village under the atlas mountains in morocco

Hiker's Journey to Morocco

Mountain Trails of the Middle Atlas and High Atlas, plus Fez and Marrakesh with Mark Gordon

Overview

We’ve designed a unique new adventure in Morocco combining the fascinating royal cities of Fez and Marrakesh with fantastic hiking experiences in the Middle Atlas and High Altas mountains—and we’ve found lodges and hotels that will give you a warm welcome along the way. Hike by day, enjoy a glass of wine, a fine dinner, and a cozy bed each night! On this fascinating cultural and hiking journey with veteran Trip Leader Mark Gordon, we’ll hike and explore both the Middle Atlas and High Atlas mountains, with their ancient cultures and parks and reserves where rare forests of cedar, oak, and juniper are protected. With Mark’s local connections, we’ll be able to see and learn about the Moroccans’ efforts to conserve, enhance, and develop these great resources while also allowing the rural and seminomadic people to live harmoniously within them. Mark’s experience in Morocco began decades ago in the Peace Corps and he has lived for years in this storied kingdom, knows Moroccan culture deeply, and is conversant in the High Atlas dialect of Berber and Moroccan Arabic. Our hikes lead us through orchards, farms, and fields, among goat herders and their flocks, and past mud-brick homes in Berber villages. The mountain landscapes are enchanting—the High Atlas acts as a barrier between the fertile Mediterranean plains of the north and the sands of the Sahara in the south, and the result is a dramatic landscape where arid range meets tumbling rivers and lush vegetation beneath a backdrop of towering snow-capped summits. We’ll round out our adventure with urban hikes in the ancient cities of Fez and Marrakesh, their gardens, markets, and monuments. Join us to discover the spectacular mountains and welcoming culture of Morocco!

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2, Oct 5- 6, 2020
Fez, Morocco

This city is hauntingly beautiful with its Arabic-Moorish architecture and honeycomb of twisting alleys. We enter the dazzling 9th century medina through one of its four medieval gates and discover a mile-long network of souks, open-air cafes, courtyards, and gardens.

Days 3-4, Oct 7- 8, 2020
Hike the Middle Atlas Mountains

Ascend the Middle Atlas Mountains to the small town of Azrou to meet with a local environmentalist who works in sustainable development for the Middle Atlas. Our first hike brings us into the fragrant Azrou National Forest at 5,000 feet, where we’ll see Barbary macaques (monkeys). They are an endangered species whose last stronghold is in these mountains. The next day we hike though cork oak and Holmes oak forests and are welcomed in for lunch with a seminomadic family. Our overnights are in an alpine-style lodge with great access to hiking trails.

Days 5-6, Oct 9-10, 2020
High Atlas Mountains / Dar Imlil

We head up into the High Atlas Mountains for hikes that bring us to the fascinating shrine of Sidi Chamharouch and through Toubkal National Park up to the mountain pass of Tizi Mzik (7,965’). Our family-run lodge in the High Atlas offers excellent Moroccan cuisine and warm hospitality.

Days 7-8, Oct 11-12, 2020
Ourigane Valley

We’ll hike through the orchards, villages, and gentle foothills of the Ouirgane Valley, stopping for tea with a local family and learning about local conservation work done by the High Atlas Foundation. Our hotel in this lush valley is set among expansive rose gardens and has a spa and swimming pool.

Days 9-11, Oct 13-15, 2020
Marrakesh / Depart

In legendary Marrakesh, we visit the 11th century medina and the central Djemaa el Fna Square, replete with snake charmers, fire-eaters, and fortune tellers. We’ll explore the fabled souks, where we find everything from pottery and fabrics to silver and spices. Depart on Day 11.

Highlights

Highlights

Hike village to village in the Middle Atlas and High Atlas and discover Berber life
Meet a local environmentalist, be welcomed for lunch with a local family
Enjoy the cultural expertise and “insider” knowledge of Trip Leader Mark Gordon
Savor Morocco’s cuisine, including delicious tagines, in the mountains and ancient cities
Explore the labyrinthine medinas of medieval Fez and Marrakesh

Details

Length: 11 days
Cost From: $5195  
Arrive: Fez, Morocco
Depart: Marrakesh, Morocco
Lodging: 10 nights hotels and lodges
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 1 dinner (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

Cultural exploration, 6 hiking days on moderate trails, 3.5-6.5 hours a day, altitudes between 5,000 and 7,965 feet