There is perhaps no finer trekking destination in the world than Morocco. Here we find, for example, the magnificent Atlas Mountains, which feature some of the most spectacular and dramatic mountainous scenery around. Included is Mount Toubkal, which offers some of the best family walking destinations.
Widely regarded as one of the best treks in the entire Atlas Mountain region, Mount Toubkal not only provides a challenging climb but also some of the most magnificent mountain views. Included is the stunning Azzaden Valley in addition to the splendid pass of Aguelzim. Furthermore, whilst Mount Toubkal remains one of Africa’s greatest mountain challenges, it can be tackled in a single weekend if time is a factor.
Nonetheless, the trek will undoubtedly prove relatively demanding. In particular, there are two specific climbs that are certainly steep enough to give even experienced climbers something to think about. These are the scree slope that leads up to the Aguelzim Pass and the climb that takes you from the Toubkal Refuge right up to the mountain’s peak. In fact, the trek requires that the climber is at least relatively fit, whilst it is not a particularly technical climb, making it perfectly suitable for novice climbers.
The Best Routes
For many the ideal Toubkal trek is one that will allow you to avoid the masses. Most people tend to stick to the major route from Imlil to Toubkal. To avoid them, take the route across the glorious Azzaden Valley before it takes you along the dramatic pass that leads to Toubkal Refuge. Indeed, those in the know consider this to be the ‘perfect approach’.
Your journey will begin at Marrakech from where you will travel to Imlil. Then, there is a trek that will take approximately six hours from the Imlil Valley onwards to the Azzaden Valley. Along the route you will have the opportunity to take in Tizi N’Mzik (an impressive 2,450m) and take a break at Azib n’Tansoult Refuge before witnessing the glorious sights of the Ighouliden waterfalls. The night can then be passed at Lipeney Refuge, which stands at 3,000m above sea level.
Next comes the greatest challenge so far as you tackle the steep climb from the Azzaden Valley over the Aguelzim Mountain Pass (3,560m) down to the Toubkal Refuge. You could then choose to take lunch and take advantage of the magnificent views across the entire Atlas Mountain Range. The night can then be spent at Toubkal Refuge. You’ll need a good rest to prepare for the challenging Toubkal climb.
Toubkal is actually 4,167m and at the peak, provided the sky is clear, not only will you see across the Atlas Range but also the Sahara Desert. From here you can make the long trek back past the refuge before taking the intriguing path back towards Imlil. This is a long trek that can take up to ten hours. Finally, you can make the return to Marrakech.
When to go
Whilst many regard the summer as being the best time for walking holidays or cycling holidays, in the case of the trek to Toubkal, the best time to go is either late spring or early autumn. The summer is often too hot for the trek, although perfectly possible, provided you limit yourself to climbing in the mornings.
Overall, the Mount Toubkal trek is superb. Whether you are walking or on cycling holidays, it’s a memorable experience. Whilst it is not exactly easy, it is certainly achievable even for the novice. Furthermore, the rewards are more than worth the effort. The summit of Toubkal offers some of the best views on the planet and having hit the peak, the feeling of satisfaction will be overwhelming.
Richard Highdale writes regularly on the subject of travel for a wide range of related websites and blogs. His main focus remains that of adventure travel and walking holidays. He has recently completed a number of Moroccan hiking treks.