Moroccan Mountains

The Moroccan mountains stretch across the core of the country, and some can also be found in the northern regions. There are a few main mountain ranges in Morocco, and the Atlas Mountains are king. This range actually stretches across much of northern Africa, extending into Algeria and Tunisia. Of the all the mountains in Morocco, none is taller than Jebel Toubkal, which tops out at 13,671 feet above sea level. Jebel Toubkal can be found in the High Atlas Mountains, and it is one of the most popular side-trip destinations from Marrakech.

The Atlas Mountains in Morocco are divided into sub ranges, and these ranges combine to form one long stretch of picturesque peaks. The tallest of this range's peaks can be found in the High Atlas sub range. Due to the high elevation of the High Atlas Mountains, they are often draped in snow. Between the months of November and April, skiing is actually possible at the resort town of Oukaimeden. This winter ski resort can be found in the Ourika Valley, which is one of the most impressive natural attractions in the country. While skiing is the activity of choice in the High Atlas Mountains, hiking is the top activity when the weather warms. Hiking can actually be enjoyed year round in the Moroccan mountains, though it is arguably best enjoyed in the spring and summer.

During spring in the mountains in Morocco, the wildflowers start to bloom, which is why it is a good time to go hiking in the Moroccan mountains. Summer is also ideal for a mountain escape, whether hiking is part of the plan or not. It gets hot in the Moroccan lowlands in the summer, so many natives and tourists alike head to the highlands to enjoy the cooler air. While the High Atlas Mountains are the mountains of choice for Marrakech visitors, anyone who is spending time in Casablanca or Rabat will find the Middle Atlas Mountains easier to reach. Fes is even closer to this sub range, whose jewel is the Ifrane National Park. This park is largely covered by cedar forests, and the fragrant scents from the cedar trees are intoxicating. While exploring the park, visitors will want to keep an eye out for the indigenous Barbary macaque monkeys, which are endangered. The town of Ifrane near the park functions as an upscale ski resort in the winter, and it is also home to a prestigious university that isn't cheap.

The Atlas Mountains turn into foothills to the south, eventually meeting flatter ground, and this region is known as the Anti Atlas sub range. As for the Moroccan mountains in the northern part of the country, they are part of two different mountain ranges. The Rif Mountains cover much of the northern part of the country, and this range is a popular side trip destination for travelers who are spending time in destinations such as Tangier and Tamuda Bay. In addition to being ideal for hiking and general sightseeing, these northern mountains in Morocco also provide a scenic backdrop for the area towns and cities. In the town of Martil, which is a popular summer vacation destination, the Rif Mountains meet the sea, providing a very scenic panorama.

The Moroccan mountains have a lot to do with the country's increasing popularity as a vacation destination. Various tours offer excursions into the mountains in Morocco for those who don't want to go it alone, though there are plenty of inviting mountain towns and cities where travelers can base themselves if they want to enjoy more than a day trip into the highlands. In the summer months, spending a few days on the Morocco beaches and then heading to the mountains to savor the cooler air can give travelers a true sense of how truly dynamic this country is. Throw in a camel trek through the Sahara Desert in Merzouga, and it only becomes more apparent why travelers are increasingly putting Morocco high on their lists of places to go.

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