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Hiking in Morocco

Feb 22, 2024 | Travel Tips

Morocco, a land of diverse landscapes and rich cultural tapestry, offers a unique and captivating hiking experience for outdoor enthusiasts. From the towering peaks of the Atlas Mountains to the vast Sahara Desert, Morocco’s terrain provides  world-class hiking that caters to all levels of hikers.

In this blog post, we’ll look more closely at where to hike in Morocco, specifically in the four mountain ranges of High Atlas, Middle Atlas, Anti-Atlas and Rif Mountains. We’ll also provide information on best times to go depending on the region and practical tips for an unforgettable adventure.

Note: Morocco experienced a devastating earthquake in September 2023, near Marrakesh, and it decimated some villages, who are still recovering from the event.

mountains in morocco with camel

High Atlas Mountains

The Atlas Mountains, stretching across Morocco, are a haven for hikers seeking breathtaking scenery and a taste of traditional Berber culture. The High Atlas are the most popular of the three Atlas ranges, and for good reason: there are many well-marked trails amongst the arid, dramatic peaks. Some of the main hiking areas include:

Toubkal National Park

Toubkal Summit: Jebel Toubkal is the highest peak in North Africa, and reaching its summit is a challenging yet rewarding trek. The trail takes you through picturesque valleys and Berber villages.

Toubkal Circuit: This circuit around Toubkal offers a longer trek, allowing you to explore more of the surrounding areas and experience the diverse landscapes.

Azzaden Valley

Azzaden Trek: This trek takes you through the Azzaden Valley, passing through traditional Berber villages and providing breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

M’goun Massif

M’goun Circuit: This trek explores the M’goun Massif, known as the “Valley of Roses.” The trail takes you through rose gardens, terraced fields, and deep gorges.

 

Imlil, High Atlas Mountains

Todra Gorge

Todra Gorge presents a dramatic landscape of towering limestone cliffs and a narrow canyon. Hiking through the gorge allows visitors to witness the impressive rock formations, with the cliffs reaching up to 300 meters in height. The Todra River winds through the canyon, creating a refreshing oasis amid the arid surroundings.

Ouzoud Falls

These magnificent falls, amidst a lush setting not far from Marrakesh are a popular destination for those seeking some refuge from the heat of the city. Visitors can explore the network of trails leading to various viewpoints, allowing them to marvel at the impressive waterfalls from different angles. The area is also inhabited by Barbary macaques, adding a touch of wildlife charm to the experience.    

Base yourself in the town of Imlil (the most popular base for trekking in the Toubkal region). Ouirgane is another great option, but the village was damaged quite badly in the earthquake and travel there at this time is not advised. Marrakesh is the closest city to the High Atlas mountains and many people do day trips from there to go hiking in this region. Spring and fall are the best times to visit the High Atlas Mountains but for the highest peaks, you’ll want to go in summer to avoid snow on the trails.

ouzod falls, morocco

Middle Atlas Mountains

North of the High Atlas range are the lower altitude Middle Atlas mountains, where there are beautiful places to hike but less explored compared to the High Atlas region. The main areas include:

Ifrane National Park

Known as the “Switzerland of Morocco,” this national park boasts serene lakes, such as Lake Dayet Aoua, and various trails, including the very popular Monkey Trail (also known as the 3M Squared Loop).

Tazekka National Park

Tazekka National Park is another national park in the Middle Atlas mountains and contains dense cedar forests, verdant valleys, and rugged limestone gorges. One of the park’s highlights is the majestic Cedar Forest of Tazekka. The park’s well-maintained trails offer hikers and nature enthusiasts the chance to explore this pristine wilderness, with routes leading to panoramic viewpoints and hidden waterfalls.

Ifrane and Azrou are good bases for exploring the Middle Atlas mountains as well as the beautiful city of Fez (or Fes), whose ancient medina is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The spring and fall months are the best times to hike in the Middle Atlas region, as summer can have scorching temperatures. 

