Hiking Morocco’s Atlas Mountains

Morocco is a dream come true for lovers of the great outdoors and hiking enthusiasts.

The Atlas Mountains stretch across Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Made up of several ranges, they separate the coasts from the mighty Sahara Desert. In Morocco, there are three main sections: the High, Middle, and Anti Atlas ranges. A haven for trekkers, hikers, and climbers, the Atlas Mountains can be surprisingly quiet and peaceful. Outdoor pursuits are still relatively new in Morocco, meaning that you can enjoy the great outdoors without the crowds.

Best Places to Hike in the Atlas Mountains

Jbel Toubkal is often a draw for serious hikers. As the highest mountain in North Africa, it can be a challenge to climb! Conquering the majestic peak takes a few days, leading through traditional villages and varied terrain.

The Toubkal Circuit is another favourite route for experienced hikers. Crossing soaring mountains and winding through craggy valleys, the circuit typically takes around a week to complete.  

The M’Goun Massif has a number of trails that vary in length and difficulty. Follow the M’Goun Circuit for around six days, hiking up M’Goun peak, crossing the Aghouri Pass, seeing the Tarkedit Plateau, and walking through Ain Aflafal valley.    

The remote valley of Ait Bouguemez is considered to be one of Morocco’s most picturesque places. The valley and lakes have several scenic walking routes. Other top places in the High Atlas Mountains include Puanoukrim Mountain, the Dades Gorge, and the Todra Gorge.

Tips for Hiking in the Atlas Mountains

  • Take time to acclimatise before tackling the taller peaks of the High Atlas Mountains. Altitude sickness can make you feel really sick.
  • Wear modest clothes, particularly when passing through mountain villages. Morocco is a fairly conservative nation, particularly in rural areas.
  • Pack clothes for all conditions. Daytimes can be warm and evenings cool. Also make sure you have appropriate hiking footwear.
  • Although not essential, walking poles can be beneficial. In higher elevations, specialist snow and ice equipment may be needed, especially in the winter months.
  • Carry the day-to-day essentials with you in a small daypack; if transported by mule, you won’t have your main pack with you.
  • Drink plenty of water while hiking. It can also be worth carrying rehydration formulas with you.
  • Ensure you purchase comprehensive travel insurance.
  • Be wary of stray animals.
  • Take earplugs to help get a restful sleep.
  • Protect against the sun with sunscreen, a cap, and long, loose clothing.
  • Make sure you have enough cash for the duration of your trek and carry smaller notes as some vendors won’t always have change.
  • Avoid swimming in freshwater lakes and streams otherwise you may end up with a parasitic infection.