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Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti

· 3 reviews · Hiking trail · Mont Blanc and La Thuile
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A memorable day sees you climbing out of Courmayeur, along the flanks of Mont de la Saxe, and onto Rifugio Bonatti.

12.3 km
4:56 h
1092 m
275 m

In good weather the walk from Courmayeur to Refugio Bonatti is guaranteed to be one of the most memorable of your Tour du Mont Blanc trek. After a steep climb from Courmayeur, the main route contours around the flank of Mont de la Saxe on an undulating path giving you plenty of time to take in the dramatic icy panorama of the Mont Blanc Massif and Grand Jorasses across the valley. Refugio Bonatti, the crème de la crème of alpine refuges, marks the end of your day. User
Sarah Smith
Updated: January 08, 2020

Highest point
2042 m
Lowest point
1223 m

Safety information

Weather conditions can change quickly in the mountains - always be prepared and carry appropriate clothing; warm as well as waterproof layers, hat and gloves etc. Please see your information pack for a detailed packing list.

Tips, hints and links

This tour is available in the following itineraries: WFSTMBR2,  WFSTMBR1, WFSTMBC2






Courmayeur (1224 m)
45.792002, 6.972377
32T 342409 5072937


Rifugio Bonatti

Turn-by-turn directions

These maps and routes are designed to be used in conjunction with the TMB guidebook and IGN maps. 

TMB Route: Courmayeur to Refugio Bonatti

Distance: 12 km

Duration: 4.5 hrs

Ascent / Descent: 860 m / 690 m


Guidebook: Page 64: STAGE 4: Rifugio Elisabetta – Courmayeur (starting from page 69 col Chécroui) Page 73: STAGE 5: Courmayeur – Rifugio Bonatti

Notes: The above distances are for the main TMB route.

1. There are two variants available, both of which are more challenging and described in the guidebook.

2. There is no baggage transfer to Rifugio Bonatti so please carry your overnight things and you will be reunited with your overnight bag the following night.

Transport: If you want a shorter day today you can catch the bus from Courmayeur to Bivio Refugio Bonatti in the Val Ferret and walk up to Rifugio Bonatti. It is a 400m climb from the road. Savda bus: Linea Courmayeur to Val Ferret, Operating daily from Courmayeur to Val Ferret via Bivio Rifugio Bonatti from early July until early September.

Out with the dates above, the dial-a-bus service ‘Allo Bus’ - Please note that this is an “on call” bus and you will need to call this local number to make a reservation: +39 (0) 165 1854653 

For more info please have a look here:  

The approx. price for a taxi from Courmayeur to Arnuva in the Val Ferret for 2-4 people is €50.


Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Questions & answers

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Sam Fromartz
August 05, 2019 · Community
It was supposed to get above 80F today so hit the trail early. Left the hotel about 8:15 and had a straight uphill on road out of town. By the time I got to trailhead half hour later, I was already sweating. Then began a serious number of switchbacks, very steep and lot of elevation fast. Slow going. I made it to Refugio Bertone by 10:40, so about two hours from trailhead. The trail went a bit higher then leveled off and I started making good time. The trail was flat, a gentle up and down and mostly in the shade, which really helped with heat issue. Made it to Refugio Benotti by 1 p.m.
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Photo: Sam Fromartz, Community
C.G. Moore
July 14, 2019 · Community
This part of the TMB is excellent, whether you take the high route (longer, more difficult) or the lower one. The climb from Courmayeur to Rifugio Bertone is steep, so recommend an early start to beat the heat. From Bertone, the lower walk is an easy, mostly level stroll to Bonatti. The views of the Grandes Jorasses are fantastic, and wildflowers were everywhere when we walked the route in late June 2019. Take your time and enjoy, because check-in at Bonatti isn't until 3:30. From Bertone, the high route is perhaps even more beautiful, with views of the Grandes Jorasses from an even higher elevation, as well as views to the southeast. Rifugio Bonatti is nice, but rustic. Bring a towel, or pay 3 Euro to rent one. Bathrooms are shared, as are the showers (private stalls, though). Also, since there's a bus from Courmayeur up the valley, and it's just a short walk to Bonatti from there, you'll see a lot of lunchtime traffic. That evaporates by about 2:30. Anyway, here's the drill: 1. Check in at 3:30. Drop your stuff in your room, and get whatever you need for a shower. 2. Get a token for the showers (and a towel if you need it) from the front desk and head downstairs to the showers. Either do this ASAP or save it for later because long lines will form for the showers. 3. The showers. Sometimes the token works (and gives you hot water). Sometimes it doesn't. The coin slot is on the side of the blue box, inside the shower stall. You may have to feel for it. Strategy is as follows: get wet with cold (freezing) water before using your coin. Lather up. Now put the coin in, and hope for warm water. You're rationed a certain amount of warm water (i.e., it's volume, not time), so you can turn your warm water off and on to conserve it. 4. Dinner is at 6:45. Don't be late to your assigned table. There's plenty of food, and if you ask politely they just might bring you extra. As our entree we had quiches on a bed of roasted cabbage, and it was fantastic (we had thirds). Also, if you want a packed lunch for tomorrow, dinnertime is your last chance to order it (and you must pay by 10, I think). We got lunches, and were not disappointed. During dinner, a herd of cows was moved into the meadow below the Rifugio. Some folks who'd set their sink laundry out on the border tape around the Rifugio came back to find cow boogers on their stuff. Oops. 5. Quiet time is at 10, but since the hallway floor creaks you'll probably hear every single person who walks past your door to use the bathroom at the end of the hall. Beds are comfortable enough, but they give you a sleep sack (basically a sleeping bag the thickness of a sheet) and that's a bit confining. The rooms can smell a bit funky, like sweaty hikers. 6. Breakfast is at 6:15. Buffet style again, but you can sit wherever you'd like. Then options are more limited, but still quite good. Get out early to beat the rush toward Rifugio Elena (an easy, mostly level walk), followed by a long, steep climb to the Grand Col Ferret (with amazing views the whole way up).
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Courmayeur, below R. Bertone
Photo: C.G. Moore, Community
The low route
Photo: C.G. Moore, Community
The cows
Photo: C.G. Moore, Community
Vicki Nicholson
September 13, 2018 · Community
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12.3 km
4:56 h
1092 m
275 m


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