#9 best hike in the world is …

Actually, the TMB was demoted from #9 to “Honourable Mention”. That happened after site editor Rick McCharles was flabbergasted at the big crowds on that adventure during the summer of 2009.

The TMB was replaced by The Walker’s Haute Route, Chamonix to Zermatt, as Europe’s best hike.

The Tour of Mont Blanc

The best hike on the continent? Some still argue.

Every hiker has Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps (4810m, 15,781ft) on their must-see-before-I-die list.

The standard TMB is 9-14 days, 170+kms (106mi) though most folks only hike sections. Parts are accessible to all levels of fitness and experience.

Why we love it:

  • a terrific challenge, but with creature comforts en route
  • by staying in huts (refuge in French, rifugio in Italian) and hostels (gîtes), and eating your meals there, you can hike with a very light pack
  • frequent opportunities to buy food & supplies
  • good trails

  • good signage (though you still need a map)

  • visit France, Italy and Switzerland on one hike

  • you can carry your own tent, if you prefer, even tenting close to the huts so you can buy meals

  • chance to see ibex and chamois in the wild

  • fantastic glacier views
  • the hard core can add on an ascent of Mt. Blanc after acclimatized by hiking!

    Considerations:

  • it can snow on high passes any day of the year

  • off-season footing can be treacherous. Crampons and ice axe may be necessary.

  • late afternoon thunderstorms are common. Be ready for rain every day.

  • mid-July through August accommodation may be full

  • mountain huts can be crowded & noisy (we prefer tenting)

  • in 2004 cost was around 40€ (US$52) for bed, bedding, breakfast and an evening meal

  • you need climb iron ladders bolted into the mountain

  • cable-cars and chair-lifts are cheating, but you certainly may want to use them to shorten some hiking days (available June-Sept during daylight hours)

  • French is the main language of the TMB though Italian is useful too. Anglophones may struggle at times.

  • in places there are several different paths all heading the same direction. Route finding can be confusing.

    But terrific guidebooks (and mountain guides) are available.

    Details on our Tour of Mont Blanc information page.

    Original photo by Jaap Stronks – flickr

  • 2 Replies to “#9 best hike in the world is …”

    1. Great that you liked my photo. You missed an S at the end of my last name, though 😉
      We brought tents as well. It made our packs considerably heavier (and more than once we chose to sleep in a hostel instead, after a long hiking day), but it was fun. Nearly everybody else chose to pack light and left their tents at home, though.

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