||France, Italy, Switzerland
||Hotels, Mountain Huts
||1 - 12+
Jun 15, 2024 - Sep 15, 2024
|Single Supp Cost
Hiking Trip Summary
The Mont Blanc Massif, composed of Mont Blanc ( at 15,776′, the highest peak in Western Europe) and a flank of impressively spectacular peaks and glaciers, uniquely straddles the borders of France, Italy, and Switzerland. Rich in alpine history and cultural diversity, this region has been attracting mountaineers and hikers the world over for nearly two hundred years.
Circling the base of the magnificent Mont Blanc Range, our self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc trips wanders through alpine meadows, over barren passes, into small hamlets, and beneath gigantic glaciers. During your self-guided tour, you will view Mont Blanc and its surrounding peaks, glaciers and alpine valleys from three different countries as you hike in the French Alps, Swiss Alps, and Italian Alps.
Having had a presence in the Chamonix-Mont Blanc area for over 30 years, Distant Journeys is one of the foremost providers of self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc itineraries. We are intimately familiar with the trip area and well respected by the hotels, hut owners and service providers with whom we work. Every itinerary is personally crafted to provide a quality experience, at good value, that is just right for you.
- This itinerary represents one of many possibilities. There are many variations possible, depending on your timeframe and level of hiking ability. Please contact us if you would like a more detailed itinerary including elevation gain, loss, distance, and additional information.
Day 1: Independent travel to Chamonix, France. Chamonix is home to a dazzling array of many of the highest peaks in the Alps, including Mont Blanc (15,776′).
Day 2: Short transfer by bus to Les Houches and cable car to Bellevue (5,610′). Here you begin today’s hike, passing by the foot of the huge Glacier de Bionnassay, then up through lush meadows to the Col du Tricot (6,995′), with spectacular views of the Aiguille du Bionnassay, Dome du Gouter, and the entire Chamonix valley. After a steep descent from the Col, you arrive at your refuge, set in a lush valley dominated by the Dome de Miage. Often there is time to explore this beautiful valley before dinner.
Day 3: From Miage, you continue to the small village of Les Contamines, with time to linger and buy lunch items for the next day. Departing Les Contamines, you hike up the Mont Joie Valley, past a 15th-century mountain church, Notre Dame de la Gorge, cross a small Roman bridge, and continue up this broad alpine valley to your overnight stop.
Day 4: Departing your accommodation, you begin a steady climb to the Croix de la Bonhomme and the Col des Fours (8,960′). From here a 20-minute detour takes you to the highest point of the tour, Tete des Nord Fours (9,045′). Weather permitting, there is an expansive 360-degree view. After a long descent passing through the Ville des Glacier and perhaps stopping to buy some Beaufort cheese at a farm, you end your day at the remote and lively Refuge des Mottets.
- An alternate route is to hike to Chapieux and stay in a hiker’s hostel and resume the hike as below.
Day 5: Today’s hike brings you to the Italian border at the Col de la Seigne (8,300′). Hiking down the Val Veny, the Italian side of the Mont Blanc massif and Mont Blanc itself dominate the scene, with myriad glaciers and towering rocky peaks. Hike to La Visaille. Transfer by private taxi to your hotel in Courmayeur, Italy. This transfer is included in the cost of the trip, and we will make arrangements for you to be met at La Visaille. Dinner on your own.
- From either Chapieux or Mottets it is possible to hike to Rifugio Maison Vieille. This adds another wonderful day and a half of hiking before arriving in the village of Courmayeur.
Day 6: Rest day in Courmayeur. The day can be spent exploring the town’s narrow streets, sampling the local pastries and cuisine, day hiking, or taking a series of cable cars up to Point Helbronner and into the heart of the Mont Blanc Massif.
Day 7: Transfer by private taxi from the hotel in Courmayeur to the end of the spectacular Val Ferret. Hike to Ferret, Switzerland over the Col Grand Ferret (8,372′). Stopping for lunch en-route you are offered views of the Val Veny, Val Ferret, and the skyline dominated by the Grandes Jorasses, Aiguille Talefre, and Mont Dolent. This wonderful day of hiking ends in the Swiss Val Ferret.
- Many of our hikers depart on foot from Courmayeur and hike to the wonderful Rifugio Walter Bonatti for the night. This strenuous hike is perhaps one of the most amazing treks on the entire route. The next day the route continues to Ferret, Switzerland. We recommend this option.
Day 8: A moderate day of hiking takes you down the Ferret Valley, through small Swiss hamlets and beautiful gardens. The hike ends with a climb up to the picturesque lake village of Champex. This afternoon you will have some time to explore this small village, relax or stroll around the lake.
Day 9: There are two hiking options for today, and you can decide which you prefer in the morning. One is via the high alpine pastures of Bovine, with expansive views of the Rhone Valley, and the other, more difficult, the route is up and over the ruggedly beautiful Fenetre d’Arpette. The second option is possible only if weather conditions are appropriate. You end the day in the quiet town of Trient.
