Tour du Mont-Blanc in 8 days

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The Tour du Mont-Blanc is a hike around the famous Mont-Blanc also called Monte Bianco in Italian. It’s the highest mountain in the Alps, reaching 4800 meters high. The hike takes around 7 to 12 days depending on how fast you go and it takes you through three countries: France, Italy, and Switzerland.

In total you hike 165 km through the mountains. We did around 193 km because we took some different routes to have some good views. We hiked the Tour du Mont-Blanc in 8 days.

If you want to know more information about the Tour du Mont Blanc read the blog Hiking the famous Tour du Mont-Blanc.

Every day I give the time and level, but this is from our experience. Our time took longer than what most travel guides say because we are not trained hikers and we take our time to take pictures and enjoy the surroundings. Besides that, it is the time without any big stops or breaks so, I would recommend adding 1 or 2 hours depending on how many breaks you take and how long.

By the end of June, the snow is normally gone from the tracks, but it can happen that there is still snow so ask around and check online if there is still snow on the tracks.

Day 1: les Houches – le Pontet

  • Duration: 6:45 hours
  • Distance: 21 km
  • Elevation gain: 1,026 meters
  • Level: easy

Before hiking the TMB you can spend the night in les Houches. We slept at camping Bellevue because we could leave our car there for 5 euros per night. You can then start the hike early in the morning.

When you start this hike, you immediately ascend onto the mountain. There are two ways to start the hike Tour du Mont-Blanc. You can hike up the mountain which takes around two hours and a half uphill or you can take the cable car up the mountain. We hiked the trail up because we wanted to hike the whole trail but there is not much to see during the hike up the mountain.

Route: les Houches – Col de Voza – Bionnassay – le Champel – la Gruvaz – Tresse – Contamines – Pontet.  

From Col de Voza you can take a variant route that will pass by the Col de Tricot. We heard that the views are more beautiful if you take this variant route. I recommend you take the variant route; it ends back on the TMB route but you will have more epic views.

Day 1 is quite easy; the trail is good to walk on and this day is not too long which means you have enough time to relax after the hike. You need to know that it’s a lot of ascending and descending but there are many flat parts too, which make it all okay.

Tip: make sure you start this day early then you can hike further to la Balme. There is a bivouac area before la Balme and at la Balme. We didn’t have time, so we slept at the camping near le Pontet.  

Camping spot: camping at le Pontet

Day 2: le Pontet – les Mottets

  • Duration: 9:30 hours
  • Distance: 23 km
  • Elevation gain: 1,724 meters
  • Level: moderate

On day 2 you should take the variant route over the mountains. It’s harder but definitely worth it! When we hiked the variant there was still some snow in June which is normally gone by the end of June, July and August. It depends on the weather, but it could be that there is still snow on the trail. You don’t need to worry because many people hike on the TMB, and the trail is not too steep. With your normal hiking shoes and walking sticks you should easily pass the parts with snow.

Tip: it’s important to know that you always must be careful when there is snow on the track. Check the weather forecast and ask the locals if it’s possible to hike on the trail. 

Route: le Pontets – Notre Dame de la Gorge – la Balme – Col du Bonhomme – col de la Croix du Bonhomme – col des Fours (the variant route) – Ville des Glaciers – Mottets.

Normally the Tour du Mont-Blanc hike passes by les Chapieux; it’s after col de la Croix du Bonhomme. You can decide if you want to pass by les Chapieux or if you want to take the variant route to col des Fours.

During this hike you will normally see many marmots. Make sure you leave early in the morning, so you have the trail all to yourself and you are luckier to spot many marmots.

This is a long day hiking, and many blogs online will say it’s possible to camp at Mottets but you cannot! There are many signs that it’s not allowed to camp. We went up to col de la Seigne with other hikers that we met. It was getting late and dark, so we decided to wild camp. We were still in France and normally you can’t wild camp, but if it’s after certain hours and if it’s just to bivouac it’s allowed in France. Make sure you leave no trace behind!

Camping spot: wild camping at col de la Seigne, 30 minutes up the mountain from les Mottets.

Day 3: les Mottets – Courmayeur

  • Duration: 9:45 hours
  • Distance: 26 km
  • Elevation gain: 999 meters
  • Level: moderate

During day 3 you will cross the border from France to Italy. Make sure you wake up early to start this hike, you will normally see many marmots on the trail again. It is also possible you will find some snow on the trail if you do the hike during early June.

Route: col de la Seigne – Lée Blanche – lac Combat – Chécrouit – Dolonne – Courmayeur.

