Tour du Mont Blanc | Maps & Routes

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The Tour du Mont Blanc takes trekkers through France, Italy, and Switzerland on one of the most spectacular trails in the world. Typically completed in 11 stages, the route circumnavigates Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe. This post will provide all of the TMB navigational resources you need to familiarize yourself with the route, location, and all things map-related so you can be sure you’re ready to tackle this epic adventure!

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Where is the Tour du Mont Blanc?

The Tour du Mont Blanc is an approximately 101 mile/162 km trek that takes walkers around Mont Blanc and through France, Italy, and Switzerland. The closest major city to the TMB is Geneva, Switzerland. The route passes through seven mountain valleys (Val d’Arve, Val d’Montjoie, Vallee des Glaciers, Val Veni, Italian Val Ferret, Swiss Val Ferret, and Vallee du Trient) and is typically completed in 11 stages.

Looking for more TMB resources? Check out our Ultimate Guide to the Tour du Mont Blanc here.

Map showing the location of the Tour du Mont Blanc
The Tour du Mont Blanc takes walkers through France, Italy, and Switzerland.

The TMB is traditionally hiked in a counter-clockwise direction beginning in the French town of Les Houches, which is adjacent to Chamonix. It is also possible to walk the route in a clockwise direction, and trekkers headed this way typically start in the Swiss town of Champex. This is a result of the steep climb out of Les Houches that would be required if you were to hike clockwise from there. Best to avoid that on your first stage!

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The TMB also passes through the French towns of Les Contamines, Les Chapieux, and Tre-le-Champ, the Italian town of Courmayeur, and the Swiss towns of La Fouly and Champex, while passing near the small village of Trient.

The stages for the traditional counter-clockwise route are as follows:

  • Stage 1: Les Houches to Les Contamines
  • Stage 2: Les Contamines to Les Chapieux
  • Stage 3: Les Chapieux to Rifugio Elisabetta
  • Stage 4: Rifugio Elisabetta to Courmayeur
  • Stage 5: Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti
  • Stage 6: Rifugio Bonatti to La Fouly
  • Stage 7: La Fouly to Champex
  • Stage 8: Champex to Col de la Forclaz
  • Stage 9: Col de la Forclaz to Tre-le-Champ
  • Stage 10: Tre-le-Champ to Refuge La Flegere
  • Stage 11: Refuge La Flegere to Les Houches

To help visualize these 11 stages, we created the Tour du Mont Blanc virtual fly-through video below. Give it a watch to get a sense of the route, terrain, and what you can expect!

While for many the mere mention of Mont Blanc conjures up images of the famous French mountaineering town of Chamonix, the route of the TMB does not actually go through the town, instead taking a trail high above the Chamonix Valley.

In addition to staying in mountain huts and hotels along the TMB, it is also popular to camp along the route.

Tour du Mont Blanc map
The Tour du Mont Blanc leads trekkers around the Mont Blanc Massif.

In addition to the traditional route, the Tour du Mont Blanc also includes several ‘alternates’. These trails still connect the same start and finish points, but take walkers on a different route between the two points. Alternates can be used to add challenge, avoid certain sections, or lengthen/shorten a particular stage. The map below shows the common alternate routes on the TMB.

These alternate routes include the following:

  • Col de Tricot: Alternate between Les Houches & Les Contamines
  • Col des Fours: Alternate route between Les Contamines (starts at Refuge du Col de la Croix du Bonhomme) and Refuge Des Mottets. Effectively cuts out Les Chapieux stop.
  • Tete Bernarda: Alternate route between Courmayeur and Rifugio Bonatti.
  • Fenetre d’Arpette: Alterate route between Champex and Col de la Forclaz
  • Refuge Les Grands: Route that connects the Fenetre d’Arpette alternate route to the Col de Balme via an overnight stay at Refuge Les Grands.
  • Le Tour: Alternate route connecting Col de Balme with the village of Le Tour.
  • Col des Montets: Alternate route from Tre-le-Champ that avoids the famed ladder section enroute to La Flegere.
  • Lac Blanc: Alternate route that takes walkers to the stunning Lac Blanc and associated refuge.
Tour du Mont Blanc Map with alternate routes shown.
The Tour du Mont Blanc also includes many alternate routes, shown in the map above.

Interactive Tour du Mont Blanc Map

The interactive Tour du Mont Blanc map below will allow you to zoom in on the various stages as well as view the traditional stops along the route. The map also displays the common alternate routes that are a part of the TMB. You can click on each stage to see the total length, listed in both kilometers and miles.

 How Long is the Tour du Mont Blanc

The Tour du Mont Blanc is approximately 101 miles or 162.5 kilometers long. This is based on following the traditional route and not taking any shortcuts or alternates. Of course, few if any walkers will stick to this route exactly. You could easily walk less or more depending on your preferences, route choices, and the conditions encountered on the trail.

The maps below show the approximate distance of each stage in miles as well as kilometers. For more detail on each stage be sure to check out our interactive map in the section above!

Map of the Tour du Mont Blanc with stage distances in miles.
Approximate stage distances of the TMB in miles.
Map of the Tour du Mont Blanc with stage length in kilometers
Approximate stage distances of the TMB in kilometers.

