A wild, remote and beautiful climb in the High Atlas mountains with a summit over 2,000 metres, Tizi n Test is a stunning early or late-season climb with some epic views at the top.
When to Ride Tizi n Test
Morocco is becoming more and more popular as a cycling destination. It is popular to ride from Marrakesh all through the winter with average highs of 19 degrees. The mountain passes are topped with snow in mid-winter (there is a ski resort not far away) but you can ride into the Atlas mountains from mid-February through to May when the temperatures get too hot. After summer, October and November are great months to ride. The climb is a day’s ride from Marrakesh and is very remote, so most people stay the night at one of the small guesthouses at the summit.
Riding Tizi n Test
There are two ways up to the summit, one starting from Marrakesh and the other coming up from the foothills. This climb is mostly done in a four to six-day loop, starting and finishing in Marrakesh including the other high climb in the area, Tizi n Tichka.
Coming back into Marrakesh, this climb starts shortly after taking a right-turn off the main N10 road. There is a long, flat section before the start of the climb so you should be pretty fresh at the start. The road quality on this side is very good and there is almost no traffic all the way back to Asni on the road back to Marrakesh.
A lot of the climbs in the Atlas Mountains have similar characteristics – long, low gradients and curves following the gradient of the mountain rather than more manufactured hairpins. The first 5km of Tizi n Test is dead straight with gradients averaging around 4%. The scenery starts to get interesting after around 8km as you enter a pine forest and start to get better views of the mountains in all directions.
For the second half of the climb you can see the road snaking up and up. After 22km the road starts to wind back-and-forth and you start to see cafes on the side of the road if you need something to eat or drink. The road quality gets more inconsistent as you get closer to the summit but there has been recent work done here, so by the time you are riding it should be perfect tarmac. The only tricky part of the climb is around 25km with a section of about 8% gradient, but this soon eases back off to 3 to 5% like the rest of the ride. The summit is just beyond the BelleVue hotel (visible from miles away) and gives you views both ways over the mountain. If you stay the night here, it can be cold in the evening but the views go on forever and make the experience well worth it. In the morning you are normally above the clouds, a unique and stunning climb in the remote High Atlas mountains.