Circle the highest summit in Western Europe in ten days of trekking with this summer itinerary. Start in the Chamonix Valley and hike through France, Italy, and Switzerland with iconic Alpine vistas throughout. Hike over high mountain passes and quiet meadows, see the Alps reflected in mirror-like Swiss lakes, visit the classic resort towns of Courmayeur and Chamonix, and spend each night sleeping comfortably in charming mountain huts and lodges.

Highlights

  • Hike through high alpine scenery of France, Italy, and Switzerland 
  • Take in panoramic views from Col de la Seigne and Croix-du-Bonhomme
  • See the Swiss Alps reflected in the mirror-like surface of Lac Blanc
  • Visit the classic resort towns of Courmayeur and Chamonix
  • Stay in charming and comfortable mountain huts and lodges

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Chamonix Valley Les Houches
Day 2 Les Houches - Chalets de Miage Mountain Hut
Day 3 Les Contamines Montjoie - Refuge de Nant Borrant / La Balme Mountain Hut
Day 4 Refuge de Nant Borrant / La Balme - Vallée des Glaciers Les Chapieux
Day 5 Vallée des Glaciers – Courmayeur Courmayeur
Day 6 Courmayeur - Rifugio Bonatti Mountain Hut
Day 7 Refuge Bonatti - La Fouly La Fouly
Day 8 La Fouly - Champex Champex
Day 9 Champex - Bovines (Fenêtre d’Arpette in option) - Trient Trient
Day 10 Trient - Argentière Argentiere
Day 11 Argentière / Le Tour - Chamonix  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Chamonix Valley

Hiking above Les Houches
Hiking above Les Houches

Welcome to France! You'll arrive in the Chamonix Valley resort town of Les Houches by train the day before your trek, a 5.5-hour journey from Paris or 1.5-hours from Geneva. From Geneva, the ride to Les Houches is much faster by car—ask your specialist for more details on getting there. Les Houches is nestled at the base of Mont-Blanc, and you'll enjoy a first taste of the region's magnificent scenery while exploring town at your leisure for the afternoon and evening. 

Day 2: Les Houches - Bellevue - Col du Tricot – Chalets de Miage

Bionnassay glacier and summit
Bionnassay glacier and summit

After breakfast at your hotel in Les Houches, head to the Bellevue cable car station. Ride to the top, where you'll start your hike to Bionnassay glacier—you'll get a great view from a Nepali-style suspension bridge nearby. Climb up the Tricot Pass (2120 m), followed by a pleasant descent to the Chalets de Miage (1559 m), a charming mountain refuge in a meadow overlooked by the Dômes de Miage. 

Hiking time: 5 hours
Elevation Change: +600 m / -1200 m

Day 3: Les Contamines Montjoie - Tré la Tête - refuge de Nant Borrant / La Balme

On the way down to Nant Borrant
On the way down to Nant Borrant

Today's hike is an easy one. Walk along a balcony trail above Les Contamines-Montjoie to Tré-la-Tête hut for a break, before descending to on a path that dates back to Roman times to La Balme. Enjoy a mellow afternoon and spend the night in your comfy mountain hut.

Hiking time: 6 hours
Elevation Change: +1150 m / -650 m

Day 4: La Balme - Col de la Croix du Bonhomme - Vallée des Glaciers

South face of Mont Blanc
South face of Mont Blanc

Get an early start with an easy hike to Col du Bonhomme (2329m) between the Mont-Blanc and Beaufortain ranges. Keep making your way to Col de la Croix-du-Bonhomme  (2433 m), where you'll take in a particularly beautiful panorama of Mont-Pourri. The afternoon descent through alpine pasture leads to the typical hamlet of Les Chapieux, your stopping point for the day.

