Stretched along the Zagros mountain range, veiled with wheat fields and dotted with oak trees, Lorestan Province is sure a looker at first sight. With striking mountains, numerous mysterious canyons and waterfalls by the dozen, it’s no wonder why Lorestan is known for the most staggering canyons and waterfalls in Iran.  

road trip in Lorestan province
What road trips in Lorestan province look like…

Fields peppered with oak trees in Lorestan province

A trip to Lorestan had been on the back of my mind since forever. Somehow things had never worked out at the right time but as soon as we found a few days of holiday to skip work, I knew it was now or never. 

When’s the best time to visit Lorestan Province?

We actually didn’t visit at the right time. Despite being late spring, Lorestan was already extremely hot and dry which didn’t help when visiting valleys and fields with little to no shade. The good thing was that a trip to Lorestan involves a lot of getting wet. We found ourselves near waterfalls, brooks and meandering rivers way too often. Hiking through canyons also involved a lot of river crossing which soothed the heat. But if you’d like to see Lorestan in full bloom and luscious greenery, I’d suggest visiting from late October to early January or from April to mid-May. 

Hiking through Shirez Canyon
Hiking through Shirez Canyon

How to get to Lorestan Province?

We travelled to Lorestan province by car which gave us a lot of freedom and comfort in planning our own route. Most natural attractions of Lorestan are quite distant from each other and the best way to visit them would be having your own car. Tehran to Khorramabad is around 490 km which can take up to 6 hours drive but the roads are all in good condition and the drive is easy. Buses also run frequently from Tehran South Terman and Beihaghi Terminal. 

There’s also a train from Tehran to Dorud which can be efficient if you don’t plan on renting a car. The train ride is also known to be one the most scenic in Iran and you could always hire a driver guide in Dorud to take you elsewhere. 

Flights from Tehran to Khorramabad run every other day and normally depart in the morning or around noon depending on the day. 

The road to Lorestan province, Iran

Where to Stay?

We had 4 nights in Lorestan. 3 was spent in Khorramabad and one was kept for Kuhdasht. There are a few decent hotels in Khorramabad but don’t expect too much. I’d personally suggest planning out your itinerary and then choosing the cities or villages in which you’d like to stay as it would really help with the distances. 

Here’s a list of recommended hotels in Khorramabad:

  • Shapoor Khast hotel
  • Rangin Kaman hotel 
  • Azadi hotel 
  • Mohammad Pour Family ecolodge located 5 km from Khorramabad in Qale’h Sangi village (+09163603797)

If you’d like to stay in villages or prefer local homes like us, we’d highly recommend getting in touch with Bahram Jafrasteh (+98-9166617985). He’s a licensed tour guide who can not only guide you during your visit to Lorestan but also arrange for accommodations and plan your itinerary. Sina Heidari is also another local guide to rely on. You can reach him on this number: +98-9165533578

Route to Bisheh waterhall, Lorestan
Stopped to contemplate over the beauty of this landscape one our way to Bisheh waterfall.

Places to visit in Lorestan:

Khorram Abad

  • Falak-ol-Aflak Castle: The main attraction of Lorestan is a Sasanid fort standing in the centre of Khorramabad for over 1800 years. Falak-ol-Aflak has recently been converted into a museum with wax figures depicting Lorestani culture and traditions along with historic items belonging to the first settlements in the region.  

Just so you know, Lorestan has a long history dating back to 3rd and 4th millennium BC. Some of the most precious historic items from this region are the Lurestan bronze artwork usually dating back to 1000 to 650 BC currently on display in museums all around the world. 

