8 days Mountain biking tour the Atlas Mountains range : Discovering Morocco and the Atlas mountains by bike can feel like a day dream… but the reality is far better. On this cycling tour experience mountain life and passes with extraordinary landscapes. As experts in Morocco bike tours our trips are carefully designed to show you the very best scenery and this highlights the Berber region which is less-accessible and out-of-the-way. This is a ride that is great for families and beginning mountain bikers.
Adventurous mountain bikers looking to explore the High Atlas Mountains & Berber villages outside of Marrakech.
Trip length : 8 days
Group size : Min 2, max 12 persons
This bike adventure takes place in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, just a short drive from the vibrant city of Marrakech. The High Atlas Mountains are a spectacular setting for a mountain biking trip with hundreds of miles of dusty singletrack just waiting to be explored. With many years of experience guiding in the region, your local hosts can help you explore this region’s hidden riding potential.
The scenery makes for an impressive backdrop to your journey. The rugged and remote terrain has resisted the pressured of the modern world and feels like a window into a bygone era. Dramatic valleys offer vivid contrasts with the lush green irrigated fields along the valley bottom set against the barren rocky scree slopes that lead up to the snow-capped peaks.
The area is dotted with the villages and towns of the Berber people; their characteristic stone houses nestled picturesquely into steep hillsides. This region of Morocco remained isolated until the early 20th century and for a long time the fiercely independent local people resisted French colonisation. To this day the Berber people retain a strong sense of their unique identity and operate in many ways independently of the Moroccan government. The regions rich cultural heritage makes it the perfect destination for an adventure.
What to Expect
Day 1: Airport – Marrakech
At the airport, we are met by our driver and then have a 30 minute transfer to our riad in the city’s historic centre.
Day 2: Imlil – Asni
After a relaxing morning building up bikes and checking our kit we load the 4×4 or mini bus roof racks and leave Marrakech, to arrive in Imlil, a great little town that truly feels like the gateway to the Atlas. This morning we drive for 1;30 hour up to Imlil and the shadow of Toubkal’s towering 4167m peak (snow covered for most of the year). Continuing in the support vehicles to the Tizi n’Tamaterte pass (2279m), we begin the day’s ride- mostly downhill and a great chance to let the bikes roll and give the climbing legs a break! Contouring around the valley to Ouanesekra, we enjoy panoramic views down the valley, and up to the Toubkal range itself. Then the real trails start to kick in, as we descend through a number of tiny villages to Tamguist, sometimes on fairly challenging singletrack, but always well used (by the locals) and always well surfaced. From here we follow a scenic dirt road downhill to Imsker, where we eat lunch in the shady settings of a next the river (15km done). Soon after the village we turn right and head onto a steep downhill section, crossing the river and climbing steeply to arrive on a very nice technical singletrack. This is true, entertaining trail biking at its finest, and as the rocks give way to muddy fields, orchards and irrigation channels we have time to reflect on the day’s descents. Option to ride 10km back to hotel on asphalt or take the transfer to guest house. Meals Include: Lunch, Dinner Distance covered: 39 km / 23 miles
Day 3: Tinzert – Ouirgane
We begin biking with a steady climb, gaining height easily and then descending on a fun, rocky singletrack that is regularly used by villagers on the way to and from their fields. Heading towards Tinzert, the trail gets rougher, and requires some good trail skills and a careful choice of line, genuine nature and the friendliness of its people. From here the trail, still mostly downhill, becomes easier, and we cross a traditional salt mine to arrive at n’Ouazzadene. Heading south west we pass through the villages of Toror, Anraz and Angoini, mostly on entertaining little singletrack between the garden terraces. Descending into Ouirgane for the first time we enjoy the panorama of the lake and wooded foothills, heading down through the village on forest singletrack to the lake side. We skirt the lake and then climb up onto the prominent hill above the village. From here there are some great single tracks that lead all the way to our hotel. An easy day’s ride, but not without its fair share of fun or challenge Day. Meals Include: breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Distance covered: 40 km
Day 4: Ouirgane – Ait Zitoune
Today we begin a 2-day long mission into the back country and overnight in a simple hostel in the village of Ait Zitoune (of course we will transport your overnight kit bag here for you). We roll down to the dam of Ouirgane and soon begin a trail that runs all the way above an impressive gorge. The first section is substantially exposed and soon heads steeply upward- so be prepared for a little hike-a-bike the first half hour and wear appropriate rubber soled biking shoes. From the crest and there awaits an epic 10 km stretch, mostly downhill, along the river gorge, with awesome views throughout. The path is reasonably wide and not too technical, but there are steep sides and some risk so concentration must be on top. In the bottom of the ravine we turn along the mountainside west onto more undulating paths to the village of Imi n’Talat where a hearty lunch waiting for us. The rest of the day sees us tackle a mix of riverbeds, gravel roads and classic singletrack trails around the area of Air Zitoune. Here we have some flexibility and can lengthen or shorten the route based on the group’s wishes. At our finishing point there awaits a local hammam (steam room), dinner and after darkness has fallen, a roof terrace, from where we can see the city lights from Marrakech to the north, the snowy Atlas mountains to the south and thousands of stars above- paradise. Meals Include: breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Distance covered: 45 km
