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At a Glance

Your Holiday at a Glance

Independent Trekking Holiday
  • Trekking Tour of Mont Thabor

Dates for 2020
  • From mid June to mid September
Price 7 nights
  • £630 / €690 per person
Price 6 nights
  • £570 / €625 per person
Price 5 nights
  • £525 / €575 per person
  • Loyalty scheme reduction applies for returning customers (see terms and conditions)
  • 5-7 nights, 5-6 days self guided back-packing trek from hut to hut on and around Mont Thabor in French Alps between the Vanoise and Ecrins
  • A relatively quiet part of the French Alps
  • Wild and rocky landscapes and an easy high Alpine summit
  • Breath-taking panoramas & beautiful lakes
  • Welcoming mountain huts
  • Optional summits and extra circuits
  • Number of options depending on how many nights required
Accommodation and Meals
  • 5-7 nights in mountain huts (dormitory style accommodation)
What's included
  1. Full board accommodation in mountain huts whilst on trek
  2. Detailed walking notes and maps
  3. Transfers between local train station and Valmeinier and trek at start and end of trip.
What's not included
  1. Transport to French Alps, drinks, lunch on arrival and departure days, travel insurance
  1. See also our trekking hut-to-hut tour around Mont Viso in the Piedmont of Italy - Trekking tour of Vanoise

Mont Thabor & Trek

This self guided walking holiday is a circular tour of the Mont Thabor Massif, a relatively quite part of the French Alps between the Vanoise & the Ecrins. Wild and beautiful scenery with high Alpine lakes and great panoramic views especially from Mont Thabor itself at 3178m.

After a transfer from Modane to Valmeinier you have a short trek to reach your first mountain hut, Refuge Terre Rouge. The tour of Mont Thabor is a circular trek which allows you to discover a relatively quiet area, well away from the crowds in more popular mountain ranges. You have two days heading over rocky cols including Col de Bataillieres at 2800m before descending to reach Refuge Mont Thabor. Your third day takes in the summit of Mont Thabor itself at 3178m. Wonderful panoramic views of the surrounding peaks including the glacier-clad mountains of the Vanoise and the Ecrins reaching over 4000m.

You'll then descend into the Etroite Valley and a little corner of Italy in France. This part of France was Italian until 1947 and the lower part of the same valley is still in Italy with both mountain huts being run by Italians. After a climb over Col des Muandes and night at Refuge des Drayeres, there is the option of doing an additional day by trekking around the Cerces summit via two cols and a series of high altitude lakes.

On your last full trekking day you can return all the way to Valmeinier and get a transfer down to the Arc valley or stay for a final night at Refuge Terre Rouge.

Don’t forget your binoculars, as there are a host of protected species including the famous alpine bouquetin (ibex), chamoix, bearded vulture and the golden eagle.

Walking profile

Your day's walking on this independent trekking holiday average between 600m to 1000m of ascent and about 6-7 hours of walking. The difficulty of this holiday is increased due to carrying your own gear, which is why it is graded strenuous rather than challenging. You have the opportunity on some days to climb from cols/passes to nearby summits for those who wish to increase the difficulty and get additional views. We will supply you with a kit list to ensure that you carry the bare minimum. The holiday is ideal for those with mountain walking experience, and would suit both those looking for a first alpine holiday, as well as those more experienced. You should be reasonably fit before you start the trek.

The paths are generally good although they are mountainous in nature and sometimes exposed. They cross rocky ground, streams and snow fields where you will need to be sure-footed. Early in the season you will encounter snow fields at moderate to high altitudes.

Day 1: Arrival,

Transfer from Modane or Saint Jean de Maurienne in the Arc Valley to the ski resort of Valmeinier & short climb to Refuge Terre Rouge. 1hr 45, +470m

Day 2: Refuge Terre Rouge (2169m) - Refuge des Marches (2220m)

Climb past Lac Roche Noire & reach Col des Marches at 2725m. Possibility to climb to the near-by summit of Pointe de la Sandoniere at almost 3000m. After, descend to Refuge des Marches with views over Lac de Bissorte. 5hrs, +600m, -500m

Day 3: Refuge des Marches (2220m) - Refuge du Mont Thabor (2490m)

Climb to Col des Bataillieres at 2800m via Lac des Bataillieres located in a pretty cirque. Col des Bataillieres is dominated by the summit tower of Le Cheval Blanc sat in front of the larger summit complex of Mont Thabor. A short descent past Lac Long and Lac Rond to reach Refuge du Mont Thabor. 5hrs, +800m, -300m

