Originally Posted by eightpot
Is there a good route over the Atlas from Marakesh other than on tarmac using the N9 towards Foum Zguid? I can see some tracks on google earth, but they could be potentially very slow and I don't want to take too long getting south.
So many routes, so little time!
I've been to Morocco four times now, and each time (other than a few miles) I've been on different roads/trails to different places/regions - you really can't see it all, even if you spend half your life there like Tim and Chris seem too!
If you've never been there before, then the N9 over Tizi-n-Techka is an utterly awesome road (especially on a bike, moreso than a car/4x4 admittedly) - stunning mountain switchbacks and views that are breathtaking - I'd say one of THE great roads in the world (I said that in TBM actually, ahem), even if you come across the odd truck or tourist bus...
That said, I'm sure you've come to drive off-tarmac, and even though you'll have more than enough of that on your proposed route through the south/dunes etc. I'd like to suggest the following (which may or may not be similar to what others have said above, I'll just go on the spellings of placenames on the Michelin 742 which I happen to have in front of me).
From Marrakech head south on R203 to Asni, then on to Ijoukak. There is a gem of a tarmac then dirt mountain road due south towards Aoulouz (have a look at the Region de Marrakech larger scale section on the 742 map - you want to take the black dotted trail after Ouadouz).
Alternatively I understand there is a corking trail that runs east from Ijoukak to Ikkis (its not marked on the 742 map, but is established on the ground, and in the GPS if you upload Olaf's maps from here: GPS Vector Map Morocco
Once you get down towards Aoulouz, you can head east to Askaoun - there are a lot of places beginning with A (as Chris says) on this route... and from Askaoun continue east on the dirt road/trail over Tizi-n-Melloul (an excellent off-road route, and possibly challenging at times) to Tachokachte where it turns to tarmac to Anezal on the N10 (not too far from the 50's style American gas station movie set from the Hills have Eyes remake, fact finders).
From there you can head south to Tazenakht and on to Foum-Zguid on a lovely scenic tarmac route (R111).
Alternatively, if you want to see Quarzazate (and Ait Benhaddou), there is a corking piste/trail if you continue east from Anezal to Ighels, where you turn north east on the dirt road to Taguenzelt and on to Ouarzazate (where you pop out close to the Bikershome that Tim mentions).
Something more to chew over?