Trekking the GR20 Corsica
The High Level Route: Guidebook and map booklet
By Paddy Dillon
Guidebook to Corsica's GR20, one of Europe's classic treks. The most challenging of the GR long-distance routes, the trail crosses remote mountain terrain and involves plenty of hands-on scrambling. Includes information about accommodation, refreshments and facilities and a separate booklet showing the entire route on IGN 1:25,000 maps.
SeasonsPossible June to mid-October; June or September is ideal, with July and August being the hottest and busiest months. Snow and ice make the trail exceptionally dangerous.
CentresCalinzana, Ascu Stagnu, Vizzavona, Conca. Detours can be made to Corti, Cuzzà and Zicavu.
DifficultyThe GR20 is a challenging walk involving plenty of hands-on scrambling, through isolated mountain terrain. Take note of weather conditions and avoid lingering snow and ice early in the season, or thunderstorms at any time. The GR20 is for experienced, fit walkers prepared to carry backpacking kit.
Must SeeGreat mountain views; optional ascents of Monte Cinto and Paglia Orba; optional detour to the ancient mountain capital of Corti
This guidebook describes the classic GR20 trek, a north-to-south traverse of the rugged mountains of Corsica, renowned as Europe's toughest GR long-distance route. Described in 16 stages, some with high and low-level alternatives, the route is roughly 190km in length and takes approximately two weeks to complete. The GR20 climbs high into the mountains. It is a demanding trek suitable only for experienced walkers, and there are several steep 'hands-on-rock' sections calling for a sure foot and a good head for heights. It is possible to stay under a roof every night but many trekkers opt to camp.
Step-by-step descriptions of each stage are accompanied by 1:50,000 mapping, together with information on ascent/descent, terrain and the availability of food, water and accommodation/shelter. There is also invaluable practical information such as path conditions, what to take, and getting to/from and around Corsica. Overviews of the history and geology of the island and local plants and wildlife are offered to enhance the trekking experience. Finally, a separate map booklet, included with the guide, provides all the 1:25,000 IGN mapping needed to complete the GR20.
Starting in Corsica's northwest, in picturesque Calinzana, the route winds southeast through the heart of the island, finishing on the eastern side, just north of Porto Vecchio in the township of Conca. It showcases Corsica's rich diversity of landscapes and ethereal beauty. Bare rock and sheer cliffs contrast with black sand beaches, alpine pastures, maquis and pockets of forest. There are also opportunities to detour from the route to visit traditional mountain towns and villages for a taste of Corsica's vibrant history and culture and to take in neighbouring summits, including the island's highest peak, Monte Cinto. For those up to the challenge of hiking part or all of the route, the GR20 promises adventure, memorable experiences and rich rewards.
Table of Contents
Paddy Dillon is a prolific walker and guidebook writer, with over 100 guidebooks to his name and contributions to 40 other titles. He has written for several outdoor magazines and other publications and has appeared on radio and television.Paddy uses a tablet computer to write as he walks. His descriptions are therefore precise, having been written at the very point at which the reader uses them.Paddy is an indefatigable long-distance walker who has walked all of Britain's National Trails and several European trails. He has also walked in Nepal, Tibet, Korea and the Rocky Mountains of Canada and the US. Paddy is a member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild and President of the Backpackers Club.View author profile
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