Top three reasons to hike the Atlas Mountains
Heart of Moroccan mountain tourism and the highest peak in North Africa
Home to the Berber people, dramatic valleys, and long, vast ravines
Boasts several ranges that separate the Sahara from the sea
The Atlas Mountains stretch for 2,500km (1554 miles) through Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. The wilderness that is influenced by the heat of the desert combined with big peaks, luscious valleys, and winding rivers creates an exquisite backdrop for a few days of hiking. Walking through vast forests of Holm oaks, cedars and junipers, you will encounter very contrasting landscapes overlooking the surrounding fertile valleys.
The most popular summit of Atlas is jebel Toubkal (Mount Toubkal) — at 4,167 meters (13,671 ft), it is the highest peak in the whole of North Africa. At 1,800 metres (5,900 ft) above sea level, you can find a small village Imlil, a good base for attempting to summit Toubkal as it lies at the end of the tarmac road, and is a natural place to hire mules for the onward trek. Traditional Berber villages of Imlil valley, the ease of access, and spectacular vistas overlooking miles on end of jagged peaks on one side and desert valleys on the other make this area a real must-do for avid hikers. Find out more about the best trails for hiking in the Atlas Mountain from Mohamed Toudaoui, mountain and desert guide and co-owner of Trekking in Morocco.
Year-round, but peak season is from December to April
Your adventure begins in Marrakech and Casablanca is less than 3 hours away
Intermediate to advanced
Choose how you spend your days
3-Day Moderate Hike to Toubkal Summit
This adventure will lead you to the highest peak in North Africa in only three days. As you head along the Ait Mizane Valley, you’ll discover rivers, traditional villages, pastoral shrines, and jaw-dropping vistas. The summit offers breathtaking 360° views over the surrounding green valleys and Anti-Atlas and the Sahara, as well as other summits in the area.
5-Day Mount Toubkal Advanced Winter Climb
Spend five days on an extraordinary hike and explore the wild mountain Toubkal. Take a progressive route to the summit at over 4000m (13,671 ft), the highest point in all of North Africa, and enjoy the spectacular panoramas from the top! The legendary hospitality of the Berbers you’ll meet along the way, the Moroccan art of living and the exceptional natural environment guarantee an unforgettable adventure.
6-Day Hiking the Atlas Mountain Summits
Visit Marrakech and join your guide on a 6-day trek that will take you to three Atlas peaks over 4000 meters (13,000ft)! This is a fantastic adventure both in terms of sporting and culture — meet warm Moroccan people while you push yourself to the limits on the spectacular and icy summits of Atlas. Experience the hospitality of the Berber people in the High Atlas region where the highest peaks are located, including Toubkal. The trail will test you, but the rewards once you reach the top are fantastic!
Itinerary for the 3-Day Moderate Hike
Day 1: Marrakech – Imlil
After arrival in Marrakech, your guides will transfer you to the little village of Imlil. Here you will be able to explore the village, meet some Berber people, and spend the night in a guesthouse.
Day 2: Imlil – Toubkal Refuge
Begin your trek by heading along the Ait Mizane Valley, first passing the village of Armed and then heading to the shrine of Sidi Chamarouch. Continue and cross the flood plains along old traditional mule tracks, and head up into the high rocky cliffs above the valley. You’ll eventually reach the pastoral shrine symbolized by a white-painted boulder — the burial place of the king of the Jinns, which attracts hundreds of pilgrims every year. From here the trail continues to climb steadily, zigzagging its way up to the snowline and the Toubkal Refuge (3206m/10,500ft), your stop for the night.
Day 3: Toubkal Refuge – Summit – Refuge – Imlil – Marrakech
Early in the morning, attempt to summit Jebel Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa. The route takes you up the south cirque, crossing a stream above the refuge. The hike is relatively straightforward, but the ice and the altitude will make the going quite difficult on occasion. Don’t doubt for a second that your efforts won’t be rewarded — the views along the way make the journey more than worthwhile! Panoramas from the summit are unrestricted in every direction, from the Marrakesh Plain to the High Atlas in the north, and as far south as the Anti-Atlas and the Sahara! Retrace your steps down the mountain and head back towards Imlil before your guides transfer you back to Marrakech.
Itinerary for the 5-Day Advanced Climb
Day 1: Marrakech – Imlil
Meet your guides in Marrakech around 9am and drive to Imlil Valley where you’ll grab a cup of mint tea in Riad Jnane Imlil and check in. Start your first day trek to Tizi Mzik Pass at 2400m (7875ft) where you’ll have lunch and head back to Riad Atlas Imlil where you’ll spend the night.
