While not so well known in the US, if you ask a European hiker about trails the GR20 on the French island of Corsica is bound to be mentioned. The rugged,118 mile trail, often not much more than a series of red and white paint marks across the granite peaks of the island, is considered by some to be the toughest through-hike in Europe. For me it’s the ever changing landscape that pushes me onward.
For logistics and practical information on hiking the GR20 check out Corsica for Hikers.
The GR20 consists of 15 or 16 stages over 118 miles, generally done north to south starting in Calenzana and ending in Conca. For this blog I’ve retained the commonly used stage numbers from the Cicerone Guide Book, even though we completed the stages out of order, starting in the south, stages 15-10, and then restarting in the north, 1-9.
We did this hike in June of 2014. The following summer there was bad storm in which several hikers were killed in the Cirque de la Solitude. Since then they have rerouted the hike to bypass this dangerous section.
GR20 at a Glance, Corsica, France
General information about this world class hike.
GR20 from an American Perspective
Comparing the GR20 and the John Muir Trail in California’s high Sierras
Northbound Stages 15 – 10 – Conca to Vizzavona
Stage 15 – Conca to Refuge di I Paliri
Stage 14 Refuge di I Paliri to Refuge d’Asinau
Stage 13 – Refuge d’Asinau to Refuge d’Usciolu
GR20 Stage 12 Refuge d’Usciolu to Refuge de Prati
GR20 Stage 11 – Refuge de Prati to Bergeries d’ E Capanelle, Corsica, France
Stage 10 – Bergeries d’ E Capanelle to Vizzavona
Chilling at Hotel Monte d’Oro, Vizzavona
Bailing on the GR20 – Vizzavona to Porto
Southbound Stages 1-9 Calenzana to Vizzavona
Stage 1 – Calenzana to Refuge d’Ortu di u Piobbu
Stage 2 – Refuge d’Ortu di u Piobbu to Refuge de Carozzu
Stage 3 – Refuge de Carozzu to Haut Asco
Stage 4 – Cirque de la Solitude
Stage 5 – Auberge U Vallone to Hôtel Castel di Vergio
Stage 6 – Hôtel Castel di Vergio to Refuge de Manganu
Stage 7 – Refuge de Manganu to Refuge de Petra Piana
Stage 8 – Refuge de Petra Piana to Refuge de l’Onda
Stage 9 – Refuge de l’Onda to Vizzavona
End of the GR20 – Return to Hotel Monte d’Oro, Vizzavona