Curious about hut to hut hikes in France? It’s one of my favorite places to go hut hiking, but I’ll be real…the food is not as good as in the Dolomites.
Crave the Planet is reader-supported. When you click on some links and you purchase, I may receive money at no additional cost to you. – Thanks, Morgan
If you’re looking for a unique and adventurous way to explore the French Alps, hut-to-hut hiking in France may be just what you need.
This is my absolute favorite type of hiking. Our experience on the Tour du Mont Blanc trail was slightly less delicious on the French side than the Italian, but the views and hiking were incredible.
Hut to hut hiking involves trekking along a trail during the day and staying in a mountain hut or refuge at night.
No tent, no stove, no eating ramen. You carry only a light backpack.
You get to be picky with your post mountain summit hike. Red wine, which kind?
TL:DR: What to Expect on a Hut-to-Hut Hike
Hut-to-hut hiking in the Alps is a multi-day hike, where you’ll be carrying just a light backpack and staying in serviced mountain huts (or hotels) along the way.
These huts range from basic shelters with shared sleeping areas to more luxurious lodges with private rooms and hot showers. Many trails dip down into mountain villages so you’ll stay in a typical bed and breakfast.
Are Hut to Hut Hikes in France Worth it?
Not everyone will love this adventure. But it is good for 👎🏻
- 🥾 Mountaineers, Trekkers, Hikers
- ⛰️ Travelers That Want to Get Off-the-Beaten Path
- 🌏 Sustainable Travelers
- 💗 Wildlife and Nature Lovers That Want Good Food & Wine
This article is targeted at people that want to take a vacation where they can completely unwind from stress and still have a purpose to each day spent immersed in Nature.
Below is my list of the best places you can go hut to hut hiking in France.
Morgan’s hut to Hut Hiking in France Youtube
Understanding Hut to Hut Hikes in France
What to Expect on a Hut-to-Hut Hike
Hut-to-hut hiking is a multi-day hike, where you’ll be carrying all your gear on your back and staying in mountain huts along the way. These huts range from basic shelters with shared sleeping areas to more luxurious lodges with private rooms and hot showers. Some huts even have restaurants and bars, so you can enjoy a hot meal and a cold beer after a long day of hiking.
During the day, you’ll be hiking along a well-established trail, often with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The trails can be challenging, with steep ascents and descents, so it’s important to be in good physical shape and have the proper gear.
Planning Your Hut-to-Hut Hike
Before embarking on a hut-to-hut hike in France, it’s important to do your research and plan your trip carefully. Here are a few things to consider:
- Trail difficulty: Make sure you choose a trail that matches your skill level and physical fitness.
- Weather: Check the weather forecast before you go and be prepared for changing conditions.
- Gear: Make sure you have the proper gear, including sturdy hiking boots, warm layers, a waterproof jacket, and a backpack.
- Reservations: Many mountain huts require reservations in advance, so make sure you book your accommodations ahead of time.
- Food and water: Bring plenty of snacks and water, as well as a water filtration system or purification tablets to ensure you have access to clean water along the way.
Benefits of Hut-to-Hut Hiking
Hut-to-hut hiking in France offers a unique way to experience the beauty of the mountains and challenge yourself physically. It’s also a great way to disconnect from technology and immerse yourself in nature. Plus, staying in mountain huts along the way can be a fun and social experience, as you’ll meet other hikers from around the world.
Top Hut to Hut Hikes in France
If you’re looking for a unique way to experience the stunning beauty of the French Alps, consider a hut-to-hut hike. This type of hiking involves trekking from one mountain hut to another, spending the night in each one along the way. It’s a great way to explore the mountains and valleys of France while enjoying the comfort of a cozy hut each night.
