Morocco // The High Atlas //

The Agoundis Valley

To the East from Ijoukak winds the Agoundis Valley, which offers an alternative access to Toubkal; it takes two days of serious trekking from Ijoukak to reach the Toubkal Refuge. On foot, from Ijoukak head out on the Marrakesh road, cross the Oued Agoundis river bottom and turn right onto the up-valley road, passing several gîtes. The scenery opens up to distant peaks and there are a surprising number of villages. After an hour’s walking you reach the wreck of an old mineral processing plant, a gondola still high in the air on a cable stretched across the valley to mines that closed decades ago. Continue walking to the village of Taghbart where there is a fork; take the right branch to cross the river, which makes an impressive ascent to the 2202-metre Tizi-n-Ou-Ichddane on the Atlas watershed. The Agoundis piste soon passes El Makhzen and a prominent house in wedding-cake style before becoming progressively narrower, exposed and rough, passing perched villages and ending at the village of Aït Youl.

From Aït Youl, strong walkers can reach the Toubkal Refuge in a day, crossing the Tizi n’Ougane (risk of snow on the final slopes from November through May) passing through wild gorges and screes on the way.