Circle the highest summit in Western Europe in just six days of trekking with this weeklong summer itinerary. Start in the Chamonix Valley a nd 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 - Les Contamines-Montjoie Les Contamines Montjoie
Day 3 Les Contamines - Vallée des Glaciers Les Chapieux
Day 4 Vallée des Glaciers - Courmayeur Courmayeur
Day 5 Courmayeur - La Fouly / Champex Champex
Day 6 Champex - Bovines - Argentière / Le Tour Argentiere
Day 7 Argentière / Le Tour - Chamonix  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in the 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. It is the first town in the Chamonix valley and a popular winter ski resort, with plenty of shops and restaurants to peruse. You'll enjoy a first taste of the region's magnificent scenery while exploring the town at your leisure for the afternoon and evening.

This Day 2: Les Houches - Bellevue - Col du Tricot - Les Contamines-Montjoie

Bionnassay glacier and summit
Bionnassay glacier and summit

After breakfast at your hotel in Les Houches, take a free local bus to the Bellevue cable car that will take you to the trailhead at the foot of the climb to Mont Blanc. You'll begin with a traverse to the Bionnassay Glacier, followed by a "Nepali hanging bridge crossing." Make your way through alpine pastures up to the Col du Tricot Pass, where you'll break to check out the views of Contamines-Montjoie Valley. If you aren't feeling up to it, you can potentially bypass the ascent to Col du Tricot Pass.

Continue down a steep trail to the rural chalets of Miage, then up to Chalets du Truc and a contour around Mount Truc. Descend down into the town of Contamines-Montjoie, where you will spend the night.

Hiking time: 5 hours
Elevation Change: +1969 feet (600 m) / -3937 feet (1200 m)

Day 3: Les Contamines - Notre-Dame-de-la-Gorge - Croix-du-Bonhomme - Vallée des Glaciers

Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc

Transfer to Notre-Dame-de-la-Gorge (1210m) to visit the famous Baroque church to start your day. From there, you'll make the moderate trek up 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: 6 hours
Elevation Change: D+4265 feet (1300 m) / -3117 feet (950 m)

Day 4: Vallée des Glaciers - Col de la Seigne - Val Veny - Courmayeur

Col de la Seigne
Col de la Seigne

Start from Ville des Glaciers today, with a detour to a local farm to learn how Beaufort cheese is made. Then continue your ascent through alpine pastures to Col de la Seigne Pass and the Italian border. You'll see the jagged side of the Mont Blanc range, with summits like Mt. Blanc de CourmayeurNoire de Peuterey Spire, and the Grandes Jorasses looking close enough to touch. 

The descent will take you through Val Veny to the foot of the Miage Glacier, with a peaceful lake and unique alpine flora. Then transfer to Courmayeur, the capital of the Italian Alps. Stroll through the town and its main street, and leave time for a stop at the Alpine Guide Society Museum.

Hiking time  5 hours
Elevation Change: D+2461 feet (750 m) / -2953 feet (900 m).

Plan your trip to France
Customize your trip with help from a local travel specialist.

Day 5: Courmayeur - Refuge Elena - Grand Col Ferret - La Fouly / Champex

Val Ferret
Val Ferret

This mellow day in the middle of the trip is a great time to recuperate and relax. After a short transfer from Courmayeur to one end of Val Ferret, begin your hike at the foot of the Pré-de-Bar glacier to reach Elena for a pit stop at a mountain hut (2,052 m). From here, 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, finally arriving at the hamlet of Ferret (1,740m). With a short bus ride, you'll get to the village of Champex, where you'll enjoy a leisurely afternoon at its namesake lake. 

Hiking time  5 hours
Elevation Change: +2625 feet (800 m) / -2789 feet (850 m)

Day 6: Champex - Bovines – Trient - Argentière

Champex
Champex

You have two options to get you to Trient today, so choose based on your feelings and the weather.

Option one is the classic Tour du Mont-Blanc Trail via Col de la Forclaz Pass. Follow a scenic mountain road through small hamlets and Swiss chalets, then head through forests and meadows past Bovine. This area is known for producing some of the region's most famous cheeses, with cows grazing alongside views of the Rhône River Valley.

Elevation change: +2,297 feet (700 m)
Hiking time: 5.5 hours

If you'd prefer the more strenuous route, take an alpine hike over Fenêtre d’Arpette, a high-mountain notch that offers a passage from one side of the granite-spire ridgeline to the other. Ascend through the lush alpine meadows of the Arpette Valley, up to the Fenêtre d’Arpette notch. Then follow Bisse Creek down to Trient. This trail should only be attempted during dry weather when the notch is free of snow.

Elevation change: +3,937 feet (1,200 m), -4,593 feet (1,400 m),
Hiking time: 8 hours

Regardless of which trail you choose, you'll end the hike in Trient, a valley village known for its pink church. From here get a private transfer to cross the Swiss-French border. You'll head for the village of Argentière, the first town in the Chamonix Valley, to spend the night. 

Day 7: Argentière - Lacs des Cheserys - Lac Blanc – Chamonix

Grandes Jorasses seen from Lac Blanc
Grandes Jorasses seen from Lac Blanc

Today's scramble through the Aiguilles Rouges presents views of the many glaciers and summits above Chamonix, with the Mont Blanc range just across the valley.

From Col des Montets Pass, follow the balcony trail to the Cheserys Lakes, known for their clear blue waters and reflections of the surrounding peaks. Continue to Lac Blanc, watching for alpine ibex along the way, and onto La Flégère. A gondola will take you down the valley floor in the hamlet of Les Praz, where you can choose to either hike back via the Bois du Bouchet forest or take the bus back to the Chamonix city center for the evening.

Hiking time: 6.5 hours
Elevation Change: +2,953 feet (900 m), -1,969 feet (600 m)

Map

Map of Tour du Mont-Blanc Self Guided Trek - 7 days
Map of Tour du Mont-Blanc Self Guided Trek - 7 days