Mont Blanc Circuit: Tour du Mont Blanc
The Mont Blanc Circuit is one of the most popular hut-to-hut hikes in France. It takes you through three different countries – France, Italy, and Switzerland – and offers stunning views of the Mont Blanc massif. The trail takes about 10 days to complete and covers a distance of around 110 miles. Along the way, you’ll stay in comfortable mountain huts and enjoy the local cuisine.
The Haute Route is another classic hut-to-hut hike in France. It takes you from Chamonix to Zermatt, covering a distance of about 112 miles. The trail passes through glacial valleys and offers stunning views of the Western Alps. The hike takes about 12 days to complete and involves staying in mountain huts along the way.
Mercantour National Park
Mercantour National Park is located in the southern French Alps and offers some of the most beautiful hut-to-hut hikes in France. One popular trail is the Mont Thabor Circuit, which takes you through the heart of the park and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The hike takes about 6 days to complete and involves staying in mountain huts each night.
GR20 in Corsica
If you’re looking for a challenging hut-to-hut hike, consider the GR20 in Corsica. This trail covers a distance of about 112 miles and takes about 15 days to complete. The hike takes you through rugged mountain terrain and offers stunning views of the island’s glacial valleys and rocky peaks. Along the way, you’ll stay in mountain huts and enjoy the local cuisine.
Grande Roandonnee (GR)
Grande Roandonnee is a network of long-distance hiking trails in France that includes several hut-to-hut hikes. One popular trail is the GR5, which takes you from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea. The trail covers a distance of about 930 miles and takes about 70 days to complete. Along the way, you’ll stay in mountain huts and enjoy the stunning scenery of the French Alps.
The GR10 is a 538-mile trail that runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. The trail passes through the Pyrenees and offers stunning views of the mountains and valleys. The trail is well-marked and has plenty of huts and campsites along the way.
The GR20 is a 112-mile trail that runs through the rugged mountains of Corsica. The trail is known for its challenging terrain and stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. The trail is divided into 16 stages, and huts and campsites are available along the way.
The GR5 is a 674-mile trail that runs from the North Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. The trail passes through the Vosges, Jura, and Alps mountain ranges, offering stunning views of the French countryside. The trail is well-marked and has plenty of huts and campsites along the way.
Chemin de Stevenson
The Chemin de Stevenson is a 140-mile trail that follows in the footsteps of writer Robert Louis Stevenson, who traveled through the Cévennes mountains in 1878. The trail passes through charming villages and offers stunning views of the French countryside. Huts and campsites are available along the way.
Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, hut-to-hut hiking in France is a great way to explore the stunning beauty of the French Alps. With a variety of trails to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect hike for your skill level and interests. So pack your bags, lace up your boots, and head out on an adventure you’ll never forget!
More Tour du Mont Blanc Travel Blogs
Pros of French Hut to Hut Hiking
If you’re considering a hut to hut hiking trip in France, there are many benefits to this type of adventure. Here are some of the pros of French hut to hut hiking:
1. Stunning Scenery
One of the biggest advantages of French hut to hut hiking is the breathtaking scenery. The French Alps offer some of the most stunning views in the world, and hiking from hut to hut allows you to experience this beauty up close and personal. You’ll see towering mountains, crystal-clear lakes, and verdant forests, all while getting some exercise and fresh air.
Another advantage of hut to hut hiking in France is the convenience. Unlike traditional backpacking trips where you have to carry all your gear with you, hut to hut hiking allows you to travel light. You can leave your heavy tent, sleeping bag, and stove at home, and instead stay in comfortable mountain huts along the way. This means you can cover more ground each day and enjoy your hike without being weighed down.
3. Cultural Experience
Hut to hut hiking in France also offers a unique cultural experience. You’ll have the opportunity to meet other hikers from around the world, as well as locals who run the mountain huts. You’ll also get to experience the local cuisine, which often includes delicious cheese, bread, and wine. Plus, many of the huts are located in charming alpine villages, so you can explore the local culture and history.
