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Ultimate Guide to the Atlas Mountains: Morocco best Trekking and Outdoor destination

Ultimate Guide to the Atlas Mountains: Morocco best Trekking and Outdoor destination

Updated 21 Feb, 2020
location_on Morocco

The Atlas Mountains is a place to be included in your vacation to go to list if you love adventure or you are seeking respite from your busy city life.

The Atlas Mountains run along Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia stretching till 2500 Kms. These mountains are inhabited by the Berber populations ( people with origin from North Africa, west of Egypt) and also filled with amazing flora and fauna.

The highest peak of the Atlas Mountain ranges is Toubkal located in southwestern Morocco, in the Toubkal National Park.

If you looking for a few off-the beaten trekking trails amidst the unspoiled landscape of Morocco, then Atlas mountain ranges is your destination.

High Atlas Mountains Range in Morocco

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Toubkal, the highest peak in the Atlas Mountain ranges is a part of the High Atlas, also known as the Grand Atlas Mountains.

This part of the Atlas Mountain is best for Skiing and other winter sports. Snowfalls start in winters and lasts till late spring.

Oukaimeden is a Ski Station near Jebel Toubkal about 80 Kms from Marrakesh in Morocco. It is facilitated by six ski lifts and few hotels and rental shops.

Aït Ben Haddou, Telouet Kasbah and Dadès Gorges around High Atlas

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One of the interesting attractions in High Atlas is Aït Ben Haddou which is a Berber Castle, referred as “Moroccon Hollywood” as it has been featured in many Movies and TV Series such as Game of Thrones.

Other attractions which you should explore on your next trip to Morocco are

  • Telouet Kasbah, the now abandoned palace of the Pasha of Marrakech
  • The canyons and ravines of the Dadès Gorges and the Todra

Imlil - most popular trekking destination of Atlas mountains, Morocco

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Imlil is the most popular trekking destination in Atlas Mountains. There are many trekking trails from here. Few of them are

  • Trek to Imlil waterfalls: (Level: Easy) This is a simple trek with many paths leading to the Waterfall. You can approach locals to know more about the routes. Reach the waterfall and enjoy the freshly squeezed orange juice by the waterfall.
  • Hike to Armound : (Level: Easy) Armound is another mile trek from the Imlil waterfall. This village offers an amazing view of Toubkal. Mint Tea here is must try.
  • Hike to Radio Tower : (Level: Easy) This is a half day hike. Radio tower offers panoramic view of the Imlil Valley and mountains around.
  • Circuit Trek to Mount Toubkal: (Multi day trek) This trek takes you to some of the Berber Villages where you can stay for a few hours or a night. You can also witness snowfall here even in the month of May. Make sure a local guide accompany you. You can also hire a cook for food on the way.
  • Imlil to Setti Fatma: 3 day tour (one way)

M’Goun, Ouirgane, Ourika, Afensou, Amizmiz, Jbel Saghro treks in Atlas

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M’Goun Valley

This trek is best for walking tours and witnessing Morocco Architecture. You will find many ridges and gorges in this trail.

Ouirgane Treks

One hour drive from Marrakech, it is popular for day treks and longer trek to Mount Toubkal.

Ourika Valley

This trek starts and ends at Setti Fatma. Trek to Ourika valley presents opportunities to experience skiing and prehistoric rock carvings.
This is a moderate level one day trek.

Afensou

Its trekking base is at the foot of western high atlas mountains in Taroudant. From this base trekkers can choose the trails to

  • Waterfalls of Jbel Aoulime (moderate level trek)
  • Hike to Afensou crossing the Touchka Plateau on way (difficult level trek)
  • Trek to Afensou through Jbel Tirissi (moderate level trek)

Amizmiz

It is at a one hour drive from Marrakech with Lalla Takerkoust lake on the way to Amizmiz.

Every Tuesday a Berber market is set up in this valley. Trek level is easy to moderate.

Jbel Saghro Trek

This is a 6 days long trek from Marrakech amidst the Saghro Mountains.

The route starts from Marrakech to Nkob via Tizi ‘n Tichka Pass. At Nkob stay overnight. Then move to Bab-n-Ali where you camp overnight. Then trek to Ighazzoun and camp there by the river. Then Trek to Handor crossing Tizi Olhyan Pass and the Valley of Tifdassine. From here you trek back to Nkob to Marrakech.

Trek level is moderate to difficult.

Middle Atlas Mountains Range in Morocco

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The northernmost range, Middle Atlas is located south of Fez and Meknes, run towards Marrakech. Middle Atlas Range is home to dense and beautiful Oak and Cedar forest.

The most popular attraction here is the waterfalls of Cascade Ouzoud. Cascade Ouzoud is located approx 2.5 hours north of Marrakech.

You can explore Whitewater Rafting in the river running towards lake Bin El Ouidane between March and May.

Adventure Travellers also explore trekking trails starting from Berber towns of Bahlil, Sefrou and Azrou.

Also Ifrane town in the Northern Middle Atlas is perfect for cooler summer vacations and sporty winters when you can Ski at nearby Michlifen resort.

Anti-Atlas Mountains Range

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Anti-Atlas, also known Lesser Atlas or Little Atlas is a deserted area with rocky, dry and barren lands.

It does have hiking trails but they are less explored and rough. The land here is best for mountain biking and rock climbing.

The main town of the area is Tafraoute. You can witness some Neolithic cave paintings in this region. Also, a day trip to Ait Mansour Gorge and Blue painted rocks at Agard-Oudada will also be a great experience

Experience Berber cuisine food and discover wildlife in Atlas, Morocco

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The Atlas Mountains in Morocco is a perfect getaway for the trekkers and to have rustic experiences.

Explore the Berber cuisine and when you are hungry eat the delicious food like Couscous, Tagine, Briouats, Harira and drink the refreshing Mint Tea.

Explore variety of plants including Atlas cedar, European black pine, Algerian oak and animals including Barbary macaque, leopard, stag and others.