Editor’s note: GearJunkie’s “Dream Trips” series is a partnership with 57hours that looks at unique, once-in-a-lifetime adventure itineraries from guides and outfitters around the planet.
Next month in France, the famous Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) kicks off under the shadow of its namesake mountain peak. The pinnacle event, based in Chamonix, challenges racers on a 106-mile route through Italy, Switzerland, and France.
You don’t need to be an ultra-athlete to experience the energy of the UTMB. A new tour, the Mont Blanc Luxury Hiking Experience, offers an itinerary based out of Chamonix with daily excursions to trek the area’s famous trails. From exploring historic villages, to luxuriating with a mud wrap at the hotel spa, to following the footsteps of dinosaurs, this adventure boasts something for everyone.
Each night, you stay at a five-star hotel in Chamonix. The Résidence Le Cristal de Jade is in the heart of town and near the cable car to Aiguille du Midi. If you consider yourself food-motivated, the trip’s all-inclusive schedule includes most meals, Italian gelato desserts, fondue, and Alpenglow cocktails as the sun sets over the massif.
Hikes, Huts, and History
Over 8 days, Žalohar and team lead travelers on the area’s ”less-trodden” paths. You explore the wonderland of the Alps around Chamonix and across the borders of Italy and Switzerland.
Most days entail 5 to 7 miles of hiking, and during the week you’ll explore classic mountain routes to see historic and cultural sites. Picnics at the area’s famous alpine huts are included in the trip.
Beyond the views, the Mont Blanc Luxury Hiking Experience leans into the history of the area. This includes the long-ago past as seen on the geological trail of old Émosson. There, you can trace a path where dinosaurs walked 240 million years ago, their footprints visible still in the stone.
Later in the week, Žalohar’s itinerary brings hikers to Les Contamines-Montjoie, a village with Baroque churches and architecture dating back hundreds of years.
Noted in the trip’s name, this is a luxury tour. You dine at Michelin Star Restaurants. In addition to meals and 7 nights at the Résidence Le Cristal de Jade, travelers relax at the hotel’s spa. Massages are available with “alpine fir oils” and wraps made of mineral-rich mud.
As the tour provider notes, this trip is “all about exploring the unexplored in the Chamonix Valley while ensuring that your evenings are filled with the hospitality that makes the Alps such a perfect holiday destination.”
- The trip: Hiking and exploring trails and sites around Mont Blanc massif; luxury meals and accommodations each night
- Guide: Bine Žalohar, National Geographic guide
- Dates: June-Sept. (various dates)
- Cost: $4,250 per person
- Duration: 8 days
- Included: Most meals and accommodations at the Résidence Le Cristal de Jade
- Learn more: 57hours.com