Day 2: Imlil – Chamharouch – Toubkal Refuge
Begin your second day at the break of dawn and cross the Imlil valley and the largest village in the Atlas mountains. Head to Sidi Chamharouch Shrine where you’ll have lunch and do a short visit to the small market. The pace of the hike will change to slow, because of the snow adorning the trail. Enjoy the vistas for the rest of the trail to the refuge, a mountain hut of Toubkal. Reenergize with a hot drink and cake and take a shower while dinner is getting ready. After a nice meal, relax and spend the night at the refuge.
Day 3: Toubkal Refuge – Jbel Ouankerim
Wake up early, because today you’ll climb Jebel Ouankerim. Begin with a nice walk up to the valley and head to the Tizi Ouagane pass through the summit’s ridge at 4088m (13,415ft). The views from the top of Toubkal and the surrounding mountains are spectacular! In the late morning/early afternoon you’ll start your descent back to the refuge for a well-deserved hot beverage and a relaxing afternoon.
Day 4: Toubkal Refuge – Mount Toubkal
Today you’ll ascend Toubkal, so prepare for an early start and a strenuous day. The hike is immediately steep, traversing through scree and snow before reaching the hard Step of Tizi N Toubkal (4000m/13,123ft). The climb might be a challenge, but you’ll be rewarded with the best views you could imagine. Have some snacks at the top of Toubkal and enjoy the moment. Take a few photos because this is one of those unforgettable experiences you’ll always reminisce about! Descend and be back to the refuge in time for a late lunch and a nap to recover from the climb.
Day 5: Toubkal Refuge – Imlil – Marrakech
On your last day, you’ll head back down to the Imlil valley and take a break in Chamharouch for lunch. Continue walking down to the center of Ait Mizane Valley before your transfer to Marrakech.
Itinerary for the 6-Day Hiking the Atlas Mountain Summits
Day 1: Marrakech - Imlil (1750m) - Camp du Toubkal (3200m)
Meet your guides and head to Imlil, from where you’ll start your trek. Cross magnificent gardens and apple and walnut orchards before reaching Aremd. The path continues on a mule trail very popular with pilgrims from Sidi Chamharouch. Continue to the two shelters nearby where you’ll have dinner and spend the night.
Walking time: 5h
Elevation: + 1450m
Transfer time: 1h30
Day 2: Ascent of Toubkal (4167m)
Be prepared for an early departure by a steep and rocky path that will take you to the highest peak of Morocco and North Africa. Enjoy the sunrise and the magnificent view of the chain of High Atlas and the neighboring valleys, the Siroua, and the borders of the desert. After a day of walking, you’ll descend to base camp for dinner. Enjoy the starry skies and get some sleep!
Walking time: 5 to 6 hours
Elevation: + 1000m / – 1000m
Day 3: Ascent of Timzguida Ouanoukrim (4089m) and Ras Ouanoukrim (4083m)
Today you’ll have to depart very early for the ascent of the second highest peak of the Atlas, the Tizi Ouaguane pass (3750m/12,300ft). Passage through a more technical and sporty slope will take you to the small plateau of Ouanoukrim and its summit. You’ll love the view of the entire Anti Atlas chain and the Souss plain! Have dinner and spend the night in tents near the refuge. For those who do not feel like climbing a second ascent, it is possible to stay and rest at the base camp.
Walking time: 6 to 7 hours
Elevation: + 900m / -900m
Day 4: Camp du Toubkal - Col de Aguelzim (3550m) - Azib Tamsoult (2250m)
After a hearty breakfast, get ready for a morning climb via a mule track to reach the Aguelzim ridge. Discover the spectacular views of the Tazaghart massif, the Azzaden valley, and the great plain of Haouz before descending to the waterfalls and the sheepfolds of Tamsoult.
Walking time: 5h
Elevation: + 350m / -1300m
Day 5: Azib Tamsoulte (2250m) - Tizi Oussem -Id Issa (1750m)
Continue your descent to the Berber villages and the green valley of Azzaden, passing through the beautiful village of Tizi Oussem, where you’ll have lunch with the locals. Descend through terraced crops to Id Issa and arrive at your cottage overlooking the entire valley! Relax and spend the night in the cottage.
Walking time: 3.5 h
Day 6: Id Issa - Col du Tacht (2000m) - Im Oughlad (1400) - Marrakech
After breakfast, head to the Tacht pass offering a panoramic view of the Imlil valley. Arrive at the village of Imi Oughlad and have lunch in the shade of the walnut trees before returning by car to the city. Spend a relaxing night in a riad in Marrakech before heading home!