Day 5: Ait Zitoune – Imi N Tala
After breakfast we begin with a short transfer uphill to Anougal village and start cycling uphill at about 1300 meters altitude. Here and there we cross a clear mountain stream so you can enjoy the welcome refreshment of an occasional wet foot! At the top of the valley we turn east and continue uphill on a good trail to the village of Ourmer. Becoming increasingly technical, we climb further towards the 1800m pass and will need to walk the bikes up the last short, steep section. We eat a small picnic at the pass and prepare mentally for a wonderful but not risk-free downhill on fast flowing narrow trails. Here the mountain sides can be steep so it is not the time to lose momentum and fall. We then find ourselves submerged in a river valley that gets rockier and sometimes very troublesome to the village Semghort (big rock riding challenges for everyone here). We take a short breath and get some rest on a short dirt road section before turning to the bottom of the river valley again where awaits several kilometers of quick, simple but immensely fun biking all the way to Imgdal- plenty of water and splash-downs after rains or in early season. We eat a late but sumptuous lunch under the shade of silver poplar trees and go back to hotel for après bike and poolside relaxation. Meals Include: breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Distance covered: 48km
Day 6: Assif Zegzawne – Ouirgane
This is a big day! We have breakfast at 07.30 and then drive for 1 hour on a rough dirt road to the remote village of Amislane at 1800m. The 4WD ride is exciting enough in itself! The day starts with a steep double track climb through lush green high mountain scenery, climbing to 2100m and then hitting an incredible downhill singletrack section that takes us from high plains to green gardens and down onto rocky mule tracks above the thriving village of Tizgui. We stop briefly here, before beginning the first part of the day’s big climb- there are some hike a bike sections but in general it’s ride able. We meet with the mules before the climb gets too steep, and walk together for about an hour, up over a pass and down through a rough canyon. The biking resumes again on a unique stretch of fast, loose, pea gravel with plenty of grip and a wide target- free of the worry and concentration requirement of other trails on the tour. We meet the support car in Assif Zegzawne, and after a good lunch have a short section of relaxing downhill “piste” before the singletrack starts again in earnest! Now comes an 8km descent on well graded, fast and flowing singletrack through the forest high above Ouirgane- the views and the terrain are truly remarkable. Arriving in Tighfist village, the trails don’t let up, and we manage to stay on solid gold trails all the way down to the lake shore at Ouirgane, from where it’s an easy 4km on asphalt back to the hotel. What a day. Meals Include: breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7: Ouirgane – Kik Plateau – Marrakech
We end the trip with a relaxed day biking on the majestically beautiful Kik plateau. From the plateau we have a magnificent views of the areas covered on previous days. We begin with a 20 minute drive up to Moulay Brahim, where we unload the bikes and cycle off-road through the limestone outcrops, reaching a small dirt road that runs parallel to the edge of the plateau. This is followed by rapid and lovely cycling on a mule trails and rough double tracks that cut across the plateau- a real playground with small jumps and natural velodromes. We enjoy a final trail lunch in the village of Agdour and continue mostly downhill to the village of Tachdirte where we take a small loop on an airy canyon edge, a really nice and special stage. Then it’s off down the plateau on a rough dirt road where we can let the speed creep up a little… At the bottom of the plateau our support vehicles await, ready to transport us back to Marrakech around three o’clock in the afternoon. After a little bike wash we go back to our Riad and prepare to go out in Marrakech.
Day 8: Marrakech – Airport
This cycling adventure through Morocco comes to an end today. There are no activities planned and you are free to leave at any time, Transfers to airport arranged accordingly.
Note: This itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, and weather conditions and forecasts.
What Includes, Airport Transfers, 2 Night hotel in Marrakech on BB, Private Transport from/to Marrakech, English Tour Guide, Accommodation during the trip, All meals during the trip, Assistance car during the trip
Does not Include, Travel Insurance, Tips, Any Private Expenses, Drinks and Items of personal nature, Meals in Marrakech, Bike hire (Full Suspension) + Helmet (available to rent from our bike shop)
Bookable Extras, Umbrella, Sunscreen, Entrance Fees
We recommend packing the following items:
- Normal daily clothes
- Padded cycling shorts and gloves
- Breathable top or cycling jersey
- Sunglasses/eye protection
- Stiff-soled shoes suitable for cycling
- Waterproofs and long cycling trousers
- For the earlier departures you may need some warmer layers
- Sun cream
- Water bottle or Camelback
Energy cycling gels offer a quick form of crabs replenishment. Most contain the simple crab sugar, which is the fastest form of energy to replace glycogen. It’s suggested that people who cycle at a moderate intensity for more than 90 minutes, need to replace between 30g and 65g of carbohydrates per hour and we would thoroughly recommend bringing some of these with you, as well as some energy bars.
During this adventure, you will be staying in a Guest house in the Berber village, but we can also update the accommodation suits your needs.