Courmayeur Tête de la Tronche
We'll share a little secret... the Tour du Mont Blanc is not that great of a trail. There, we said it. It has the name, the race, the whole circle-the-highest-mountain in the Alps thing, but really, overall, you spend a lot of time in uninteresting terrain.
However, just above Courmayeur, the section of TMB trail between the Rifugio Bertone and the Rifugio Bonatti might well be one of the best running trails in all the Alps. It's silky singletrack with more views of the Mont Blanc massif than you'll know what to do with.
We've taken that section of trail and connected it with an even better trail to create one of the most runnable loops we offer. It feels slightly wild, has views that'll devastate your average pace, and has two outstanding huts for food. Simply put, do this run.
It starts in the Italian Val Ferret, just outside Courmayeur, at the Camping Grandes Jorasses. You'll need a car or to take a bus from Courmayeur (buses run frequently all summer). Alternatively, the run can be started in Courmayeur with a direct climb to the Rifugio Bertone. We opted for the Val Ferret start/finish for a post run soak in the river.
After an easy 100 meter climb, you'll merge onto the Tour du Mont Blanc trail heading south. Follow the trail to the Rifugio Bertone where signs will point back north, to Col Sapin, up a steep ridge trail. After a very steep 200 meters, the trail begins to flatten out and it's nearly all running on a smooth trail to Col Sapin where you'll descend to the Tza de Sécheron, an idyllic little valley, the perfect spot to sit on a flat rock, before the last 250 meter climb up to the Col Entre Deux Sauts.
From here, it's all cruiser down to the Rifugio Bonatti. Two trails descend the U shaped Vallone Di Malatra, we preferred the northern trail for running so switch you over to that trail from where you enter the valley.
Be sure to hold tight for food and drink until you hit the Rifugio Bonatti, the menu is local cuisine and not to be missed, even if it means a full belly for the remaining 5km back to the Val Ferret.
Start: 45.832244, 6.990891
Make a day of this 22km run. Sit, eat, drink, swim, soak it all up. Why hurry? You've found La Dolce Vita.
You can absolutely start this run in Courmayeur, just add some meters to your vert with a bit more distance.