If you follow the TMB route you need to know that it goes up and down a lot of the time. There is an alternative route that is way flatter and where you will find camping spots.

In Courmayeur there are no camping places nearby and it’s not allowed to wild camp in Italy.

So, keep in mind there are three options: hike the alternative route (flat trail) and camp on the camping spot, hike the TMB route but hike or take the bus further to a camping spot, or sleep in a hotel in Courmayeur.

Camping spot: when you walk the other route (not TMB) then you can stay at ‘Camping HOBO’ in Val Veny. There is also a camping outside Courmayeur called ‘Camping Grandes Jorasses’. You need to know that it’s way out of Courmayeur and it will take some time to get there, it’s further on the route. Of course, it’s also possible to stay in a hotel.

Day 4: Courmayeur – la Peule

  • Duration: 11:10 hours
  • Distance: 29 km
  • Elevation gain: 1,940 meters
  • Level: hard

This is one of our favourite days and it’s a hard, long day. You walk from Italy all the way to Switzerland. This day has some stunning views of the Mont-Blanc from the Italian side. Besides that, you will again see many marmots.

Route: Courmayeur – refuge Bertone – refuge Bonatti – refuge Elena – Grand col Ferret – la Peule.

Camping spot: at la Peule you can ask to pitch your tent. They are very friendly and normally it’s not a problem and you will pay a small price. For that price you can pitch your tent or sleep in a cozy yurt.

Day 5: la Peule – Champex-lac

  • Duration: 7:30 hours
  • Distance: 28 km
  • Elevation gain: 602 meters
  • Level: easy

Day 5 is an easy hike where you pass by a lot of places to rest, eat, and drink something. The end of this hike is beautiful with a big lake in the mountains where you can do many water activities.

Route: la Peule – Ferret – la Fouly – Praz de Fort – Champex-Lac.

Camping spot: you can camp at ‘Camping les Rocailles’.

Day 6: Champex-lac – Peuty

  • Duration: 6:45 hours
  • Distance: 19 km
  • Elevation gain: 803 meters
  • Level: easy

During day 6 you will again have many places where you can rest and eat or drink something. We took the TMB route which is okay, but we heard that the variant route to Fenêtre d’Arpette is way more spectacular. I recommend you take the variant route, but you need to know that it’s a hard route.

Route: Champex-Lac – Plan de l’Au – Bovine – Col de la Forclaz – Trient – Peuty.

Camping spot: there is a refugee at Peuty where you can sleep but you can also camp on the grass nearby. There are public toilets there. In the evening somebody will come to collect money.  

Day 7: Peuty – lac des Chéserys

  • Duration: 9:15 hours
  • Distance: 20 km
  • Elevation gain: 1,849 meters
  • Level: moderate

On day 7 you will have the most beautiful views over the mountains. I recommend you start the hike early because there is a possibility that you will see many mountain goats during the day. Also be prepared to climb some stepladders during this day.

Route: Peuty – col de Balme – col des posettes – Tré le Champ – lacs des Chéserys.

I recommend you take the GRP route to lac Blanc because you will have amazing views over the mountains and over some lakes. Here you also have one of the best views over the Mont-Blanc. It’s between Tré le Champ and la Flégère.

You will pass by the nature reserve Aiguilles Rouges. There you see the sign that camping is not allowed but you can do bivouac between 7 pm and 9 am. So, we pitched our tent there at 7 pm. Also, open fires are not allowed in this area. It’s good to know that there are many mountain goats at this area so be aware that you don’t leave food outside the tent.

Camping spot: at the last lake of lacs des Chéserys, before the climb up to lac Blanc and the refugee, there are some beautiful spots where you can pitch your tent. You can bivouac here from 7 pm to 9 am. It’s not allowed to bivouac at lac Blanc.

Day 8: lac des Chéserys – les Houches

  • Duration: 10:15 hours
  • Distance: 26 km
  • Elevation gain: 1,024 meters
  • Level: moderate

On day 8 you will have amazing views but there is also a long descend after Brévent. There is not much to see during the descent. If you prefer you can take the cable car down.   

Route: lacs des Chéserys – la Flégère – Planpraz – col du Brévent – sommet du Brévent – les Houches.

Your last day hiking on the Tour du Mont Blanc, you will end back in les Houches. The feeling you will have when you finish is indescribable.

To be honest: it is an amazing hike but best to do outside the season so in June or September. I think it’s too crowded in July and August. You will have some epic views and meet many nice people.

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