Maps & books / Safety

Offline Tour du Mont Blanc GPS – why every TMB hiker should download the GAIA app

The TMB is a high altitude trekking circuit and every hiker planning to walk this incredible trail needs to be aware of the risks high mountains pose. Whilst the route is very well marked and hikers blessed with glorious weather would never need a GPS, it is crucial that you take one regardless. In bad weather or in the event of an emergency, being able to plot your position or find out where and how far the nearest refuge is, could be a life saver.

A Tour du Mont Blanc GPS doesn’t have to be a hand held separate device anymore. These are expensive to buy or you can rent them locally before your departure. However, there’s a much cheaper option nowadays – there are plenty of apps for your phone that can do the same job.

We use the GAIA GPS app and cannot recommend this app enough. We urge every TMB hiker should download it before embarking on this epic trail. Why? Because it’s a detailed map that works offline, meaning you don’t need a connection to the internet to pin point your location.

trekking in Courmayeur

The Tour du Mont Blanc trail winds through high mountain ranges where severe weather can affect visibility. The trail is very well marked and in good weather it’s simple to follow the signs and the well worn trail with little difficulty.

Caught out in bad weather on some of the more exposed sections, simply veering off the path could mean falling to your death. Hypothermia is also a real risk should you get lost and night falls.

The GAIA GPS app is exceptional and very easy to use, even for technophobes.

Here’s the lowdown on why the Gaia GPS app works so well and why I’d recommend it to anyone hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc

  • It’s compatible with iPhone and android mobile phones
  • You don’t need wifi or phone signal for the Gaia GPS to work (it works in airplane mode which means you won’t drain your phone battery on the trail)
  • It has sharp & legible vector based maps, much more so than hand held GPS devices
  • You need to download maps when you have wifi before departing on the trail
  • It’s very affordable – downloaded maps are included in your membership so you don’t need to pay for each trail map you want to trek
  • It’s brilliant for navigating backcountry
  • It’s better than a handheld GPS
  • Downloads are fast and map size is smaller
  • Includes mobile phone coverage maps
  • Has good battery life
  • See your trip stats on a bar
  • Very user friendly with easy interface
  • Always have a power bank as a back up to make sure your phone is charged

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on the these links, a portion of the sale helps support this site at no additional cost to you. I do not receive compensation from the companies whose products are listed. For product reviews: unless otherwise noted, products are purchased with my own funds. I am never under an obligation to write a review about any product. Finally, this post expresses my own independent opinion.


  • Nathan
    June 24, 2023 at 11:42 pm

    Hi! Your site is sooooo helpful. I was curious. Where is the lookout point of the mountain range at the top of the home page? It’s beautiful!

    • tourdumontblanchike
      June 25, 2023 at 4:32 am

      Pleased to hear that my site has helped you plan. Its a great trek but takes a lot of planning! It’s Lac Blanc.


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