Hut to hut hiking in France is also very flexible. You can choose your own route and pace, and adjust your itinerary as needed. If you want to take a rest day, you can stay an extra night in a hut. If you want to challenge yourself with a more difficult trail, you can do that too. This flexibility allows you to tailor your trip to your own preferences and abilities.
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Cons of French Hut to Hut Hiking
French Hut to Hut Hiking is a unique and adventurous way to explore the French Alps. However, like any other outdoor activity, it comes with its own set of challenges. In this section, we will discuss some of the cons of French Hut to Hut Hiking.
One of the biggest cons of French Hut to Hut Hiking is the limited comfort available at the mountain huts. While the huts provide basic amenities like a roof, a bunk bed with a mattress, a stove, and a flushable toilet, they are not luxury accommodations. You should not expect privacy or ensuite bathrooms. The huts are generally situated at high elevations in remote places, only accessible by foot, and are seasonal establishments, only open in summer.
French Hut to Hut Hiking is a popular activity, and the trails can get crowded during peak season. The huts are often fully booked, and you may have to share a room with strangers. The trails can be busy, and you may have to wait in line at some of the more popular sections. Additionally, some of the trails can be narrow and steep, requiring you to be extra careful while hiking.
The weather conditions in the French Alps can be unpredictable, and you should be prepared for sudden changes in weather. The weather can change quickly, and you may encounter rain, snow, or strong winds during your hike. You should always check the weather forecast before setting out on your hike and be prepared with appropriate gear and clothing.
French Hut to Hut Hiking can be challenging if you do not speak French. While many of the huts have English-speaking staff, some may not, and you may have difficulty communicating with other hikers or locals. It is always a good idea to learn some basic French phrases before embarking on your hike.
Planning Your Hut to Hut Hike
If you’re planning a hut to hut hike in France, there are several things you need to consider to make the most of your experience.
Choosing Your Trail
France has many beautiful hiking trails to choose from, ranging from easy to challenging. Some trails are more popular than others, so it’s important to do your research and choose a trail that suits your hiking level and preferences. You can find information on hiking trails online, in guidebooks, or by speaking with a local hiking expert.
Planning Your Route
Once you’ve chosen your trail, you’ll need to plan your route. This includes deciding how many days you’ll be hiking, where you’ll be staying each night, and how much distance you’ll be covering each day. You should also consider the terrain and elevation of the trail, as this will impact the difficulty of your hike.
Reservations and Guided Tours
If you’re planning a multi-day trek, you’ll need to make reservations for each hut or refuge you plan to stay at. This is especially important during peak hiking season, when huts can fill up quickly. Alternatively, you can book a guided tour which will take care of all the details for you, including reservations, transportation, and meals.
Understanding Local Culture and Nature
Hut to hut hiking is a great way to experience local culture and nature. Take the time to learn about the history and traditions of the areas you’ll be hiking through. Respect the natural environment by following Leave No Trace principles and staying on designated trails.
Hut to hut hiking can be an affordable way to explore the outdoors, but costs can add up quickly. In addition to hut fees, you’ll need to consider transportation, equipment, and food. Budgeting ahead of time will help you avoid any surprises along the way.
Overall Best Self Guided Planning Service: Alpenventures Unguided
This firm is great for finding secluded variants (like the one by the La Gorge gondola), private rooms, and providing maps. They have multiple ways to hike the TMB from a short 4 day to 11 days and everything in between. You can also arrange higher levels of "comfort", i.e. private rooms.
- Glacier Filled Raw Beauty
- Fun People
- Wildflowers and Wildlife
- Food is Local and Delicious
- Most Famous Trek in Europe
- Variable Hospitality
- Serious Elevation Gain
- Complicated and Tedious Bookings
- Not for Total Beginners
Accommodation on the Trail
When embarking on a hut to hut hike in France, one of the most important considerations is the type of accommodation you will encounter along the way. From mountain huts to alpine lodges, there are a variety of options available to suit different budgets and preferences.
