Best Treks in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains

Trekking in the Atlas Mountains

Trekking in Morocco

Morocco — a nation with abundant natural diversity, from the Atlantic coast to the Atlas Mountains, to the Sahara desert — has long attracted lovers of the Great trekking activities. The Atlas Mountains, running like a backbone down the center of Morocco, separating the fertile plains next to the ocean and the Sahara desert, contain unique variations in landscape that make it one of the best trekking destinations in the world. Cedar forests, 4000m+ mountain ranges, snow-capped peaks, and the striking Berber villages await.
Being one of the most preserved natural parks in Morocco, the National park of Toubkal is considered the most popular draw for hikers around the world. With Toubkal Summit, Ifni lake, Berber villages, and picturesque landscapes, a trekking journey in the High Atlas Mountains has been a lifetime experience for many.
Our Atlas Mountain trekking trails follow old shepherds’ paths, walking past remote Berber villages. Having one of our expert Morocco trekking guides with you is an absolute added value: Interaction with friendly local Berbers is guaranteed. You will be amazed by their hospitality and humble lifestyle.
Rest assured you are in good hands for your safety: We are a fully licensed and bonded Moroccan tour company. All our Atlas trekking guides are highly trained and have sufficient experience to lead memorable trekking journeys around Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains. They are all natives of Toubkal National Park Berber villages. Taking one of our Atlas Mountain hikes will be rewarding. Your trekking in Morocco will be culturally immersed, full of interaction with Berber villagers to discover their language, living style, and culture.

Hiking in Morocco's Atlas Mountains: Top Tips

Hiking in the Atlas Mountains is one of the nicest things to do in Morocco. Visiting secluded villages, taking in the breathtaking scenery, and summiting peaks while learning intriguing things from your mountain guide will provide you with plenty of tales to share.
Are you a novice hiker or simply a physically fit individual eager for the challenge? The spectacular Atlas Mountains treks and what you may expect to view on your route to the peak are listed below.


What Will You See While Hiking in Morocco?

Hiking in Morocco provides you with a unique perspective on the life of the Imazighen, often known as Berbers. Keep an ear out for native music, called Ahidus, when strolling in the Atlas Mountains. It developed among tribes in the Middle and Eastern High Atlas and is represented via communal dance and song.
While visiting the rarely frequent Morocco’s distant towns in the Atlas Mountains, you can anticipate warm greetings and the opportunity to learn about Berber architecture and language.

What makes the Atlas Mountains trekking routes special?

The 4167m summit of Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa, is becoming the most popular activity in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. The greatest hiking paths in the region, however, are found beyond Toubkal's crown. While the hordes slowly make their way up Toubkal's two-day ascent, there are a plethora of other amazing paths across these steep slopes that are mostly untouched by visitors.
These routes follow centuries-old shepherds' roads linking distant settlements, allowing you to meet with Amazigh (Berber) inhabitants and learn about their culture, architecture, and language. You'll also journey through alpine fields, skirt beneath rugged massifs, and pass across magnificent passes.
Overall, these routes offer a culturally immersive experience as well as a diverse range of scenery that a direct summit shot could never hope to equal.
Morocco's Atlas Mountains are divided into three sections: the Middle Atlas, the High Atlas, and the Anti-Atlas.

The high Atlas Mountains:

Located between the Sahara Desert in the southeast and the Atlantic coast, the High Atlas Mountains act as a natural barrier. The walled town of At Benhaddou, located at the foot of the mountain range, is Morocco's own "Hollywood." It has appeared in several films set against the backdrop of the High Atlas.

The Middle Atlas Mountains:

The Middle Atlas is the northernmost of the three Atlas Mountains, and it encompasses a large region with thickly wooded slopes, mostly of oak and cedar trees. In comparison to Moroccan townsand interior cities, the air is usually colder.
This is the most productive of the Atlas mountains, with numerous peaks rising beyond 3000 meters above sea level, the tallest of which is Jebel Bou Naceur (3340m).

The Anti Atlas Mountains:

The Anti-Atlas is the Atlas Mountains' southernmost range. It begins near the Atlantic Ocean and runs for 500 kilometers inland. Because it is the Atlas Mountains' least-visited location, there are fewer lodging alternatives.
Because of its closeness to the Sahara, summer temperatures can reach dangerously high levels. It is suggested that you go during the cooler seasons to escape the hot heat.

Atlas Mountains weather

The weather in the Atlas Mountains is good for trekking all year if you don't mind the snow. Morocco's seasons are comparable to those of other Northern Hemisphere nations, with winter lasting from December to February and summer lasting from June to August.
Winter is cold and snowy, but it is also wonderful. The environment grows hotter and dryer as you travel south towards the Sahara desert. Summer is hotter in the lowlands than it is further up, but it is still nice.
The months of March through June are ideal for hiking in the Atlas Mountains. This means you'll be there in the spring and early summer when the weather is lovely and the trails are relatively dry (although there will be snow at times).

