GR 20

GR 20

Infobox Hiking trail
Photo=GR 20 map.pngCaption=Map of Corsica showing the route of the GR 20
Designation=GR footpath
Start/End Points=Calenzana, Conca
Hazards=Fog, High winds

The GR 20 (or "fra li monte") is a GR footpath that crosses the Mediterranean island of Corsica running approximately north-south, described by the outdoor writer Paddy Dillon as "one of the top trails in the world". [Paddy Dillon, GR20 - Corsica: The High Level Route. Cicerone ] The GR 20 is marked regularly with distinctive red and white waymarks, which in good weather are simple to follow, yet in the early and late season when the ground is usually still covered in snow, or when walking in cloud, the path may become harder to follow. In some of the more exposed scrambles, ladders and steel ropes have been fixed into the rock surface to aid walkers (though this is only for a very short section in the "Cirque de la Solitude"). Although the northern section of the route requires some moderate scrambling, the majority of the GR 20 is a well worn footpath and its main challenge comes not from its ruggedness, but from its length. Being at high altitude, some snow can come late and early in the year and fog can bring a bitter chill and make it difficult to find one's way also some of the ridges are prone to very high winds. Despite the main path being marked by waymarks and being well worn, there are also routes that lead down from the main path into villages, or up from the path to peaks. Walkers should be aware of these routes as they not only provide variation to the route, but also could prove vital in a survival situation where it is required to get an injured walker off the path for example.

The whole trail is about 180 km long, clearly waymarked throughout, the walk for most people takes around 15 days. The trail is usually considered as two parts: the northern part, between Calenzana and Vizzavona and the southern part, between Vizzavona and Conca.

Vizzavona is considered the middle as there is a train station, and therefore is an accessible point for walkers beginning or ending a walk consisting of half the route. From Vizzavona, the train can be taken to Bastia or Ajaccio as well as many smaller towns and villages such as Corte. The northern part is considered by some the more difficult part, because of the steep and rocky paths, though this could be an effect of many walkers beginning in the north and not being as fit for this section. The southern part of the trail is often considered easier though the lower altitude may give rise to higher temperatures in summer and so provide more difficult walking conditions.

Along the trail there are mountain huts described as "refuges" or gîtes The standard and price of the accommodation and food varies from refuge to refuge, so an up to date guide book is very useful. One can sleep in tent nearby the refuge, but it is not permitted to pitch tents along the trail.

The GR 20 is an advanced trail. Of the less difficult but beautiful trails on the island two Mare e monti (from sea to mountain) and three Mare a mare (from sea to sea) trails are the best known.


* Northern part: Calenzana - Ortu di Piobbu or Bonifatu (alternative route) - Carozzu - Asco Stagnu - Tighjettu - Ciottulu di I Mori (or Castel de Vergio) - Manganu - Petra Piana - L'Onda - Vizzavona

* Southern part: Vizzavona - E Capenelle - I Prati - Usciulu - Asinao - I Paliri - Conca


External links

* [ GR 20 on the official website of the Parc naturel régional de Corse] (in French)
* [ GR 20 route planning] - comprehensive information for hikers, maps, GPS files and photos
* [ An index (in French) of the multiple personal pages relating a trek along GR 20]
* [ An index (in Italian) of the handbook for a trek "GR 20"]
* [ GR20 in October]

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