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Biking in the High Atlas Mountains

Listed under Cycling in High Atlas, Morocco.

  • Photo of Biking in the High Atlas Mountains
  • Photo of Biking in the High Atlas Mountains
  • Photo of Biking in the High Atlas Mountains
  • Photo of Biking in the High Atlas Mountains
  • Photo of Biking in the High Atlas Mountains
  • Photo of Biking in the High Atlas Mountains
  • Photo of Biking in the High Atlas Mountains
  • Photo of Biking in the High Atlas Mountains
Photo of Biking in the High Atlas Mountains
Photo by flickr user The Javelina
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The soaring rocky terrain and traditional lifestyles of the inhabitants of Morocco's Atlas Mountains make this a truly special place to explore on a bike. This is a landscape on a huge scale: it's challenging and remote, and the dramatic scenery is always changing from the golden coloured rock of the mountain passes and high plains to the surprising abundance of growth in the lush valleys and the many colours of the mountain villages.

One of the highlights of the journey is riding along the 35 mile base of a canyon beneath towering 2,000 foot walls of rock. Another is a beautiful lake in the high plains, with a huge bird population.

Pedalling over double tracks in dirt, rock and in a few places sand the High Atlas route usually begins in Marrakech then heads upwards through the Berber towns and fields nestled into the foothills up to the 7,200 feet high Tichka Pass then rides down the canyons and remote valleys on the other side into the region used in the filming of 'Laurence of Arabia' and south to the fortified village of Ait Ben Haddou with its famous and now heritage listed kasbahs.

After the descent you start pedalling uphill again up onto the High Atlas plateaus. In the remote villages here people lead a very traditional existence, working in the fields which are surprisingly fertile, tending their donkeys and horses and in the case of some of the men you'll see, sitting around chewing the fat, but the local culture and traditions are colourful and regional produce abundant. There is one particularly picturesque valley which is the most lush of them all but many have surprising pockets of forest or orchards and fields where you're expecting to see bare rocky hillsides.

The final descent follows an expanding river winding through more exciting gorges.

Spring and Autumn are the best season to travel in the Atlas Mountains, when you can expect temperatures to range from 20-30 degrees. In the Winter some of the highest passes the route crosses are closed due to snow coverage. You need 4x4 support for this ride.

Written by  John Fulton.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Hi John Fulton,

Thanks first to write about this article. Really, cycling is very tough at Mountain or hilly area if it is in the high atlas, Morocco. You must try to pedalling as you can. Have a nice day. If you have enough time to read my blog

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