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Les Houches to Les Contamines via Refuge de Miage

· 3 reviews · Hiking trail · Rhône-Alpes
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    Photo: Minna Harshbarger, Macs Adventure Ltd
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The Tour du Mont Blanc begins with a steep climb from Les Houches out of the Chamonix Valley to Bellevue at 1801m. 
Distance 18.1 km
7:26 h
1,440 m
1,262 m

The journey on the Bellevue telepherique is to be recommended, otherwise the day is quite a tough first day of walking.

There are two options for today's walk, this is the tougher option which is dominated by the Dôme du Goûter and Aiguille de Bionnasay as you pass just beneath the snout of the Glacier de Bionnassay. After passing the idyllic Chalet de Miage you descend to Les Contamines. 

For the easier option via Bionnassay, please see seperate route named ' Les Houches to Les Contamines via Bionnassay'.

Author’s recommendation

This is your first day on the trail, take it easy and don't over-exert yourself. We highly recommend taking the Bellevue telepherique , this reduces the climb out of Les Houches by 800m.
Profile picture of Angus Smith
Angus Smith
Update: July 25, 2018
Highest point
2,111 m
Lowest point
995 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 and hints

The walk is used on the following itineraries:



Les Houches (1,003 m)
45.892393, 6.799900
45°53'32.6"N 6°47'59.6"E
32T 329312 5084445


Les Contamines

Turn-by-turn directions

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

TMB Variant: Les Houches - Refuge de Miage – Les Contamines

Distance : 18 km

Duration: 7.5 hrs

Ascent / Descent: 1478m / 1318m


Guidebook: Page 43: Les Houches – Refuge de Miage – Les Contamines

Transport: Optional Bellevue Telepherique from Les Houches to Bellevue. 

Optional Bellevue Telepherique from Les Houches to Bellevue.

This cable car reduces the climb out of Les Houches by 800m and is to be recommended.

The lift operates daily between approx. the 10th of June and the 24th of September. Check the link below for specific timetables.,231,fr.html 

Note: When you leave the top station go down the hill, across the tramlines and turn left to join the variant to Col de Tricot.

Note:  This is a very demanding option, especially if not taking the cable car.



all notes on protected areas


45.892393, 6.799900
45°53'32.6"N 6°47'59.6"E
32T 329312 5084445
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Questions and answers

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Sam Fromartz
July 21, 2019 · Community
Well, we did not follow the advice to take the moderate route and instead opted for this one. Even with the tram it is an arduous hike and would only be advisable if you’re in good shape and have trained for this. The ascent to Col de Tricot is pretty intense, the first 45 mins or so like walking up very big steps. Then the grade moderates but you still have another hour or so of serious uphill. The pass at Tricot was gorgeous but then you the decent to refuge do mirage, which is also intense. If your glutes and hamstrings got a workout on the ascent, your quads and knees will get pounded going down for an 1.25 hours. But then we had a lovely lunch at the Refuge (we brought food but they were serving lovely lunches). From there one more steep uphill for about 45 minutes to Le Truc. Then another 1.5 hours downhill on road and trail into Contamines. We were beat by the end — all told 6 hours of walking, most of it steep up and down. But what a stupendous hike. Absolutely gorgeous.
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Sunday, July 21, 2019
Photo: Sam Fromartz, CC BY, Community
Sunday, July 21, view towards Refuge de Mirage from Col de Tricot.
Photo: Sam Fromartz, CC BY, Community
Refuge di Mirage
Photo: Sam Fromartz, Community
Kevin Sorenson
August 05, 2018 · Community
An excellent first day, sun was HOT, but the Refuge de Miage was a great break in the day for lunch and a cold beverage.
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Refuge de Miage
Photo: Kevin Sorenson, Community
Suspension Bridge
Photo: Kevin Sorenson, Community
Entertainment along the hike
Photo: Kevin Sorenson, Community
Sunday, August 5, 2018, 5:26 PM
Photo: Kevin Sorenson, Community
Richard Lander
July 10, 2018 · Community
Great walk and fab weather
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Tuesday, 10 July 2018, 17:49
Photo: Richard Lander, Community
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Photos from others

Sunday, 27 October 2019 20:50:11
Sunday, 27 October 2019 20:51:42
Sunday, 27 October 2019 20:54:07
Sunday, July 21, 2019
+ 9

18.1 km
7:26 h
1,440 m
1,262 m


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