The High Atlas Mountains
The Draa Valley
The Ourika Valley
The Dadés Valley
The Rif Mountains
The High Atlas Mountains © www.istockphoto.com/rest
The Atlas Mountain Range runs for around 2,400 Km, in a north east/ south westerly direction through Morocco and into Algeria, with the highest point being the peak of Jbel Toubkal (4,167m or 13,671 ft) located approximately 60 Km south of Marrakech.
In Morocco the Atlas mountains are divided into 3 ranges, running parallel to each other, the Anti Atlas to the south, the high Atlas, and the Middle Atlas in the north.
These mountains effectively separate the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastline of the north west tip of Africa from the Sahara desert (significantly separating the two climates) and occupy approximately 50% of northern Morocco.
The High Atlas run from the Atlantic coast at Agadir, between the cites of Marrakech and Ouarzazate, and, although petering out beyond Errachida (85 Km east of Marrakech) run upto the Algerian border.
There will be a small amount of permenant snow at the highest altitudes and the possibility of sking above 2,500m during January February and March. The village of Oukaimeden, approximately 50 Km south of Marrakech sits at around 2,800m above sea level and has 12 ski lifts in winter, while the village itself offers a range of accommodation. There is also a skiing location in the Middle atlas mountains, 75Km south of Fez
The mmost visited area of the High Atlas is the Toubkal National Park, popular with trekkers and day-trippers alike, which also includes the peak of Jbel Toubkal. The area is particularly attractivein the sparing, when wild flowers are blooming, and the winter snow has gone from the lower levels.
There are two stunning high level passes that cross the High Atlas Mountains, the winding Tizi-n-Test pass which rises to 2,092m (6,860ft) heading south west from Marakech towards Taroudant and Agadir, and the easier driving Tizi-n-Tichka, rising to 2,260m (7,400ft) heading south west towards Ouarzazate and the picturesque Draa Valley.
The city Marrakech itself sits around 460m above sea level (1500ft) while the city of Ouarzazate sits at around 1150m (3,750ft).