Self Guided TMB Family 6 Days
The Tour du Mont Blanc is a 170 km trekking trail through France, Italy and Switzerland. Circumnavigating Western Europe’s highest mountain, Mont Blanc, it is one of the world’s most famous classic multi day treks and is on every serious hiker’s bucket list. This 6 day self-guided version is specifically designed for families with shorter hiking days to cater for younger kids.
5 Nights, 6 Days
Les Houches, Chamonix
June - September
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FRANCE & ITALY / 5 NIGHTS / 6 DAYS
This 5 night / 6 day version of the Tour du Mont Blanc trek is an incredible opportunity to completely immerse yourself in the mountains and enjoy the natural beauty of the valleys that surround western Europe’s highest mountain. The trek offers an unusual variety of spectacular scenery and varied walks and you are sure to come away from this trek refreshed and invigorated, if a little creaky at the joints.
The route crosses three borders (France, Italy and Switzerland) over 8 days, traversing beneath huge glaciers, and meandering through beautiful alpine meadows and picture-book villages. That's right, this is a truly memorable journey and one of worlds classic long-distance hiking routes.
This 6 day self-guided version is specifically designed for families with shorter hiking days to cater for younger kids.
Not sure whether you're ready? No problem. Take our Tour du Mont Blanc Trek 'Readiness' test or join us on our Tour du Mont Blanc guided trips:
Take our Tour du Mont Blanc Trek 'Readiness' test
YOUR ADVENTURE STARTS HERE
WHO IS THIS FOR?
The Tour du Mont Blanc Trek is well suited to fit hillwalkers, capable of trekking for multiple days carrying a reasonably heavy rucksack. You follow footpaths each day and the terrain is very hilly. You can expect to do up to and over 1000m ascent and descent per day. You stay in a mixture of mountain refuges, gites and auberges during the trek, which all provide basic but comfortable lodging and good food. This helps keep your packs fairly light carrying only snacks, clothing and essentials.
It might seem like a lot to take in so if you're not sure if you're ready.. No problem. Take our Tour du Mont Blanc Trek 'Readiness' test or join us on one of our Tour du Mont Blanc guided trips: Take our Tour du Mont Blanc Trek 'Readiness' test
5 Nights, 6 Days
Les Houches, Chamonix
June - September
You’re not quite sure where to start but you’re hungry for an adventure and can’t wait to get going. Bring it on!
See real footage of previous expeditions
The Tour du Mont Blanc Trek02:21
Stunning views and great memories. This is the Tour du Mont Blanc Trek.
What is Self Guided Trekking?01:27
Olly and Charlie discuss what a self guided trip looks like.
Beginner Hikes Tour Du Mont Blanc25:55
Check out Dave’s experience on the Tour du Mont Blanc with us.
A snapshot at Omar’s experience on the trails with us.
Meet The Team01:48
Introducing our crack squad of mountain lovers and adventure junkies. We spend most of our days plotting, planning and building some of the very best trips out there for you all to enjoy.
EQUIPMENT REQUIRED FOR THIS TRIP
Please note this is a guide and you may be required to rent or purchase last minute equipment on arrival dependent on the weather and changes in itinerary.
For the full downloadable Tour Du Mont Blanc Trek kit list please click here.
Mountaineering-specific 35-40L backpack
Foldable or telescopic poles are best
Hiking shoes / Trail Shoes
Good grip and ankle support is recommended
Light technical jacket, ideally with a hood.
Something light and thin.
Keep them light and thin.
Highly breathable, lightweight synthetic technical t-shirt.
Keep them light and thin.
Stretch, durable mountaineering trousers.
Ideally thin and single layered so it can fit under the helmet.
Choose your hat of choice as long as it shields you from the sun.
Side-leg zippers are helpful
Good walking socks are required
Good to have for approaches to the mountain huts especially in warmer temperatures
Fleece windproof gloves
Factor 30-50 High Mountain sunscreen
You must be able to carry at least 2L of water in your backpack
Sleeping bag silk liner
You don’t need a sleeping bag itself, as blankets are provided in the huts
Don't forget to pack spare batteries. They're essential
ID and documents
Passport / Driver's license, Visa, Insurance
Cash / credit card
For extra costs such as drinks and snacks
First aid kit
Blister kit, paracetamol, etc
Bandana / Buff
Highly recommended for the mountain huts
YOUR ADVENTURE PACKAGE
The trek begins in Les Houches at the Bellevue cable car in the Chamonix valley. Typically people will arrive the night before and overnight either in Les Houches or overnight in Chamonix and take the train from Chamonix to Les Houches in the morning to start the hike. If you would like us to book your accommodation for the first night please ask.
