From our experience of organising Trekking holidays here in the French Alps, August always seem to be the month which is forgotten, and remains the quietest on the Trails and Accommodation whether it be Hotels / Auberges and Mountain Refuges. We’re scratching our heads and wondering why?!
A couple of thoughts spring to mind :- Do Trekkers naturally think August will be the busiest month because of school holidays maybe? Or the hottest? Or is it simply because a well known Guide book makes a suggestion that September is one of the best months to Trek?
In our opinion all may be a little misleading and here’s why:-
We find from our experience School Holidays do not impact on the amount of folks here on the Mountain Trails. Whilst it is great to see families trekking together, and we always welcome children, they are in the minority when looking at the demographics of the average Trekker. Whilst Chamonix town itself can be busy with visitors throughout the Summer months, especially August, the surrounding areas of the TMB and WHR are quieter. With this in mind, Trekkers who opt for August dates are usually more successful with first choice itineraries and accommodation.
I guess the other factor could be the weather, believing August will be the hottest month of the Trekking season ? Well I think we all know the weather has it’s own agenda these days, and no two Summers are the same. We’ve on occasion experienced snow on high ground throughout the Summer months, and the weather can change very quickly, hence always requesting Trekkers be prepared with the full wet weather gear, which is mentioned on our detailed Kit List.
Turning to the huge volume of Guide Books available, which are great by the way and we fully support them ! A fantastic and useful source of information; in fact we issue 'The Cicerone Guide Book popup: yes' to all our clients, together with a detailed Travel / Trekking pack. The challenge that the Guide books do have however is keeping up to date with local knowledge, changes and annual events that take place that can deem the information a little dated or slightly inaccurate for the current day. So taking my example of September being the ‘best month to Trek the TMB’……..you guessed it - September is now extremely popular for Trekkers, and thus can bring with it accommodation challenges. Alongside that, what the Guide Books don't highlight is the annual events Chamonix (and the surrounding areas) host on a regular basis. As an example :- 'The Ultra Trail Marathon' events that take place early September see tourists and extreme athletes visit from all over the world. This in itself is a spectacular time of year, the atmosphere in and around the Mont Blanc is electric with extreme athletes taking to the Mountains to undertake near-on impossible human challenges ! Don't take our word for it, search on 'Ultra Trail’ and you'll see what we mean ! Although the dates do vary ever so slightly year on year, we see the visitor numbers increase to capacity towards the last few days in August into early September, thus accommodation is limited and at a premium - not just here in Chamonix, but seen all around the Tour du Mont Blanc.
It’s fair to say, July and September remain the most popular months for Trekking, however if you are thinking of coming to see us this Summer or next, we would advise coming in August. The spectacular mountain views remain the same, the Flora and Fauna will be at its best, and your experience on the Trails, Hotels and Mountain Refuges will be just as magnificent !
So why not come and join us for your next Trekking adventure!