What is the Elevation Profile of the Tour du Mont Blanc?

Over all 11 stages, the Tour du Mont Blanc has approximately 37,000 feet or 11,300 meters of elevation change! That averages out to over 3,300 feet or 1,000 meters of elevation change per stage for those who complete the walk in 11 days. Of course, there will be days with more elevation gain and days with less. Given that the TMB is a loop trail, you’ll ascend and descend the exact same amount over the course of your trek.

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The elevation profiles below, displayed in both imperial and metric units, will give you an overview of what each stage of the Tour du Mont Blanc is like in terms of total elevation change and distance. On the charts elevation is shown on the left hand side while distance is shown on the bottom. Each blue dot represents a stop along the traditional 11 stage TMB route, with the stop name shown at the top.

The steepness of the line between any two points shows the steepness of the trail for that particular stage. The distance between the two points shows the length of the the stage. So for instance you can see that the stage from Tre-le-Champ to La Flegere is rather short in distance, while the stage from Les Contamines to Les Chapieux has a lot of elevation gain.

Elevation profile of the Tour du Mont Blanc in feet and miles
Elevation profile of the Tour du Mont Blanc in feet and miles.
Elevation profile of the Tour du Mont Blanc in meters and kilometers
Elevation profile of the Tour du Mont Blanc in meters and kilometers.

 

Which Maps Should I Carry on the Tour du Mont Blanc?

The TMB is a very well marked trail with frequent signs and trail markers. As a result, when we hiked the TMB we did not rely heavily on any of the various paper maps that are available for the route. Instead, we preferred to utilize GPS maps on our phones, as described in the next section. However, that doesn’t mean we didn’t bring paper maps with us. While technology has done a tremendous amount to make navigating while hiking easier, there is simply no replacement for carrying a physical map with you. If your phone runs out of battery or you drop it in a puddle you’ll be glad you had your handy paper maps to rely on.

We recommend bringing the IGN 3630 OT Chamonix and IGN 3531 ET St-Gervais with you, as they provide a detailed view of the TMB route. There is also a single IGN map that covers the entire route, although at a less detailed scale.

A weatherproof carrying case like this one wouldn’t hurt to have either.

Tour du Mont Blanc GPS/GPX

If you’re interested in getting access to the GPS data used to create all of the maps in this post, we are happy to offer our Tour du Mont Blanc GPX files for sale. When you download the GPX file, you’ll get route data for each of the traditional stages of the TMB as well as all of the common alternate route, plus waypoints for each stop along the way.

If you want to learn how to use the GPS data to navigate on the trail, be sure to check out our post on How to Navigate on the Tour du Mont Blanc.

'Tour du Mont Blanc gps

You’ll be able to load the GPX file into the mapping software or GPS phone app of your choice!

Tour du Mont Blanc map app/offline mapping

As mentioned above we utilized offline downloadable GPS maps on our smartphones to navigate while hiking the TMB. This is a great way to navigate on the trail as it allows you to see your progress for the day and also isn’t reliant on a cell phone signal to display the map. Our How to Navigate on the TMB post has all the information you need to get set up using an app for your Tour du Mont Blanc map. This step-by-step article will teach you how to quickly and easily turn your phone into a GPS device.

Everything you need to to plan your TMB trek – all in one place.

Whether you prefer mountain huts or hotels, fastpacking or meandering, luxury, dirtbag or or something in between, we’ve got you covered. Our Guide to the Tour du Mont Blanc is the ultimate tool to help you plan your perfect trip.

When you purchase a guide, you’ll get instant access to all the information you need to plan your trip in our planning portal as well as in a downloadable PDF eGuide.

Your in-depth guide contains resources you won’t find anywhere else, including:

  • Instant access to our online trip planning portal
  • Downloadable eGuide to the Tour du Mont Blanc
  • Complete 9-day, 11-day, and 12-day Tour du Mont Blanc itineraries with video fly throughs
  • Accommodation options and booking information
  • Detailed maps for every stage
  • Custom GPS data for each itinerary
  • The ultimate packing list
  • Information about getting to and from the trail
  • 15-week training plan
  • Video tutorials on how to use your GPS files to navigate on the trail. 

We truly believe this is the best resource available for planning your TMB.  Pick up your guide below and if your not satisfied for any reason we’ll give you a full refund!

Want more Tour du Mont Blanc content?

Get The FREE TMB Essentials Handbook

Our free PDF guide covers all the basics – when to hike, accommodation, typical costs, and more!

4 thoughts on “Tour du Mont Blanc | Maps & Routes”

  1. Many thanks a lot for this article. Decided last minute to do the tour with not much time for planning and investigating info on the trek, distance, elevation, etc. This was of a great help. Thx a Lot !

    Reply
    • Hey James,
      Glad you are finding our site useful! We don’t currently have a map showing estimated hiking times for each stage, but that is a great idea. In the meantime we do provide approximate hiking times in our Ultimate Guide to the Tour du Mont Blanc article here.
      Let us know if you have any other questions,
      Best,
      Ian

      Reply

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