Sayidat Al Qarn, Akoura Lakes Loop

Nestled amidst the majestic mountains of Lebanon, the Sayidat Al Qarn and Akoura Lakes Loop hiking trail offers an exceptional adventure for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. This stunning journey takes you through a tapestry of diverse landscapes, from lush cedar forests to pristine alpine lakes, unveiling the unparalleled beauty of Lebanon’s natural wonders.

As you embark on this unforgettable trek, you’ll be captivated by the region’s rich cultural heritage, intertwined with its awe-inspiring natural surroundings. Prepare to be mesmerized by panoramic vistas, encounter rare flora and fauna, and immerse yourself in the serene tranquility that permeates every step of this extraordinary hike.

Sayidat Al Qarn: A Hidden Gem in the Mountains

Sayidat Al Qarn, or “Our Lady of the Cedars,” is a revered site nestled at an altitude of 1,900 meters (6,233 feet) above sea level. This iconic destination is renowned for its ancient cedar forest, which has been a symbol of Lebanon’s rich cultural and natural heritage for centuries.

As you navigate through the dense cedar groves, you’ll be transported to a realm of tranquility, where the fragrant scent of cedar mingles with the crisp mountain air. The forest is home to some of the oldest and tallest cedar trees in the region, some dating back over a thousand years, standing as living testament to the resilience and majesty of nature.

Akoura Lakes: Mirroring the Beauty of the Skies

The Akoura Lakes, a series of three pristine alpine lakes, are the crown jewels of this hiking trail. Situated at an altitude of 2,000 meters (6,562 feet), these crystalline water bodies are a breathtaking sight to behold, reflecting the ever-changing hues of the sky and the surrounding peaks.

As you approach the lakes, the trail winds through a tapestry of vibrant meadows adorned with wildflowers, providing a stunning contrast against the rugged mountain backdrop. The serene waters of the lakes invite hikers to pause and bask in the tranquility of nature, offering a perfect spot for picnicking or simply soaking in the beauty of the surroundings.

The Trail: A Journey Through Diverse Landscapes

The Sayidat Al Qarn and Akoura Lakes Loop trail is a approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) long, with an estimated hiking time of 4-5 hours, depending on your pace and the number of stops you make along the way. The trail is considered moderate in difficulty, with some steep inclines and rocky terrain, making it suitable for hikers with a moderate level of fitness.

As you embark on this adventure, you’ll traverse through a diverse array of landscapes, each more captivating than the last. The trail takes you through dense cedar forests, where the towering trees provide a refreshing canopy of shade, giving way to open meadows carpeted with wildflowers and dotted with crystalline streams.

Along the way, you’ll encounter breathtaking viewpoints that offer panoramic vistas of the surrounding peaks, valleys, and villages, allowing you to appreciate the grandeur of Lebanon’s natural beauty from multiple perspectives.

Flora and Fauna: A Tapestry of Biodiversity

The Sayidat Al Qarn and Akoura Lakes Loop trail is a true haven for nature enthusiasts, boasting a rich tapestry of flora and fauna that will leave you in awe. The region is home to a diverse array of plant species, including the iconic cedar trees, as well as a multitude of wildflowers, herbs, and shrubs that paint the landscape with vibrant hues.

Among the wildlife that calls this area home are the elusive Lebanese rock hyrax, a small mammal that can often be spotted scurrying among the rocky outcrops, and a variety of bird species, including the majestic golden eagle and the melodious Eurasian skylark.

Cultural Heritage: A Journey Through Time

No journey to Sayidat Al Qarn and Akoura Lakes Loop would be complete without delving into the region’s rich cultural heritage. Along the trail, you’ll encounter remnants of ancient civilizations, including the ruins of old monasteries and hermitages, as well as traditional Lebanese villages that offer a glimpse into the region’s authentic way of life.

One of the highlights of this cultural exploration is the Sayidat Al Qarn Monastery, a centuries-old structure that has been lovingly preserved and continues to serve as a spiritual haven for visitors and pilgrims alike. The monastery’s intricate architecture and serene ambiance provide a stark contrast to the rugged natural surroundings, reminding visitors of the harmonious coexistence between human civilization and nature.

Hiking Tips and Considerations

To ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience along the Sayidat Al Qarn and Akoura Lakes Loop trail, it is essential to plan ahead and take necessary precautions. Here are some tips and considerations to keep in mind:

Proper Gear:

Invest in sturdy hiking boots, breathable clothing layers, a hat, sunscreen, and a reliable backpack to carry essentials such as water, snacks, and first-aid supplies.

Weather Conditions:

Check the weather forecast before embarking on your hike, and be prepared for potential changes in temperature, wind, and precipitation.

Hydration and Snacks:

Carry ample water and energy-rich snacks to stay hydrated and energized throughout the hike.

Trail Markings:

Follow the designated trail markers and signage to avoid getting lost or straying off the path.

Respect Nature:

Adhere to the principles of Leave No Trace by carrying out any trash and avoiding damaging the natural environment.

Local Guides:

Consider hiring a local guide, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area, as they can provide valuable insights, ensure your safety, and enhance your overall experience.

Accommodation and Logistics

For those planning an extended stay in the region, several accommodation options are available, ranging from rustic mountain huts to charming guesthouses in nearby villages. These accommodations not only offer a comfortable respite after a day of hiking but also provide an authentic glimpse into the local culture and hospitality.

To reach the trailhead, visitors can opt for a scenic drive through the winding mountain roads or arrange for transportation from nearby towns and cities. It is advisable to plan your journey in advance and ensure you have the necessary permits and access requirements, if applicable.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best time of year to hike the Sayidat Al Qarn and Akoura Lakes Loop trail?

The best time to hike this trail is typically from late spring to early fall (April to October), when the weather is mild and the scenery is at its most vibrant. However, experienced hikers may also enjoy the trail during the winter months, when the region is blanketed in snow, offering a different but equally stunning perspective.

Is the trail suitable for families with children?

While the trail is considered moderate in difficulty, it can be challenging for young children due to the steep inclines and rocky terrain in certain sections. It is recommended that families with young children opt for shorter, easier sections of the trail or seek guidance from local guides to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Are there any facilities or services available along the trail?

The trail itself has limited facilities, but there are a few mountain huts and rest areas where hikers can take a break and enjoy basic refreshments. It is advisable to carry enough water, snacks, and necessary supplies for the duration of your hike.

Can I camp along the trail?

While camping is generally permitted in designated areas, it is essential to obtain the necessary permits and follow local regulations to ensure responsible and sustainable camping practices.

Are there any restrictions or fees associated with hiking the trail?

Depending on the time of year and specific location, there may be entry fees or permit requirements for accessing certain areas along the trail. It is recommended to check with local authorities or tour operators for the latest information and guidelines.


The Sayidat Al Qarn and Akoura Lakes Loop hiking trail is a true gem in Lebanon’s natural landscape, offering an unforgettable experience for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. From the ancient cedar forests to the pristine alpine lakes, this journey is a tapestry of breathtaking scenery, rich cultural heritage, and diverse flora and fauna.


My name is Evelyn and I started Camping The Camp to combine my love of the outdoors with my background in environmental science. I hope you’ll find helpful as you discover the joys of camping. It’s more than a weekend trip - it’s a chance to disconnect from devices, reconnect with loved ones, and make memories to last a lifetime

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