Walking vacations in Morocco Overview
Exploring a sweltering Marrakech souk, you might not guess that the cool, peaceful footpaths of the High Atlas are less than 70km away. Once here, a network of trails threads through villages and valleys, while Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa, beckons serious climbers. The Anti-Atlas lies further south and offers gentler gradients, plus the chance to hike up Jebel Aklim. One thing all ranges have in common is the Berber people. Long practiced in sustainable living in these mountains, they guide you into their world with expertise and warmth. Read more in our walking in Morocco travel guide.
Our top Hiking vacations in Morocco
Map & highlightsJebel Toubkal (4,167m) is the tallest mountain in North Africa, or you could try scaling Jebel Aklim (2,531m) in the Anti-Atlas, where views are dramatic but less strenuous to come by. Tizi n’Tichka Pass is another highlight: the loftiest – and probably bendiest – road pass in Morocco. It dips down to the Azzaden Valley, where you can stay in a peaceful trekking lodge. Or you might be based in Imlil, a tiered village that looks tiny against the High Atlas Mountains that surround it. Tijhza is a more remote base for hikes into the High Atlas and Lake Tamda.
1. Azzaden Valley
More remote and less developed than the neighbouring Imlil Valley, the Azzaden Valley boasts a spectacular trekking lodge in Aït Aïssa village with its own hammam. From here, take easy walks to beautiful Berber villages, or try a more taxing seven-hour circuit – one takes in the Tizi n’Tzikert col at 2,930m, another particularly beautiful route passes the cols Tizi n’Teouti at 2,450m and Tizi n’Tougdalt at 2,700m.
Many walking vacations in the High Atlas begin in the gateway village of Imlil, dotted with pink houses and walnut trees and busy with trekkers and muleteers. From here, climb Jebel Toubkal, trek through the Toubkal massif or take easy walks out to surrounding Berber villages, through wheat fields and apple orchards. The wonderful Kasbah du Toubkal is a 15-minute walk uphill from Imlil.
3. Jebel Aklim
This is one of the highest peaks (2,531m) in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. Climb it for spectacular views across to the High Atlas, then trek the Aklim Range circuit through villages surrounded by almond trees and palms, such as Irtem and M’dint, aka City of Cats. Here, brightly dressed Berber people, who still lead very traditional lifestyles, are wonderfully welcoming.
4. Jebel Toubkal
Jebel Toubkal is the highest peak in North Africa, with views to the Atlantic coast and Sahara Desert from the summit. Reaching the top, at 4,167m, it is a strenuous trek in all seasons and shouldn’t be attempted without a guide. Beginning in Imlil, the climb usually takes two to four days, with different routes available, staying in mountain refuges or wild camping.
The remote village of Tijhza is a pleasant base for day hikes into the High Atlas, climbing through the terraced fields into high summer pastures for fantastic views over Ouarikt Gorge. Seasoned walkers will enjoy the trek up to Lake Tamda. This azure lake is a kilometre long, full of trout and lies between the impressive peaks of Jebel Anghomar and Jebel Tamda.
Tizi n’Tichka Pass
6. Tizi n’Tichka Pass
This is the highest road pass in Morocco; a switchback but scenic route that signals the start of the High Atlas walking territory – a landscape vastly different to the plains below but only an hour and a half from Marrakech. At 2,260m, there are great views over the mountains that await, before the descent into the Azzaden Valley, famous for its juniper forests.
Self guided or small group?
It’s a rare vacation that leaves you completely untethered in Morocco. Tailor made walking vacations mix self guided and guided walks, balancing the challenge of exploring easier paths on your own with supported treks tackling trickier mountain paths. And because they’re tailor made, you can choose which ratio of guided and self guided walks works best for you. Small group walking vacations in Morocco are always guided. You’ll have a fixed itinerary and travel in a group of up to 16 fellow adventurers. Solo travelers can choose to share a room to skip the single supplement.
At 4,167m, climbing Mount (Jebel) Toubkal is a challenge, but an attainable one for hikers with good fitness levels and experience in multi-day hikes. Most treks take two or more days to get to the summit. You’ll probably start in the village of Imlil, stopping off at a mountain refuge or camp for the night, and completing the ascent as the light creeps up the mountain slopes the next morning. Berbers often make the best guides, leading you through the valleys, orchards and villages with care. With the peace and views, it’s hard to believe you’re only a 90-minute drive away from Marrakech.
Idraren draren – or mountains of mountains – is the fitting Berber name for the High Atlas Mountains. The western section is home to Mount Toubkal – a peak so tall that you can see it from Marrakech. Some vacations include a strenuous trek to the top, while others focus on exploring easier paths in the foothills that pass through turquoise streams, date and walnut orchards, and ochre villages. The Central High Atlas region is more remote, with architecture more akin to villages in Western and Central Asia. One thing is for sure: you’ll need a great guide when walking in the High Atlas.
More vacation ideas
From €210per room per night
High Atlas Trekking Lodge in the beautiful Azzaden Valley
From €1466 to €152610 days ex flights
Trek in style at Kasbah du Toubkal, then Marrakech & Coast
More about walking vacations in Morocco
While most walkers focus on the High Atlas, hikers in the know head for the Anti-Atlas. The lower altitudes mean a greater variety of landscapes, communities and wildlife. Oases and orchards farmed by brightly dressed villagers fill the valleys, and you can look out for Barbary macaques and gazelles. There are some decent peaks calling, too, including Jebel Aklim (2,531m), which gives views right over the villages to the snow-dipped High Atlas. As fewer tourists tread the trails in the Anti-Atlas, expect rocky, unmaintained footpaths and little signage; if in doubt, choose a guided walk.
Toubkal in winter
There’s climbing Mount Toubkal… and then there’s climbing Mount Toubkal in winter. Between October and April, the mountain is transformed with snowy slopes and empty trails that reward adventurous hikers. It’s a great first step into mountaineering. The trails aren’t too steep, safety briefings show you how to use ice axes and crampons, plus you’ll be in the hands of expert mountain guides. When to go winter climbing on Mount Toubkal depends on how much snow you want underfoot, as well as the sort of temperatures you’re happy trekking in.