Why the North?
Northern Lebanon has a wealth of natural treasures both known and unknown. It is still a raw site waiting to be explored by the curious traveler and avid adventurer. There are a lot of mountains and most are connected to each other which provides many days worth of adventure for the professional hiker. The North is also rich in water resources and has a relatively tame wildlife. Reports of bears have dwindled over the years and hyenas seem to exclusively be in remote sites.
How to get there?
As previously mentioned, outdoor sports are still a new thing in Lebanon. This does not deter locals from trying their luck at mountaineering and camping. There are always groups to join on expeditions through northern mountains and trails. While few, there are trails prepared for beginners to hike through.
Where to go?
There are many places which groups and individuals explore like Ammoua, Rahbeh and Wadi el Deir, farther North. Ammoua is a plain perfect for camping and full of restaurants and people to guide you to trails further up the mountain.
Rahbeh is a village below that which connects to all the mountains surrounding it and also offers the advantage of being visible to you as you hike higher and higher. Wadi el Deir, which translates to “Valley of the Monastery” is a historical site/marked trail which takes you to the top of Northern mountains. Tannourine is also a great place for beginners to explore and contains the famous Balou’ Bala’a, aka Baatara Gorge Waterfall. These are all amazing places to explore for beginners.
How to stay safe
It is best in Lebanon to stick with group expeditions as most trails are unmarked or new. If you want to venture out alone, stick to tourist trails to remain safe as even the most experienced mountaineer might find a challenge getting help up there.
If you insist on going alone make sure a local knows where you are and that you leave markings for your trail. Do not be surprised to find yourself on another mountain as most are connected and can be walked through towards the south. Have your equipment ready, as stores are not too common in the North and may be hard to find.
Don’t be afraid to visit Akkar in Northern Lebanon. Find a group and go explore the mountain trails as the scenes are like no other in the Arab World. Make sure to go around April and May as weather in other months may be too hot or too cold to be safe. Pack up your bags and come to Lebanon for adventures you won’t have anywhere else.