Stage 1 – Calenzana to Refuge Orto di u Piobbio
12km, 7h00, +1550m, -200m.
Calenzana, is the start of the GR20 and the trek to Ortu di u Piobbio is a baptism of fire, with a cracking 1550m ascent into the higher mountains. Following the yellow signpost we travel through dusty tracks rocky mountainside and forest. This is our first sight of the “maquis” a tangled mass of scrubs gorse and juniper. It is a relentless trail ascends over one and a half times the highest mountain in Ireland! We pace ourselves so we don’t overdo it. Great views of the coast, we hike through forest to arrive at our first refuge, Orto di u Piobbio.
Stage 2 – Refuge Orto di u Piobbiu to Refuge de Carrozu
10km, 8hrs, +850m, -1150m.
Our high level route from the Refuge is another tough day’s hike. We hike around a rugged shoulder to reach a valley, we then spend the morning hiking to the Bocca Piccata at the top of the valley. We are rewarded with fantastic views of towering rock formations. We continue to traverse the mountainside which becomes harder as we are presented with short rocky patches to negotiate. We have a long stoney descent to our Refuge at the end of the day, where we can relax for the evening.
Stage 3 – Carrozu to Haut Asco
8km, 6hrs, +1000m, -850m.
We depart the refuge with a rugged descent to the Spasimata gorge, were we travel over a wired suspension bridge. We then follow the Spasimata Slabs up the gorge, we have fixed cables to assist u on this tricky section, particularly it the slabs are wet! This is a steep ascent with a rocky gap becoming visible in the sun at the top of the valley. We pass Lac de la Muvrella before we traverse the face of the mountain. We pass through a gap and are presented with views of the Ascu Stagnu ski station. We follow a steep descent to Hut Asco, where there is plenty of choice for food and accommodation.
Stage 4 – Haut Asco to Auberge U Vallone
9.6km, 10+hrs, +1300m, -1300m.
We head towards Monte Cinto, on the now official GR20 marked route and considered one of the hardest and most exposed days on the GR20, this replaces the now closed Cirque de la Solitude.We follow a forested valley path then scramble on up a steep and rocky slope leading to a ridge. We traverse the ridge to a descent with some more scrambling. The descent takes a steep scree and rocky route, with rugged paths. This route is used to climb Monte Cinto, the highest point on Corsica. If conditions allow we will hike to Pointe des Éboulis at 2706m.
Stage 5 – Auberge U Vallone to Hôtel Castel de Vergio
15km, 6hrs, +900m, -950m.
After the first four days at last an easier one. A good valley walk through forest which opens to a rocky climb arriving at some refuges. We continue to descend the Golo Valley negotiating its rocky patches. We end the day with a woodland walk before arriving at the Hôtel Castel de Vergio.
Stage 6 – Hôtel Castel de Vergio to Refuge de Manganu
17km, 6hrs, +650m, -450m.
A lengthy but relatively easy day. is a generally straight forward hike across rugged paths leading to a boulder filled valley. After this long day on the trail we finish up at Refuge de Manganu. Our path passes Lac du Ninu around midday. We ascend up to the Bocca San Pedru and on to the Bocca â Reta, with easy zigzags and gradients. This is a day to enjoy the walking and take in the scenery.
Stage 7 – Refuge de Manganu to Refuge de l’Onda
18km, 10hrs, +1050m, -900m.
We climb through a valley and reach one of the highest points on our hike. We are rewarded with views of the twin lakes of Lac de Capitellu and Lac du Melo. We pass over slabs, gullies, boulders and negotiate some short scrambles to reach Bocca Muzzella or the Col de la Haute Route. More views of Monte Ritondu and Monte d’Oru are presented. We then reach the small refuge.
Stage 8- L’Onda to Vizzavona
10km, 6hrs, +850m, -1450m.
Our next stage of the GR20 starts with an uphill climb along a ridge. We then descend through a valley to reach the small village of Vizzavona. It is a long ascent and the descent should pass easy enough. We enjoy the views and consider the Corsican offerings in Vizzavona.
Stage 9 – Vizzavona to Bocca di Verdi
28km, 10hrs, +1000m, -100m
We depart Vizzavona well fed and rested to face a long day on great trails. We start the southern section of the GR20 and the landscape warms up. We ascend a forest slope along paths through rugged slopes. We see Monte Renosu in the distance, the trail later climbs a steep woodland before a well earned break. We continue as our hike raises and falls along a forested tracks. There is great food and hospitality at the end of the day in the Bocca di Verdi.
Stage 10 – Bocca di Verdi to Refuge d’Usciolu
16km, 8h, +1300m, -8000m.
Onwards to Refuge d’Usciolu, we hike up towards a ridge where the track zig and zag. We hike to open mountainside again, the environment becoming much more Mediterranean as we continue south. Our track is rocky in places and very dry with a noted absence of water. Excellent views of the valley, forests and distant mountains. The sea is getting closer
Stage 11 – Refuge Usciolu to Refuge d’Asinau
17km, 8hrs, +1150m, -400m.
Another long day, but much easier than the last. We cover a long ridge into woodlands, to a Plateau du Cuscione. We then ascend Monte Alcudina before arriving at Refuge d’Asinau. If thunderstorms are forecast we have a longer day on lower less exposed trails. The Refuge d’Asinau is known for the relaxing music and relaxed atmosphere.
Stage 12 – Refuge d’Asinau to Bavella
16km, 9hrs, +1100m, -1450m.
High or Low it’s the choice of the day! Our forest and woodland tracks lead to a steep climb up Aiguilles de Bavella. Paths can be steep and stony, a short stretch up a slab has chains for protection. The descent is steep clear weather
Stage 13 – Bavella to Conca
20km, 8hrs, +750m, -1700m.
Village Bavella to Conca and out… the last day will feel like a day in hot Mediterranean sun, everything gets a little dusty almost like a western! Fantastic flora, scenery and the smell of the sea as we walk off the route.
Stage 14 – Trip ends and we make our way home, to plan our next adventure…….
Please note this GR20 itinerary is a suggested example only. It is subject to change and can be adjusted, shortened and designed to suit your group. Please contact us for further details.
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