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Snapshot: The Paradise that is Baatara Gorge waterfall

Image credits: Loai El Nomeiry
Image credits: Loai El Nomeiry

It’s like an unspoiled paradise you only see in movies, a surrealistic set erected for a scene where it’s being discovered for the first time by accidental adventure seekers. Except that this isn’t make-believe. The Baatara Gorge Waterfall is a natural wonder in the village of Balaa, between the Laqlouq and Tannourine cities in Lebanon.

The Waterfalls flow into the Baatara Pothole, a cave carved out of ancient limestone melted by winter’s drops over millions of years, at the Lebanon Mountain Trail. The area is commonly known as the “Cave of the Three Bridges” or the “The Three Bridges Chasm”.  The Waterfall gushes into the chasm, falling over 837 feet (250 meters) and creating an otherworldly sight.

The cave was discovered in 1952 by French bio-speleologist Henri Coiffait, and was only fully mapped in the 1980s. What makes the waterfall such a magical sight is how it flows behind three natural bridges, with one hanging over another in a magnificent natural formation.

The Baatara Goge Waterfall gushes behind 3 natural bridges.
Image credits: Nicki Hill

Tip: The waterfall is made from melting snow from the peak of Mount Lebanon, and the best time to catch it is between March and April, where Spring overtakes Winter, and the waterfall is at its mightiest.

You can visit the cave with easy drive from nearby towns like Byblos or Batroun. There are hotels in these towns, or you can always camp at the area if you’re feeling adventurous. There are a handful of sporting activities you can engage in, or if you’re up for it, go for a climb. You can climb to different levels of the cavern without using special equipment, but be careful of the slippery surfaces.

Always be mindful of where you step when visiting the area. There are signs at the cave to discourage people from standing on the bridges for fear of its collapse from the sheer weight of the visitors. At the same time, also steer clear of the edges, it could get pretty slippery.

Tip: Because of the terrain, make sure you wear comfortable shoes with good grip so that you can tread confidently without worrying about slipping.

If you’re visiting, do it in the afternoons. Morning may not be as warm, but the waterfall back faces the morning sun, you’ll have a hard time with great shots.

Baatara Gorge Waterfall
Image credits: Serge Melki


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