Hikers at Le Truc
Hiking the GR 5
Dinner at Refuge d'Entre le Lac
Dinner on the GTA
Hiking the Grande Traversee des Alps
Grande Traversée des Alps
Grande Traversée des Alps Hikers
Hiking the Grande Traversee des Alps
Hiking the Crête des Gittes
Hiking Le Truc
Dinner Refuge Plan Mya
Terrace at Refuge Miage
Bunkroom Refuge Plan Mya
Doorway Grande Traversee des Alps
Painted door, Roubion
Refuge de La Balme
Walking through Roubion
Hiking the Grande Traversee des Alps
View of Menton and the Mediterranean
French village on the GR5

Self-Guided Grande Traversee des Alps

Part 1: GR5 - Chamonix to Modane

Trip Details

Location Chamonix to La Vanoise and Modane
Length 11 days
Grades Strenuous, Strenuous Plus
Accommodations Hotels, Mountain Huts
Group size 0
Dates We will be scheduling dates for this trip soon. Please check back.
Land Cost
Single Supp Cost

Hiking Trip Summary

Much like a European version of the Appalachian Trail, the Grande Randonnee 5 (GR 5) is a spectacular long-distance hiking route that runs the length of Europe, beginning on the North Sea and ending on the shores of the Mediterranean. The section of the GR 5 which begins at the base of the Mont Blanc Massif and traverses the French Alps south to the Mediterranean is referred to as the Grand Traverse of the Alps (GTA). If you are looking for a classic hut-to-hut hiking experience, we recommend this hike on the Grand Traverse from Chamonix to Modane. This is a rewarding and immensely varied journey

Your journey begins at the foot of the Mont Blanc range in Chamonix, Haute Savoie, and heads south through Savoie Region and the Vanoise National Park, to the pleasant mountain village of Pralognan-la-Vanoise and on to Modane.

Established in 1963, the Vanoise is France’s first national park. A wonderfully remote and expansive area, the Vanoise massif encompasses 82 kilometers of pristine peaks and glaciers, captures a vast array of alpine wildlife, and preserves the essence of French rural existence.

This part of the GR 5, starting in Chamonix and ending in Modane, is a classic alpine hut-to-hut route: remote hiking, rustic refuges and expansive, wide open vistas. This is one of the few hut hikes in France that is truly “hut-to-hut.”


Show itinerary

Additional Information

Cost varies, from $1,795 for 10 days; $1,895 for 11 days. The land cost will vary depending on the final itinerary.


  • Travel information
  • Maps covering the route
  • Detailed trail notes
  • All overnight accommodations
  • All breakfasts and most dinners
  • Transfer as detailed in the final confirmed itinerary


Airfare, lunches, travel to and from starting/ending point, transfers or excursions on trains, lifts, buses, taxis, extra charges due to changes in itinerary, dinners in Chamonix or Pralognan, items not on set dinner menu, beverages (except what is served at breakfast), bottled water, insurance, items of a personal nature.


This hike is not vehicle supported. You will need to carry a small- to moderate-sized pack with only the clothing and accessories you will need for the duration of the hike. (See our Sample Packing List.) With advances in synthetic clothing and other travel gear, it’s possible to keep your pack weight to 20 lbs., including lunch and water. Any extra luggage can be left at the hotel until your return or transferred as per your final itinerary.


The hotel in Chamonix is a wonderful family-run hotel located in the center of town. This older -ashioned hotel is welcoming and helpful. All rooms have private baths. The hotel in Pralognan is located in the village and offers private rooms with private baths. Breakfasts are served at both hotels.

The mountain huts are remote and rustic and located in spectacular settings. The shared facilities are simple, but most have hot showers. Most accommodate from 20 to 40 hikers, sometimes more. Breakfasts and dinners are served at the refuges and lunches are picnic style along the trail.


The nearest airport to the starting point is Geneva Airport, Switzerland.


This route begins with your first night's accommodation in Chamonix.


This will vary depending on the final confirmed itinerary.


The Grand Traverse Part One is a route not hiked by many Americans, though it travels through some of the most beautiful and pristine landscapes of the French Alps. The accommodations are rustic, old-world alpine farms that have been converted to accommodate hikers and are referred to as refuges. Many are in amazingly remote locations only accessible by foot. This is a perfect trip for experienced hikers looking for a route that is well off-the-beaten-path and offers a little bit more of an adventure. The hiking is challenging, with some strenuous plus days. If you have hiked in other parts of the Alps and are looking for a slightly different experience this definitely a route to consider!


As the Tour du Mont Blanc has become increasing popular, this first part of the Grande Traversee des Alpes offers a quieter, more remote, and possibly more authentic hiking experience. Distant Journeys is one of the very few, if not only, companies that offer this section of the GR 5 as a self-guided itinerary. The huts are classic and remote, many only accessible by foot. It is true, you do have to carry your own pack for this trip, but the reward is hiking through some of the most beautiful, remarkably pristine landscapes of the French Alps.


Please contact us for a more detailed itinerary, for more information, or to register. We're also happy to supply a list of past participants willing to share honest insights into this self-guided Grande Traversee des Alps experience.

Reserving This Trip

A non-refundable deposit of $500 along with your completed registration forms will reserve a space on your requested trip. We accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express card as well as personal checks. To make a deposit, you may either follow one of the “Reserve a Trip” links below, give us a call at 1-888-845-5781, or include your payment information in the area provided when completing your registration forms.

Before registering for this, please read our Terms and Conditions in their entirety and then refer to our Self-Guided Trips page for specific information regarding the process.

The balance is due 90 days prior to departure for most of our trips. When applying less than 75 days prior to departure, full payment is due. For final payments, we accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express, as well as personal checks.

As confirmation of receipt of your deposit, we will send you a comprehensive packet of information pertaining to your trip, an invoice for final payment and additional information including release agreement form, medical information form, travel information, and packing list. Upon receipt of final payment, you will receive trip rendezvous information and a list of accommodations. Returning trip participants will receive a 5% discount on most trips.

Receipt of all forms will finalize your registration.

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