- 5 Nights accommodation
- 5 Breakfasts
- 5 Dinners
- Planning and reservations
- Virtual briefing with an Adventure Base representative
- Welcome pack
- First aid kit
- A detailed itinerary
- 24/7 Support communication with our team in Chamonix
What's not Included?
- Flights and transfers
- Lunches, snacks and drinks on the trek
- Luggage transfers
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE ACCOMMODATION
We know the importance of having comfortable accommodation on this trip. After a long day of trekking it's vital to have a comfortable bed and good food to enjoy in a scenic location. We've handpicked refuges and other mountain accommodation along the way that we're sure you're going to love. (A single room supplement is available where possible, please request this far in advance)
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ON THE TREK
The majority of the accommodation on the trip will be in dormitories and / or small shared rooms. You can upgrade in some of the accommodation options if requested in advance and based on availability.
5 Breakfasts + 5 Dinners
Immerse yourself in Nature
Here you'll find the full itinerary including distances (KM) ascents and descents each day and a rough estimate of how long it will take.
Start point: Les Houches
End point: Courmayeur
Length: 6 days
Whilst you will try and stick to the tried and tested itinerary below, availability in some of the locations may not always be available. In this instance we will provide a suitable alternative and make sure you're aware of any changes.
Les Houches – Refuge Miage
Take the Bellevue cable car in Les Houches up to the Bellevue Plateau. It’s then just a 15 minute walk (very well signposted) to the Col du Voza. Cross the railway tracks and follow the path for Col du Tricot. Crossing the Himalayan suspension bridge is fun for all but especially for kids. After the bridge the route begins to gently climb until the spectacular Bionnassay glacier comes into full view. This is a great spot to have lunch – if you look carefully you’ll see wild bilberry bushes everywhere. From here you can see the top of the Col du Tricot and it’s a steady climb up to the grassy saddle. Spend some time here to admire the views over the Miage Valley and over to the Col du Bonhomme. You can also spot your bed for the night at Refuge Miage far down in the valley. If you look carefully to your left, you’ll see a stone archway on the ‘smugglers route’ to Refuge Plan Glacier (see our adventure itinerary). Don’t allow your children to explore it as the cliff down in sheer and a fall could well be fatal. The descent down is STEEP! Take it easy and use your poles. Reaching the valley floor follow the signs to reach Refuge Miage in just 5 minutes. This cluster of farm buildings in set in an idyllic rural setting and is charmingly French. Refuge Miage is a good place to stay as a family as children receive a discounted price (not the case in high mountain refuges).
7.2km / 540m up / 650m down / 4 - 6 hours trekking
Refuge Miage – Refuge Nant Borrant
Departing the refuge you’ll have an initial short climb from the Miage Valley up and over to Auberge du Truc. Just before here on the left is a ‘pointe du navigation’ which shows the names of each of the peaks you can see. From Auberge du Truc it’s a long steady descent through the forest into Les Contamines. Have a leisurely lunch in this small French town before either choosing to walk along the river to Notre Dame de la Gorge or pick up the free shuttle bus (navette) outside the Tourist Office to Notre Dame de la Gorge where the trail heads out into the wild once more. Take a moment to visit the beautiful Notre Dame de la Gorge chapel next to the gushing water before setting out on the well marked path. Warning – the trail is VERY steep here along an ancient slabbed Roman road to Refuge Nant Borrant but pleasantly flanks the bubbling racing gorge for much of the ascent. Be sure to look out for the pont naturel sign leading to a natural arch on the river, just a minute from the trail. Cross the roman bridge to take in the rushing gorge below. Expect to hike for around just over an hour from the church to reach the refuge.
10.2km / 500m up / 590m down / 4 - 6 hours trekking
Refuge Nant Borrant – Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme
Today you’ll make the climb over two mountain passes, Col du Bonhomme (2329m) and Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2483m) where early in the season (late June – end of July) you can expect to cross snow patches. You’ll stay in the cavernous Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme (2433m), a high mountain refuge with epic views. The dorms and private rooms have been renovated to a good standard and we love that dinner is fantastically atmospheric being served in candlelight to save electricity. The food, admittedly, is not the best on the Tour, (especially the soup) but if you soak up the exceptional location, breathe in the grandeur of the mountains, and accept that this is the most adventurous refuge you’ll stay in during this 6 day family TMB trek, you’ll embrace it warts and all.
