The pristine Talassemtane National Park in Morocco is a premier hiking destination, dotted with cascading waterfalls plummeting into massive turquoise mountain pools. Located deep within the Rif mountains, Talassemtane is roughly a 45-minute drive from the city of Chefchaouen, making it an easily accessible destination for eager trailblazers.
The 590 square kilometres of mountainous terrain sprawls across a landscape laden with deep gorges, craggy cliffs, hidden caves and seasonal streams (locally known as wadis). The most notable features are the forests of fir trees which include Moroccan fir, black pine, and Atlas cedar. The forests support rare wildlife such as golden eagles, lynx and Barbary macaques, and it is also a UNESCO site.
Talassemtane National Park is not to be missed. The closest town is Chefchaouen, a pretty town bathed in royal blue. From the crystal blue waters of the mountain pools to the blue houses of the town, the entire region hints of Berber heritage. Visitors can fly into Tetouan and then drive to the Chefchaouen, the gateway town.
As a premier hiking destination, there are excellent camping spots in Talassemtane National Park where visitors can overnight.
The uniquely blue town of Chefchaouen is a major tourist town just outside Talassemtane National Park and a great way to combine the best of history and the outdoors.
There are at least 40 mammal species in the park, including lynx, Barbary macaques and even otter. Visitors might be lucky enough to spot a red fox, Algerian hedgehog, jackal, and badger.
There are 100 bird species in the park, most notably rare raptors such as the bearded vulture and golden eagle. Other bird types include an Alpine Swift, European honey buzzard, booted eagle, long-legged eagle and the Eurasian sparrow hawk. Reptiles and amphibians are well represented in the park, with over 30 creatures found in this unusual terrain.
March to June is spring and July and August is summer. Visitors are encouraged to visit during spring when the temperatures are moderate. Summer can get extremely hot, but this is when trails close to the river/streams open up. Summer hiking is only recommended for those that can handle the heat. Winter is December to mid-Feb and is cold. In essence, the best time to visit is during spring or autumn.
This enticing national park has several well-marked hiking trails weaving their way up the undulating mountains. Hikers have a choice of easy to difficult trails, while more easygoing walkers can enjoy shorter routes through the forests.
All trails lead to viewpoints with panoramic vistas of hilly landscapes carpeted with forests and dotted with waterfalls. While trekking around this pristine environment, it’s quite possible to spot raptors soaring through the skies and general game flitting about in the dense forests. Watch out for golden eagles, jackals and rare gazelle.
There are four main "end" destinations for hiking. Routes include the historical villages of El Kalaá and Akchour, the natural bridge called the “Bridge of God” and the breathtaking waterfall that plummets into the famous turquoise pool.
The uniquely blue town of Chefchaouen is a major tourist town just outside the national park and is the gateway town. Staying in the town is a great way to combine the best of history and the outdoors.
Chefchaouen is a major tourist town and the first-choice to stay for hikers and visitors to the park. The town has an array of classic old buildings, spa villas, homestays, Chateaus and blue painted houses. Camping is popular along the banks of the river during the hot summer season.