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“Snow?! In Lebanon?!” is what surprises most foreigners about Lebanon. Our country isn’t famous for its snow but rather for its beaches, summer vibes and wild parties. But here in Lebanon, there’s always something fun and adventurous to do; no matter what day of the year it is!
So we decided to put together a list of some of the highest peaks of Lebanon for you to enjoy the snow during the winter and spring.
For a tiny Middle Eastern country, we’re truly grateful for our majestic snow-covered peaks and sizable ski resorts🎿 And the best part, they’re just a drive away from Beirut! Not only do these massive water reservoirs melt and spring abundantly throughout the year, they also are home to some of the highest-standing Roman & Byzantine ruins in the world!
Jabal el Kneisseh and Falougha Lakes
The mountains of Mount Lebanon are where most people come to experience the snow in winter. With its highest peak standing at 3,085m above sea level, Kornet el Sawda (literally translating to the scary name of Black Horn or Black Peak), is home to one of Lebanon’s most breathtaking ski resorts. On a sunny day, you can enjoy sliding down the snow while staying above the clouds!
In wintertime, this Martian-looking landscape transforms into an overwhelming mass of snow that expands towards the horizon. So get your gear ready to hit Kornet el Sawda’s slopes while taking in the most picturesque view ever! On a cloudless day, you can even see the Mediterranean sea, Qadisha valley and the surrounding mountains of Bcharre District extending all the way to Deir Seydit el Nouriyeh.
View of the Cedars of Gods from Kornet el-Sawda Above the Clouds
On your way to Kornet el Sawda, you will pass by the famous city of Bsharri (or Bcharre), which is the hometown of famous poet and writer Gibran Khalil Gebran and the Qadisha Valley and Grotto. Along the way, you should stop by the Cedars of God Forest for a pleasant walk around. There, you’ll find some of the oldest and highest Cedar trees in the world! Some Cedar trees even decided to rejoin by the branches as a sign of unison!
Bsharri and its surroundings are the perfect place to experience the most of the snow in Lebanon. Take your time exploring the different gifts this snowy peak has to offer. You can browse our lodgings in Bsharri to find a place to stay during your trip there.
Cedars of God Joining Branches
If you’re tight on time, prefer a shorter drive and are looking for a ski resort, then the peak of Kfardebian is your go-to-place. Standing at 2,600m above sea level, the Mzaar ski resort offers a sizable breadth of north-facing slopes for all levels, with many interesting off-piste slopes for the more advanced skiers.
For places to stay near the slopes, you can view our list of lodgings in Kfardebian. This is where most people come to experience the snow in Lebanon.
South-looking View of Zaarour and Jabal el Cheikh from the Top of the Mzaar – Kfardebian
If you don’t want to ski, you can always enjoy spending time in the nearby village of Faraya or Faqra, where many delicious restaurants and mind-blowing ruins await you! For adventure seekers looking to experience the snow, you can rent snowshoes and go on an exploration journey of the untouched pristine mountains of Lebanon 🙂 After a refreshing hike, come and relax in one of these places in Faraya or Faqra.
Faqra Roman Ruins Under the Snow
An even closer snow-covered peak that is less than an hour drive from Beirut is Zaarour. Although it’s highest peak only stands at 2,000m, the Zaarour club will surprise you with an enjoyable ski resort, away from excessive traffic and large groups of people. This kids and family-friendly resort is the perfect opportunity for young kids to experience the snow of Lebanon.
With its artificial snowmakers, the Zaarour club has been able to offer winter sports during longer periods of the year, ensuring the lower parts of the resort stay snow covered even as spring brings warmth.
On your way to Zaarour, you can pass by the ruins of a 5th century Byzantine village where iron, ceramics and wine were produced in massive quantities at an altitude of 1,400 meters. According to archeologists, the baths present in the village may be the highest baths ever discovered. To find these ruins, you have the choice of parking your car near the lake to continue by foot. It will take you about an hour or so to reach the ruins, depending on how long you stay around the river and the waterfall. Another way of reaching these ruins is by car, on a new road that cuts through the mountains.
Zaarour Ski Slopes
If you’re not especially looking to ski, Tannourine’s Cedar Reserve is the perfect go-to place for breathtaking hiking trails of varying difficulty and length. The relatively younger Cedar trees of this Reserve are still as impressive as ever to walk under.
Tannourine, being one of the largest villages in Lebanon by area, and home to the longest and most impressive climbing routes in the region, will offer you its multiple facets depending on what you are looking for. During wintertime, the snow-covered cliffs of Tannourine gives it a distinctive signature, reminiscent of Switzerland peaks and cliffs. To experience Tannourine’s full potential, we recommend you check out these homes! The local resident hosts are extremely welcoming and enthusiastic, especially for curious people looking to explore the area.
Tannourine Snow-covered Lower Peaks View from Tannourine Cedar Forest Reserve
Go South from Beirut and you will reach the Chouf area. The Chouf has a very specific set of geological features and biosystems. It offers different snow peaks with superb hiking trails under the Cedars. Whether you choose to go to the Barouk Cedar Reserve or to Maaser el Chouf Cedar Reserve, you’re in for a treat!
Jabal el Barouk’s highest peak stands at 1,943m above sea level, offering a clear view of the seacoast and nearby mountains. You’ll have different hiking trail options of up to 3-4 hours within the Barouk Reserve. For a longer hike of up to 7 hour, it is recommended to start in Maaser el Chouf. There you can walk up the mountain from the village and cut through the Maaser el Chouf Cedar Reserve. After reaching LaMartine’s Cedar, you should cross to the Barouk Reserve before looping around the outer edge of the Barouk.
Walk up Barouk’s highest peak and you’ll be welcomed by the highest peak of Lebanon’s Eastern Mountain range: Jabal el Cheikh. The only thing standing between you and Jabal el Cheikh will be the Bekaa! But that’s another hike on its own!
For places to rest and set up basecamp, make sure to check out these homes in the Chouf.
Hiking Trails in Barouk Cedars Reserve under the Trees
And to wrap this up, we’ve kept the further and least accessible peak for the last. In fact, very few people choose to visit Jabal el Cheikh. This is mainly due to its 3-hour drive and its close proximity to the Syrian border and Palestinian-occupied territories. At 2,814m above sea level, Jabal el Cheikh constitutes the highest most-southern peak of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range. It is also home to one of Lebanon’s glaciers, offering constant water streams during spring and summer.
The strategic importance of Jabal el Cheikh (also know as Mount Hermon) is well-known. It is the highest permanently manned UN position in the World because it separates Lebanon, Syria and Israel. Some skiers from Lebanon choose to hike all the way up the mountain and ski down the untouched powdery slopes.
Sun Clouds from Jabal el Cheikh