Hiking the Tour of Mont Blanc - Routes and Itineraries

 
 

The Tour of Mont Blanc is most commonly done using hotels and mountain huts with vehicle support, that way you can really enjoy the scenery, take lots of photos and walk each day with just a light pack. Alternativley the TMB can be completely self-sufficient: you carry all your own food and camping gear

The Tour of Mont Blanc Map
The Tour of Mont Blanc - TMB Chamonix
The Tour of Mont Blanc - TMB Chamonix
The Tour of Mont Blanc - TMB Chamonix sign
The Tour of Mont Blanc - TMB Chamonix

General Information

In general, Mont Blanc Tour mountain huts are open from mid-June until the first or second week in September. It is advisable to reserve a bed, particularly in the high season of mid July to mid August.

Early in the season is the quietest and most beautiful but beware of old snow on the higher paths which could be icy and dangerous and would make an ice-axe essential.

For additional saftey or to just show you the way you could hire an Independant Trek Leader

Wildlife

Have a look at the Chamonix.net nature, faune and flora page for more information on wildlife you might encounter on the Tour of Mont Blanc. Chamois, deer, eagles and a range of beautiful alpine flowers can all be seen and photographed.

Equipment

Lightweight boots and shorts are sufficient as long as there are warm clothes in your backpack. Waterproofs are essential and trekking poles useful.

Do not forget sunglasses, skin and lip protection. Always carry drinking water and check the Chamonix weather forecast before starting your journey.

Maps for the Tour of Mont Blanc:

Tour of Mont Blanc - Route Descriptions

You have plenty of options: from 4 day sportive hikes to leisurely 12 day cultural experiences; there is no one way to do the Tour of Mont Blanc. Here are a couple of different suggestions which may help you make up your mind on your particular style.

  • You can go on your own, or benefit from a mountain leaders' experience
  • You can carry your own gear or hike with a light pack with vehicle support
  • You can sleep and eat in the refuges or carry a tent

Here is a list of contact information for the various mountain huts.

4 day trip: Not quite racing - but fast enough: For the hardcore hiker

This itinerary follows pretty much in the footsteps of the Ultra Trail race (which varies slightly from year to year). This is for very fit hikers and is done with only a light day pack, eating and sleeping in huts and is basically the run/walking version of the Tour du Mont Blanc. The times noted are for fit spandex-wearing (not obligatory!) hikers.

 

 Day Start  Via  Finish  Times (very quick)
Day 1 Chamonix Les Houches - La Charme - Saint-Gervais Les Contamines  5.5h 
Day 2 Les Contamines Notre Dame de la Gorge - La Balme - Col du Bonhomme - Croix du Bonhomme - Les Chapieux - La Ville des Glaciers - Col de la Seigne - Refuge Elisabetta - Lac Combal - Arête Mont Favre - Col Checrouit Maison Vielle Courmayeur 7.5h
Day 3 Courmayeur Refuge Bertone - Refuge Bonatti - Arnuva - Refuge Elena - Grand Col Ferret - La Peule - La Fouly - Praz de Fort Champex 7h
Day 4 Champex Bovine - Trient - Catogne - Vallorcine - Col des Montets - Flégère Chamonix 6.5h

7 day trip: Hiking the Tour of Mont Blanc - hiker

Start with the previously mentioned itinerary and break up the days a bit depending on where you would like to spend the night.

For people who carry their own gear, plan on a 7 day trip.

9 to 11 day trip: Taking the time to look at the scenery

Of course if you really do have time, you can expand the experience. Here's an example of a slower pace, with time to veer a little off the path. This is described as an 11 day trip, but it would be really easy to knock off the first and last days as those days are dedicated to trekking in the Chamonix Valley.

 

Day Start Via Finish Hours
Day 1 Chamonix Gondola to Planpraz - Brévent - Bel Lachat - Merlet Les Houches 5h
Day 2 Les Houches Chavants - Col de Voza - Bellevue - Col du Tricot - chalets de Miage Les Contamines 6h
Day 3 Les Contamines Croix du Bonhomme - Col des Fours - Tete Nord des Fours Les Chapieux 7h
Day 4 Les Chapieux Ville des Glaciers - Col de la Seigne Refuge Elisabetta 5h
Day 5 Refuge Elisabetta Lac Combal - Alpages d'arp Veille - Col Chécroui Courmayeur 5h
Day 6 Courmayeur Tete Bernarda La Vachey 5.5h
Day 7 La Vachey Arnuva - Col Ferret La Fouly 6h
Day 8 La Fouly   Champex 4.5h
Day 9 Champex Champex Bovine - Col de la Forclaz Trient 5.3h
Day 10 Trient Col de Balme Tre le Champ 5h
Day 11 Tre le Champ Cheserys - Flégère Chamonix 4.5h