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Mount Toubkal Summit Hike: Imlil to Refuge du Toubkal

Day 1: A moderate, non-technical hike to North Africa's highest summit: Mount Toubkal.

Hiking Difficult

11 km
1.5 km
80 m
4-5 hrs
Low Point
1.8 km
High Point
3.2 km
Mount Toubkal Summit Hike: Imlil to Refuge du Toubkal Map

Toubkal is not only the highest peak in Morocco, but it's also North Africa and the Arab World’s tallest summit. Toubkal is part of the Atlas Mountains at an impressive 4,167m above sea level. It is an "ultra prominent peak" and the highest for over 2,000km.


This epic route describes the fabulous and challenging multi-day hike to ascend (and descend) Northern Africa’s highest peak from the small mountain village of Imlil, via the normal route. It is a long and tiring climb, mostly in high mountain condition. However, experiencing the local Berber traditions, the incredible views, and the breathtaking panorama at the summit are the ultimate rewards.

It is suggested this "out and back" route is attempted over two or three days, as reaching the summit and returning to Imlil on the second day will take between 10 and 12 hours. Opting to complete this round trip over three days will split the ascent into two shorter days.

Refuge du Toubkal and Refuge les Mouflons act as base camp for many hiking routes, and both offer the perfect place to spend the night before attempting the summit. They are independent, but both offer similar options of very rudimentary accommodation and food. Both refuges must be prebooked. Tents can be pitched near the refuges for a small charge. It is sensible to allow for acclimatisation, and a night spent at 3,207m at the refuge after the first day’s hike and before reaching the summit will help.

The ascent during the summer (from May) is non-technical yet moderately difficult, and is only complicated by steep and slippery scree slopes and altitude sickness. Yet during the end of winter and spring (February/March), it is more difficult. Crampons are necessary to ascend the snow and, in some cases, ice. Equipment is rentable from various places in Imlil or from the refuge.

The small mountain village of Imlil (1,900m) is the starting point. There is a small car park just before the village and it is customary to pay a "guardian" a small, negotiated amount for you to park your car. He will watch over it in return. This traditional hamlet is worth seeing and spending some time. It is home to a very small Berber community who make a meager living mostly from the tourist trade associated with this hike. They would appreciate your custom at the several guesthouses, cafes, and shops.

Day One

The trailhead is on the way up and out of the village, signed just before a hotel. The route starts ascending straight away and continues all the way to the summit, with the exception of a small respite in a floodplain after roughly 3km.

Expect the terrain to be dusty and dry with some small rocky boulders all the way to the refuge. This section of the route is also used by the local sherpers with their donkeys. The going isn’t too difficult or steep to the refuge, but it is a 5-6 hour ascent. Surprisingly, there are several places along the route to stop for a relatively cheap Moroccan tea or a mountain-water-chilled soda.

Look out for the Sidi Chamharouch Muslim shrine in the small village of the same name after roughly 3 hours of walking.

Approximately 2 hours later you'll reach the refuges. Some time should remain to allow for relaxation or exploration of other trails and peaks around the area.



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Extreme Exposure

4 out of 4

Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.


4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

between February and October


  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Water features

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area