Summer temperatures in the Atlas Mountains:

The average summer temperature in the High Atlas Mountains near Imlil is 17°C (64°F), with a maximum temperature of 24.8°C (77°F). July is usually the hottest month of the year.
Summer in the Middle Atlas Mountains' Berber town of Azrou reaches average temperatures of 21°C (70.2°F) and maximum temperatures of 34°C (93.2°F).
Summer high temperatures in the Anti-Atlas Mountains average 27.4°C (81.4°F), with maximum temperatures reaching 33.9°C (93°F).

Autumn temperatures in the Atlas Mountains:

Between August and October, the average high temperature in Imlil is 12.8°C (55°F), with maximum readings of 19.3°C (66.8°F).
Autumn brings average high temperatures of 25°C (76.5°F) and maximum temperatures of 35°C (95°F) in the Middle Atlas Mountains.
Average high temperatures in the Anti-Atlas Mountains are 14.4°C (57.9°F), with maximum values of 27.8°C (82°F).

Winter temperatures in the Atlas Mountains:

Imlil has an average winter temperature of 0.4°C (32.7°F) and a minimum temperature of -4°C (24.7°F). The month of January has the coldest temperatures.
Ifrane has an average temperature of 5°C (32.9°F) and has the African record for the lowest temperature of -23°C (-11°F).
Kelaat M'gouna in the Anti-Atlas Mountains has an average high temperature of 7.5°C (45.5°F) in the winter and a minimum temperature of 0.6°C (33.1°F).

Spring temperatures in the Atlas Mountains:

Imlil has average highs of 9.9°C (49.8°F) and maximum temperatures of 16.7°C (62.1°F) in the spring.
In the spring, the average temperature in Ifrane is 13.2°C (55.8°F), with high temperatures of 27°C (80.6°F).
The sweet-smelling 'roses celebration' in Kalaat M'Gouna, in the Anti-Atlas Mountains, heralds the approach of spring. From August through October, the city's average temperature is 16.3°C (61.4°F).

What to wear for the Atlas Mountains?

Prepare like you would for an alpine hiking trip for anything longer than a half-day trek with a guide. Warm clothes, a weatherproof jacket, hiking boots, and a cap are all recommended. Bring a pair of sneakers to change out of your boots after your trek.
While packing light is vital, you'll also need a backpack big enough to hold your sleeping bag, a first-aid kit, and maybe snow and ice hiking gear. Your guide and outfitter should give you a detailed list depending on the hike you're on.

Best Atlas Mountains hiking zones:

The best hiking places in Morocco range in difficulty, length, and height from the High Atlas Mountains in the north to the Anti-Atlas Mountains in the south. Remember that hiking is a physically demanding yet rewarding exercise.
During your hike, you'll see sights that aren't accessible by automobile. After reading the descriptions of each place below, you may select which hiking path is best for you.

Mount Toubkal:

How long does it take to climb Mount Toubkal? Allow yourself two days Toubkal hike to finish the trek to North Africa's highest mountain (4167m). Fit but unskilled hikers can comfortably reach the top in three days. Crampons and ice picks are required for winter trekking at these high altitudes.
A 3-day guided hike of Mount Toubkal begins from the lower height of Imi Ourhlad (1400m above sea level) and ends at the summit.

M’Goun Mountain:

Before traversing the mountain range and descending into the valley below, the M'Goun Traverse follows a river upstream to its source. The trek is quite strenuous but gives spectacular vistas all along the way. It is a fantastic walk to experience the High Atlas Mountains, taking between 4 and 6 days to complete.
M’Goun Mountain hike passes through canyons, wooded sections, and bare slopes. It's 57 kilometers long and provides a pleasant challenge for inexperienced hikers.

Jbel Saghro:

Consisted of a rough range with three hiking trails leading to flat-topped mesas with deep canyons. Jbel Saghro is an eastern extension of the Anti-Atlas Mountains, located south of the High Atlas Mountains. The location is barren and receives barely 100mm of rain each year because it is located inland.
Amalou N'Mansour (2712m) is the range's tallest peak, while Tizi n'Tazazert (an unpaved road) is the range's most significant mountain pass (2,283m high).

Hiking in the Atlas Mountains: Safety tips

Safety tips when hiking in Morocco:

The first and maybe most crucial safety recommendation is to never try a trek on yourself alone. On most hiking routes in Morocco, a guide is required, and going to isolated locations without one is dangerous. Hiring a qualified mountain guide will allow you to benefit from the local expertise given throughout your walk.
During the day, you'll want to keep hydrated. When you have a survival straw with you, you may drink from water sources along the way instead of carrying big volumes of clean drinking water.

Top Tips for trekking in Morocco:

  • Look for routes that fit you — a moderate and steady pace will get you to the summit.
  • Allow for more time than you think you'll need to reach the top.
  • Consider trekking to lower less busy peaks.
  • For your trek, hire a guide; licensed guides are well-informed and experienced.
  • Fasting throughout Ramadan may have an impact on the availability of mountain guides

Start planning your Moroccan trekking adventure today:

You will leave Morocco having experienced the heart of the country, whether you fly into Casablanca, Marrakech, or Agadir to trek the Atlas Mountains. Your visits to rural villages, canyons crossings, hiking through Juniper woods, and scaling icy summits will be among your favorite memories of Morocco.
What are you waiting for? A hiking journey in Morocco's Atlas Mountains is available all year long.