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Hiking Bucket List: Tour du Mont Blanc

Posted on September 10 2019

Hiking Bucket List: Tour du Mont Blanc

 

 

Tour du Mont Blanc is a 13 day, 100 mile hike across 3 European countrysides (France, Italy, and Switzerland). It begins and finishes just outside Geneva and attracts thousands of people each year. Noted for its moderate difficulty, the Tour du Mont Blanc is seen as a rite of passage for many European hikers. With 5 different ascents of 2500 feet, this is not the trail for beginners.


Mont Blanc became a well known hiking spot after ​Horace-Bénédict de Saussure discovered it in the 1760s while wandering the countryside looking for plant specimen. In pursuit of Mont Blanc’s summit, Saussure walked his way around the entire massif! He made several additional hikes in the range and even offered a reward for anyone who could reach the elusive summit. One of his routes, the one he took in 1785, became the one most commonly walked by hikers today.


There are many reasons people fall in love with this particular route, but below are the three most commonly noted.

  1. The scenery is epic. There’s a reason why Saussure fell in love with this region. From panoramic mountain views, to massive glaciers, Tour Mont du Blanc has more than enough to offer hikers in terms of picturesque and Instagrammable moments. Plus, the small towns and cafes along the way make for the perfect moments to take a breather. This takes us to the next reason.
  2. The culture is all around you, and quite diverse. Instead of a 13 day hike away from all civilization, Mont Blanc takes hikers by many small villages and hamlets where you can spend the night in an inn if you choose, or at least have a hot meal cooked for you. But despite the ample comforts of the trip, it’s still no cake walk.
  3. The prestige is well known. This hike is not for the faint of heart. Hikers must walk an average of 8 miles a day to achieve the 13 day time frame. The mountainous terrain can be challenging, especially over the first few days, and the weather fluctuates with elevation. Once you finish, you’ll have a good reason to rest up in Geneva and feel exceptionally proud of your accomplishments.

 

People who have hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc can attest to the wondrous qualities of this trail. In a blog about her experience, writer and photographer Leigh McAdams writes about completing the journey in only nine days! She mentions the cafes and inns on the way, as well as the fantastic scenery. “​Wildflowers showed up in abundance the higher you climbed. Campanula, alpine ladies’ mantle, Joe Pye weed looking flowers and a host of ones whose names I didn’t know made the walking even more beautiful,” she writes. If this doesn’t seal the deal, a quick look through her photographs sure will. There are lush greens, amazing panoramas, and stunnings mountains all the way through. For these reasons and more, Tour du Mont Blanc will always be one of the top hiking spots in Europe.

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