The GR20, one of the most famous hike in the world both for its beauty and its difficulty, it was for us one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences ever.
The GR20 crosses Corsica from north to south, from Calenzana to Conca, 180 km and 16 stages. This is a demanding mountain hike, don't be afraid of heights.
We decided to do the first 3 steps from the north, traditional sense (Calenzana - Ortu di u Piopu - Carrozzu - Ascu Stagnu).
We started the trek at 6:30. You should know that you can't sleep where ever you want, the bivouac areas are well defined, it is not allowed to camp anywhere, you shoulf follow the steps (but you can do 2 in one day).
Landscapes are amaizing, view from up in the mountains are breathtaking, the intense effort is worth it.
Expect to have unsecured climbing, on the mountain there is no question of trail. The weight of your bag will be a very important factor in the appreciation of the hike, go light!
Arrived at the shelter, the guard informs us that no walker can sleep in the shelters due to a bed bug infection (so this is not a legend) and although we reserved a bed in the shelter, we slept in tents. It is not really necessary to book, many unexpected things can happen on the GR, it is rarely full.
Shelters are spartan: cold shower without electricity and of course no network. 3 days connected to the nature and disconnected from the rest of the world.
Mountain stages should ideally be done in the morning, some can last up to 8, 9, 10 hours! We must therefore leave very early! Sunrise on the Corsican mountains will make you forget it.
Each stage is trying, but with different landscapes and different difficulties. The place is gorgeous, you will enjoy being almost alone at 2000 m. If you are lucky, which was our case, you can admire wild sheep.
You cannot leave GR20 at all stages, you must be able to access a road.... Many variants exist, the guides will show you how to get out. For our part we stopped at the Haut-Asco, where we picked up the 9am bus to Ponte Leccia station and took a train to Corte.
A good physical condition and the habit of mountains are essential. For our part, we are both athletes (marathon, obstacle races, etc..) but the repeating effort was still difficult, add to that the heat, thirst and weight of the bag and you will have a very beautiful challenge to meet.
A little anecdote: the female record is 41 hours and the male record is 31 hours!
- Gorgeous landscapes
- Go Pro /small camera
- Your hiking shoes of course, the terrain is very rugged
- Sticks (not mandatory, but greatly facilitate balance and help on descents)
- A light bag, try not to exceed 10-12kg as you will need to add 2L of water minimum
- Flip-flops for the shower, toilet paper (there are none in the shelters), a tick puller
- Cash or a checkbook for shelters, credit cards are not accepted
- Your motivation!
To find out more about our adventure in Corsica :
* Road trip - 2 weeks in Corsica between mountains and see
* Pass your PADI Open Water diving in Corsica
Feel free to ask us questions in the comments, we'll be delighted to answer 🙂
Find all our experiences in France, it's here 🙂