Experiencing Local Cuisine
One of the highlights of hut to hut hiking is the opportunity to experience local cuisine. Many mountain huts and lodges offer traditional French dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. From hearty stews to freshly baked bread, the food on the trail is sure to satisfy even the most discerning palate. Some huts even offer wine and cheese tastings, providing a true taste of France.
Immersing in Cultural Heritage
In addition to the food, the accommodation on the trail also provides a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in French cultural heritage. Many mountain huts and lodges are located in historic buildings, some dating back centuries. Staying in these rustic lodgings can provide a glimpse into the past, and offer a chance to connect with the history of the region.
Navigating Weather Conditions
When planning a hut to hut hike in France, it is important to be prepared for changing weather conditions. Many mountain huts and lodges are located at high altitudes, where temperatures can drop rapidly. It is important to bring warm clothing and a good sleeping bag, as some huts only provide basic bunk beds or mattresses. However, some huts offer more comfortable accommodations, including private rooms with beds and linens.
Essential Hut to Hut Hiking Gear
👎🏻 Click on the links to check current prices on my favorite hut to hut hiking gear. 💗 🥾
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some popular multi-day hikes in the French Alps?
The French Alps offer some of the most spectacular hut-to-hut hikes in Europe. Some of the most popular multi-day hikes include the Tour du Mont Blanc, the GR5, and the Haute Route. These hikes offer stunning views of the mountains, glaciers, and valleys, and allow hikers to experience the unique culture and cuisine of the region.
What are some self-guided hut-to-hut hiking tours in the Alps?
If you prefer to hike on your own, there are many self-guided hut-to-hut hiking tours available in the French Alps. Some popular options include the Tour du Mont Blanc South, the GR5 from Chamonix to Zermatt, and the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt. These tours provide hikers with detailed maps, route descriptions, and accommodation options, allowing them to explore the mountains at their own pace.
What are some luxury hut-to-hut hiking options?
For those who prefer a more luxurious hiking experience, there are several high-end hut-to-hut hiking options available in the French Alps. These tours offer comfortable accommodation, gourmet meals, and guided hikes with experienced mountain guides. Some popular luxury hiking options include the Mont Blanc Luxury Hut-to-Hut Tour and the Haute Route Luxury Tour.
When is the best time to do hut-to-hut hiking in France?
The best time to do hut-to-hut hiking in France is during the summer months, from June to September. During this time, the weather is generally mild and the trails are open and accessible. However, it is important to note that the weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, so it is always a good idea to check the forecast before setting out on a hike.
Is Corsica considered part of France?
Yes, Corsica is considered part of France. It is a French island located in the Mediterranean Sea, southeast of the French mainland. The island is known for its rugged mountains, beautiful beaches, and unique culture and cuisine. It is also a popular destination for hut-to-hut hiking, with several multi-day hiking routes available for hikers to explore.
More Hiking & Outdoor Gear Resources
Here’s more awesome gear to empower your journey. I have written in-depth comparisons of products that make hiking and exploring the Great Outdoors safer and more fun, especially if you’re a beginner (or like me, a little rusty in the knees).
Physical Therapist Curated Gear Guides for Hikers
- 🧎 Make your knees feel better while hiking and walking: Best Knee Braces for Hiking
- 🌳Make the downhills stop hurting and hike with more confidence Best Trekking Poles Review
- ⌚ Never get lost on the trail and navigate the wilderness safely with My Review of the Best GPS Watches for Hiking
- ❄️ Go hiking on uneven terrain safely: The Best Hiking Boots with Ankle Support
- 🥾 Don’t get lost in the backcountry during a big hike: My Review of the BEST PLB – Personal Locator Beacons
My Guides to Bucketlist Hikes in Europe
(That I’ve personally done and loved.)
I hope this list of the best hut to hut hikes in France helps you plan your next adventure.
Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.