Trekking in Morocco: Happy Valley in High Atlas

Trekking in Morocco: Happy Valley in High Atlas

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8 Days From

$1185

$1095

Trekking in Morocco: Happy Valley in High Atlas

8 Days Starting and ending in Marrakech

Visiting: Marrakech, Aarous, Ait Imi, Ifrane, Agouti, Bin el Ouidane

Tour operator:

Intrepid Travel

Tour code:

XMXH

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

1 - 12

Physical rating:

High, High

Age range:

15-99 years

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians

Tour operated in:
English
Interests:

Cultural, History

From:
$1185
$1095 Operator discount: -$59 Exclusive Tourhub Discount: -$31

NB: Prices correct on 20-May-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

Discover Morocco’s best kept secret with this 8-day walking and hiking trip through the Happy Valley – or Ait Bougmez in the Central High Atlas Mountains. Running along the M’goun Massif, this is home to Morocco’s third-highest mountain peak – Jebel M’goun. Traversing through rural villages, ancient ruins, lush vegetation, cascading waterfalls and fields of grain, you’ll learn about the rich culture of the Amazigh people, the history of dinosaurs who once lived here and why sometimes, exploring on foot is the only way to witness the authenticity of a place bursting with stories. Enjoy homecooked meals and stay in traditional mountain gites, while you make your way through the villages and towns of Ait Imi, Ifrane, Arous, Agouti and lakeside Bin El Ouidane – ending it all in bustling Marrakech.

Highlights

  • Enjoy a hiking holiday in arguably the most beautiful valley in the Central High Atlas Mountains – Ait Bougmez or Happy Valley. This is Morocco’s best-kept secret.

  • Explore the community granary of Sidi Chita – a ruin of the holy house of Marabout (a Muslim holy man or hermit) located on the hill with sweeping views of the valley below.

  • Rub shoulders with the local Amazigh people who call this mountain valley their home, by staying in authentic gites (mountain homes) and sharing home-cooked meals with countless cups of Moroccan tea.

  • Trek through small rural villages, cereal crops and under the shade of hundred-year-old walnut trees, where the welcoming locals will greet you into their world, sharing stories and culture.

  • Explore the famous Bin El Ouidane Lake, which forms one of the most picturesque landscapes in the area – by boat and hike. Then, enjoy a tasty lunch in the nearby White Water Gite.

  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, Education for All. Donations help them support girls in the High Atlas Mountains through secondary school, bringing a generation of women out of the cycle of illiteracy, poverty and early marriage.

  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll learn about our Intrepid Foundation partner, Education for All. Donations help them support girls in the High Atlas Mountains through secondary school, bringing a generation of women out of the cycle of illiteracy, poverty and early marriage. Intrepid will double the impact by dollar-matching all post-trip donations made to The Intrepid Foundation.

Itinerary

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Day 1: Marrakech

Location: Marrakech

Accommodation: Hotel

Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Morocco. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight, where you'll meet your fellow trekkers and trip leader. After, you might like to join your leader on a jaunt to Djemaa el-Fna Square in the centre of the medina. Huge crowds converge at night to see the singers, drummers, fortune tellers, dancers and bustling street food bazaars all vying for attention here. This square is one of the largest public meeting places in the world, so you’re sure to find something that catches your eye tonight.    

Day 2: Aarous

Location: Aarous

Accommodation: Gite

Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch, dinner

After breakfast this morning, say goodbye to Marrakech and take a private transfer towards the orange hills of Denmate. When you arrive in Denmate, you’ll stop for lunch at the Imi n’Ifri Natural Bridge. Then, continue your journey into the Atlas Mountains. Stop for a short walk through Ait Bou Oulli – a small town and commune in the Azilal Province with traditional red-hued houses among rolling red-dirt hills. Drive through an impressive 2700 m mountain col before heading down to the valley of Ait Abbas and arriving at your lodge in the commune village of Arous. The Arous Valley feels like an untouched gem, with the rugged terrain flanked by towering mountains and dotted with shrubbery. Take a free evening to explore on foot or relax, then join your group to swap stories over dinner.

