Tour du Mont Blanc Terrain

Mont Blanc

The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is the most popular trek in Europe as well as one of the most rewarding and fulfilling.  On the other hand, it is also one of the most strenuous treks. As you are pondering your decision to take on this trek I’m sure there are many questions running through your mind.  One of the most common questions we is, “What is the Tour du Mont Blanc terrain like?” You will find several different types of terrain on the TMB! As I explain the Tour du Mont Blanc terrain more thoroughly, consider whether you will be able to participate in this strenuous trek.  We recommend that our guests are in excellent shape and are experienced hikers in order to handle all of the challenges this route presents. 

Tour du mont blanc terrainPaved Roads
Paved roads are few and far between on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Photo by Macie Briggs.

Paved Roads in Villages

On the TMB your hiking day will often begin in the village where you spent the night before.  As you leave your night’s accommodation you will pass through the village on paved roads. Your hiking day often ends hiking into the village where you next night’s accommodation is located.  This is on more paved roads! This is a minor part of the terrain you will experience each day. 

Dirt Paths TMB
You’ll see mostly dirt paths along the TMB.

Dirt Trails

Dirt trails make up the majority of hiking trails on the TMB. You’ll come across rocks, roots, and other obstacles as you hike.  For this reason, we recommend you wear high ankle boots. The extra support around your ankles can help prevent sprains.  Even on a perfect day, these trails can be tricky. In the Alps. you should always prepare for at least one day of rain and rain. You will want to make sure you have rain gear, this way even if you have spotty weather you will be able to hike confidently

Tour du Mont Blanc rocky terrain
Some trails have larger rocks along the way that require attention and care. Photo by Jen Stretton.

Rocky Paths

There can be quite a few rocks on the trail.  You can experience anything from the trail being littered with small pebbles to the trail basically turning into a rock staircase, but you won’t be doing much, if any, bouldering.  Make sure to always have a sure footing and watch your step to avoid tripping. To help with this, we recommend doing hikes with similar conditions. Trekking poles (we recommend these for all of our treks and hiking tours), are ideal support if you are prone to tripping or slipping on small rocks.

Tour du Mont Blanc Stream crossings
Stream crossings dot the Tour du Mont Blanc. Some are stable, others require balance and caution. Photo by Macie Briggs.

Stream Crossings

You will find several streams along the trail that you will need to cross.  The streams range in width and water levels. Hazards include loose, wet rocks that can result in uneven footing.  These streams almost always have bridges or rocks you can use to make it over the streams. The crossing widths and depths are small enough that you can walk through in your normal hiking boots.  Waterproof hiking boots are helpful, but no additional water-crossing gear is necessary. 

Snow Crossings
Weather on the Tour du Mont Blanc is unpredictable. Chances are you will cross snow on the trail. Come dressed and prepared for all types of weather. Photo by Jen Stretton.

Snow Crossings

While uncommon, you may be faced with several snow crossings depending on the weather.  Some crossings are 30 – 40 feet long ( about 9 meters).  Along the Tour du Mont Blanc, there are several high elevation points where you may see snow. Rest assured, you won’t need special gear such as crampons or ice axes for these crossings.  They are easy to cross with the help of your trekking poles, and guide. That being said, proceed with caution.

Wrap Up

I hope this post has been informational and helpful as you decide whether the Tour du Mont Blanc is for you.  Remember that this trek is incredibly wonderful and rewarding for those who are well-prepared. At Alpenwild, we would love to have you join us on our guided  Deluxe Tour du Mont Blanc which includes private rooms and bathrooms each night.  There is also always the self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc option which includes mountain huts and you picking your own schedule each day.  There’s an option for every comfort level!

Happy hiking!

Macie Briggs
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