Morocco: The High Atlas Trek

High Atlas Mountains, Berber Villages, Marrakesh, Fes, & Rabat


A trek through the spectacular High Atlas Mountains is not just one of the most scenic hikes in the world—it’s also an immersion into the culture of the Berber people, Morocco’s original inhabitants. Few roads penetrate this craggy mountain stronghold, where the agrarian way of life has changed very little in a hundred years. As we trek, we see Berber women in brightly colored dresses tending fields amid picturesque mud-brick villages, and higher up, we meet nomadic shepherds in summer pastures. We often visit homes to share a cup of mint tea with these friendly, open, mountain people. The trek is strenuous, but scenic grandeur abounds, from towering limestone peaks to sheer red-rock canyons. Our journey also explores Fes, a fairytale city whose medina still looks much as it did a thousand years ago, and we relax post-trek in the garden city of Marrakesh, where fabled bazaars beckon with their henna and kohl sellers, trance healers, and tarot card readers.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
Casablanca / Rabat / Fes

We enjoy Casablanca and Rabat, from the immense Hassan II Mosque to the 12th century Oudaya Kasbah, then head for the glories of ancient Fes, nestled in a high valley and resplendent with minarets and domes. Fes' medina dazzles the eye and the senses: it's a completely preserved and thriving medieval Arab city.

Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche
Casablanca, Morocco
Day 1 (1 night)
Villa Mandarine
Rabat, Morocco
Day 2 (1 night)
Les Merinides
Fes, Morocco
Days 3 to 4 (2 nights)
Days 5-13
The Atlas Mountains

We drive across the Middle Atlas into the High Atlas, overnighting in a Berber home on Day 6. The next day we start our 6-day trek, walking through picturesque Berber villages into high pastures, crossing a 10,240-foot pass with views of snowy Mt. M'Goun, North Africa's third highest peak (with an optional summit hike), and encountering herders tending their camels and sheep in beautiful canyons. This dramatic red-rock country is stunning, and one day's hike takes us through a gorge whose 4,000-foot-high walls are only 10 feet apart in places! On occasion, the young people of Tiranamine village come to our last night's camp to share their music and dance.

Hotel Le Tazarkount
Afourer, Morocco
Day 5 (1 night)
Hotel Xaluca Dades
Boumalne Dades, Morocco
Day 12 (1 night)
Hotel Es Saadi
Marrakesh, Morocco
Days 13 to 14 (2 nights)
Days 14-15

The 13,000-foot peaks of the High Atlas make a magnificent backdrop for fabled Marrakesh, an immensely beautiful and charismatic city. This vibrant city has been a metropolis for the tribes of the High Atlas since the 11th century. We explore the souks and monuments and depart on Day 15.

Hotel Es Saadi
Marrakesh, Morocco
Days 13 to 14 (2 nights)



Camping and hiking in the spectacular High Atlas, "river trekking" through narrow, sheer-walled gorges
Timeless pastoral villages, dramatic canyons accessible only on foot
Optional ascent of Mt. M'Goun (13,346') for breathtaking High Atlas views
Distinctive culture of the friendly Berbers
Medieval medina of Fes, bustling bazaars of Marrakesh


Length: 15 days
Cost From: $4795  
Arrive: Casablanca, Morocco
Depart: Marrakesh, Morocco
Lodging: 8 nights first-class and best-available hotels, 1 night Berber house, 5 nights expedition-style camping
Meals: All meals included except 3 dinners and 1 lunch as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

6 hiking days, 4-7 hours a day, moderate to steep trails, some "river trekking," altitudes of 7,500-10,250 feet (optional hike to 13,346'), mules carry gear