Best time to visit the Atlas Mountains

Best time to visit the Atlas Mountains


TEMPERATURE & RAINFALL

Locations: Marrakech | Imlil
The best time to visit the Atlas is March-Nov, particularly for hiking throughout the range. However, as there is no snow in the Anti-Atlas, you can still enjoy mountain life during Dec-Feb, with sunny days and cold nights. If you can handle hiking in the heat, July and August are hot, but not off-the-scale desert madness like the rest of Morocco. Todra Gorge is popular year round, so go early in the morning, when the sun also illuminates it perfectly. If you want to summit Toubkal, spring and autumn are best to avoid strenuous, exposed hiking in extreme temperatures.

When to go to the Atlas Mountains


a month by month guide

  • There can be up to a 15°C difference in temperature between Morocco’s lowlands and mountains in. This can make it a hot 30°C in July or August in the Atlas, while Marrakech is way up there in the 40s.
  • Some people resist travelling during Ramadan, as a few businesses shut down. But this is not always the case, so do check with your tour operator. It is a time to respect the cultural rules around feasting and fasting however. For the next few years Ramadan falls May and June, and then April and May.
  • The best time to visit Todra Gorge is in the morning, as it is illuminated with the early sun. Then the crowds hit and the sun moves on, removing its natural glow physically and metaphorically.
  • If you want to ski in the Atlas Mountains the season can be brief; the best time for pretty much guaranteed snow is mid-January to mid-February. Winter walking is a better option with a longer season.
  • Climbing holidays to summit Toubkal usually happen between April and September.
  • Spring in the High Atlas is wonderful as the wildflowers, from poppies to wild orchids, blue gentian to blankets of pink and purple scabiousa spring up like magic. Spring is a fluid affair in the Atlas Mountains, starting as early as February in some parts.
  • Canyoning holidays in the Middle Atlas Mountains tend to happen around May, or in October or November when the rivers are full enough. Half term heaven in other words for family holidays.
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WHEN TO GO TO THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS

Mike McHugo, owner of the stunning Kasbah du Toubkal in the High Atlas Mountains:

“Many people don’t realise that Morocco is a cold country with a hot sun, particularly out of the peak season. So, people forget that even if they are getting good weather , once the sun goes down Morocco can be cold even in Marrakech and the south, never mind in the mountains. Marrakech can even have a frost in winter. So do pack for the cold as well as the heat.”
Simon Clifford from our leading supplier of Atlas Mountains holidays, Exodus: “I think the best time to visit the Atlas Mountains is April, May and September. At this time it’s warm but not too hot, and the highest peaks will have a little snow, adding to the beauty of the views on offer.”
Photo credits: [Temp chart: Scott Presly] [Help desk banner: Alexander Cahlenstein] [When to go - warm clothes: simonsimages] [When to go - sunset: KΛ13]
Written by Catherine Mack
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