Falak-ol-Aflak Castle
Falak-ol-Aflak castle by night
  • Makhmal Kooh: A mountainous region with beautiful greenery and waterfalls which is perfect for hiking.
  • Brick Minaret: You can see the famous brick minaret in the city center on your way to Falak-ol-Aflak castle which was used to guide caravans in the dark. There used to be a few of them in Khorramabad but this one’s the best preserved. 
  • Broken bridge (Shapuri bridge): Lorestan has numerous brick and stone bridges and the stone Broken bridge is the most famous of them all. Built by Shapur I Sasanid around the same time as Falak-ol-Aflak castle, there are 6 arches remaining from this 28 arch bridge constructed to give way to caravans from Susa to Ecbatana.
  • Bisheh waterfall: This waterfall is probably the most famous and easiest to access in all of Lorestan. It’s absolutely stunning and definitely worth the 45 min drive from Khorramabad. Just make sure you don’t visit on weekends or holidays as it can be overcrowded with little to enjoy. 
Bisheh waterfall in Khorramabad
Bisheh waterfall

Bisheh waterfall in Khorramabad

  • Gerit waterfall: A smaller waterfall close to Bisheh that you could visit on your way. 
  • Nozhian waterfall: A super high waterfall, in fact, one of the highest in Iran that would require a short hike to access. 
  • Keeyow lake: This place is mentioned in a lot of places as one of the main attractions of Khorramabad. To be honest, I was not impressed a bit. I found it to be just a normal-looking lake. Nothing too crazy and worth the miss. 
  • Bam-e Lorestan: A high viewpoint in Khorramabad which makes for a perfect sunset view of the city. 
  • Vark waterfall: Vark waterfall is one of the best in Lorestan but you’d need to do a 2-hour hike to reach it. It’s highly recommended but make sure you hire a guide to lead you to the waterfall. 

Dorud

  • Gahar Lake: Located on the sloped of Oshtoran Kooh, Gahar is a beautiful lake with turquoise blue water and stunning views. To reach the lake you need to get to Cheshmeh Khorram which is 45 min drive from Dorud and then hike for 3-4 hours to the lake. You’d have to camp for at least one night beside the lake which is a whole feast of its own. Make sure you contact one of the local guides mentioned in the post if plan on going here as they can arrange for food, tents and animals to carry your belongings to the lake. 

Our short stay in Lorestan didn’t allow us to do the trek or visit much of Dorud, but it’s a whole different journey we’re planning on doing later. 

 

Espar waterfall, Leili canyon and a hike to Oshtoran Kooh can all be arranged when you’re visiting Dorud. 

Kuhdasht

Shirez canyon: Hiking through Shirez canyon on our visit to Lorestan was definitely the cherry on top. The canyon is massive and unbelievably stunning. We had to make stops every once in a while to take in all the beauty surrounding us. Shirez canyon is 2 hours drive from Khorramabad and an hour less if you’re coming from Kuhdasht. We’d highly suggest visiting here early in the morning to avoid crowds on weekends or the sun hitting on top of your head. The hike is not simple but you don’t need to be a professional to do it. Most people hike up to Pol-e Khoda which is basically a beautiful cave. The hike up to here takes up to 2 hours but it’s definitely worth it. 

There are two routes, one that goes through and besides the river (perfect to escape the heat) and another along the canyon which is shorter and easier but doesn’t give you the same beauty. We took the river route up to the cave and took the latter to return back to the parking. 

Shirez canyon, Lorestan province
Shirez canyon

Shirez canyon, Lorestan province

If you head south from Kuhdasht to Pol Dokhtar, you can visit Kogan cave, Kashkan bridge, and Khazineh valley known for its horseshoe curve along the way. 

Kashkan bridge in Lorestan province
Kashkan broken bridge

If you happen to visit Lorestan during summer by any chance, I’d also suggest a visit to Hald canyon 90km from Khorramabad on route to Andimeshk. The canyon is absolutely beautiful but the water was way too high for us to cross it in late spring. We did have a good swim though but I’ve heard it only gets more and more beautiful once you hike through it. Go there prepared as it takes up to 4 hours to cross the whole canyon. 

Hald canyon in Lorestan
Hald canyon in Lorestan

Where to eat in Lorestan?

Unfortunately, I was very much disappointed in terms of food in Lorestan. 

Lorestan is a big exporter of meat so you can imagine there were lots of kebabs and meat-based dishes. What I struggled to find was decent restaurants and local food that could almost be found nowhere. The restaurant of Gap Hamam, Azadi hotel and Zafaran Talaei restaurant in Khorramabad are among the best you can find. 