Included Activities:
-Aarous - Ait Abbas valley to Aarous village guided hike

Day 3: Ait Imi

Location: Ait Imi

Accommodation: Gite

Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch, dinner

This morning, begin your trekking adventure with a few small trails in the fields of Ait Bougmez – coined by the French as Happy Valley. The valley is home to Morocco’s third-highest peak – Jebel M’goun, which runs along the M’goun Massif in the Central High Atlas Mountains. Passing from village to village, you’ll hike quietly in the shade of the walnut and apple trees that make up the richness of this valley’s landscape. In the village of Idoukalen, you’ll be invited to enjoy a delicious mint tea (or several) by the collective granary of Sidi Chita – a stone ruin that was once a holy house of Marabout (a Muslim holy man or hermit) that stands on the hill, overlooking a beautiful view of the valley. These community granaries were built in Morocco to protect the yearly harvest from floods and other natural disasters and are still used today throughout the country. The locals here are very welcoming, so this is a good chance to connect, ask about their lives in the mountains and share a moment of connection. Walk to Aguerd n'Ouzrou, where your leader will point out the ancient traces of dinosaurs – before settling into your gite (mountain home) for the night in the village of Ait Imi.

Included Activities:
-Ait Imi - Idoukalen village tea stop
-Ait Imi - Happy Valley: Aarous to Ait Imi guided hike
-Ait Imi - Sidi Chita granary visit

Day 4: Ifrane

Location: Ifrane

Accommodation: Gite

Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch, dinner

This morning, continue your adventure through the mountains. Stop at the village of Dibaqliwen for a visit to the most intriguing dinosaur tracks in Morocco. Learn about the history of this land from your local tour leader, then continue your journey into the pastoral world of local shepherds and their herds of goats and sheep. Walk to a high pass in the small chain of Adazen to the other side of the Happy Valley before arriving in the small village of Ifrane. Here, you’ll stay in another traditional gite, enjoying dinner with your group and spending the night.

Included Activities:
-Ifrane - Dinosaur remains site visit
-Ifrane - Happy Valley: Ait Imi to Ifrane guided hike

Day 5: Agouti

Location: Agouti

Accommodation: Gite

Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch, dinner

This morning after breakfast, appreciate the landscape of Ifrane once more and then set off for the day’s adventure. Descend the valley on the bank of Ait Hkem and wander across several villages where the cereal culture remains strong. Your trek will take you through the many grain and cereal crops under the shade of hundred-year-old walnut trees. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to meet the locals who live here, learning about their way of life and rich culture. Stop for lunch along the way. After, take a transfer to the village of Agouti, where you’ll have a group dinner and spend the night.

Included Activities:
-Agouti - Happy Valley: Ifrane to Agouti guided hike

Day 6: Bin El Ouidane

Location: Bin el Ouidane

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast, lunch, dinner

After breakfast this morning, you’ll be transferred to picturesque Bin El Ouidane – a small town surrounding a striking blue lake and dam of the same name. Head to the White Water gite for a delicious Moroccan lunch with your group, then head out on a scenic walk around the reservoir, enjoying the beautiful views surrounding you. Then, see the landscape from a different perspective. Tonight, you’ll enjoy a group dinner before heading to your hotel for the night.

Included Activities:
-Bin el Ouidane - Reservoir Walk
-Bin el Ouidane - Reservoir boat tour
-Bin el Ouidane - White Water Gite lunch

Day 7: Marrakech

Location: Marrakech

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals Included: breaksfast

After breakfast this morning, depart the glittering blue reservoir town of Bin El Ouidane and begin your return journey. Along the way, you’ll visit the stunning Ouzoud waterfalls – a collective name for several cascades that empty into the Slaves’ River gorge. Walk around the waterfalls, take photos, and then continue your journey back to colourful Marrakech. When you arrive, you have the rest of the day free to explore, choose an optional activity or find a great café to sit and people-watch in the medina. Maybe head out with your group tonight to Djemaa el-Fna for a farewell dinner full of Moroccan street food favourites, like snail soup, tagine and couscous.

