Atlas Mountains travel guide
The spine of Morocco, separating the Atlantic from the Sahara, the Atlas Mountains soar up to 4,167m at the snowy summit of Mount Toubkal, and comprise the High, Middle and Anti-Atlas. Our Atlas Mountains travel guide reveals the best way to explore this stunning sierra, with cool Kasbahs, Berber villages, juniper forests and waterfalls all featured in our interactive map.
Is an Atlas Mountains vacation for you?
Go to the Atlas Mountains if…
… you love to trek in untouched wilderness. There are plenty of expert mountain guides to lead you, with muleteers to carry your bags, and the valleys, canyons, peaks just go on forever – with hardly another person in sight.
… you have experienced Morocco before and love the culture, but want to see something other than the souks , sea or Sahara. This is the land of the Berber, and they will welcome you and look after you, as long as you respect their mountains.
… you are nervous of Morocco’s heat. The Atlas Mountains are much cooler than the rest of the Morocco, even in summer, where there can be a 15°C difference. Bring plenty of layers.
… summits are your thing. Mount Toubkal is one of the world’s greatest climbs, and the highest peak in North Africa at 4,167m. It must only be tackled with expert high mountain guides, however, as this is a strenuous trek in all seasons, and in winter you will need training in alpinism.
What do trips to the Atlas Mountains entail?
There are many ways to visit this colossal artery that runs the length of Morocco, depending on how much you want to immerse yourself in mountain magnificence. You can chill out at a beautiful Kasbah, breathe in the mountain air, take in the fine views and eat superb Moroccan food. You can go hardcore and summit Mount Toubkal, or you can walk at your own pace on a tailor made trip, driving across the high mountain passes. You can go hiking in all seasons, and go for High, Middle or Anti Atlas. And you can push the boat out and go canyoning, cycling or camping. The world is your Atlas.
Summiting Mount Toubkal
These trips are always in small groups with experienced high mountain leaders and porters. Summiting Mount Toubkal is a challenging expedition, especially in winter, with a final climb to the summit of North Africa’s highest peak at 4,167m. It takes three days to complete, depending on the route you take, most starting in the village of Imlil, just over an hour from Marrakech, and yet a veritable portal into another world. Follow ancient mule tracks up to a mountain hut at Toubkal Base Camp (3,207m) and then start the final ascent the next morning. You usually stop at another mountain gite such as Arroumd on the way back down again.
Trekking the valleys
For the more moderate hikers, there are so many wonderful highlights out there. Most vacations are guided, small group tours with a duration of around a week. And many are center based, staying in gites such as in the High Atlas village of Tijhza, from where you can do all day loop walks around giant gorges and luscious valleys. Or in a stunning kasbah in the Imlil Valley, chill out for a day, then hike out to the trekking lodge that they have in the Azzaden Valley, with its own private mountain hammam. Hike back down the next day, or take further hikes with the help of their own guides to cols such as Tizi n’Teouti and Tizi n’Tougdalt. If you aren’t center based, then you will be staying in mountain gites or wild camping along the way.