The best time of year to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB)

Planning a European Alps adventure can be challenging — after all, each season offers something unique! In winter, the Alps become a playground for skiers and snowshoers, but in summer, the world-renowned trekking season begins. So if you’re wondering when you should go on the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB), you’ll want to find a time slot between mid-June and mid-September.

Why? If you go earlier than June, large amounts of snow remain on the trails and make it dangerous to cross cols. And while the weather is often lovely all the way into October, many lifts and mountains close after the peak season ends. 

Here’s a guide that will help you decide which summer month is best for your TMB adventure.

Best time to see alpine flowers on the TMB

Three-quarters of Europe’s vascular plant species grow in the Alps, and around 400 species are endemic to the region. So if you’re interested in botany, you really couldn’t come to a better place!

You can spot alpine flowers from March all the way into October, but spring offers the greatest diversity. From mid-June to mid-July, there is a crossover of the spring plants (which are coming to the end of their flowering cycle) and the summer plants (which are beginning to bloom).

Discover our spring Tour du Mont Blanc trips

Crocuses grow on the TMB.
Beautiful crocuses in bloom on top of Prarion Mountain looking out towards the Mont Blanc Massif. Photo by Jennifer Stretton

Best time for warm weather on the TMB

July and August are the hottest months of the year. In July, the average temperature is between 13 and 26C (55 – 79F). August is slightly cooler with average temperatures of 12-26C (53-79F).

If you prefer hiking in cool weather, then you may find a trip in June or September more comfortable.

Although rainfall average is similar between June and September, mountain weather is incredibly unpredictable. We recommend bringing rain gear at any time of year.  See our Alps Trekking Packing List.

Discover our summer Tour du Mont Blanc trips

Rainy weather on the TMB in September 2017
Approaching the Refuge de la croix de Bonhomme in inclement weather on a trip in September 2017. It was definitely a day for waterproof jacket and trousers! Photo by Nelson Chenkin.

Best time to beat the crowds on the TMB

Coinciding with European summer holidays, mid-July to mid-August is peak season. If you want to beat the crowds, then hike the TMB between mid-June and mid-July or in September. In peak season, accommodation goes fast, so make sure you plan your trip well ahead (maybe even a year in advance!).

Discover our spring and Autumn Tour du Mont Blanc Trips

Beautiful views and quiet trails on the TMB in September 2017
The advantage of trekking in worse weather – you get valleys like these all to your self! Climbing towards the Col de La Seigne with a group in September 2017. Photo by Nelson Chenkin.
Jennifer Stretton
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20 Replies to “The best time of year to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB)”

  1. Bill says:

    Hi Jen,

    I’m sending a message to you from Canada. I have a moderate amount of experience hiking/snowshoeing in the winter (many trips in the Adirondack mountain range found in the state of New York in mountains between 4000-5000 feet/around 1,500 meters).

    Hiking in snow is not much of a deterrent in our area except for the possibility of avalanches and post holing. If one were to do the loop in April or May, what kind of risks would the snow pose? Are there rivers that may be running under the snow? Rock slides/avalanches from the higher mountains? How do the temperatures in Chamonix differ from those found at the higher elevation of the trail (granted I understand the usual estimate – a few degrees colder for every 300-500 meters, wondering if it follows the same ‘rule’).

    Any info would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Bill

  2. Jen says:

    Hi all

    You may find this recent post useful which I will be keeping updated this summer with trail conditions on the TMB – https://alpenwild.com/Alpshiking/trail-conditions-and-snow-conditions-on-the-tour-du-mont-blanc/

    Jen =)

  3. Susanna says:

    I’m starting the TMB from Les Houches on Friday 22nd June and trying to decide whether or not to pack crampons – any advice? Thank you!

    • Jen says:

      Hi Susanna, sorry for my late reply! I see you are starting your tour today! Lovely weather for it! From what I’ve heard from my guide friends you won’t need crampons as the snow is nice and soft with a big track in the main cols. However, I’d suggest some sturdy boots you can kick steps into the snow if you need to. If you are a little unsteady on the snow then microspikes will make a big difference and they’re much lighter than crampons. Have a wonderful time! Jen

  4. Susanna says:

    Hi Jen, this is all so helpful. I am arriving on Thursday 21st – have you any updates on trail conditions please, from what you or your fellow guides have seen? Thank you very much! – Susanna

  5. Andy says:

    Hi, our trip starts on August 7th and it’s a group trip, do we expect to meet a huge crowd along the way? And what’s the weather at that time? thanks

    • Jennifer Stretton says:

      Hi Andy! Thanks for your message! August is quite a busy time of year but the mid/end of August is generally busier than the start as there are a few ultra marathons taking place. The weather is lovely in August – hot and generally stable with odd afternoon storms so pack for hot weather but be sure to take water proofs! Have a great trip! Jen

  6. Adam says:

    Hi – first of all thanks for your constant updates.

    We’re doing the TMB right at the end of June – the one leg of the journey that concerns us after reading the latest conditions, is the second day (which would be Friday 29th June) which is Les Contamines to Refuges Des Mottets. This is technically the longest day for us being over 25km.

    Do you have any insight into the conditions of this route? I know there are a couple of variations of this day so we’d obviously want to take the safest approach.

