GR20 at a Glance, Corsica, France

Looking up at the Highest Point on the GR20

Looking up at the Highest Point on the GR20

The GR20 (Grande Randonnée or long distance trail) is a mountain track that crosses the spine of Corsica, a French island in the Mediterranean. However, as one Frenchman explained to me, it is not really so much a track as an idea, a way of connecting the scenic high mountains of the island. The trail was built for recreational purposes in the late 60s and traverses up, down and around the rocky ridges. Thus it is often merely a succession of red and white blazes painted on boulders rather than a true worn path.

Refuge de Prati

Refuge de Prati

Guide books break the trail down into stages, almost always starting from the north in Calenzana and ending in Conca in the south, although it is frequently done in the reverse direction. Along the trail refuges, a couple of hotels and mountain bergeries mark the possible ending points for each stage. Trekkers either stay in one of the above accommodation options, rent a tent or pitch their own tent outside the refuges. There is no wild camping allowed. Refuges offer dinner and breakfast and sell a limited selection of food supplies.

Climb to Bocca di Foggiale

Climb to Bocca di Foggiale

The trail attracts trekkers from all over the world, although it is still primarily a European if not French destination. Some do it for the challenge, completing the entire 118 miles in as few days as possible, sometimes fewer than 10. Others do it for the scenery and comradery and spend the generally recommended 15 or 16 days. The trail can also be done in sections, most commonly just the northern or southern stages with Vizzavona as the midpoint.

The following posts recount our experience on this amazing trail in June of 2014.

For more information on hiking the GR20 check out Corsica for Hikers.

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