Tour du Mont Blanc in 7 Days: Map, Stages & Accommodations

The Tour du Mont Blanc is an epic hiking experience that takes you through three countries – France, Italy, and Switzerland – in an intense week. This adventure invites you to measure yourself against the majesty of the Alps, crossing mountain passes such as the Col du Brévent, the Col de la Seigne, and the Col des Fours, while admiring the grand landscapes of Mont Blanc.

The route offers exceptional flexibility, allowing hikers to adjust the difficulty of their journey by varying the number of days. A seven-day tour represents a considerable challenge, with some long and strenuous stages, but offers unmatched rewards in terms of satisfaction and breathtaking panoramas. For those who prefer a gentler adventure, a ten-day tour provides a more relaxed alternative.

Accommodation along the route is varied and abundant, with a wide choice ranging from comfortable hotels to quaint gîtes, traditional mountain refuges, and even bivouac sites for the more adventurous. Prepare for total immersion in the wild splendor of the Alps, facing the vastness of Mont Blanc.

Day 1 (Option 1): Les Houches – Refuge de la Balme

Download the GPX track of the stage: https://www.visugpx.com/mSlFmJ4Qro

Elevation gain, altitude, and mileage of the stage

Kilometers

25

Elevation +

1483

Elevation –

820

Max. Altitude

1682

Min. Altitude

1007

Stage Summary:

The first stage of the Tour du Mont Blanc is a 25-kilometer adventure that starts at Les Houches and ends at the Refuge de la Balme. After about 2h30 of walking from Les Houches, you will reach the Col de Voza, an initial challenge that will get you into the swing of things with about 660 meters of positive elevation gain over a distance of 6 to 7 kilometers, depending on your starting point. This first part of the route offers an impressive introduction to the beauty of the Alps and a first leg-stretcher for the rest of the tour.

After the Col de Voza, you will descend about 11 kilometers, with a negative elevation change of around 800 meters, to arrive in Les Contamines. This charming town is an ideal place to take a break, refresh with a local beer, and even spend the night if you prefer not to continue to the Refuge de la Balme. For those who choose to continue, there are still about 7 kilometers and 550 meters of positive elevation gain to reach the Refuge de la Balme. There, you can choose to sleep in the comfort of the refuge or experience a more rustic stay at the bivouac area.

Points of Interest for the Stage

Col de Voza

Where to Sleep?

Refuge de la Balme
Bivouac area of Refuge de la Balme
Possible to stop earlier in Les Contamines (camping or hotel)

Day 1 (option 2): Les Houches – Refuge de la Balme via the Col de Tricot variant

Download the GPX track of the stage: https://www.visugpx.com/rFQWJMXPXN

Elevation gain, altitude, and mileage of the stage

Kilometers

30

Elevation +

2653

Elevation –

1977

Max. Altitude

2124

Min. Altitude

1008

Summary of the Stage

The first stage of the Tour du Mont Blanc offers an exciting variant that goes through the Col du Tricot, adding an extra dimension to this alpine adventure. The first part of the stage remains the same as the classic route, with a walk of about 2h30 from Les Houches to the Col de Voza. This section of the route includes about 660 meters of positive elevation gain over a distance of 6 to 7 kilometers, depending on your starting point.

Once at the Col de Voza, you will have the choice of staying on the classic route or taking the variant via the Col du Tricot. If you choose the latter, you should prepare for about 600 meters of additional positive elevation gain over a distance of 6 kilometers to reach the Col du Tricot. This variant offers a more demanding hiking experience, but also more rewarding, with spectacular panoramic views of the Alps.

From the Col du Tricot, you have several options for the rest of your day. You can continue to the Refuge de la Balme to spend the night, offering a longer but also more rewarding end to the day. Alternatively, you can turn towards Les Contamines to shorten your day and spend the night there.

Points of Interest for the Stage

Col de Voza
Col de tricot at 2120m

Where to Sleep?

Refuge de la Balme
Bivouac area of Refuge de la Balme
Possible to stop earlier in Les Contamines (camping or hotel)

Day 2 (option 1): Refuge de la Balme > Chapieux > Les Mottets

Download the GPX track for the stage: https://www.visugpx.com/pubLJ5t1su

Elevation gain, altitude, and mileage of the stage

Kilometers

16

Elevation +

1069

Elevation –

874

Max. Altitude

2467

Min. Altitude

1593

Summary of the Stage

The second stage of the Tour du Mont Blanc begins at the Refuge de la Balme and ends at the Refuge des Mottets. It follows the classic route of the tour.

