rif mountains mount bouhachem mount soukna moroccoFor outdoor enthusiasts who want to experience trekking in Morocco without the crowds—or for those who have been to Morocco before but are looking for new places to explore—look no further than northern Morocco.

Talassemtane National Park, a vast area with 150,000 acres of forested land, is located near the Rif Mountains, a region north of the Middle Atlas Mountains. While many people opt for tours in the High Atlas Mountains, those who set their sights on Mount Bouhachem and Mount Soukna will have the opportunity to experience Morocco’s great outdoors without rubbing elbows with countless other tour groups.

If you sign up for a Rif Mountain trekking adventure to Mount Bouhachem and Mount Soukna, you’ll most likely begin at Grankha, a popular spot near Talassemtane National Park. The trek from Grankha will take three days and two nights, with five or six hours of hiking each day.

Your legs will be put to work right away when you begin the climb up Mount Bouhachem, which is nearly a 3,000-foot climb in elevation. From the top of the peak, you’ll be rewarded with views of the forested land below, cascades in the distance and local wildlife and birds scattered around you. Your tour guide should be able to answer any of your questions about the natural surroundings, flora and fauna you encounter on Mount Bouhachem or throughout the duration of your trek.

After the morning’s physical exertion, the afternoon stroll down the peak to Hommar will be a welcome reprieve. If you’ve made plans with a tour operator, you won’t need to pack camping gear for the trek. Instead, you’ll have the opportunity to stay in the home of a local resident in Hommar, providing you with a cultural experience to match the adventurous one.

On the second day of your Rif Mountains excursion, you’ll head toward Mount Soukna, which peaks at just under 5,300 feet. Now sufficiently distanced from the city, you’ll have the opportunity to camp beneath the wide open sky of Morocco. Your tour operator will provide tents.

Tie up your hiking boots for the third and final day on the trail, which takes you from Mount Soukna to Mount Mejbarra. Take this opportunity to reflect on your trip in the Rif Mountains; before you know it, you’ll be dropped back into the hustle and bustle of Chefchaouen.

This isn’t, of course, a bad thing. In fact, Chefchaouen is a fun, quaint town, and there are still plenty of things to explore once you reach the city. If you’re a history buff, consider poking around in Chefchaouen’s medina and mosque, which date back to the 1400s. For those who prefer to stick to nature, head back into the mountains or check out the nearby national park. And, because of its location, Chefchaouen also serves as a gateway for a coastal escape. What better way to top off your Moroccan vacation?

Posted by JoAnna Haugen, managing editor at Journey Beyond Travel and author of Kaleidoscopic Wandering.

Photo by Jaboney.