Lorestan hasn’t really been doing well in promoting its tourism in Iran or the world and therefore it stays rather neglected and unknown. It is only recently that I find more and more Iranians traveling to the region. The potential is honestly mind-blowing and it could easily become a popular destination among nature-lovers but there’s so much that needs to be done. The infrastructure (read hotels, restaurants, cafes, …) needs a heavy push and there’s hardly much content available to help travellers find there way around the province. 

We had a very short time in Lorestan (4 days) and the weather wasn’t one our side, so we didn’t get to visit as much as I had anticipated. But I knew for sure that I need to do whatever I can in introducing this fascinating region. The locals in Lorestan were some of the friendliest I’ve met and we were constantly greeted and thanked for our visit. 

To write this guide I tried to add my own experience along with recommendations of local guides to make it as practical as possible and hopefully, it will be updated once I return to Lorestan for more. 

27 thoughts on “A Guide to Lorestan, Iran’s Waterfall and Canyon Province

  1. Bahram Jafrasteh says:

    It was a pleasure to have you here in Lorestan. As you know I did not have enough time to accompany you in this trip, but I would like to see you again in Lorestan and read your lovely stories about this province. Best wishes

  2. Koen Knibbe says:

    Hi! Wat an awesome travel blog you got. Thanks for all the usefull information! I texted the phonenumber you wrote down from the ‘mohammed pour family ecolodge’. The one who is texting back doesn’t speak english so translate is my best friend. Is the lodge recommended in your opinion? We want to see a bit of lorestan in a short period of time, sadly we dont have enough time to see it all..

    • Matin Lashkari says:

      Hi Koen, I haven’t been to the ecolodge myself, but local friends suggested that it was the best you could get in Lorestan.
      I’d personally recommend getting in contact with one of the guides I’ve mentioned. They both speak decent English and would be able to arrange everything for you there. Have a great time in Lorestan. It’s pretty epic!

  3. Mandy says:

    I get help from one of the guides that you have mentioned in your blog. Truly appreciate that info as I have searched high and low Lorestan’s info, mainly in English but either none or limited info. I managed to trek to Gahar Lake, explore Shirez Canyon as well as visit Absefid Watefall within 2.5 days. Truly the highlight to me is Shirez Canyon but because of the flood few months ago, we can only explore the path along the canyon and not beside/along the river as mentioned in your blog. I am actually looking forward to you future visit to Lorestan to uncover more places in this beautiful province.

      • Mandy says:

        Oh yes, definitely a must to the lake. To me the trail towards the lake is beautiful and so different from other trails I have hiked before. Too bad the lake is only open during summer. Way too hot to trek in although we started like 4.30 pm or 5pm. Of course if you are fast then possible to reach the campsite before dark.

        • Matin Lashkari says:

          I can imagine the heat must have been insane. We had some really hard few moments due to the heat and it wasn’t even summer yet. I’ve already seen a few foreign tourists using this guide to reach Lorestan and I’m so glad the region is finally getting some recognition. 🙂
          Have a lovely day Mandy and thank you for the feedback.

    • sina heidari says:

      hi Mandy…. i’m so glad that you came to Lorestan and see the attractions… i hope you enjoyed it
      you hear my voice from the hottest days in Lorestan now 😀
      . it’s better that you come to Lorestan in spring, fall and winter i think

    • Bahram says:

      Hi Mandy,
      Thanks for your attendance and visiting Lorestan province. It has its own beauties to discover in each season.

    • Charlene says:

      Hi Matin ! I was planning a 4 days trip to lorestan with 2 friends when the guide we were discuting with starting to say that, belong the places we wanted to see, some are better not to go for safety issues. Indeed we are 3 girls and he said he does not find comfortable in going in lonely places such as shirz canyon alone with us. He told us that there is not a lot of risk, but if we would cross people with bad intentions we would regret to go there. He even adviced us to hire local people to join us to be safer. So we found it weird but we say ok, we will see. Then, on a facebook group where i asked question about lorestan, a man came talking to me by pm and told me : don’t go to lorestan alone, it is not safe. There is thefts and if they think you have money, they can attack you.
      So i found it weird again and asked for precision, and he told me that some lorestan people have a strange mind, and that some thefts can be hidden in lonely places like canyons, so it was ok to go there with a group but not only few people. He told me than iran is safe but lorestan is special and that we can go in nature in other area but it was better to avoid Lorestan or to join a bigger group for safety. But i don’t know where to ask to join a big group because lorestan does not seem very touristic.
      So now, one of my friend does not want to go anymore, which is sad because i love all the places you mentionned and i would love to go there. Do you know if lorestan especially is so unsafe for girls ? Do you know big travel agencies we can contact to see if they have a group visiting lorestan in next october ? I know the risk can be anywhere in the word, but what i would like to know is if there is more risk in Lorestan that in other part of iran.
      Because my friend is right, iran is big and we can discover another area. But Lorestan is my crush haha. Thank you

