21 Km langer Wüsten-Downhill im Hochgebirge – für Mountainbiker die sich auf heftigen 1700 hm konzentrieren können.
21 km long desert downhill in a high altitude mountain range – for mountainbikers who are able to concentrate themselves on a rough trail with 1700 m of altitude difference.
Beduin BIKE M’GOUN High Atlas – MAROCCO
The M’Goun mountain range is magic. Beduins hike all the way up to the highland where they tend their sheeps. That means there must exist a trail for mountainbiking!
So why should I walk instead of riding my bike?
Cities are far away. It`s a full day drive on a remote road from Fes or a half day drive from Marrakech to the basecamp in Agouti. Agouti (1800 m) is one of the traditional villages with houses built out of clay in the Valley Ait Bougemez (La Vallée Heureuse) that are declining slowly.
Down in Marrakesh it has 50 degrees celsius in August. Locals follow their traditions by charming snakes. In Fes tanners try to survive in a constant growing moloch.
The climate in the Atlas Mountains is cool. Nomads live a quiet life. Therefore they are very privileged.
We start with my mountainbike at 5 o’clock in the morning. A berber helps to carry the bike on a mule while my friend Mohammed is looking for the best track to climb one of the highest mountains in Africa. It`s a two day uphill hike and ride. Once arriving at the Terkeditt Plateau (2910 m) it`s time to enjoy yourself. It’s great fun to ride some small downhills from the hills around the mountain shelter.
But the M’Goun peak (4071 m) is still 1150 meters above the plateau. One day more of walking is left.
But a full day downhill on the following day pays for all the effort.
To be honest it’s a quite rough trail, maybe never ridden before by bike and the remote location makes you fell like an empty soul. You do not push your limit, because you know that the next hospital is far away.
To me mountain biking means exploring and discovering new terrain to ride on and to get in touch with the locals.
If you feel the same – let’s ride the Beduin BIKE M’GOUN Trail in the High ATLAS mountains in MOROCCO!
Trail description – Uphill
(downhill the same trail vice versa):
1. Village Agouti (1800 m)
In case you plan to return after the bike-downhill to the same location you startet, so you should park your car in the village Agouti. In Agouti you find several options for basic accomodation. The charming village nearly at the end of the Valley Ait Bougemez (La Vallée Heureuse) can be approched on a asphald road from the main cities Fes (1 day) and Marakesh (1/2 day). Agouti is the best location to organize a muli for bike and equipment transportation.
2. Hamlet Ait-Said
Walking from Agouti – Ait Said will take about 45 Min.,
easy downhill by bike from Ait Said – Agouti about 10 Min.
In the village center of Agouti a dirt road leads towards the hamlet Ait Said. Ait Said is the last village that can be reached by car (also non 4 x 4). Crossing Ait Said on the widest track the trail starts after crossing a small river. From the river crossing point on the way is most of the time a pure singletrail. Biking uphill will get in some areas till the next village Arous impossible. Therfore it is helpfull to have a muli to carry the bike.
3. Clay build village Arous
Walking from Ait Said – Arous will take about 2 h,
easy downhill by bike from Arous – Ait Said about 20 Min.
Arous is a typical clay build mountain village. Locals try to sell drinks to the passing beduins and trecking tourists. After Arous the mountains are getting more spectacular and more remote.
4. Clay build village Azib n Ikis (2300 m)
Walking from Arous - Azib n Ikis will take about 1 h,
easy downhill by bike from Arous – Ait Said about 20 Min.
Azib n Ikis is a very small hamlet where the less sportif hikers (organized tourist groups) put up there tend to get used to the high altitute climate. More trained sport man will continue to the Tizi n Aghouri pass and then continue to the Terkeditt mountain shelter and stay there the first night. Anyway at Azib n Ikis you find the last water source before reaching the Terkeditt Plateau. So in case you have used all your drinking water fill up your bottles here!
5. Pass Tizi n Aghouri (3400 m)
Walking from Azib n Ikis – Tizi n Aghouri pass will take about 2 h,
rough downhill by bike from Tizi n Aghouri pass – Azib n Ikis about 1 h.
The area between Azib n Ikis via Tizi n Aghouri pass an the Terkeditt Plateau is very remote. Mountains are all around you. Nomads use the narrow track to transport key elements for daily life at the beduin camps around the Terkeditt Plateau. When you bike downhill you will have let pass the mules. In some parts it can get dangerous in case an animal would get afraid of your bike. It hapens that animals are falling down the valley. And of corse all the load they carry! So please be careful when your are hunting down the singletrail in direction to Terkeditt or Agouti. Ones your reached the Tizi n Aghouri pass you are at the highest point before getting to the Terkeditt Plateau. In case you are prepared to downhill the stone loaded singletrail you should ask the muli “capitain” to unload the bike. It might be also cheaper in case the muli “capitain” has to carry the equipment only to the Tizi n Aghouri pass. It’s because he can return at the same day. From the pass it is the first time possible to have views to the Plateau and to the M’Goun peak with it’s sourounding mountain range.
6. Terkeditt-Plateau with the Terkeditt hut/shelter made out of stone (2910 m)
Walking or rough downhill from Tizi n Aghouri pass – Terkeditt Plateau will take about 45 Min.
The way back means at this part of the track that you have to carry your bike. No way to right uphill!
From the Terkeditt mountain hut it will take about 1,5 h to reach the Tizi n Aghouri pass on the way towards Agouti.
The downhill from the Tizi n Aghouri pass to the Terkeditt Plateau is really serious. Experts only! But it is easy to carry the bike. At the Terkeditt Plateau you feel that the air is getting thiner. Good to know that there is a mountain hut with a cook that is preparing local food. You should check in Agouti that the hut is operating. In any case there is enough space to setup a tent. But in that case you have to carry all the food for at least 2 nights and 3 days. Right in front of the mountain shelter is a fresh water spring with drinking water. It’s worth to spend some time at the plateau to enjoy the beautiful views to the high mountain range around the M’Goun peak. On the plateau are living several nomad families who tend their sheeps during the sommertime.
7. M’Goun peak (4071 m)
Walking from Terkeditt – M’Goun peak will take about 5 h,
extremly rough downhill by bike from M’Goun peak- Terkeditt Plateau about 2 -5 h.
By hiking it will about 4 h from M’Goun – Terkeditt.
To be honest, only extremly good mountainbiker, nearly professionals will be able to do the full downhill from the M’Goun to Terkeditt. Most riders supposed to leave their bike at the mountain shelter and do the last part by trekking (back and forth!).