We went hiking on the Lebanon Mountain Trail as part of our road trip in Lebanon in 2023. Helle and Peter travelled, while T and N stayed home.
Lebanon Mountain Trail is a 600 km long-distance trail that follows the central mountains from north to south. It was created in 2006 by the non-profit organisation Lebanon Mountain Trail Association. The trail is divided into 27 sections, that can be hiked as day hikes or in continuation. LMTA is responsible for maintenance, trail markings and cooperation with the local communities on the trail. LMTA encourages hikers to stay the night at local guesthouses, to contribute to the local economy.
Before starting the hike, we reached out to LMTA with questions that very kindly and quickly answered by the LMTA trail manager on WhatsApp. The trail manager also asked us about our exact dates for the hike, as a matter of safety, and we were impressed by this level of attention to hikers.
We hiked section 7 and parts of section 5 and 8. We had planned to hike sections 8 and 9, but Helle got ill with food poisoning, so we changed our plans.
The map above show the three trail sections (7, 8 and 9) we had planned to hike. We received the map from LMTA in August 2023. Ask LMTA for the current map, as the trail may be re-routed.
Qadisha valley – LMT section 7
Section 7 takes you through the sacred Qadisha valley, a UNESCO site. It is a point-to-point trail, so we had to work out the logistics. Najaz from Karaz guesthouse helped us. We drove our car to the end of the trail at the Monestary of Saint Anthony. Here we met Najaz’ uncle Abboud, who drove us to the trailhead at Bcharre, while leaving our car at the monestary.
The valley has been a refuge for Christians for Millenia, and many churches and monasteries line the valley.
It was a sunny day, and we were excited. The trail first descends by steep serpentines from Bcharre, offering generous views of the Qadisha valley. As we reached the valley floor, the trail follows the Qadisha river. The first part of the trail was on gravel roads wide enough for cars, and we expected it to continue like that. Fig trees with ripe fruits grew on the side of the trail, and we savored this favorite snack.
After the first kilometres, the trail became single-track, a carefully and well-crafted trail that followed the natural lines of the canyon, and offered one magnificent panorama after the next. Hiking at its best!
We were not sure if water was available on the trail, so we brought water and food for the day. We found that one of the monestaries had a shop that sold snacks and water. At the middle point of the trail section there is a restaurant, where we bought water and coffee.
We ended the hike at the Monestary of Saint Anthony that is beautifully perched on a hillside with magnificent views of the Qadisha valley. It was sunny and fresh.
Section 5 – Horsh Ehden
We did not have time to hike the entire section 5. We hiked some of the trails of Horsh Ehden that are part of LMT section 5. Horsh Ehden is very close to Ehden and easy to reach by car. It is a small reserve with nice trails.
The trails were saw were forest trails with many cedars. It was a foggy day with low visibility. We enjoyed the forest, but we will have to come back for the panoramic views you can appreciate on clear days.
Section 8 – Cedars of God
We did not have time to hike the entire section 8. Section 8 passes the small Cedars of God nature reserve. It is a small fenced-in enclosure with cedar trees several thousands of years old. It is managed by a non-profit organisation, and has beautiful trails and a tranquil atmosphere.
A GPX file with the trail is available by contacting LMT Association through their website.
The trail is well-marked, clean and easy to follow. On all the sections we hiked, we noticed how tranquil it was. We only met a handful of other hikers.