Day 10: Hike from Trient to Tre le Champ or the village of Argentiere, France, over the Col de Balme (7,230′). Crossing into France at the Col, once again the spectacular sight of the Chamonix valley and the Mont Blanc Range, with its dramatic peaks and glaciers, will be breathtaking. You can end your day at either the small refuge in Tre le Champ or continue about 25 minutes further down the trail to Argentiere and stay in a small, simple hotel.
- It is possible to hike from Trient all the way to Chamonix in one day. There are several hiking options and buses that can shorten the hiking day. This is a great option if you are short on time and need to combine two hiking days into one.
Day 11: From Tre le Champ or Argentiere you hike to Chamonix with ever-changing views of the Aiguille Verte, the Aiguilles des Chamonix, and the glaciers of le Tour, Argentiere, and the Mer de Glace. There are several hiking options for today’s hike.
Day 12: The trip will end at the hotel in Chamonix. Please allow for travel time when making plans.
- General consulting regarding hiking dates and abilities
- Travel information and suggestions
- Detailed French IGN Topo maps, 1:25,000 scale, covering the route
- Detailed trail notes – we keep our notes updated and as accurate as possible
- Additional information covering various aspects of your trip (i.e., lunches, laundry, water, refuge routines, alternate transportation)
- All overnight accommodations, which include breakfasts and most dinners (hotels with private baths as described in itinerary; other overnight accommodations may vary)
- All private taxi transfers, if any, as detailed in the final itinerary
The above may change, depending on your final, confirmed itinerary.
This may vary, depending on the final itinerary: Airfare, luggage transfer, if any, lunches, travel to and from the starting point, which is normally Chamonix, cable cars, ski lifts, any transfers or excursions on trains, buses, taxis, extra charges due to changes in itinerary, items not on set dinner menu, dinners in Chamonix, Courmayeur, Argentiere, beverages (except what is served at breakfast), 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 15 - 20 lbs., including lunch and water. Any extra luggage or belongings you may have can be left at the hotel in Chamonix.
ACCOMMODATIONS AND FACILITIES
The accommodations on the TMB vary from comfortable 3-star hotels to rustic mountain refuges. Your trip may or may not include the following, depending on your final confirmed itinerary.
Hotels: Hotels with private bath include Chamonix, Courmayeur, Ferret or La Fouly, Champex, and Argentière. All are friendly, family-run hotels that reflect the local character. We are certain you will find these hotels comfortable and welcoming.
Hiker’s Hotels: The hiker’s hotels offer simple and basic, though comfortable, accommodations. They have private double rooms with shared facilities. Hiker’s hotels include Chapieux, France, and Ferret and Trient, Switzerland.
Refuges or Huts: These are wonderful rustic farms that have been converted to accommodate hikers. They offer shared bunkrooms, called dortoirs, complete with blankets and pillows. The shared facilities vary, but all have washing and bathroom areas and hot showers. Refuges include: Miage, La Balme, Bonhomme and Mottets in France; Maison Vieille and Bonatti in Italy. Depending on your final itinerary, you might not stay at all of these refuges.
The atmosphere is friendly and jovial as hikers from many countries gather to spend the night. We believe that staying in the huts and small hotels offers a wonderful opportunity to meet hikers from other parts of the world, experience something new and wonderful, and take part in the simple tradition of the European style of hiking hut-to-hut.
Meals: Breakfasts are served each morning at the hotels, hiker’s hotels, and refuges. Lunches are picnic style on the trail. Dinners are served at the hiker’s hotels and refuges. Dinners are not included in Chamonix, Courmayeur or Argentiere.
The closest international airport is Geneva, Switzerland. From Geneva, you can travel to and from Chamonix by train, a shared van, private taxi or bus. Depending on the route and mode of transportation, travel time between Geneva and Chamonix can take between 1 and 4 hours. There are also trains from Zurich or Paris, just allow for extra travel time.
Our traditional starting point for the Tour du Mont Blanc hike is Chamonix, France. Other possible starting points include Courmayeur, Italy, and Champex, Switzerland.
As the Tour du Mont Blanc is a circular route, most of our itineraries end back in Chamonix.
WHO WOULD LIKE THIS TRIP?
Not only is our Self-Guided Tour du Mont Blanc a great introduction to hut-to-hut hiking in Europe, it also offers a great introduction to the self-guided hike format. This route is well-traveled and well-marked and offers solid hiking with a nice variety of accommodations. Anyone with some hiking experience and some map-reading skills will greatly enjoy the Tour du Mont Blanc.
WHAT MAKES THIS TRIP DIFFERENT?
Having had a presence in Chamonix-Mont Blanc area for over 30 years, Distant Journeys is one of the foremost providers of self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc itineraries. We are intimately familiar with the trip area and well respected by the hotels, hut owners and service providers with whom we work. At the end of a day of hiking on one of our self-guided itineraries, whether you are ending your day at a mountain hut or village hotel, you will be greeted with the same anticipation and welcome as if we were arriving along with you. We feel a deep sense of connection to and passion for this area and this route. Every itinerary is personally crafted to provide a quality experience, at good value, that is just right for you.
For more information, for a more-detailed itinerary description (with elevation gains and losses and distances), to register, or to get started planning your personalized self-guided itinerary, please contact us!
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.