Hiking time: 5.5 hours
Elevation Change: D+ 1100 m / -1000 m

Day 5: Vallée des Glaciers - Col de la Seigne - Courmayeur

Col de la Seigne and Mont-Blanc summit
Col de la Seigne and Mont-Blanc summit

Start today's hike in Ville des Glaciers (1800 m), where you can visit a local farm and see Beaufort cheese being made. Hike through alpine pastures to Col de la Seigne (2516 m)—you've reached the Italian border, and you're rewarded with a fantastic view of legendary summits Mont-Blanc de Courmayeur, Noire de Peuterey, and Grandes Jorasses. Hike through the Val Veny at the foot of Glacier de Miage. From here, transfer to Courmayeur for the night, a beautiful Italian resort town known for its culinary culture and (of course) mountain views.

Hiking time  6 hours
Elevation Change: D+ 1200 m / - 950 m).

Day 6: Courmayeur - Rifugio Bonatti

Grandes Jorasses seen from Val Ferret
Grandes Jorasses seen from Val Ferret

Get excited—today's trail is one of the most beautiful of the trip. From the Courmayeur church, hike to Rifugio Bertone (2,000 m) and discover some of the best Alpine scenery of your trek so far. The balcony path continues to the Rifugio Bonatti (2,025 m) where you'll take in the sunset and stay the night. 

Hiking time: 6.5 hours
Elevation Change: +1250 m / -1000 m

Day 7: Refuge Bonatti - Grand col Ferret - La Fouly

Trail on the Val Ferret
Trail on the Val Ferret

This mellow day in the middle of the trip is a great time to recuperate and relax. Follow the Grand col Ferret (2,537m) to the border between Italy and Switzerland. Enjoy a last look at the Italian Val Ferret and hike down through Swiss mountain pastures, arriving at the hamlet of Ferret (1,740m), and finally, La Fouly.

Hiking time  5 hours
Elevation Change: +850 m / -1300 m

Day 8: La Fouly - Swiss Val Ferret - Champex

Champex d'en Haut
Champex d'en Haut

This short day of hiking ends with an afternoon of relaxation at an alpine lake. From La Fouly, start with an easy walk to the village of Praz de Fort (1,151 m). The path follows the Ferret River to the hamlet of Issert. Continue your hike to the village of Champex, where you'll enjoy a leisurely afternoon at its namesake lake. 

Hiking time  3 hours
Elevation Change: +400 m / -100 m

Day 9: Champex - Bovines (Fenêtre d’Arpette in option) – Trient

View from Fenêtre d'Arpette
View from Fenêtre d'Arpette

From Champex, head to the Swiss meadows of Bovines, one of the most famous cheese-producing regions in the Alps. Sample the local specialty and enjoy the view of the Rhône Valley and Swiss Valais before making your way to Trient (1,280 m). A more challenging hike is also possible today, via the splendid Fenêtre d'Arpette pass (2,665 m). Stay the night in Trient. 

Hiking time: 5.5 hours (8 hours via Fenêtre d'Arpette)  
Elevation Change: +700 m / 800 m (+1200 m / -1400 m via Fenêtre d'Arpette) 

Day 10: Trient - Col de Balme - Le Tour – Argentière

From Col de Balme view on Aiguille Verte
From Col de Balme view on Aiguille Verte

From Trient, hike to the French border at Col de Balme (2,191m), where you'll enjoy of the best panoramas of the Mont Blanc summit and Chamonix Valley. Hike (or take the ski lift) down to Le Tour (1,453 m) before heading to Argentière (1,250 m) for one last night in Chamonix Valley.

Hiking time: 5.5 hours
Elevation Change: +950 m / -950 m 

Day 11: Argentière / Le Tour - Lacs des Cheserys - Lac Blanc – Chamonix

Lac Blanc
Lac Blanc

On your last day of the trek, start in the Aiguilles Rouges range with spectacular views of the Mont Blanc glaciers and summits. From Col des Montets (1,461 m ), follow a balcony trail to Lac des Chéserys with its famously clear reflection of the Alps. The itinerary continues to iconic Lac Blanc (2,352 m) and on to La Flégère (1,877 m), where you'll begin the last leg of your hike down to Chamonix center. Spend one last night in Chamonix, or head straight to the train station to continue your journey.

Hiking time: 6.5 hours
Elevation Change: +1000 m / -1250 m 

Map

Map of Tour du Mont-Blanc  - 11 days
Map of Tour du Mont-Blanc - 11 days