Jbeil, also known as Byblos, is a historic coastal city in Lebanon that is not only rich in culture and heritage but also offers a diverse range of nature activities for outdoor enthusiasts. As USAID’s Trade and Investment Facilitation (TIF) project is working to raise the profile of the district and improve its tourism offering, we get lost in some of the region’s top nature spots.
Abundant in natural beauty and scenic landscapes, the district of Jbeil is a dream come true for outdoor adventure seekers. The region boasts wonderful trails through verdant forests, offering visitors a chance to admire the wonders of nature. Many of the hiking trails in the area lead to impressive sites and landmarks.
There are several reserves in the region that are worth exploring. Most offer trails that vary in difficulty, so whether you are hiking alone, with friends or family, you can find something that suits your abilities and energy levels.
Jaj Cedars Reserve
Jaj is famous for its ancient cedars, which grow majestically on rocky hills at 1,800 meters above sea level. Kaykab (maple), khawkh el deb (bear plum) and ghrayra (wild service-tree) are scattered throughout the region. According to historical records, the Phoenicians transported cedar logs down rivers to the port of Byblos for shipbuilding and exporting. A 6 km hiking trail provides visitors with a gorgeous view of the area, leading from the forest parking lot to the cedar grove and an old church, and then onto what is known as the “Sit El Kil,” mother of all cedars, the Roman caves and factory. For those seeking a more adventurous hiking experience and advanced mountaineering, the surrounding hills provide a panoramic 360-degree view.
For more information, call +961 9 725 600.
Bentael Nature Reserve, an area of protected forest land, has marked hiking trails and a 12th-century hermitage and chapel. It covers two square kilometers and ranges from 300 to 850 meters above sea level. The reserve, which is equipped to serve persons with disabilities, has three entrances, with Belle Vue being the highest and the best to start a hike. The paths are narrow and steep, so proper hiking shoes and long trousers are recommended.
As there are no restaurants, make sure you bring you bring food and water along with you.
For more information, call +961 3 838 982.
Jabal Moussa Reserve
Recognized as a biosphere reserve, Jabal Moussa is a protected area in Lebanon. It spans 6,500 hectares, most of it in the Keserwan district and another section in the Jbeil district. It is home to diverse flora and fauna, including the endangered Lebanese cedar. The reserve offers hiking trails, camping and educational activities for visitors. It also plays an essential role in preserving Lebanon’s natural heritage while promoting sustainable development. A team of experts manages the reserve, ensuring a balance between human activities and environmental protection.
Ehmej Cedars Forest
Ehmej Cedars Forest is a year-round destination located at the heart of the Jbeil highland, with an elevation ranging from 1,250 to 1,900 meters above sea level. The area is characterized by forests, making it a sanctuary for diverse flora and fauna, including rare endemic species such as Iris sofarana. Ehmej offers a variety of eco activities, including one or multi-day treks, camping, rock climbing and winter activities, namely snowshoeing, Nordic and backcountry skiing, alpine skiing and mountain biking.
For more information, call +961 70 487 111.
Jbeil Marine Reserve
Jbeil Marine Reserve is a soon-to-be-launched sea reserve. Located to the south of the old port, slightly downhill of the Byblos citadel, it measures around 50 hectares and contains unique biodiversity. While the marine reserve is not yet managed, it is accessible to the public through the municipality.
For more information, call the municipality of Jbeil +961 9 546 777.
This article is part of a joint project to promote tourism destinations across Lebanon, launched by the Trade and Investment Facilitation (TIF) activity, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Hospitality Services. The content of this article is the sole responsibility of Hospitality Services, and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.