A guided trek through three countries in the alps – France, Italy & Switzerland around the highest peak in Western Europe. The historic Tour du Mont Blanc is easily one of the most spectacular walks of the world. Incredible vistas from high mountain passes, flower rich valleys, enormous glaciers, and alpine scenery does not get much better than this. Join an international group led by a bilingual mountain guide, with full immersion into European mountain culture, with overnights in cozy mountain refuges or charming village gîtes. Carrying only a day pack, our mules transport your luggage leaving you free to enjoy the days walk. Commencing from the Chamonix Valley in France, the route takes you through Italy and Switzerland during a horseshoe circuit around the Mont Blanc massif. There is plenty of time to enjoy the small villages along the way, including the delightful hamlets of La Fouly and Trient.
2023 Departure Dates and Costs
Weekly Departures each Sunday from mid-June to mid-September.
Some sections of the trail have been closed due to warm weather. Alternative routes will be provided.
Tour cost: $ 1,400 USD / $ 1,699 CAD
Based on dorm accommodation.
Room upgrade $ 190 USD/$ 230 CAD provides 1 night dorm accommodation and 5 nights dbl room.
This is a popular trek, early booking is essential.
Choose between Rambler (moderate grade and pace), and Regular (challenging grade and pace)
Mont Blanc trek highlights
- Trek through three countries in the European alps – France, Italy & Switzerland
- Trek through stunning alpine scenery around the highest peak in Western Europe
- Trip is guided by a local hiking expert
- Choose your level Rambler (moderate), Regular Mont Blanc guided walk (moderate to challenging).
- Enjoying the culinary specialties such as Raclette
- Sharing your walking day with a group of like-minded travellers
Mont Blanc trek Itinerary
Itinerary (depending on the date chosen, the trip will be in the reverse direction)
Day 1: Arrive in the Chamonix Valley, begin walk to Trient (L,D)
.Leaving from the village of Le Tour we ascend on the scenic high mountain path of Balme heading towards Switzerland. Weather permitting you will be able to take some wonderful photos of the Mont Blanc chain including the impressive “La Verte”, the Drus and the Needles of Chamonix. We will cross the border between France and Switzerland before making our way down to the village of Trient for overnight accommodation. Walking: Altitude gain approx. 900m/2953ft.ke your way to Avignon. You will find the boat at the Quai de la Ligne next to the famous Pont St Bénezet. Boarding begins at 6pm.
Day 2: Walk to Champex (B,L,D) 18 kmycle near Avignon (30km) (B,L,D)
There are two alternative routes between Trient and Champex. The first is via the Mountain of Bovine which involves crossing the Forclaz Pass (1527m) where there are beautiful lake views. The other is the “Fenêtre d'Arpette” (2665m) route, a variant on the Tour du Mont Blanc and quite challenging. Our aim is to always take the variant trail except in bad weather. The trail is not as well defined as the lower route but as with many pass crossings, the rewards on a good weather day are the extraordinary views to the Trient Glacier. The descent to Champex is steep. On arrival we will transfer by bus to La Fouly, set at the foot of the Dolent, the Val Ferret's emblematic mountain which rises to 3820m. Overnight Gite / refuge. Note: The decision on which path will be taken is always at the discretion of the guide. Walking: Altitude gain: variant route approx. +1300m/4265ft, -1000m/3280ft or Bovine route +900m/2953ft, -650m/2132ft).day's cycle takes us to the other side of the river Rhone by crossing the island Île de la Barthelasse, and we’ll ride in the typical Provencal landscape, between vineyards and orchards. Before heading back to the boat we’ll visit Villeneuve Les Avignon, once known as the town of the cardinals. In the afternoon there'll be time to visit the historic centre of Avignon. Elevation +100m/328ft
Day 3: Cross Grand Col Ferret to Elena (B,L,D) 13 kmoat to Aramon, loop cycle to the roman aqueduct (40km) (B,L,D)
From our accommodation in La Fouly (1600m) we will meet up with our mules and commence walking. The route takes us out of Switzerland and into Italy by the Grand Col Ferret (2537m) pass. It’s a steady climb and at the Col you will be awe inspired by the sweeping views of the Pre de Bar glacier. After some time drinking in the panorama we will amble down the steep track to our overnight accommodation at the Refuge Elena, which is located at the base of the glacier and a great place to view the changing light on the alps. Altitude gain: approx. +900m/2953ft, -500m/1640ft.cruise for two hours this morning to the new harbour on the Rhone at Aramon. Back on the bikes we cycle to the best preserved Roman aqueduct in Europe, the Pont du Gard. This UNESCO listed aqueduct is a truly spectacular work of architecture. Later we return to our mooring in Aramon, a typical village on the banks of the Rhone, with a beautiful view over the Mont Ventoux. Elevation +110m/361ft
Day 4: To Refuge Berthone (B,L,D) 15
This morning's walk takes us through the Val Ferret and along a balcony path with impressive views of the Grand Jorasses, Mont Blanc and in the distance the Col de la Seigne, marking the border between France and Italy. On reaching Refugio Bonatti there are two options to reach our accommodation: the newly rerouted TMB trail traverses the north flank of Monte de la Saxe, whilst the former official TMB route leads along the crest of Monte de la Saxe. Both are high trails with fabulous views of the Brenva face of Mont Blanc and the dramatic Aiguille Noire. As always, the decision on which path will be taken is at the discretion of the guide. Overnight Rifugio Berthone (1989m). Altitude gain: Approx. +631m/2070ft, -704m/2309ft.