Day 4: Refuge du Mont Thabor (2490m) - Vallee Etroite (1750m) (Via Summit of Mont Thabor)

Your day's trek descends slightly to the top of the Etroite Valley before traversing the lower slopes of Mont Thabor past Lac du Peyron to pass around the end of cliffs to reach a broad shoulder in front of Le Grand Seru. Climb past Col des Meandes. The going steepens from there to reach a second level area before a final climb past the Chapel de Mont Thabor to the summit at 3178m. Wonderful panoramic views in all directions with views of glacier-clad mountains over 4000m. Descend back to Col des Meandes and then a long descent into Vallee Etroite. Italian ambience at your mountain hut. 7hrs, +750m, -1700m

Day 5: Vallee Etroite (1750m) - Refuge des Drayeres (2150m)

Climb back towards Col des Meandes and then before reaching it, head off along the GR57, passing Lac Blanc at 2600m and after a short descent, climb to Col des Muandes at over 2800m. From there it's possible to climb to Roche du Chardonnet at 2950m for views of Mont Thabor. Descend, passing several lakes with good views to reach Refuge des Drayeres. 6hrs, +1000m, -650m

Optional extra day for Tour of Pointe des Cerces

Descend the Claree Valley to Pont du Moutet before a stiff climb to Lac des Baraudes and then, surrounded by cliffs, reach Col des Baraudes. High mountain feel as you descend and then traverse across stony slopes uner Pic de la Mouliniere. Reach Col de la Ponsonniere at 2613m. Descend slowly into a large basin and Lac des Cerces at 2410m before climbing between rocky summits to your third pass, Col des Rochilles at 2538m. Descend back to your refuge passing the beautiful lakes of Lac du Grand Ban and Lac Rond. 7hrs, +/-1000m

Day 6 or 7: Refuge des Drayeres (2150m) - Refuge Terre Rouge (2169m) or Valmeinier (1700m)

Your final day's trek climbs up to Col de la Plagnette and descends past Aiguille Noire. A long traverse follows before climbing over Pas des Griffes to return to the Neuvache Valley. Stay at Refuge Terre Rouge or return to Valmeinier and transfer to Arc Valley. 7hrs, +700m –1050m

Day 7 or 8: Refuge Terre Rouge (2169m) - Valmeinier (1700m)

Descend to village of Valmeinier and transfer to Arc Valley. 1hr 15, -450m




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Alpine ibex on tour of Vanoise on self guided walking tour

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Accommodation & Meals

On this trek you'll be staying overnight in high mountain refuges or huts. They provide basic accommodation, sleeping in dormitory style rooms. The rooms vary in size. Blankets are provided (so you don't need to bring sleeping bags). Meals are taken in a large dining room where a great atmosphere prevails as walkers and mountaineers share their stories and experiences. Examples of the mountain huts are listed below. More information on mountain huts can be found on our dedicated page.

Name Type Details Rating  
Refuge Terre Rouge Mountain refuge Recently created mountain hut, built in the style of an alpine chalet. 6 dormitories with 4 to 10 places each and hot showers    
Refuge des Marches Mountain refuge Small friendly refuge with hot showers and one dormitory but with a design to allow some intimacy.    
Travel Options

Travel Options

By Air

There are scheduled flights to Geneva, Turin, Lyon, Chambery and Grenoble. Lyon, Geneva and Turin have the most regular services. The airlines Easy jet, Flybe and British Airways have scheduled flights from the UK - Luton, Birmingham, Gatwick, Edinburgh and Heathrow - to Lyon St Exupery airport.

All have rail links with Modane via Chambery.

Transfers are included at the start and end of the trek between Modane in the Arc Valley and Valmeinier.

Please visit our travel shop for links to useful sites for reserving airport parking or booking train tickets.

By Train

Eurostar and the TGV provide a relaxing journey from London to Lyon Part Dieu direct and changing at Lille or Paris. Local services then run to Modane via Chambery. There are some direct trains to Chambery from Paris.

Transfers are included at the start and end of the trek between Modane in the Arc Valley and Valmeinier.

Self Drive

Channel ferry crossings from Dover are provided by a number of operators including P&O Ferries & DFDS seaways. Crossings are also provided by train with Eurotunnel.

Once in France, the journey from Calais to Valmeinier takes about 9 hours (excluding long breaks).

Tolls amount to about 55 euros each way. Free parking in Valmeinier

More information can be provided at the time of booking and we would be happy to help you make your travel arrangements.





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