 

morocco valley

Anti-Atlas Mountains

Lying to the south of the High Atlas are the lesser visited Anti-Atlas Mountains, where trails wind through dramatic gorges, hidden oases, and remote Berber villages. The Anti-Atlas is renowned for its striking geological formations, including the iconic red rock formations of the Ameln Valley. The region’s arid canyons and valleys are dotted with ancient kasbahs and terraced fields.

Siroua Massif

The Siroua Massif offers a unique trekking experience with volcanic landscapes, small villages, and panoramic views. Hikers can ascend the peaks of Jebel Siroua, an extinct volcano and the second-highest peak in Morocco,

Ameln Valley

A beautiful valley with 26 villages scattered throughout, there are plenty of trekking opportunities here, hiking from village to village or climbing up Jebel el Kest.

Jebel Sagro

Jebel Sagro (spelled various different ways) is a range to the east of the Anti-Atlas, with three trekking areas: Kelaa Mgouna and Boumalne du Dades on the north side of the range and the southern village of N’Kob. 

Tafraoute, Taliouine and Taroudannt are good bases for hiking in the Anti-Atlas. The best time to hike in the Anti-Atlas is from October to April.

morocco

Rif Mountains

This mountain range along the northern coast of Morocco, known for its rolling green hills, quaint villages, and captivating Mediterranean vistas, offers a unique and tranquil escape for hikers seeking a blend of serenity and adventure.  Trails in the Rif Mountains wind through lush vegetation and fertile valleys, in stark contrast to the arid regions of southern Morocco. Highlights include:

Talassemtane National Park

Mountain paths go through ancient cedar forests, revealing the scenic beauty of the Mediterranean coastline and the distant peaks of the neighboring mountains.

Al-Hoceima National Park

Visitors can explore its well-marked hiking trails, winding through diverse landscape that includes rugged mountains, dense forests, and pristine coastal areas.

Base yourself in Chefchaouen, the famed “Blue City,” and easily access hiking trails when not exploring the labyrinthine streets and alleyways, painted in varying shades of blue, creating a visually stunning and otherworldly atmosphere. Chefchaouen’s medina, or old town, offers a unique blend of Moroccan and Andalusian influences, with vibrant markets, cozy cafes, and artisan workshops.

chefchaouen, morocco

Sahara Desert

For a truly unique hiking experience, venture into the Sahara Desert and explore its vast sea of golden sand dunes. Erg Chebbi and Erg Chigaga are two prominent dune areas that offer mesmerizing landscapes during sunrise and sunset. Guided camel treks or multi-day hikes provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in the solitude of the desert, witness star-studded night skies, and encounter nomadic communities that have thrived in this harsh environment for centuries.

erg chebbi, morocco

Resources

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and related sites. 

Books can be invaluable resources when planning a hiking trip to Morocco. Check out these guides to learn more:

  • Moroccan Atlas: The Trekking Guide, 2014, by Alan Palmer, Trailblazer Publications – https://amzn.to/49oaiBD
  • The High Atlas: Treks and Climbs on Morocco’s Biggest and Best Mountains, by Hamish Brown, 2013, Cicerone Guide – https://amzn.to/49mYn7b
  • Walks and Scrambles in the Moroccan Anti-Atlas, Tafraout, Jebel El Kest, Ait Mansour, Ameln Valley, Taskra and Tanalt, Cicerone Guide, by David Wood, 2018, Cicerone Press – https://amzn.to/48sv1CQ
  • Hiking and Walking Guide to Ifrane and the Middle Atlas, by Michael Peyron & Eric Ross, 2013, Al Akhawayan University Press

Practical Tips for Hiking in Morocco

Local Guides: While many areas have well-marked trails, consider hiring local guides who are knowledgeable about the terrain, culture, and can enhance your overall experience.

Cultural Respect: Respect local customs and traditions, especially in rural areas. Engage with the local communities respectfully, and ask for permission before taking photographs.

Hiking in Morocco is a soul-stirring journey through diverse landscapes, ancient traditions, and warm hospitality. Whether you’re conquering mountain peaks or traversing the endless sands of the Sahara, each step unveils a new facet of Morocco’s natural and cultural wonders. So, lace up your hiking boots, embrace the spirit of adventure, and embark on an unforgettable trek through the enchanting landscapes of Morocco.

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