Saxum Emmaus Trail Video
- Distance: 20 km
- Time: 5-6 hours
- Level: Medium
*Hikers are responsible for their own security on the trail.
From Abu Ghosh to Emmaus-Nicopolis
Despite not being an absolute certainty of the location of the Emmaus of the Gospel, Christian tradition has identified Emmaus-Nicopolis as the place in which Cleopas and his friend recognised the risen Jesus. Nowadays the ruins of a Byzantine basilica can be visited at this site.
From Saxum Visitor Center (outside Abu Ghosh) to Emmaus there are 20 kilometers that can be hiked following several trails. Part of today’s route was more than two thousand years ago a Roman road that connected Jerusalem with Jaffa’s seaport. Along the way some interesting archaeological sites can be found.
The trail can be hiked in about five to six hours. To plan how to come back, it is important to take into account that the itinerary is not circular, but it ends at Park Ayalon-Canada. So, a good plan would be, for example, to drive a car beforehand to this park, and use it at the end of the hike to reach Emmaus-Nicopolis (a short distance, but without a suitable footpath for hikers). There are also several buses that stop near Emmaus-Nicopolis that can take you either to Jerusalem or Abu Ghosh.
It is a trail of medium difficulty. It is highly recommended to wear appropriate shoes, as the way is stony, and to avoid the hottest hours of the day, as well as carrying plenty of water, because there are no fountains along the way.
The Gospel story
The Emmaus Trail is the way that Cleopas and the other disciple walked from Jerusalem to their village, after the death of Jesus. While they were discussing the events that had taken place the days before, at some point on the way, perhaps near Saxum, the risen Jesus appeared to them.
Neither disciple recognised Jesus, but they listened, amazed at his interpretation of the Scriptures. “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way?” (Lk 24:32). When they arrived at Emmaus, they invited him to stay the night with them. It was only then, when he broke bread with them, that they were able to recognise him.