The Tour du Mont Blanc is undoubtedly the most renowned walking trail in the Alps that runs 180km (112 miles) around the Mont Blanc, starting and finishing in Chamonix. This is the highest peak of Europe rising at 4807 m and a must do for all mountain hikers.This famous and mythical Alpine trek takes place in surroundings of outstanding beauty close to the glaciers and offers a real adventure for trekking lovers in 3 countries : France, Italy and Switzerland. You are likely to see marmots, ibex and other wild life and be delighted by the fairy-tale like villages.
♦ The views on the Mont Blanc glaciers every day
♦ The crossing of the 2500 m height passes (Col de la Seigne, de la Croix du Bonhomme and Grand Col Ferret)
Day 1. Chamonix - Bionassay
Meeting point at 9:30 sharp at the train station of Chamonix. You are ready to hike with a backpack including the things of the day, a water bottle and your trekking shoes. The taxi will be there to take your luggage and you start the walk to the Petit Balcon Sud. In front of the famous needles of the Mont Blanc that you can identify, walk to the Houches to take the Bellevue cable-car. A hillside path leads you to the frontal tongue of Bionassay Glacier. Night in Bionassay, above the Contamines Montjoie valley. Elevation: +630 / -1160m; Length - 15 km/9 miles; Walking time - 5h30
Day 2. Bionassay - Contamines Montjoie
The hiking day starts gently but then climbs up through forests and clearings on the steep mountain sides above the Gruvaz Gorges. The V valley cut by the creek turns into the U glacier valley of the Pastures of Miage (1559m). A real paradise at the foot of the Domes de Miage. Another effort to reach the peaceful Plateau du Truc (1740m) before starting the descent to the Contamines Montjoie and then walk up the Val Montjoie passing the splendid baroque 17th century church of Notre Dame de la Gorge. Cross over the rumbling Bon Nant torrent by the antique passage, falsely called “Voie Romaine” and reach the “Pont Romain” and the Chalet (hut) where you spend the night in a 8 bed dormitory. You are in the Natural reserve of the Contamines Montjoie. Elevation: +970/-830m; Length - 18km/12 miles; Walking time - 6h15
Day 3. Contamines Montjoie - Chapieux
An alpine stage with the ascent of two passes throughout the day. The peaceful pastures of Balme lead to the Col du Bonhomme Pass (2329m), entrance into the Beaufortain. Your hard work is done since the next crossing rises gently up to the Croix du Bonhomme Pass (2479m). The path dives into the pastures of the Glaciers Valley and finally reaches the village of Chapieux, end of the stage. You can also spend the night in Ville des Glaciers by crossing the pass, Col des Fours (2665m) which is the highest point of the hike (+200m, +1h). This will shorten the stage of the next day. Elevation: +1020/-930m; Length - 12km/9 miles; Walking time - 5h30
Day 4. Chapieux - Les Arêtes du Brouillard
The Col de la Seigne (2516 m) is the entrance to Val d’Aoste in Italy. Here is the wildest side of the Mont Blanc. Go down to Val Veni until you come to the moraine of Miage glacier which closes the whole valley. A short side track leads you to Miage Lake, caught between the moraine and the glacier. As you walk through the bottom of the valley, you discover the Mont Blanc iconic ridges called “les Arêtes du Brouillard” (or Fog ridges), the Innominata or Peuterey. Night in the Hut Monte Bianco. Elevation +1080/-990m; Length - 19km/12 miles Walking time - 6h
Day 5. Les Arêtes du Brouillard - Val Ferret
After visiting Notre Dame de la Guérison chapel (Our Lady of Recovery), you walk down to Courmayer (which can also be linked by bus in july and august) to enjoy a Cappuccino. If the weather is hot, the tough ascent through the scarce larches will be rewarded at the Pré de Saxe point (2000m) by a breathtaking view over the Grandes Jorasses and the Giant Teeth. A short nap is ideal here before starting the descent to the Italian Val Ferret and Lavachey or Elena Hut where you stay for the night. Elevation +880/-880m; Length - 17km/11 miles; Walking time -5h45
Day 6. Val Ferret - Ferret/La Fouly
Today the hike starts in the peaceful Italian Val Ferret up to the Glacier du Pré du Bar, that figures in a number of geography books. It is high time to face the tough ascent leading to the Grand Col Ferret (2537m), the door to Switzerland. You are in front of the symbolic Mont Dolent where the 3 Italian, French and Swiss borders converge. Night in Ferret or La Fouly (1600 m). Elevation +920/-860m; Length - 17km/11 miles; Walking time -6h
Day 7. Ferret/La Fouly - Val d'Arpette
This long gentle stage is an immersion in the mild Swiss Valais. You walk down the Swiss Val Ferret through the charming villages of La Fouly, Praz de Fort, les Arlaches and Issert. The traditional architecture is well preserved and the way is dotted with houses, barns and wooden attics on stilts called “raccard”. Walk through the forest and this maintained landscape up to the climatic station of Champex (1473m). Walk along the lake, take a nap and then reach the Val d’Arpette to spend the night. Elevation gain +630/-700m; Length - 19 km/12 miles; Walking time - 5h15
Day 8. Val d'Arpette - Col de la Forclaz / Trient
A slight descent before the ascent which starts gently and ends steeper towards the Alpages de Bovine (1987m). This is a balcony above the Rhone Valley offering wide open spaces and horizons over Martigny, the Valais and the Dents Blanches (White Teeth). The ascent ends in Collet Portalo (2049m) before the descent through a forest of larch trees. Enjoy the night at the Col de la Forclaz (1526m) or Trient (1297m, + 45 mn). Elevation +760/-860m; Length - 13 km/8 miles; Walking time - 4h45
Day 9. Col de la Forclaz / Trient - Aiguille Verte
After walking alongside the Bisse de Trient (canal dug into the rock), you climb up the path leading to the Bergeries des Grands (Sheep fold) (2113m) above the Glacier du Trient. Follow the footpath balcony to the Col de Balme (2191m) where you are back in France and the Chamonix Valley. Here is the Mont Blanc side which you discovered 9 days ago. Enjoy the splendid views on the Glacier du Tour and the Aiguille Verte (Green Needle). Night at the foot of the glacier in Le Tour or Argentière (comfort option, + 30 mn). Elevation +900/-1050m; Length - 17 km/11 miles; Walking time - 6h15
Day 10. Aiguille Verte - Chamonix
Climb up the ladders of the Argentière Aiguillette and reach the Balcon des Aiguilles Rouges (the Red Needles Balcony). Later on, appreciate an ultimate nap on the shores of one of the Lakes of Chéséry (2133m). End your hiking trip in a magnificent environment, in front of the Green Needle and the Drus. The arrival is scheduled around 6:00 pm at the station of Chamonix where you can pick up your baggage. Elevation +830/-1160m; Length - 15 km/9 miles; Walking time - 6h15
Practical information: Walking Level: 3, which means 6 hours of walking per day with 600 to 800 m of elevation gain. You are in a good physical shape and practice sports regularly (several hours per week ). Some stages can be shortened taking the bus (extra cost) or the baggage taxi (around 30 € to 50 € per lift). A guarantee which covers “Search and Rescue” expenses is highly recommended. Accommodation is in mountain huts with dormitories comprising between 4 and 30 beds and include the half board (dinner + breakfast).
Caution: At the begininng of the season (until beginning of july), because of late snow coverage, conditions can be more difficult. Choose this period if you have mountain experience.
Please, limit your luggage to one bag per person (preferably a back pack or a soft travel bag) that weighs no more than 10kg or you will be charged for extra bags by the taxis.
Contact us for recommended equipment.