About Cascades d’Akchour
The Cascades d’Akchour consisted of a lower waterfall and a much taller upper waterfall as well as a handful of other modest waterfalls and cascades sharing the same stream.
Although we learned on our visit that it wasn’t typical to do this, we also visited the Bridge of God (le Pont de Dieu), which was an impressively tall natural bridge, on the same day as our long hike to the waterfalls.
Actually, Julie and Tahia only went to the lower waterfall, while I did the physical challenge of keeping up with the local guide to get all the way to the upper waterfall and back before it got dark (more on the hike later on in this page).
The Upper Akchour Falls (pictured above) could be on the order of about 100m tall while the lower waterfall was probably on the order of 20m or so.
In addition to its height, a distinguishing feature of the scenic upper waterfall was the travertine formations flanked by mossy green growth contrasting the red color from the neighboring cliffs.
Meanwhile, the lower waterfall featured a calm natural swimming area just upstream of its drop.
As for the Bridgge of God, it was a very tall natural bridge that was carved through by the Oued Farda (or Farda River), which was a different stream than the one responsible for the waterfalls.
I mentioned earlier that it was atypical to visit the Bridge of God (le Pont de Dieu) with both of the main Akchour Waterfalls in a day.
The main reason why was because the Bridge of God involved a rough and steep hike that took us about 3-4 hours round trip.
Meanwhile, the hike to the Upper Akchour Falls (which encompasses the Lower Akchour Falls) took at least 5-6 hours at a reasonable pace.
That said, if you turn around at the lower waterfall, then it might just take around 2 hours round trip.
The hike to le Pont de Dieu involved extensive river walking within the Oued Farda, and it included a few tricky steep scrambles and slippery bridge crossings.
There was also a steep descent and climb to get in and out of the Oued Farda gorge.
By comparison, the hike to the second (upper) of the Cascades d’Akchour was on a much more tame trail with fewer hazards to deal with.
However, it was a much longer hike, and it was mostly uphill on the way to both waterfalls.
Julie and Tahia managed to do both the Bridge of God and the Lower Akchour Falls on the same day with the help of local guides.
On the other hand, I went against conventional wisdom (and against the advice of people trying to talk me out of it) and went all the way to the Upper Akchour Falls in addition to the Bridge of God.
It was a very long and demanding day of physical activity, and it actually involved a bit of trail running to keep up with the local guide who reluctantly went along with me.
All told, we spent about 7 hours away from the car.
In any case, while le Pont de Dieu (the Bridge of God) had its share of small waterfalls and cascades, for the purposes of this write-up, we’ll only focus on the hike to both of les Cascades d’Akchour (the Akchour Waterfalls).
The Hike to the Lower Cascade d’Akchour Waterfall
The waterfall hike began from a dam flanked by very tall cliffs.
This dam not only produced a reservoir with practically clear-as-glass water, but it also seemed to be a magnet for people wishing to go for a dip or a real short swim.
That said, the water here was bitterly cold despite the hot weather.
Facing the dam, the trail to the Akchour Waterfalls started on its left side after crossing the bridge over the river.
Meanwhile, the trail to the Bridge of God started on the right side of the dam (i.e. don’t cross the bridge if you’re intending to go to the natural bridge).
Anyways, keeping left to go on the waterfall trail, we found that the path was wide and paved for much of the way.
There were a handful of shelters, shops, cafes, and even a hotel, along this stretch of the path.
Consequently, it was also very busy with families and as well as hardier hikers.
Throughout this initial stretch of trail, there were plenty of other side distractions from gorge scenery to other smaller cascades for an opportunity to cool off.
After about an hour or so from the trailhead, we made it to the Lower Cascade d’Akchour, which featured a roughly 15m-20m shadowy drop up against one side of the gorge wall.
In the immediate area, there was a cafe with tables, which Julie and Tahia proclaimed had a tagine lunch that was just as good as the one that we had at the Sources Oum er-Rbia.
That prompted Julie to theorize that in Morocco, the rural places tended to have fresher and better meals than some of the popular restaurants in the city centers.
In addition to the cafe and falls, slightly further upstream were clear pools and smaller cascades that were quite popular for swimming or just cooling off.
So it was understandable why most people would be satisfied and stop here before turning back for about a two-hour round trip affair.
The Hike to the Upper Cascade d’Akchour Waterfall
Leaving Julie and Tahia with our driver at the Lower Akchour Falls, I accompanied my guide on the ambitious push to continue to the Upper Akchour Falls.
Almost immediately beyond the Lower Akchour Falls, the trail became narrower and undulated in a generally uphill manner.
At this point, there were far fewer hikers than there were down at the trail to the lower waterfall below.
Plus, most of the creek crossings were either direct rock hops or pillar hops (from where there might have been bridges here before).
The scenery along this part of the route showcased even more of the V-shaped rugged gorge surrounded by tall and shapely cliffs.
If the guide and I weren’t in such a hurry to get to the falls and back, this could’ve very easily been an unforgettable long hike through the best of the accessible Nature that Talassemtane National Park had to offer.
That said, it was still amazing that we passed at least two or three cafes before reaching the last cafe just a few paces downstream of the final destination – the Upper Akchour Falls.
I always wondered how the locals managed to bring the supplies for these cafes so far from the nearest road.
But then again, I recalled seeing something similar to this phenomenon back at the Setti Fatma Waterfalls, which involved an even trickier hike over uneven rocks with plenty of dropoff exposure.
The guide and I managed to do this stretch from the Lower Akchour Falls to the Upper Akchour Falls in only an hour.
However, I’d imagine that this stretch should require around 90-120 minutes of hiking in each direction at a more reasonable pace.
Anyways, the Upper Akchour Waterfall was at the head of the gorge with a segmented drop of roughly 100m by my estimation over travertine cliffs.
The contrast between the reddish cliffs and the thin waters with the travertine formations kind of reminded me of the kind of scenery one might find in the Havasupai area of the Grand Canyon in Northern Arizona.
It seemed like it was mostly younger and able-bodied folks who found ways to frolick around the Upper Akchour Falls.
Either that or they might have a well-earned meal at the cafe here.
I even noticed some who managed to scramble towards the backside of the base of the falls.
As you can see from the photos on this page, the flow of this waterfall was a bit on the thin side.
So I could totally envision how the later into the Summer we get, the less this falls would flow until it might dry out completely or merely trickle by mid- to late Summer.
Our visit occurred in mid- to late May 2015, which happened to be a year where Morocco seemed to have received pretty good precipitation during the Winter months.
In drier years, even more pressure could be put on this falls to perform by this late into the Spring.
The return hike only took the guide and I about 75 minutes to make it all the way back to the cafe area at the trailhead (just downstream of the dam).
Again, since we trail ran pretty much the whole way, I’d imagine that it would typically take about 2-3 hours to finish the downhill hiking from the last Cascade d’Akchour Waterfall to the trailhead.
The Cascades d’Akchour (Akchour Waterfalls) reside just outside Talassemtane National Park near the village of Akchour in the Rif Mountains of the Chefchaouen Province in Morocco. I don’t think the waterfalls are administered by any formal authority, but I’m guessing there are locals who are motivated to maintain the trails for commerce. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you may get leads from the Morocco National Tourism website.
The trailhead for both the Cascades d’Akchour and the Pont de Dieu (Bridge of God) were from the end of the road through the village of Akchour.
It took our driver roughly 45 minutes to an hour to drive here from Chefchaouen, where we were based for a few days.
We can’t give specific directions since we didn’t drive here ourselves.
So hopefully the drive times and nearest cities that we’ve provided should be sufficient to help with your trip planning.
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