Day 1: Arrive Chamonix
Welcome to France! The trip begins in Chamonix, a village nestled at the base of the stunning
Mont Blanc, with panoramic views in every direction. The day is free for you to explore the area
and its nightlife before an early transfer to the trail head in the morning.
Day 2: Hike from Le Tour to Trient, walk approx. 5 hours
In the morning, transfer to Le Tour, the starting point of our Mont Blanc trek. From here, set off
on the scenic high mountain path of Balme heading towards Switzerland. Weather permitting,
the walk provides wonderful views including the impressive “La Verte”, the Drus, and the
Needles of Chamonix. Cross the border between France and Switzerland before making your
way down to the village of Trient for the night.
Day 3: Hike to Champex Val d'Arpette, walk approx. 6 hours
Today, choose one of the two 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, which is a challenging variant on the Tour du Mont Blanc and not recommended during adverse weather conditions. While the trail is not as well defined as the lower route, the rewards on a good weather day are the extraordinary views to the Trient Glacier. Descend to Champex for the night.
Meals: B, D
Day 4: Bus to Ferret and cross the Grand Col Ferret to Elena, walk approx. 4 hours
In the morning, transfer by bus (approx. 15 Swiss Francs) to the village of Ferret (1705m) to commence walking. From there, follow the route out of Switzerland and into Italy via the Grand Col Ferret pass (2537m). It's a steady climb and at the Col you will be inspired by the sweeping views of the Pre de Bar glacier. After some time taking in the panorama, amble down the steep track to your next accommodation in Elena, located at the base of the glacier and a great place to view the changing light on the alps.
Meals: B, D
Day 5: Hike to Courmayeur, walk approx. 6 hours
Today's walk takes you through the Val Ferret and along a balcony path with impressive views of Grand Jorasses, Mont Blanc and in the distance, the Col de la Seigne marking the border between France and Italy. On arrival at Refugio Bonatti, there are three options to reach Courmayeur. The newly routed TMB trail traverses the north flank of Monte de la Saxe, whilst the former official TMB route takes you 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. The alternative route is via the variante route over the Col du Sapin (2436m) with a quick descent to Courmayeur. This latter route is preferable in poor weather, and additionally you can take a bus from the road head at Arnuva. Tonight accommodation is in the atmospheric town of Courmayeur, nestled at the end of Italy's Aosta Valley and an excellent place to try the renowned and delicious Italian gelato.
Meals: B, D
Day 6: Cross the Seigne mountain path into France, walk approx. 8 hours
Make your way over the Col de la Seigne mountain path, which is overhung by limestone pyramids and the Estelette Galcier, until you reach France. The trail then descends across the high mountain pastures to the City of the Glaciers, giving you take the opportunity to purchase the famous Beaufort cheese from local farmers along the way.
Meals: B, D
Day 7: Cross the Col du Bonhomme to Contamines Valley, walk approx. 5 hours
The morning's walk takes you up mountain pastures to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2483m) where there are good views to the peaks of the Vanoise. The trail continues down to the Col du Bonhomme (2329m) and crosses 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. Continue walking to your next accommodation in the Contamines Valley.
Meals: B, D
Day 8: Hike to Les Houches, walk approx. 7.5 hours
The trail takes you along the river valley, heading slowly to La Gruvaz before continuing to Le Champel and a fairly steep ascent via Bionassay to the Col de Voza. A longer route can be taken following a combination of tracks and trails above Contamines before you ascend to cross a shoulder of Mont Truc followed by an ascent of the Col du Ricot (2120m) which forms the divide between the Miage and Bionnassay Valleys. From here, you have spectacular views of limestone cliffs and the pistes below. The descent follows a combination of gravel roads and tracks past settlements to reach Les Houches.
Meals: B, D
Day 9: Hike to Chamonix by the South Balcony, walk approx. 6.5 hours
Today is one of the toughest ascents of the trail, taking you through thick forest from the town of Les Houches up to the heights of Le Brevant. En route, there are some sections which are exposed and above the tree line, however the views of Mont Blanc are more than enough reward for your efforts. Reaching Brevant you can take the cable car down to the centre of Chamonix. It is important to note the last cable car returning to the valley is around 4-4:430PM (mid June to September). Alternatively, you can continue along the balcony trail for a further two hours to Flégère. The trail is one of our favourites, and if you have the energy to continue and the weather is agreeable, we highly recommend this option. The cable car from Flégère takes you to Les Praz, which is one train stop away from Chamonix or about a 30 minute walk along the river. Your luggage will be waiting for you upon your return to Chamonix, where the trip concludes.