TOUR DU MONT BLANC IN FRANCE, ITALY, AND SWITZERLAND
Hiker: Topher Gaylord, ultrarunner, Under Armour SVP/GM Outdoor Group
In His Words: Circling Mont Blanc—the rooftop of Western Europe—is one of the most special hiking experiences in the world as you travel through three different countries and over several mountain passes with some of Europe’s most dramatic glaciers on display. You can soak it in and take your time over seven to 10 days or fast pack in three days. No matter how you choose to do it, it is an adventure of a lifetime!
Length: Around 100 miles
Why You Should Go: Discover the Alps and circumnavigate the Mont Blanc massif—composed of Mont Blanc (15,781 feet) and a flank of impressive peaks and glaciers—by following a beloved long-distance trail that changes constantly. At times it meanders through meadows teeming with blossoms; at others it teeters on spine-tingling sections of exposed rock.
With the highest peak in Western Europe looming overhead, you touch three countries, descend into seven different valleys, and top out on a number of high points including the Col des Fours, France, and the Fenêtre d’Arpette, Switzerland (8,478 feet). Huts perched along the way allow you to enjoy comfortable nights without having to carry a tent or food.
During the day, take a break from walking to relish local delicacies (think fondue, wine, homemade bread, and slices of local cheese) in charming villages. Many complete the trail in 10 days, but taking it slow allows for maximum enjoyment or side trips, including a climb of Mont Blanc itself.
When to Go: Summer, when huts are open and snow won’t block your progress