On Foot from France to Italy to Switzerland

Overview

Glacier-clad Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps, with seven distinct valleys radiating into France, Italy, and Switzerland. On our hiking journey circling this famed massif, we’ll cross from one country to the next—on foot! The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the “Great Hikes of the World,” and we’ve honed this classic to perfection. Impeccably designed days bring you to epic glaciers, across wildflower-carpeted meadows, and into classic alpine hamlets as we explore each country’s cultural and culinary delights. Overnights are in cozy mountain hotels and hikers’ inns, and our team of Trip Leaders (up to three on each trip) brings a wonderful esprit to the adventure.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Chamonix / Col de Tricot

The charming alpine town of Chamonix, the mountaineering “capital” of Europe, sits right at the foot of Mont Blanc (15,770'). One of our warm-up hikes brings us below the vast Bionnassay Glacier, with a climb up to the Col de Tricot (6,955') for fine views of the long, snow-covered ridge of the Dômes de Miage, one of the most spectacular ridges on the Mont Blanc massif.

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Days 3-5
Into Italy / Col de la Croix du Bonhomme / Courmayeur

From the lovely chapel of Notre Dame de la Gorge, an ancient pilgrimage site with unusual Baroque architecture and Renaissance frescoes, we hike through gentle glades and forests and up through a superb gorge to the top of Col de la Croix du Bonhomme, our first pass. We climb to the Col de la Seigne (8,255'), the mountain pass that marks the hydrological divide between the Atlantic and Mediterranean seas. Crossing from France into the mountainous Aosta region of Italy on foot along a trail used by Roman legionaries, we’ll have fantastic vistas of Mont Blanc’s sheer 11,000-foot southern face. On one festive evening, we join in the alpine tradition of passing the grolla bowl (espresso and grappa, flambé!) to toast our day’s adventures.

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Days 6-7
Into Switzerland / Champex / Trient Glacier / Col de la Forclaz

Crossing into Switzerland on foot, we traverse the Val Ferret, passing beneath the massive granite peaks of Mont Dolent (12,543'), the Dent du Géant, and the Grandes Jorasses. The landscape becomes gentler and less alpine, with enticing streams, woodlands, and wildflowers. From lakeside Champex, we follow a classic trail used by shepherds for centuries to bring their livestock to mountain pastures, ascending gently as we enjoy views of the Rhone Valley—its mountain folds tucking into the river and hamlets below. Our hike takes us along the edge of the magnificent Trient Glacier to Col de la Forclaz (5,010'),

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Days 8-9
Col de Balme / Chamonix

Climbing through a serene larch forest we reach the Col de Balme (7,201'), which marks the border between Switzerland and France, where we can once again see the beautiful Chamonix Valley. With the glory of the Mont Blanc massif above us, we begin our long, gentle descent, coming full circle on this classic adventure. Depart on Day 9 via Chamonix.

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Highlights

Highlights

One of the world’s classic hikes—and we do it right!
Hike across three international borders on foot and enjoy magnificent mountain and glacier views
Delicious mountain cuisines in each country
Overnights in mountain villages with great charm and character

Details

Length: 9 days
Cost From: $4995  
Arrive: Chamonix, France
Depart: Chamonix, France
Lodging: 6 nights hotels, 2 nights small inns with semi-private rooms
Meals: All meals included except 1 dinner (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

8 hiking days on moderate to steep trails, 6-8 hours a day, altitudes between 4,000-8,800 feet, van support, team of up to 3 Trip Leaders

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