Ever since I heard about the opening of the Jesus Trail a couple of years ago, I’ve wanted to hike it.
Imagine a 40-mile hiking trail in Galilee along which pilgrims can follow in the footsteps of Jesus and the disciples. According to its founders and supporters, the trail leads to Tabgha, where Jesus fed the 5,000 with the loaves and the fishes, passes the Mount of Beatitudes, the site where the Sermon on the Mount took place, and ends in Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee.
The Jesus Trail appears well-supported by a web site, a guidebook, on-the-ground signage, plus the availability of transport and simple lodging.
This holiday season brought word of the opening of a SECOND trail in the region, the Gospel Trail, launched with the official backing of Israel’s Tourism Minister. A widely circulated Associated Press story describes the Gospel Trail winding “for 39 miles, heading south from Nazareth at Mount Precipice, where a mob nearly threw Jesus off a cliff after a sermon he made in a local synagogue…then across gentle green hills, through Jewish and Arab towns and down to Capernaum, the fishing town where Jesus is said to have established his home base.”
This wouldn’t be the first time that a major trail, particularly a new one, had multiple routes until one pathway assumed primacy after it became the favorite of hikers. I hope the two trails become complementary rather than competitive.
By whatever name, the trail is likely to become a major pilgrimage route for Christians. Hiking in the footsteps of Jesus is likely to appeal to hikers from all over the world. It’s definitely on The Trailmaster’s “To Hike” List.