The departure from the Refuge de la Balme leads to a climb of 650 meters of elevation gain over a distance of 4 kilometers to reach the Col du Bonhomme. Once at the pass, you will continue on the classic route of the tour, without taking the variant via the Col des Fours.

After the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme, you will begin a descent of 4 kilometers with a negative elevation change of 800 meters to arrive at Chapieux. From there, you will continue calmly for about 6 kilometers to the Refuge des Mottets. Along the way, you can stop at the Ville des Glaciers, where it’s possible to stop at the alpine pasture to stock up on local cheese, a true delicacy of the region.

Once arrived at the Refuge des Mottets, you will have completed this stage of the tour. This is your last stop before crossing into Italy the next day. It is recommended to book in advance if you plan to sleep in the refuge. It is important to note that it is forbidden to bivouac on the refuge property, which is quite large. However, you can pitch your tents before the refuge at the level of the ruins (about 5/10 minutes before the refuge) or after starting the ascent towards the Col de la Seigne, just behind the first “peak” that is visible from the refuge.

Points of Interest for the Stage

Col du bonhomme
Col de la croix du bonhomme

Where to Sleep?

Refuge des Mottets
Bivouac before the Refuge des Mottets at the level of the ruins. Set up your tents quickly as it fills up very fast.
Bivouac after the Refuge des Mottets (directly after the first ascent towards the Col de la Seigne)

Day 2 (option 2): Refuge de la Balme > Col des Fours > Les Mottets

Download the GPX track for the stage: https://www.visugpx.com/URWmZQHWLG

Elevation gain, altitude, and mileage of the stage

Kilometers

13

Elevation +

1080

Elevation –

877

Max. Altitude

2662

Min. Altitude

1673

Summary of the Stage

The beginning of the stage is the same as the classic route, starting from the Refuge de la Balme and ascending 650 meters of elevation gain over 4 kilometers to reach the Col du Bonhomme.

Continuing towards the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme, you will then choose the variant that leads to the Col des Fours. This variant takes you to an altitude of 2665 meters, offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Before embarking on this variant, it is essential to check the weather and the trail conditions in advance. Depending on the season, there can be a lot of snowfields, making some passages dangerous even in summer.

Once at the Col des Fours, you will begin a descent of 5 kilometers with a negative elevation change of 900 meters to arrive at the Ville des Glaciers. You can stop at the alpine pasture to stock up on local cheese, a true delicacy of the region, before continuing to the Refuge des Mottets.

The Refuge des Mottets is your last stop before crossing into Italy the next day. It is recommended to book in advance if you plan to sleep in the refuge. It is important to note that it is forbidden to bivouac on the refuge property, which is quite large. However, you can pitch your tents before the refuge at the level of the ruins (about 5/10 minutes before the refuge) or after starting the ascent towards the Col de la Seigne, just behind the first “peak” that is visible from the refuge.

Points of Interest for the Stage

Col du bonhomme
Col de la croix du bonhomme

Where to Sleep?

Refuge des Mottets
Bivouac before the Refuge des Mottets at the level of the ruins. Set up your tents quickly as it fills up very fast.
Bivouac after the Refuge des Mottets (directly after the first ascent towards the Col de la Seigne)

Day 3: Les Mottets > Courmayeur

Download the GPX track for the stage: https://www.visugpx.com/Twvax7D6iA

Elevation gain, altitude, and mileage of the stage

Kilometers

24

Elevation +

1155

Elevation –

1815

Max. Altitude

2509

Min. Altitude

1176

Summary of the Stage

The third stage of the Tour du Mont Blanc will take you from France to Italy, crossing spectacular alpine landscapes. The stage begins at the Refuge des Mottets, and after only 4 kilometers and about 600 meters of positive elevation gain, you will reach the Col de la Seigne. This pass, perfect for waking up, marks your entry into Italy and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

After the Col de la Seigne, you will continue for about 9 to 10 kilometers through the beautiful Italian valley. This part of the route takes you through varied landscapes, including the picturesque Lake Combal and several mountain refuges. Each step of this stage offers a new view of the Alps, with constantly changing panoramas and opportunities for memorable photos.

Finally, you will begin a descent of 11 kilometers with a negative elevation change of 1260 meters to arrive in Courmayeur. This Italian town is a welcome resting place after this long stage. Courmayeur is full of hotels, perfect for recharging and preparing for the next stage of your adventure. Whether you choose to relax in a spa, taste local Italian cuisine, or simply rest, Courmayeur offers a perfect end to the day for this third stage of the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Points of Interest for the Stage

Col de la Seigne
Lake Combal

Where to Sleep?

Hotels in Courmayeur

Campings outside Courmayeur

Day 4: Courmayeur > Refuge Elena

Download the GPX track for the stage: https://www.visugpx.com/B3MhnslfBa

Elevation gain, altitude, and mileage of the stage

Kilometers

19

Elevation +

1459

Elevation –

597

Max. Altitude

2068

Min. Altitude

1197

Summary of the Stage

The fourth stage of the Tour du Mont Blanc is a day that offers a mix of challenges and relaxation. Your day begins with a climb of about 800 meters of positive elevation gain over a distance of 4 to 5 kilometers, depending on your starting point. This initial climb is an excellent way to wake up and prepare for the day ahead.

Once this climb is completed, the rest of the day is relatively “quiet” compared to other stages. You will continue for about 12 kilometers, with 330 meters of positive elevation and 600 meters of negative elevation. This part of the route takes you through the beautiful Italian valley, offering spectacular views and a relaxing hiking experience.

Before arriving at the Refuge Elena, you will have about 2 kilometers and about 300 meters of positive elevation gain left. This last climb is a final challenge before ending the day. The Refuge Elena is a popular place to spend the night, offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.

It is important to note that you will need to book in advance to sleep at the Refuge Elena, as it fills up quickly and there are not many sleeping options in the vicinity. In Italy, bivouacking is prohibited below 2500 meters in altitude, so it is essential to plan ahead. This fourth stage of the Tour du Mont Blanc offers a balanced hiking experience, with physical challenges, beautiful landscapes, and moments of relaxation.

Points of Interest for the Stage

Italian Valley

Where to sleep?

Refuge Elena

Day 5: Refuge Elena > Champex

Download the GPX track for the stage: https://www.visugpx.com/v4RKRYwRg3

Elevation gain, altitude, and mileage of the stage

Kilometers

28

Elevation +

1219

Elevation –

1644

Max. Altitude

2528

Min. Altitude

1055

Summary of the Stage

The fifth stage of the Tour du Mont Blanc, from the Refuge Elena to Champex-Lac, is a hiking day that offers both challenges and moments of relaxation. Although this stage is quite long and some parts may not be the most attractive of the tour, it nevertheless provides a rewarding hiking experience.

The day begins with a beautiful climb of about 500 meters of positive elevation over 2 kilometers to reach the Grand Col Ferret. This ascent marks your crossing into Switzerland, a moment to celebrate, but also to consider for your phone’s internet data, as Switzerland may not be included in your European plan depending on the operator.

From the Grand Col Ferret, a descent of about 20 kilometers and 1600 meters of negative elevation awaits you. This descent brings you closer to Champex-Lac, your destination for the night. It’s worth noting that part of this stage can be done by bus by taking the shuttle at Ferret or La Fouly, which can be an attractive option for those wishing to save some energy.

You then have 6 kilometers and 600 meters of positive elevation remaining to reach the Relais de l’Arpette, where you will spend the night. It is also possible to sleep at the Camping des Rocailles in Champex, which is located about 45 minutes before the Relais de l’Arpette.

Points of Interest for the Stage

Grand Col Ferret (Italy/Switzerland border)
Option to take the shuttle at Ferret to Champex and avoid walking for 4 hours
Supermarket in La Fouly to restock if needed

Where to sleep?

Relais de l’Arpette
Camping des rocailles (in Champex)

Day 6 (option 1): Champex > Col de Balme (via La Forclaz) > Tré le Champs.

Download the GPX track for the stage: https://www.visugpx.com/f8P8nDc8xt

Elevation gain, altitude, and mileage of the stage

Kilometers

26

Elevation +

1560

Elevation –

1701

Max. Altitude

2143

Min. Altitude

1355

Summary of the Stage

The sixth stage of the Tour du Mont Blanc, from Champex to Tré le Champ, is a quite hard hiking day even without taking the variant via the Fenêtre d’Arpette. This stage also marks your return to France.

Your day begins with a climb towards the Col de la Forclaz, followed by another ascent to the Col de la Balme. The Col de la Balme is a highlight of this stage, offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. The refuge here is a beautiful place to take a break and enjoy the scenery. The passage at the Col de la Balme also marks the border with France, another significant milestone of your journey.

After enjoying the Col de la Balme and a drink at the refuge, you will begin a descent of about 6 kilometers with 700 meters of negative elevation to reach Tré le Champ and the Auberge de la Boerne. This descent offers another opportunity to enjoy the alpine landscapes while approaching your destination for the night.

