Mont Blanc Circuit
All content by World Expeditions
An extended self guided supported circuit of Mont Blanc
This itinerary circumnavigates Mont Blanc and explores the surrounding alpine region. Faced with picture postcard vistas from every vantage point, the scenery and landscapes that unfold before you are simply remarkable. This trek affords unsurpassed views of the different faces of the Mont Blanc massif along routes that traverse the Balme mountain passage and the highest point on the Tour du Mont Blanc, the Grand Col Ferret at 2537m. You may see Ibex, chamois and other wildlife as you descend through alpine meadows towards charming fairy tale-like villages. Crossing the foothills of the Alps through France, Italy and Switzerland provides an opportunity to encounter the alpine cultures and cuisine unique to these areas and staying in hotels, gîtes and refuges is a great way to soak up the warm hospitality for which this region is renowned.
- Circumnavigation of Mont Blanc
- Experiencing the exhilaration of trekking in the European Alps
- Traversing high passes and walking through three countries
- Enjoying the culinary specialties such as Raclette
- Sharing stories with other hikers in the gîtes and mountain refuges
Day 1 Arrive in Le Tour, begin walk to Trient (6-7 hours /700m)
Leaving from Le Tour in the Chamonix valley, you take 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. You will cross the border between France and Switzerland before making your way down to the village of Trient for overnight accommodation with shower.
Day 2 Walk to Champex (6-7 hours/ 1400m or 600m)
The “Fenêtre d'Arpette” (2665m) route, which is a variant on the Tour du Mont Blanc is quite challenging. The trail is not as well defined as others 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 though you will have the opportunity to have a hot shower at your gîte. (Alternate route available.)
Day 3 To La Fouly (5-6 hours/ 500m)
Although this is most definitely an easier day, it is also one that highlights some amazing natural beauty. Dry meadows, pools of fresh water, herds of cows and wonderful chalets surrounded by flower filled gardens greet us. Swiss village life is all around and whilst the dramatic scenery of previous days is not as apparent, it is a chance to experience the wonderful “Valais des homes”. Overnight in La Fouly.
Day 4 To Elena (6-7 hours/ 900m)
The route takes you out of Switzerland and into Italy by the Grand Col Ferret path. The sight of the Pre de Bar glacier is with you all the way as you make your way from the Col to your overnight refuge accommodation with shower.
Day 5 To Courmayeur (5-7 hours/ 700m)
Today's walk is quite challenging and takes you into the beautiful Aosta Valley (Val d’Aosta). To begin the path descends to the Val Ferret, following which there are a number of steep ascents and descents before reaching the Refugio Bonatti. From here there are two options to reach Courmayeur – either by the Col Sapin or the main route. As you make your way to Courmayeur you will have the opportunity to taste the renowned and delicious Italian gelato.
Day 6 Walk to Refuge Elisabetha (5 hours/ 200m)
From Courmayeur you can take a chairlift on the initial ascent or walk the steep slope to the Col Checroui. From here you continue the ascent to a steep spur at the top of the valley Veni where the views are spectacular. The descent is quite steep to the relatively flat valley floor. There is a short ascent to the refuge and the end of the walking day. Note: this is the only day a double room is not available for hikers taking the double room option.
Day 7 Walk to Les Chapieux (7 hours/ 500m)
You make your way over the Seigne mountain path, which is overhung by limestone pyramids and the Estelette Glacier, until you reach France. The trail then descends across the high mountain pastures to the City of the Glaciers. Today also provides an excellent opportunity to buy Beaufort cheese from the local farmers.
Day 8 Walk to Notre Dame de la Gorge (6-7 hours/ 1000m)
This mornings walk takes you up mountain pastures to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2483m) where there are good 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 you to an ancient Roman Road and the church of Notre Dame de la Gorge.
Day 9 Walk to Miage (6 hours/ 600m)
An easier walk today following a combination of tracks and trails past Contamines before you ascend to cross a shoulder of Mont Truc to reach your overnight accommodation.
Day 10 Walk to Les Houches (6 hours/ 900m or 9 hours)
The morning begins with an ascent of the Col du Tricot (2120m) which forms the divide between the Miage and Bionnasay Valleys. From here you have some spectacular views of limestone cliffs and the pistes below. The descent follows a combination of gravel roads and tracks past some settlements to reach Les Houches. Alternatively, you can continue on from Les Houches to the top of the Brevant cable car, and take the cable car to Chamonix and return to Les Houches by bus or train. This ensures that reaching Le Tour tomorrow is achievable.
Day 11 Walk to Le Tour, trip concludes (4-5 or 9 hours)
OPTION 1: If you are choosing to complete the walk in Chamonix, the walk today will be around 4-5 hours to the top of the Brevant cablecar. Return to Chamonix by cable car and take a bus to Le Tour to pick up your luggage. OPTION 2: If you plan to complete the full circuit to Le Tour (or skip the section from Les Houches to Brevant), an early start is necessary. Continue to Chamonix by train or shuttle bus and take the cablecar to the top where the route takes in the balcony trail high above the Chamonix Valley. This is a spectacular walk taking in some superb views of the range enroute to Le Tour. Trip concludes on arrival in Le Tour mid afternoon.
- 10 breakfasts, 10 dinners (does not include drinks) – continental breakfasts are served and usually consist of breads, jams, coffee, tea and juices. Dinner will consist of 2 or 3 courses which include regional specialties
- 10 nights accommodation in mountain refuges / gîte hostels on a dormitory share basis. It is possible to spend 7 nights in a double room – additional cost applies.
- Transfer of luggage between accommodation (maximum 10 kgs)
Group Size Min
Group Size Max
Accommodation is dormitory style in mountain refuges or Gîte hostels. There can be up to 40 people in one room in some refuges but less on most nights (around 10-12). Beds are often bunks but can also be one long platform with separate mattresses. Bathrooms and toilets are shared. Please note if you elect the double room option you will often stay in different accommodation and therefore follow a slightly different route. This should be kept in mind when travelling with friends as you may be split up if you choose different styles of accommodation. The double room option is not available for single travellers. In the Alps if there is a free bed it will be sold regardless of whether you as an individual have requested a single room. To avoid this likelihood we do not offer a single option in this category. Single travellers should take the dormitory option.
Wet weather gear, sunscreen, walking boots, warm clothes, day pack and sun hat – walking sticks are recommended. (A comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking).