The Tour du Mont Blanc is a 170 km trek that encompasses the whole of the Mont Blanc Massif; with nearly 10 000m of cumulative descent and ascent it is usually completed in a number of days.
The TMB has a variety of accommodations along its way (hotels and mountain huts with possibility for vehicle support) that allow you to really enjoy the scenery, take lots of photos and walk each day with just a light pack.
Alternatively, the TMB can be done completely self-sufficiently: you carry all your own food and camping gear. This gives you a better sense of freedom and the ability to go where you please whenever you want.
Tour of Mont Blanc General Information
Mont Blanc Tour mountain huts are open, in general, 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 safety or to just show you the way you could hire an Independent Trek Leader.
Wildlife on the Tour du Mont Blanc
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.
Tour du Mont Blanc Maps, Kit List and Equipment
Lightweight boots and shorts are sufficient as long as there are warm clothes in your backpack. Waterproofs are essential and trekking poles useful. Here are some of the best mountain equipment shops in Chamonix.
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 not only 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 with your own GPS track (book here online), or benefit from a mountain leaders' experience
- You can carry your own gear or hike with a light pack with vehicle support (book here online)
- You can sleep and eat in the refuges or carry a tent (book here online)
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 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|
At the end of August, each year, the trails around the Mont Blanc get really busy for one of the most amazing competitions ever organized - The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc - so keep this in mind when planning your hike of the Tour du Mont Blanc.