. CBS News correspondent Seth Doane laced up his shoes to embark on an adventure of biblical proportions.

Many of the places mentioned in the Bible can actually be seen from the trail, like the Sea of Galilee. The River Jordan runs into it and in the distance is the Mount of Beatitudes, where it’s said Jesus delivered his most famous sermon.

Mark Gordon – a spiritual outdoorsman – introduced Doane to the breathtaking 40-mile trail which winds through northeastern Israel, drawing about 3,000 hikers annually.

“Because all of this happened pretty much around the Sea of Galilee, it’s where he walked on water… where he performed many miracles,” Gordon said. “Basically the trail is meant to connect the sites relevant to the journey of Jesus.”

Gordon works for Abraham Tours, which sees interest from a range of visitors.

“You have religious people – for them it’s a pilgrimage, it’s a spiritual journey. And also we have hikers that, they just like to come see the nature and see this land and this country, which is not something usual,” Gordon said.

Dan Dragland, from Sacramento, is traversing Israel partly on the Jesus Trail.

“It’s a good mixture of terrain, so it’s some flats and some peaks,” Dragland said. “There’s a lot more history on the Jesus Trail than on your average trek. Most places, it’s just the vistas. With the Jesus Trail it’s the views and the historical sites.”

Read More: CBS