“When a mystery is too overpowering, one dare not disobey.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince.

As children, these silent mountains were a symbol of mystery for us. Curious, we couldn’t resist discovering the places where our ancestors dwelled for centuries. We would venture in that beautiful, sacred land and return home bruised as the mountains were abandoned and the trails overtaken by twigs, thorns and stones. Regardless, we rejoiced retracing the roads of our grandparents and reconnecting with their spirit. How willful and diligent they were to turn these steep mountains into a vast paradise back then?
Years later, the child within us awoke and as we re-explored the mountains we wondered how could we sustain this treasure? This is how Horch Hiyata Trail was born in 2019 with the vision to preserve what remains as natural landscapes through an eco-responsible commitment.

Bended trees on Beit Armid trail
Bended trees on Tabriye trail

With a group of young Hiyata’s natives, we implemented a plan to make our beloved mountains accessible to all nature lovers. We started rehabilitating some of the abandoned trails, offering hikes with the local guides to discover the rich flora, fauna, culture and history of the region, and raising awareness about their importance. Since then, thanks to LRI, the UNDP, and the Federation of Keserwan Municipalities, we were able to explore and restore four hiking trails while creating short term jobs for locals of all ages and genders, all made possible by the Municipality of Hiyata.

Today, Horch Hiyata Trail offers a unique experience in an untouched region with stunning views of mountains and sea, only 35 km away from Beirut. Old ruins, wine presses, threshing floors and water wells tell the story of our ancestors who used to live in the upper area of the village. Rare and endemic plants were observed on trail such as the magical “Paeonia Kesrouanensis”, “Orchis Comperiana” and “Juniperus Drupace” and many others are expected to be discovered. That rich biodiversity is probably due to the distinctive topography and microclimate of the region encircled by three mountains – muhawata, the root of the village’s name: Hiyata.

Paeonia Kesrouanensis
Paeonia Kesrouanensis

Tips: during the summer season, fog often gets blocked by the mountains and you can experience a breathtaking hike above the clouds!

Photo: Daniellchanti
Photo: Daniellchanti
Mgharet el Boum
Mgharet el Boum

Trails: Beit el Armid (4km – easy), Mar Nohra (5km – medium), Jabal el Hadid (6km – medium) and Tabrieh (10km – difficult).

Horch Hiyata

Get in touch with us on social media or via Whatsapp to book a hike with our local guides!
Instagram/Facebook: @horchhiyatatrail
Whatsapp: 71383809 (Joseph Sayegh), 71088694 (Charbel Azar) or 71490500 (Joyce Tohme)

Photo credits: Dr Jean Stephan, Rita Oueiss & Joseph Sayegh.