It’s important to note that you need to book your night at the Auberge de la Boerne in advance, as it fills up quickly. The bivouac area is not the largest, so it’s advised to set up your tents quickly. Once settled, you can enjoy a wonderful meal at the inn and take advantage of the showers if you wish.

Points of Interest for the Stage

Col de la Forclaz
Col de la Balme

Where to sleep?

Auberge de la Boerne (hostel)
Auberge de la Boerne (camping)

Day 6 (option 2): Champex > Col de Balme (via Fenêtre d’Arpette) > Tré le Champs

Download the GPX track for the stage: https://www.visugpx.com/iIoAINv20C

Elevation gain, altitude, and mileage of the stage

Kilometers

22

Elevation +

1938

Elevation –

2026

Max. Altitude

2617

Min. Altitude

1371

Summary of the Stage

The sixth stage of the Tour du Mont Blanc, from Champex to Tré le Champ with the variant via the Fenêtre d’Arpette, is considered one of the hardest of the Tour, but also one of the most beautiful and rewarding.

Starting from Champex, you’ll begin a climb over 6 kilometers with an elevation gain of 1100 meters. This ascent is a challenge in itself, with some complicated passages to reach the Fenêtre d’Arpette, and the trail can be difficult to follow. It’s essential to be cautious on the way, check the weather and trail conditions beforehand carefully. Some passages may still be snow-covered and dangerous if the weather is not favorable.

Once you reach the Fenêtre, take the time to rest and savor your accomplishment. You then have a descent of about 4 kilometers with 1000 meters of negative elevation before arriving at the Chalet des Glaciers. Here, you can reward yourself with a cheese crust and a good beer.

After a well-deserved break, you’ll embark on another ascent to the Col de la Balme, about 2 kilometers with approximately 600 meters of elevation gain. The view and refuge here are magnificent, and it’s recommended to make the most of it.

Finally, you have “only” 6 kilometers and 800 meters of negative elevation to reach Tré le Champ. As always, make sure to book your night in advance, whether in a refuge or bivouac, as these places fill up quickly. The bivouac area is not the largest, so it’s advised to set up your tents quickly. Once settled, you can enjoy a wonderful meal at the inn and take advantage of the showers if you wish. This stage of the Tour du Mont Blanc offers an unforgettable hiking experience, with physical challenges, breathtaking views, and well-deserved moments of relaxation.

Points of Interest for the Stage

Fenêtre d’Arpette
Col de la Balme

Where to sleep?

Auberge de la Boerne (hostel)
Auberge de la Boerne (camping)

Day 7: Tré le Champs > Les Houches

Download the GPX track for the stage: https://www.visugpx.com/3kIaPa8PzP

Elevation gain, altitude, and mileage of the stage

Kilometers

27

Elevation +

1893

Elevation –

2434

Max. Altitude

2526

Min. Altitude

974

Summary of the Stage

Congratulations! You’ve reached the seventh and final stage of the Tour du Mont Blanc, from Tré le Champ to Les Houches. It’s a flexible day, adaptable to your needs and desires, whether in terms of accommodation, transport, or difficulty level.

If you choose to descend to Les Houches, prepare for a full day. However, many “exits” are available along the way, allowing you to adjust your day according to your physical condition and desires.

You have the option to take the cable car from La Flégère to Chamonix, offering a quick descent and a stunning view of the valley. Another option is to take the cable car from Brévent to Chamonix, another way to enjoy the view without the effort of descending.

If you feel up to it, you can also choose to walk down to Chamonix before the ascent of Brévent. This option allows you to fully enjoy the natural beauty of the route, while offering one last physical challenge.

During this day, you will pass through the Aiguillette d’Argentière and its ladders, as well as the Col du Brévent. Both points offer spectacular views and are highlights of this final stage.

Whichever option you choose, this last stage of the Tour du Mont Blanc is an opportunity to celebrate your achievements, enjoy the last beautiful views, and finish your adventure in style.

Points of Interest for the Stage

Aiguillette d’Argentière
Col du Brévent

Where to sleep?

Les Houches
Chamonix
Option to take the cable car from La Flégère to Chamonix
Option to take the cable car from Brévent to Chamonix
Option to walk down to Chamonix before the ascent of Brévent (expect 1h30 to 2h of steep descent)

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hugo_tmb-guide.com

This article was written by Hugo, a hiking enthusiast and co-creator of TMB-Guide.com. This site is your gateway to your adventure on the Tour du Mont Blanc. We strive to share as much information as possible about the Tour to help hikers prepare for their trips.