Trekking Atlas Mountains
High & Central High Atlas
Toubkal & Mulhacen
Where the sun sets over the snow-clad peaks of Atlas Mountains
The Berber name for the Atlas Mountains is “Mountains of Mountains”. Evidently so, as the Moroccan Atlas ranges are home to North Africa’s highest point, Jebel Toubkal, along with six other true summits above 4000m (but some modern references may note ten peaks above 4000m). The upper reaches of the Atlas are covered in some snow for most of the year and offer dramatic views from afar, especially during the clear light conditions in winter months.
The Atlas ranges (Middle, High, Anti) broadly dissect Morocco in two, north-east to south-west, and run for some 1500km in length, albeit not in a continuous chain. The High Atlas alone is approx. 700km long reaching from the Algerian border to the Atlantic coast. North Africa’s highest summit was only first climbed in 1923 and the National Park of the Jebel Toubkal massif, created in 1942, is the highest section of the Atlas. The Toubkal massif is just 90mins drive from Marrakech. All but one of Morocco’s 4000m peaks are within this region.
The remaining 4000m peak, Jebel Mgoun the country’s third highest summit, is located in the Central High Atlas. There are numerous trailheads to access Jebel Mgoun; e.g. the picturesque Ait Bougmez valley is 4 hours drive, and the Mgoun Valley (the Valley of Roses) 6 hours drive from Marrakech. The Mgoun massif is far more off the beaten path than the Toubkal massif and, given the many open access routes to the summit, from the North and South sides, it offers a great variety of remote altitude trekking.
High & Central High Atlas
Our trekking itineraries in the High Atlas encompass tours in the Toubkal National Park, approx. 70km south of Marrakech, named for the highest point in North Africa, Jebel Toubkal. In the Central High Atlas we offer tours across the Mgoun massif, approx. 180km south-east of Marrakech, and a less well-known trekking region than the Toubkal massif.
Toubkal & Mulhacen
This is a chance to ascend Mt Toubkal (4167m) and Mulhacen (3482m), the highest peaks in both mainland Morocco and Spain, in one amazing yet intensive week of trekking or mountaineering. You can also extend your stay either in Morocco’s Sahara Desert, on its Atlantic Coast and / or in its Imperial Cities, or in Spain’s Sierra Nevada near Granada.
The Atlas ranges are characterised by a way of life seemingly unchanged in hundreds of years and the mountains are the domain of the Berber population, Morocco’s original people. Villagers for the most part rely on subsistence farming through traditional methods, by hand or with mules, and keep a small-holding of animals with each family. Shepherds tending their flock of sheep and goats will be a regular sight. Houses are constructed from pise mud and / or stone and often villages will perch precipitously on steep hillsides or at the base of mountain walls.
In the heart of the Atlas expect to also discover glorious “Alpine” scenery, beautiful, deep river valleys with patchwork fields & colourful terracing either side of typical Berber villages, olive groves & orchards, swathes of juniper & pine trees, and wild pastures & meadows.
The Anti-Atlas offers a different but equally stunning mountain experience and is the bridge between the High & Middle Atlas ranges and the Sahara. The landscapes become ever more arid and rugged the further south we travel, with rock formations more remarkable and unexpected. The range is still of course habitable. In parts of the Anti-Atlas we may even come across semi-nomadic tribes – people who migrate north in spring (returning south in autumn) with their animal herd to search for grazing land in the higher parts of the Atlas.
Thank you so much for a stunning adventure. How do you get a man well into his sixties, his slightly younger sister & her husband, and a fairly fit 30 year old to Toubkal summit? Well I think a really good start would be to use Wild Morocco. Right from the initial enquiry stage they gave good advice, answered all my silly questions quickly and cheerfully, and were flexible in every respect, they really are customer focussed. Hassan and his two colleagues were brilliant in every way.Mike & family / 3 Days / 2 Night Jebel Toubkal Summit Trek
Thanks so much to the team at Wild Morocco for organising my trek through the Atlas Mountains and up Mount Toubkal. It was an incredible journey that I know I'll never forget and one of the most amazing experiences of my life – I'd definitely put it in the top ten things I've ever done! Thanks again for all your help!Jo / High Atlas Mountain Trek 4 Days with summit of Jebel Toubkal
It's been an amazing week well planned by Wild Morocco to max the experience and great service and a lovely guide/driver. We like to pack a lot into the week so whilst it’s moving a lot there’s still some time to relax…it was an excellent trip, lots of fun, with some of the most stunning photos we’ve ever had.Iain & Sally / 4x4 Tour Marrakech, Atlas Mountains, Sahara Desert & Atlantic Coast
Thank you very much for the excursion we both enjoyed ourselves very much!Beatrice / 4x4 Tour 5 Days with Atlas Mountains, Sahara Desert & Berber Desert Camp