One of the most spectacular places on earth is the Toubkal National Park near Marrakech. Picturesque backdrops of the beautiful city await tourists embarking on a hiking morocco adventure. This is the ideal place for nature lovers, hikers, family and friends to come together for a relaxing day in the almost year-round Moroccan sunshine.
Hiking Mount Toubkal is a popular recreation that tourists and residents alike enjoy. This trekking journey provides insight into an ancient civilization. The historical aspect is matched with the physical aspect of hiking up the highest mountain in North Africa. This is the majestic Jebel Mount Toubkal.
Where to start
Most treks start in the village of Imlil. This starting point provides a window into authentic Moroccan rural country life. Here pink and earth colored houses are tucked away among modern day conveniences–the villages have electricity and internet and so forth. The heart of the village houses a car park/taxi area that acts as the central transportation hub of the village. Scattered about the village are quaint little cafes and shops that give travelers a sense of what life in the country is all about. Local people are friendly and enjoy engaging in conversation–and selling wares–with tourists.
The beautiful village of Imlil is an ideal starting point during the winter and summer months. The hustle and bustle of local activity blends in with the backdrop of the majestic Toubkal National Park. The entire area is blanketed with all types of trees: from Juniper, Atlas Cedar, Holm-oak, and Barbary thuya to Aleppo pine, Carob, Argan and Kermes Oak. You’ll find this diverse hodgepodge at various altitude levels. Above the altitude of 2,500 meters, the mountains–especially in Morocco’s Middle Atlas Mountains–include colder and more arid steppe. With streams and underground springs, there’s low-growing vegetation endemic only to this area.
Adventures for trekking in Morocco begin here at the base of the Jebel Toubkal Mountains. Toubkal hiking is one of the most spectacular mountain walks a tourist could imagine while on a Morocco holiday.
Jbel Toubkal Hiking
There are two ways to approach a Toubkal hiking adventure. One is to complete a straight up and down trek. This can be completed in a span of two days but three will make it all the more worthwhile. The second option is a Toubkal hiking trip that spans an entire week. During this span, hikers will have adequate time to adjust to the changes in altitude. A hiking Morocco adventure is one of the best ways for tourists to take in the beautiful scenery while escaping the manhandling of everyday life.
The first base camp for a Toubkal hiking adventure is the village of Imlil. From Marrakech, the first destination stopping point is Asni. Here, bus and taxi services end. This is rarely an issue because Asni and Imlil are located a mere 17 km from one another. In this short distance, tourists are treated to natural Moroccan beauty. For example, the valley, river and two small villages blend together in a setting that mimics that of a Monet, van Rijn or van Gogh painting. It takes a moment for tourists to realize the sight before them is reality and not hanging on a wall in a famous art gallery.
In addition to natural beauty, the air quality in the village of Imlil will rid you immediately of any lung toxins. This is attributed to the village’s altitude (1740 meters above sea level). If the altitude has you worried about exhaustion, do not fret as there are a variety of spots along this High Atlas hike to stretch out and relax weary muscles.
A stream provides the perfect starting point for the hike up into the vast Toubkal Mountains. Once this stream is crossed (often dry in the dryer season), the climb takes on an upward slope. From here, your Mt. Toubkal hike will continue on for quite some time until you reach a mountain pass. At this point, hikers are at 3,940 meters–a location of a new and older base camp. The mountain trail then turns left and heads hikers towards the coveted Toubkal summit.
The Toubkal summit is the highest point in North Africa. Its exact location point is 4, 167 meters above sea level. The trek upwards towards the Toubkal Summit is not for the faint hearted, however. For those daring enough to make the hike, Mother Nature rewards the journey with some of the most picturesque sceneries of rolling hills, undulating mountain tops and refracted colors nature provides. The scenery unfolds to present the majestic High Atlas Mountains and Anti-Atlas Mountain Ranges. After a few moments to soak in the hard earned beauty, it is time to turn around and begin the descent back to either the base camp or Imlil.
For first time adventures, it is advised to hire the services of local guides, which can be done through a local company. These individuals arrange all aspects of the hike including food, accommodations and mule use. The mules are utilized to transport bags and other supplies up and down the mountain trail.
When to Visit
Toubkal hiking adventures are best during the spring months. During this season, surrounding trees are in full bloom and the weather temperature is perfect for hiking. One of the most unfavorable times to go trekking Morocco is during the summer. Temperatures reach triple digits making a simple hike virtually unbearable. It is possible to hike during the winter season, but often heavy snows close area roads and make winter Trekking Mount Toubkal virtually impossible or deathly dangerous.
The Toubkal National Park in Morocco provides unforgettable sights and sounds for tourists to create mental mementos of the fabulous time spent trekking Morocco.
Journey Beyond Travel offers a number of quality routes for trekking in Morocco with opportunities in all of the country’s national parks. Whether Toubkal National Park is high on your list, the less-discovered Mgoun National Park, or hiking in the lower-altitude Rif Mountains near Chefchaouen, we can help you put together an affordable, well organized, and safe adventure all year round. For travelers without a lot of time to trek, consider a High Atlas Mountains Day Trip from Marrakesh into one of the wonderous valleys of the Toubkal National Park. For all of our walks, hikes, and treks, we arrange a customized itinerary to fit your timeframe, transportation, meals, baggage carry, all led by one of our top-notch Journey Beyond Travel mountain guides.
by Sam Mitchell