Day 5: Elisabetta Refuge (B,L,D) 16 km (may be partly by bus)
We descend from the refuge to the roadhead, then take a bus to Courmayeur. Nestled at the end of Italy's Aosta Valley, Courmayeur is an atmospheric town worthy of some light exploration - and a great place to taste some delicious Italian gelato. If the weather is good, we continue on foot from Courmayeur towards Elisabetta Refuge by crossing the Checroui Pass (2185m), following which a magnificent balcony trail offers expansive views of glaciers tumbling from the heights of Mont Blanc. In the event of bad weather a short bus ride from Courmayeur takes us to La Visaille from where we ascend the enchanting valley where the enormous Miage glacier flows down into Lake Combal. On the Italian side of Mont Blanc, one gains a completely different perspective of the highest peak in the European Alps. Altitude gain: Approx. +1100m/3600ft, -1278m/4192ft.
Day 6: To Refuge Bonhomme (B,L,D) 20 km
We make our way over the Col de La Seigne mountain path, which is overhung by limestone pyramids and the Estelette Glacier, until we reach France. The trail then descends across the high mountain pastures to the City of the Glaciers. Today provides an excellent opportunity to buy Beaufort cheese from the local farmers. A big ascent (949m) leads to our overnight refuge just below the pass of Col de la Croix. Altitude gain: Approx. +1150m/3773ft, -700m/2296ft.
Day 7: To Notre Dame de la Gorge (B,L,D) 9 km
This morning we traverse mountain pastures to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2433m) where there are brilliant views southeast to the peaks of the Vanoise. The trail continues down to the Col du Bonhomme (2329m) and crosses the Contamines Natural Reserve. A sharp descent through a pine forest fringed gorge takes us to an ancient Roman Road and the church of Notre Dame de la Gorge, where there is a bus or taxi service (payable locally) to Le Fayet and Chamonix. Altitude gain: Approx. +40m/131ft, -1200m/3936ft.
Grading 4-5 Moderate to challenging.
The walking is moderate to challenging with daily guided walks of around 5 to 9 hours, between 8 and 15 km and maximum ascents of 1400 metres per day. There are some challenging stages during the walk with steep uphills, descents, and many sections of the trail which require care (eg steep drops, rocky terrain). There are more challenging variant sections of the route which may require climbing ladders for short stages. The guide will use his/her discretion as to groups abilities and weather conditions to determine which route will be taken each day. The accent is on keeping a steady pace with time to stop and take photos (subject to weather conditions and walking pace). You will need a good to excellent level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure. It is considered suitable for experienced walkers who are sure footed with a good walking pace. If your pace is slow in mountainous terrain we recommend you consider instead a Rambler trip (ask for details). Early in the season (June) you may encounter snow on the passes which may be quite deep and alter the grading of the trip to challenging. At any time during summer, weather conditions may be variable and you should be prepared for all conditions including snow, ice, strong sun and extreme winds. As with all our moderate to challenging programs, we expect participants to be regular outdoors people, enjoying aerobic sport around four or five times a week over some period of time. Preferably this has been a long term interest but if not, you have set a program of fitness preparation with at least three months lead in time to your trip. The fitter you are for your trip, the more of a holiday it will be. Activities as close to the actual activity on your trip are the best training; in this instance walking with and without a pack. This builds leg strength, aerobic capacity and confidence in your ability to travel comfortably with a pack for extended periods. At the same time, you are also comfortable with the layers you like to wear and footwear. Important note: good quality walking boots with ankle support are a pre-requisite for your participation. Runners or shoes without ankle support are not suitable for the conditions encountered on this walk.
Need more time to photograph or smell the flowers...
Mont Blanc Ramble trek grade 3 (moderate)
The walking is moderate (3) grade with daily guided walks of around 3-6 hours. There are some more demanding stages during the walk with steep uphills, descents, and many sections of the trail which require care. The accent is on keeping a steady pace with time to stop and take photos (subject to weather conditions). You will need a good level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure. At any time during summer, weather conditions may be variable and you should be prepared for all conditions including snow, ice, strong sun and extreme winds. The planned itinerary may be altered in the event of adverse weather conditions. As with all our moderate programs, we expect participants to be active and fit, enjoying aerobic sport around two to four times a week over some period of time. Preferably this has been a long term interest but if not, you have set a program of fitness preparation with at least three months lead in time to your trip. The fitter you are for your trip, the more of a holiday it will be. Activities as close to the actual activity on your trip are the best training; in this instance walking with and without a pack. This builds leg strength, aerobic capacity and confidence in your ability to travel comfortably with a pack for extended periods. At the same time, you are also comfortable with the layers you like to wear and footwear. Important note: good quality walking boots with ankle support are a pre-requisite for your participation. Runners or shoes without ankle support are not suitable for the conditions encountered on this walk.
- 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners. Continental breakfasts are served and usually consist of breads, jams, coffee, tea and juices. Lunch is picnic style. Dinner will consist of 2 or 3 courses which include regional specialties
- 6 nights accommodation in bunk bed dorms in mountain refuges / gîte hostels. It is possible to spend 5 nights in a double room,1 night quad share – supplement applies
- Luggage transfer by mule (strictly max 7kgs, early season departures use luggage van, and for first 2 days of Room Upgrade version on regular departures)
- Experienced mountain guide
- Group internal transfers.
- Travel guidance
Travel to and from the trail head, Drinks at dinner, Items of a personal nature, Storage of excess luggage, Travel insurance, Since 2020 the accommodations have not been providing bedding and you will need to bring your own sleeping bag.