    Thank you

    • Jennife Stretton says:

      Hi Adam

      Thanks for your message! Glad the updates are helpful! I haven’t been over that way recently sorry so I can’t comment on the conditions right now. The majority of tour operators start mid June so I will hear better updates from my fellow guides in a couple of weeks and will post them up when I have them. I imagine the col du bonhomme and col des fours are still very snowy, but in a months time the trail conditions will be very different and my feeling is that it should be ok.

      However, remember to always consider avalanche risk from above. Even if the path is clear, snowy slopes above could threaten your route.

      Keep your eye on this post and also on the TMB website for updates – you will start to hear a lot more about route conditions from mid June as guided trips start happening. You will be in good company on the route at the end of June and so there should be lots of guides around to speak to and also refuge wardens. The key is to collect as much information as possible (which it sounds like you’re doing) and err on the side of caution =)

      Have an awesome trip!

      Jen

  7. Kelsey says:

    Hi Jennifer!

    Thank you for this wonderful information. I was hoping to do this trail from June 4-14. Do you think there will be much snow to hike through this year?

    Thanks again!

    Kels

    • Jennifer Stretton says:

      Hi Kelsey!

      Thank you for your message – I have been asked this by Aaron too and so I will copy my reply to him below:

      Although we had a lot of snow last winter, it does seem to be melting quite well. I haven’t been out on the main trails for the TMB yet, but other guides who I am in touch with have told me that there is still snow on the grand col feret, col de balme and lots of snow at the back of Brevent. Near bovine from col de forclaz there is still snow and so you would need to take care as the path involves a steep snowy traverse. With crampons and poles you should be ok, but it depends a lot on your ability and experience travelling over snow. If you are in any doubt then ask hut guardians before you set out for the day or hire a guide if you are not that confident. It’s always worth bearing in mind any avalanche risk from above, especially in the val ferret.

      A really good website to use is this one – http://www.autourdumontblanc.com/en/index.cfm/tmb-trails-conditions.html

      It has information on trail conditions along the route and some web cam images to give you an idea of what the trails are looking like.

      I hope that helps!

      Have fun, it’s an awesome hike!

      Jen

  8. disha says:

    Hi, Can you suggest some guide cum tour operators ? also, what would be the approximate cost?

    • Jennifer Stretton says:

      Hi Disha

      Thank you for your message. I work during the summer season for Alpenwild, they are an American trekking company specialising in luxury trekking holidays in the Alps. One of the reasons I chose to work for them is that they are a really friendly company and their standard of accomodation is the best you will find on the Tour du Mont Blanc or other famous alpine treks. If you want to find out more about their trips then here is the link:

      https://www.alpenwild.com/trip/tour-du-mont-blanc/overview/

      I hope that helps

      Jen

  9. Thomas says:

    Hey I’m hiking the TMB in mid June of this year. Do you think enough of the snow will have melted to make it safe to cross cols?

    • Jennifer Stretton says:

      Hi Thomas,

      Thanks for your message. Aaron and Kelsey have asked the same and so I hope you don’t me copying my reply to them below:

      Although we had a lot of snow last winter, it does seem to be melting quite well and if it warms up over the next couple of weeks we will see a lot more melt. I haven’t been out on the main trails for the TMB yet, but other guides who I am in touch with have told me that there is still snow on the grand col feret, col de balme and lots of snow at the back of Brevent. Near bovine from col de forclaz there is still snow and so you would need to take care as the path involves a steep snowy traverse. With crampons and poles you should be ok, but it depends a lot on your ability and experience travelling over snow. (Also in two weeks a lot of that could have melted if it warms up again). If you are in any doubt then ask hut guardians before you set out for the day or hire a guide if you are not that confident. It’s always worth bearing in mind any avalanche risk from above, especially in the val ferret.

      A really good website to use is this one – http://www.autourdumontblanc.com/en/index.cfm/tmb-trails-conditions.html

      It has information on trail conditions along the route and some web cam images to give you an idea of what the trails are looking like.

      I hope that helps!

      Have fun, it’s an awesome hike!

      Jen

  10. Jennifer Stretton says:

    Hi Thomas, thanks for your message. As we had quite a snowy winter I expect there will be visible snow on the mountain in mid July and some short sections of snow to walk across. We are having a very warm spring so far though so a lot of the snow is melting very fast and I don’t expect snow will cause a problem with walking on the trails in mid July. I hope that helps! Jen

  11. Thomas Craig says:

    Hi just wondering if there will be visible snow on the mountain in mid July?

  12. Jennifer Stretton says:

    Hi Brenda! Our trip in September with the cold weather was right at the end of the month and it was very unusual weather for that time of year! Infact the lead guide, Chloe commented it was some of the worst weather she had hiked in all her years as a guide in the Alps!

    We can’t guarantee the weather (especially in the moutains!) but generally the start of September is a really nice time to head out. It’s much quieter than in the middle of summer and the temperature is very pleasant and similar to June.

    There won’t be as many flowers in September as the start of summer and so it depends if your priority is seeing more flora or hiking with less people on the trails.

    I hope that helps!

    Let me know if you have any other questions =)

    Jen

  13. Brenda Ryan says:

    Ok… i’m A little worried…
    I just saw the snow and cold weather from the Sept. 2017 photo!
    I get lots of snow and cold here in Ottawa, Canada, but as hoping for green fields, flowers and some wildlife. I was thinking about going on a guided tour September. 3-15, 2018. Should I be reconsidering?????
    Would a Mid or end of June start be better?

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