Sprawling along the frontier of the Sahara, Morocco’s mighty Atlas Mountains run all the way from the Atlantic coast to the northern Rif Mountains, separating the cities from the desert. Capped with snow throughout the winter months and cloaked with wildflowers through the summer, the rocky plateaus and lush valleys of the Atlas Mountains provide a striking backdrop for hiking and mountain biking treks from cities like Marrakech, Fez and Agadir. The rugged mountain terrain is also home to Morocco’s remaining Berber tribes and visiting the traditional mud-built villages dotted along the mountainsides has become a popular pastime for tourists, affording the opportunity to experience the unique life and culture of the Berbers.
The vast mountain range is split into three main regions – the centrally located High Atlas, the Middle Atlas to the north of the country, and the remote Anti Atlas, tucked away in the south. Easily reached from Marrakech, the High Atlas range is arguably the most visited region, with hotels clustered around popular spots like the picturesque Ourika Valley, Ouirgane and Imlil, and home to the 4,167-meter Jebel Toubkal, Morocco’s highest peak. For many, a stay in the High Atlas Mountains is a pit stop en route to Ouarzazate, the launch pad for camping tours and camel treks into the desert.