Included Activities:
-Marrakech - Ouzoud waterfalls visit

Day 8: Marrakech

Location: Marrakech

Meals Included: breaksfast

Your adventure ends after breakfast this morning. If you wish to spend more time in Marrakech, just speak to your booking agent. 

Optional Activities:
-Marrakech - Hot Air Balloon Ride
-Marrakech - Tajine Cookery Class Urban Adventure.
-Marrakech - Heart of the Atlas Mountains cycling day trip with lunch
-Marrakech - Palmery Cycling Tour
-Marrakech - Quad Biking Barrage Lalla Takerkoust
-Marrakech - Luxury Spa Hammam & Massage
-Marrakech - A Taste Of Marrakech: Inside the Medina Urban Adventure
-Marrakech - Magical Marrakech City Cycling Tour
-Marrakech - Quad Biking the Rock Desert & Palmgrove

What's Included

  • Accommodation

    As detailed in the itinerary

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

    No

  • Fully Guided

  • Meals

    As detailed in the itinerary

  • Aarous - Ait Abbas valley to Aarous village guided hike

  • Ait Imi - Idoukalen village tea stop

  • Ait Imi - Happy Valley: Aarous to Ait Imi guided hike

  • Ait Imi - Sidi Chita granary visit

  • Ifrane - Dinosaur remains site visit

  • Ifrane - Happy Valley: Ait Imi to Ifrane guided hike

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What's Not Included

  • Insurance

  • International Travel

Transport

  • Private minibus , walking , boat

Accommodation

  • The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.
  • Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available.
  • We've sourced our accommodation very carefully and picked the best possible hotels in line with the Intrepid style of travel, but please note that service and accommodation in Morocco may be different to western standards.
  • OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
  • The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
  • TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
  • Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than en suite (even if you paid for single room supplement!)
  • HEATING
  • Gites (rural guesthouses) on this trip have very limited heating options as this would be a major financial and environmental strain. It's also a case of energy supply and timing provisions, which is limited in some places. Please be prepared for cold showers and chilly nights.
  • HOT WATER:
  • Similarly as with the heating, hot water is sometimes sporadic in Gites. Please be ready for cold showers.
  • CHECK-IN TIME
  • Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
  • PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
  • If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

Important Information

  • 1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip and applies to all nights. Availability is limited, so please enquire with your booking agent for further information.
  • 2. This is a hiking trip and on some days you should expect to be on the trail for up to 7 hours. This trip does not go on the altitude and treks lead predominantly through the valleys, but there are some ascents and descents. It is not possible to opt out from the hikes as public transport is not available to take you through to the next overnight destination. Good physical form will help you to fully enjoy all included treks.

Check out our Q&As

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    Yes, 15 years old or above

  • What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

    Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy it, as most activities will be challenging.

  • Is this trip right for you

    This is a walking trip, so you should expect to be on your feet for most of the day. A good level of fitness will help you to enjoy the experience fully.

    Once on the trek, you’ll spend most of the nights in atmospheric gites – a traditional Amazigh-style mud-brick building. They’re basic, but half of their charm comes from the simplicity. Low ceilings, traditional artwork and locally made furniture add to the rustic mountain vibe.

  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    As detailed in the itinerary

  • Are all the relevant entry visa’s included in the price of the tour?

    No

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    No

  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

    Yes

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Please contact us for latest COVID-19 policies

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Intrepid Travel has been taking travellers around the world for over 30 years

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Since 2002, The Intrepid Foundation has supported over 130 organisations across the world. We’re creating positive impact through the joy of travel, community and connection.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Over 50% of traveller travel solo with Intrepid. You can choose to share a room with another solo travelle of the same sex for no additional charge, or choose to pay a single supplement if you’d like your own room. Please request this when booking, and we will secure you a single supplement wherever possible. Please note, if you are booking a last-minute trip, it may be harder for us to secure a single room

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1 Dates & Availability

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Sep 11, 2025 - Sep 18, 2025
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Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Intrepid Travel allows you to make 10 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 56 days before the start of the tour.

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Intrepid Travel allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform intrepid travel, 56 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Intrepid Travel requires a minimum deposit of 400 USD per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 56 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of intrepid travel charges.

    Up to 56 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 55 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 30 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 14 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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