      • Matin Lashkari says:

        Hello Charlene,
        When we were in Lorestan I also heard about it being dangerous, especially the area where Shirez canyon is located. We obviously never felt anything as we were a group of 7 and visited during holidays which meant there were plenty of local tourists around.
        Did you contact both guides that I mentioned? If they both think it’s dangerous for you to go, then I wouldn’t insist on it. Lorestan does have a history of robbery and with the current economic situation, it might still be a thing.

        Have you asked the people in See you in Iran group if they are willing to join? I personally think your guide is the best person who can find other people to join you. People won’t be booking trips for October just yet and it’s also not a period when Iranians travel too much, but he can probably keep you posted.

        • Charlene says:

          Hi matin, hi sina. Thank you for your answer. The guide i contacted is a local, he is from kermanshah or around. The man who contacted me to tell me to be very careful in Lorestan and with local people is from Arak.
          So i followed your advices and ask my guide if he knows other people to join us, i am waiting for his answer. Maybe i can see with the 2 guides you talk about in this article too. Matin, you said you were a group of 7, did you know each other before leaving or you met them by booking the same trip with the guide ? By chance, there is no holidays in iran in mid october haha ?
          And also, people told us october was not a good month in Lorestan, why not ? Bad weather, dried waterfalls and canyons ?

          Last question, if finally we don’t go to lorestan, which places in iran do you advise to see beautiful nature, canyons and waterfalls ?
          We were thinking to go around yasuj, or around shahre kord, or again in the north, around chaloos with tange dar seems nice too.
          Or better to go around khur and tabas ?
          Or goal is to discover the most oustanding nature possible, but to change of desert and cities that we will already plan to do 🙂
          We have 3 or 4 days around mid october.

          So any recommendations about amazing places safe and beautiful is welcome 🙂

          Thank you !

          • Matin Lashkari says:

            Hi Charlene,
            Yes! The other 6 people in my group were my friends. I personally don’t advise going with a bunch of strangers. You really don’t know if they have the same interests. I suggest contacting one of the guides I mentioned. They should be able to arrange the tour for you. There really shouldn’t be any problem. I mean you’re not even going alone.
            I actually think October is a good time to be in Lorestan. It’s still probably hot but it’s much better than summer.
            Tabas is absolutely stunning and has some amazing canyons but it’s still in the middle of the desert. Yasuj and Shahr-e Kord have great nature. Gilan province is also a great option with lots of luscious greenery.

          • sina heidari says:

            hi Charlene , actually there are holidays in october in iran.
            i think people told you that october was not good enough in Lorestan in compared with other mounth… because they maybe expect greenwood in ocotober :D, probably you know that Lorestan is totally amazing and green with watery waterfalls in spring. its like a heaven. you can see lorestan in october too, it has oustanding nature in october too, like Kolchap canyons, Haft houz with Green Velvet Rocks and its waterfalls. if you want their pictures or movies let me know.
            by the way you can come to lorestan any time that you want, im one of the guide that matin mentioned in her travelogue. we can help you.

      • sina heidari says:

        hi Charlene. i think it’s better that whenever you want to travel to any places , you should reserve a local guide , with a local guide you can experience a lot things in destination and you will be informed of destination culture and traditional … and with this you respect to Local communities in case of economical and this is not weird at all.

        and about the man’s story is just like a Imaginary story, Lorestan people have not strange mind and they don’t hide in lonely places like canyons 😀

        anyway don’t be afraid you can reserve a local guide and enjoy your trip.

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