7.5km / 990m up / 50 down / 4 - 5 hours trekking
Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme – Refuge Les Mottets
From Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme it’s pretty much all down hill today. If the weather is fine, and your kids are in good shape after the previous day, consider taking the alternative route from the refuge via the Col des Fours. Experience lunar landscape & rushing waterfalls on this variant route as well as the option of detouring to the Tête Nord des Fours summit – only a further 20 minutes (follow the cairns) which gives one of the best views of the Tour du Mont Blanc – highly recommended. Note: Never attempt this variant route if the weather is nothing short of perfect. The Col des Fours variant bypasses the hamlet of Les Chapieux completely and does take a little longer – you cannot catch the Les Chapieux shuttle bus to ease tired legs if needed. If you’re continuing along the normal TMB route the well marked trail will descend all the way to the valley of to Les Chapieux, where you can stop for a welcome refreshment at the friendly Auberge de la Nova and carry on a further hour up the trail to Refuge Les Mottets. This would be the full 11.8km. Or as we would suggest catch the navette (shuttle bus) from Les Chapieux which ferries you in 30 minutes to the parking area of Refuge Les Mottets (you’ll then have to walk down the hillside to the refuge in the valley bottom).
7km / 340m up / 950m down / 5 - 7 hours trekking
Refuge Mottets – Elisabetta / Cabane Combal
Today you’ll say ‘au revoir’ to France and trek over the Col de la Seigne into Italy. Ciao! From Refuge Les Mottets roll out of bed fresh to tackle the immediate 646m steady climb up the Col de la Seigne up to the French – Italian frontiére. From here Mont Blanc comes fabulously back into view with her surrounding peaks dropping off dramatically into an astonishing deep trough like valley. So spectacular are these jagged peaks that over the next two days you will find it hard to tear your eyes away from the incredible vistas to your left. Passing Refugio Elisabetta (where you might stay), tucked in on a spur between Glacier d’Estellette and Glacier de la Lée Blanche, you’ll continue a further hour along the arrow straight roman road to the incredibly comfortable, highly instagrammable A frame refuge Cabane Combal. For those keen for an evening stroll, take the trail behind the refuge to scramble up to Lac Miage, nestled in the moraine of the Miage Glacier.
12km / 650m up / 540m down / 5 - 7 hours trekking
Elisabetta / Cabane Combal – Courmayeur
Your final day trekking takes you up out of the valley floor climbing steadily up to the highest point of the day, a spur from Mont Favre. Looking back you can see the monstrous moraine of Glacier Miage dwarfing Cabane Combal and on a clear day all the way back to Col de la Seigne. From here you’ll trace the contours of the south flank of the Val Veni, following the rise and fall of the mountain side with jaw dropping views of sawtooth peaks and Monte Bianco opposite. It’s a challenging day and so we highly recommend you to take the chair lift and connecting cable car from Refuge Maison Vielle down to Dolonne, Courmayeur. Our timing has reflected this welcome short cut plus know that the descent is painfully jarring. We would not recommend finishing your day by attempting this with tired children.
8km 490m up, 250m down / 5 - 6 hours trekking
Are you ready?
Our adventures are attributed a difficulty level from A to E. This Mags: Self Guided TMB Family 6 Days trip is rated Level A, for beginners and newcomers We recommend you only book a trip that reflects your ability.
For beginners and newcomers
- You’re not quite sure where to start but you’re hungry for an adventure
- Little / no prior experience
- Shorter time duration
- No technical skills required but keen to learn
- Basic level of fitness
Think you've got this?
This trip is at this level
For those with some prior experience
- You have some previous experience in the outdoors, whether that’s hiking, skiing or climbing, and are keen to build on that
- You will either be starting to venture into more technical terrain or slightly more challenging environments
- Some basic skills
- Moderate fitness
For accomplished adventurers
- You enjoy challenging yourself physically and mentally
- You’re comfortable on multi-day adventures and you call yourself an avid adventurer
- You're not quite George Mallory but you subscribe to his 'because it is there' attitude
- Strong level of fitness
For the pros
- You're ready to test your skills on the next challenge
- You're comfortable in most types of alpine environments
- Some level of technical skills
- Strong level of fitness
For the experts
- You’ve been on multiple adventures and have built up a solid skillset to tackle most challenges out there
- Good technical skills and knowledge
- Experienced in alpine/mountains environments
- Very high level of fitness
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June - September
READY TO TREK THE TMB?
We hope you've found all the information you need above, but if not don't hesitate to get in touch. If you're ready to book, follow the link below.Deposit/Book Now