Atlas Mountains

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A drive through the High Atlas Mountains ranks among Morocco’s great travel experiences. From Marrakech, you can head south through the Tizi n’Test pass, which culminates at 6,867 feet, to the walled town of Taroudant in the heart of argan oil country. Alternatively, the Tizi n’Tichka pass (where we once encountered a snowstorm) reaches a height of 7,415 feet and leads to Ouarzazate and the innumerable ruined kasbahs of the Dadès and Draa valleys. Both drives, though long and winding, offer sensational views for most of their lengths. The ksar of Ait Ben Haddou ranks among Morocco’s most iconic attractions, but it draws crowds. Beyond it, at Ouarzazate, the Dadès Valley separates from the more southerly Draa. As you continue toward Skoura, the palm-filled Dadès, sandwiched between the High Atlas and Anti-Atlas mountain ranges, becomes studded with old mud-walled kasbahs, abandoned and slowly melting back into the earth. Northeast of Skoura is a major rose-growing area, which celebrates a rose festival annually in early May.