You don’t need to be a professional hiker to enjoy Lebanon’s numerous trails. Jad Abou Arrage, a rural tourism specialist, rounds up a selection of hikes to challenge you this season.
1. THE IRON OAK FOREST, AKKAR DISTRICT
Lowest point: 1,345m
Highest point: 1,528m
This trail takes you to one of the most beautiful forests in Lebanon, characterized by iron oak trees which rise to a height of 30m. A warm palette of colors permeates the forest, providing nature photography enthusiasts with a mesmerizing vista from which to draw inspiration. End your hike at sunset to experience the magnificent glow of golden leaves as they rustle gently in the breeze.
Those wishing to extend their hike in the region can complete Section 2 on the Lebanon Mountain Trail between Tashea and Qemmamine, taking in the diversity of Akkar’s juniper, cedar, oak and fir forests, and the astonishing views of Mount Makmel and Jabal Aarouba.
Visit lebanontrail.org for more information.
WHERE TO SLEEP
Abou Draa Guesthouse (03 817312), Ali Issa Guesthouse (70 422453), Abou Moustapha Guesthouse (03 148668)
Abou Marwan Guesthouse (06 895661), Deir Mar Jerjes (03 810355)
Hussein Abu Draa (03 817312), Mohamed Taleb (70 937284)
Mohamad El Kik (03 526110), Ahmed El Kik (70 413681)
2. KFOUR SPRINGS TRAIL, KESERWAN DISTRICT
Lowest point: 505m
Highest point: 785m
The trail is named after the five water sources of the village: Breich’s source, Mikhael’s source, El Kroum’s source, Al Sefsafi’s source and Henbles source. At the start of the trail, hikers can enjoy a scenic view of Jounieh Bay and Beirut’s northern coastline before commencing their walk along the stream and their hike through the dense forest typified by pine, oak, cypress, olive and fruit trees.
A peaceful picnic area with tables and benches is located next to the main water source, providing a perfect spot to take a break and absorb the natural beauty of the surrounding area.
Contact the municipality (09 788707)
3. HORSH EHDEN NATURE RESERVE, ZGHARTA DISTRICT
Level: All levels
Length: 2km to 12km
Lowest point: 1,200m
Highest point: 2,000m
Horsh Ehden is Lebanon’s most diverse nature reserve, with its rich mix of conifers, deciduous and evergreen broadleaf trees, and its varied terrain. It serves as a prime location for ecotourism activities and a popular destination for those interested in bird watching.
WHERE TO SLEEP
La Reserve Ehden (06 561092), Ehden Country Club (06 560651/2/3), Abchi Hotel (06 561101/2), La Mairie Hotel (06 560108).
Contact the reserve (70 601601)
4. HADATH EL JEBBEH FOREST, BCHARRE DISTRICT
Lowest point: 1,500m
Highest point: 1,950m
The trail begins at the main entrance of the Hadath el Jebbeh cedars forest, with a pleasant walk on footpaths and dirt roads between the old cedar trees. On the way you’ll pass by the Ain Jeara water source and cross the area of Sahlet el Atcha. From there, turn back to the starting point to enjoy a scenic view of Mount Makmel and Bcharre.
WHERE TO SLEEP
Auberge Hadath el Jebbeh (03 220756)
Contact the municipality (71 680222)
5. BENTAEL NATURE RESERVE, MOUNT LEBANON
Lowest point: 335m
Highest point: 560m
The reserve provides a network of short distance trails connected through a dense Mediterranean forest of pine and oak trees. High fauna and flora biodiversity characterize Bentael Nature Reserve, making it a popular destination for nature lovers. Along the trails you can enjoy the views of several vertical cliffs of bare rock with numerous small, natural caves including the St. John’s rock-cut hermitage and chapel, which date back to the 12th century.
Contact the reserve (09 738330)