Trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc in France, Italy, and Switzerland.

3-Minute Read: Trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps

In Backpacking, Family Adventures, Hiking, International Adventures, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   3 Comments

By Michael Lanza

Look at any list of the world’s greatest hiking trails, and the Tour du Mont Blanc almost invariably occupies a spot at or near the top of the list. There are many good reasons for that. But first and foremost comes the sheer majesty of this roughly 105-mile (170k) walking path around the “Monarch of the Alps.” Passing through three nations—France, Italy, and Switzerland—and over several mountain passes reaching nearly 9,000 feet, it delivers almost constant views of glaciers, pointy peaks and “augilles,” and when it’s not engulfed in clouds, the snowy dome of Mont Blanc.

I just returned from a wonderful, nine-day trek on the Tour du Mont Blanc with my family and eight other friends and relatives—including my 80-year-old mom, whom I like to call “The World’s Toughest Grandmother” (although she’s about to become “The World’s Toughest Great-Grandmother”)—and we were blown away by the scenery and the experience. Scroll through my photos from the trip in this blog post for a window into the awesome character of this trail.

Here’s another reason for the enormous popularity of the Tour du Mont Blanc, or TMB: the abundance of scenic mountain towns and villages, as well as the availability of public transportation at numerous points along the route, allowing hikers to customize their trek, choosing which sections to hike depending on difficulty, weather, and how they feel. One of my primary motivations for doing the TMB with my family was that my mom had long wanted to hike in the Alps, and I found it eminently feasible to craft a TMB itinerary that would allow most of our group to hike the entire trail, while others could do sections, and we’d all still spend most of our evenings together.

 

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We did spend three of our eight nights on the TMB in mountain huts situated high in rural valleys or on mountain slopes with views of towering peaks and heavily crevassed glaciers. But we spent the majority of our nights in comfortable hotel rooms, enjoying delicious dinners with wine or beer every evening. While a backpacker could get spoiled doing this too much, we endured it bravely.

But even those in our party who only hiked sections enjoyed some of the TMB’s best mountain scenery.

 

Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, the creator of The Big Outside, recognized as a top outdoors blog by USA Today and others. I invite you to get email updates about new stories and gear giveaways by entering your email address in the box in the left sidebar, at the bottom of this post, or on my About page, and follow my adventures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

Watch for my upcoming feature-length story about trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc, which will include details on how I planned the trip to accommodate the needs and interests of a diverse group.

Meanwhile, find information about the Tour du Mont Blanc and other treks in the Swiss Alps at valais.ch/en/activities/hiking/hiking-tours and myswitzerland.com, and see a menu of all of my stories about International Adventures at The Big Outside.

 

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3 Responses to 3-Minute Read: Trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps

  1. Hiking Guide   |  August 7, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    Great post and breathtaking pics of your hike of the TMB. Hope to be able to hike it some day.

  2. English Knowles   |  August 7, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I loved seeing this story in my inbasket! We hiked the TMB with our 3 kids this summer as well, late June/early July. It was the best thing we’ve ever done with them. We didn’t see many other kids on the trail, but they had hikers from all over the world supporting them and congratulating them every day. Stunning scenery, warm, friendly huts, hearty food and the liberation of only carrying a change of clothes on one’ back–it has left us all in wilderness withdrawl. We are busy planning our next trek and look forward to reading more of your blog. (We also stayed at Hotel Alpina, and my kids now call Marlene their third grandma. What fantastic hosts and what an incredible meal).

    • MichaelALanza   |  August 7, 2017 at 10:47 am

      Hi English, good on your family for trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc. I agree, it’s wonderful, and Marlene at the Hotel Alpina was a delight. Our group of 12 adults and teenagers all called that one of the best dinners any of us had ever had, anywhere. Thanks for the nice words about my blog, please do keep in touch.

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