Straddling the crossroads of Europe and Africa, Morocco boasts a diverse topography, characterised by its majestic mountain ranges and unique position between the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. Elevated heights dominate the landscape, with an average altitude of about 2,600 feet above sea level. Indeed, imposing mountain ranges traverse Morocco, drawing a natural divide between its eastern and Atlantic sides.
The two prominent mountain ranges crafting this geographical narrative are the Rif and the Atlas Mountains. Their formation, which dates back to the Paleogene and Neogene periods between 65 and 2.6 million years ago, is the result of the dramatic collision between the European and African continental plates. Today, they encompass some of the highest mountains in Morocco and in the region.
In the north, the Rif Mountains present as a rugged crescent of limestone and sandstone peaks. These mountains, which run parallel to the Mediterranean coast, carve out northern Morocco, setting it apart from the country’s core. In contrast, the Atlas Mountains meander from the southwest to the northeast, standing as an imposing central divide.
Nestled south of the Rif, the Atlas range splits into three notable chains: the High, Middle, and Anti-Atlas ranges. Among these, the High Atlas mountains rise as the loftiest, adorned with snow caps during winter and spring. Meanwhile, the Anti-Atlas, though majestic, remains the more subdued of the trio.
With the stage set, it’s time to get down to specifics and head up to Morocco’s highest mountains.
When it comes to the highest mountains in Morocco, Toubkal reigns supreme. At approximately 13,671 feet above sea level, not only is it the highest mountain in Morocco but also of the Atlas Mountains and the whole of North Africa. The star attraction of Toubkal National Park, it’s located in the southwest of Morocco, some 40 miles south of Marrakech. The surrounding landscape includes several of Morocco’s highest mountains, as well as gorges, cliffs, valleys and plateaus. Local fauna includes several species of raptors, particularly eagles.
Jbel Toubkal, also known as Tubkal, is part of the High Atlas or “Haut Atlas” range. Typically, the mountains here are sedimentary, but the Toubkal mountain stands out as comprising volcanic rocks which have eroded into alpine peaks. The higher slopes are covered with Juniper forests.
Ouanoukrim represents not one but two of the top peaks among Morocco’s highest mountains. Its higher summit, Timzguida, rises to 13,415 feet, while Ras Ouanoukrim reaches around 13,400 feet. Located within Toubkal National Park, it too is located in the Atlas Mountains.
Also known as Ighil Mgounat, M’Goun Mountain is next on the list of the tallest mountains in Morocco at 13,356 feet, third after Toubkal and Ouenkrim. Like its taller counterparts, M’Goun is one of the High Atlas Mountains, but located some 60 miles east of Marrakesh. It gives its name to M’Goun UNESCO Global Geopark, of which it forms part and which is a mineral-rich zone with significant geological and historical sites and even some dinosaur prints.
Toubkal National Park
Aside from M’Goun, many of the highest mountains in Morocco are found where our journey began, in Toubkal National Park. Several summits within its 150 square mile area exceed 12 and even 13 thousand feet. These include Plateau de Tazarhart and L’Aksoual, both at around 13,197 feet, Ineghmar at 12,769 feet, Bou Iguenouane at 12,736 feet, Le tichki at 12,312 feet, and Azrou Tamadout at 12,021 feet.
Beyond the High Atlas Range
So far, all of the biggest mountains of Morocco have been within the High Atlas range. So, what about the other two parts of the Atlas chain? Well, the highest peak in the Middle Atlas is the cedar-covered Mount Bou Nasser. Located in Sefrou Province in Fès-Meknès, its elevation peaks at 10,960 feet. Meanwhile, the highest point of the Anti-Atlas mountain range is Jbel Sirwa. Rising to 10,840 feet or so, this mountain is in fact a stratovolcano with a diameter of some 15 miles.
While not near the top of the tallest mountains in Morocco, Mount or “Jbel” Tidighin, is the tallest of the Rif range. Towering above the town of Ketama, some 145 miles northeast of the capital Rabat, its peak reaches around 8,058 feet above sea level. Its name is also spelled Tidirhine.
The Biggest Mountains of Morocco
From the mighty Toubkal to the distinct Jbel Tidighin of the Rif, Morocco’s highest mountains create a rich geographical tapestry as varied as it is captivating.