Walking time: 4h
Elevation: + 250m / -600m
Transfer time: 1h15
Meet your guides
Lead guide and co-Founder of Trekking Holidays MoroccoLead guide and co-Founder of Trekking Holidays Morocco
Lead guide and co-Founder of Trekking Holidays Morocco
Trekking Holidays MoroccoTrekking Holidays Morocco
Trekking Holidays Morocco
Amazing planning by Hassan to organise the trek to the peak of mount toubkal for me and my friends. Omar service and hospitality at the guest House was fantastic, with some amazing food. Rashid was a great guide throughout the whole trek. Overall it was a fantastic and unbelievable experience. Me and my friends thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of getting to the peak.
My dad and I went to Morocco and was able to have Hassan as our tour guide. He was very nice and by the end of the trip, he was like a brother to me. Having him as a guide made our experience so much better as we felt more integrated in the unique culture of Morocco. This made me want to come back again soon and if I return, I am for sure having Hassan as my tour guide again!
We had Hassan as a guide for 8 days.I could not have asked for a better guide or experience. Hassan made this a trip of a lifetime by showing us places & sites we would never have found on our own. Highly recommend this company.
I found this company in a Morocco travel blog with good reviews. Now I can return the favor to those who are traveling to Morocco. Excellent service, good price. They are 100% focused on customer satisfaction. They were all the time taking care of us and adapting the tour to our needs. Guide was excellent and his knowledge about the country, culture, people and traditions was excellent. Many thanks Hassan for such a nice experience in your country. Special thanks to our driver…. He made us feel safe and comfortable. Highly recommended company.
A rich experience as an adventure in the mountains of Moroccan high Atlas, lots of views in a special nature with a smooth climate, friendly people who are always ready to provide help , thank you Trekking Holidays Morocco, hope you try it fellas !!!
Things to know
Covid measures in Atlas Mountains, Morocco
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Morocco, please refer to the official Visit Morocco website.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get on this adventure:
- An experienced, English speaking, local rock-climbing guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- All meals
- Hot beverages
- Accommodation in gites and camps
- Mule to carry your staff
- Transfer to and from the trailhead
You can expect typical Moroccan dishes (tagine, couscous, etc.). Fresh produce and meat are usually bought in the mountains. Picnic or salads are usually served at noon, and warm cooked meals in the evening. If you have any dietary restrictions, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
What’s not included:
- Transportation to Marrakech
- Accommodations before and after your adventure
How fit do I need to be?
These hiking adventures are for intermediate to advanced hikers with previous experience with long-distance hiking and excellent fitness. Intermediate hikes will see a little more change in elevation and hikes will start to increase in length, hiking anywhere between four to eight miles per day. You can expect an occasional steep descent and challenging switchbacks. Keep in mind, the weather in summer can be very hot, and quite cold and changeable in the winter months, and you’ll also be packing a daypack filled with water and other things you’ll need throughout the day.
The alpine terrain, however, can be challenging and the weather unpredictable. The summits are more technical than the regular climbs and require the usage of crampons and ice axe. Additional training recommendations for intermediate and advanced day hikes, include hiking for three days per week at least 12 weeks prior to your trip. Start with short hikes about one hour in length with a light daypack. Also, the altitude can really catch people off guard, so for a 72-hour period before your trip begins, ensure that you are consuming sufficient amounts of sodium and fluids.
What do I need to bring?
Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:
- Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 25-40L bag)
- Hiking poles — optional
- Crampons – during winter months, can be rented
- Ice axe – during winter months, can be rented
- Ski goggles – during winter months, can be rented
- Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
- Lightweight hiking boots or shoes
- Spare clothes for layering
- Hiking pants
- Hiking socks
- Fleece jacket
- Warm, down jacket
- Waterproof rain jacket
- Rain pants (depend of the season)
- Wool hat
- Comfortable shoes for camp
- A three-season sleeping bag and mat
- Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Camera — optional (but recommended)
Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- For this group adventure, the max guest to guide ratio is 6:1 with up to 12 people per group.
- The cost per person decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to hike with friends and family!
- It takes a minimum of 2 people for the tour to operate.
Hiking in Atlas Mountain can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 17, you’re good to go.
- Minors younger than 17 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
If your group has hikers under the age of 17, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Marrakech, most people fly into Mohammed V International Airport in Casablanca, just under 3 hours away, or into Marrakech Menara Airport. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle service.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet in Marrakech. From there, you will head to Imil where your adventure begins!