How long is the GR20 and how long does it take: length and duration

The GR 20 is a linear hiking trail, taking you from point A to point B, a distance of 180 km. Whichever direction you choose (north to south or south to north), you’ll cover the same distance, and the same gradient too! However, it may take you more or less time! How long does it take to do the GR 20 Corsica? Let’s find out in this article!

The length of the GR20 is approximately 180 km and 10,000m of elevation gain !

Unless you’re looking to beat a record, you’re going to set off to hike the GR20! But how many days will you spend on the GR20 before you take your leave? To start with, we suggest you take inspiration from the article by Vincent Verzat on our blog, who made a great video as well as an interview to explain how important it is to take your time: a fine tribute to the praise of slowness!

Doing the classic GR20 in 16 days: one stage a day

The GR20 is a trail divided into 16 stages, so traditionally it takes 16 days. In reality, the 16 stages have only existed for a short time: the GR20 has always had 15 stages, with a new one added in 2011, taking hikers via the Matalza refuge.

The 16 stages of the GR20

The refuges have been built so that hikers can do one stage a day. The classic route is therefore one stage per day. Each time, the PNRC refuges mark the start and end of a stage.

GR20 in 12 days

Do the GR20 in 12 days, doubling 4 stages

The faster GR20 can be done in 12 days: this means doubling certain stages: for example, you do the first stage on day 1 but on day 2 you double the stage, so you don’t sleep at hut no. 2 but at hut no. 3 (at the Asco station) More info here to plan your GR 20 in 12 days

The GR20 in 12 days

GR20 in 10 days: stages and refuges

Do the GR20 in 10 days, doubling 6 stages

Doing the GR20 in 10 days already starts to set a good pace. You won’t be systematically doubling everything, but it’s close: it’s a good pace for enjoying some days and setting yourself a sporting goal on the other days! Be careful, however, to study the 10-day split carefully so that you don’t end up between two refuges.

The GR20 in 10 days

GR20 in 8 days: stages and refuges

Do the GR20 in 8 days: 2 stages per day

Doing the GR20 in 10 days is already starting to set a good pace, you won’t be systematically doubling everything, but almost: it’s a good pace for both enjoying some days and setting yourself a sporting goal on the other days! Be careful, however, to study the 10-day split carefully so that you don’t end up between two refuges.

The GR20 in 8 days

GR20 in 7 days: stages and refuges

Doing the GR20 in 7 days: ever faster

Tripling the stages won’t be systematic for doing the GR20 in 7 days, but you will spend at least two very long days walking, and 5 shorter ones with “only” 2 stages. Here’s an example of how to divide up the GR20 into 7 days and plan your evening stops carefully.

The GR20 in 7 days

GR20 in 5 days: stages and refuges

Doing the GR20 in 5 days: 3 stages a day

It’s a trail pace, not quite running but fast walking: in 5 days, you’ll do 3 stages a day, one in the morning, one at lunchtime with a break at around 2pm and the last one in the afternoon to finally arrive at a refuge in the evening. Here’s a breakdown of the stages you’ll need to complete the GR20 in 5 days and book your 4 nights in mountain huts!

The GR20 in 5 days

However, by adopting a different pace and dividing up the stages judiciously, and by using or not using the variants, it is possible to do the GR20 more quickly, in between 3 and 12 days

Note that there are alternatives to refuges in terms of accommodation: in some places, you’ll find sheepfolds, hotels or bivouacs: on the whole, it’s the refuges that will dictate your stops, but there may be stops between two stages, for example at the Ballone sheepfold or Castel de Vergio!

Without wishing to declare victory too quickly, this is a reasonable pace, which will see you walking between 5 and 8 hours a day maximum. You’ll see that these are the estimated paces given in the topographical guides!

If you set off early in the morning, you can be sure of arriving before evening! Of course, not everyone can do this – there’s a high drop-out rate on the GR20 when you set off unprepared!

Mini guide gratuit du GR20

Download the GR20 Mini Guide
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Why do you want to do the GR20 faster?

Lack of time off or the desire to push yourself? You might also want to spend some time by the sea when you finish the GR20. It’s a shame, because the GR20 is not a race against the clock, and even less a place to break GR20 records (Kilian Jornet, François d’Haene, Guillaume Peretti and Emilie Leconte have all taken it in turns to do so).

Duration: how many days will it take to do the GR20? Depending on your level of fitness and whether or not you want to spend a lot of time on the GR20, it is possible to do the GR20 more quickly, and therefore to organise the GR20 by doing several stages a day! For example, you could double all the stages and do it in 8 days, or double every other stage and do it in 12 days, or even 10 days! Here are some examples of how you can divide up the stages of the GR20 to go faster than the basic programme of one stage a day!

GR 20 - Running

The GR20 is a state of mind: trekking in the middle of the mountains, completely disconnected from the world, from smartphones and screens, making the most of your walking days but also of the rest periods around waterholes and the moments of life in the refuges: if you go faster, which is quite feasible, you’ll miss out on all these moments of sharing and relaxation! Time flies in this fabulous environment: you can already sit for 4 hours without talking facing the Aiguilles de Bavella or the summit of Monte Cinto!

However, as we said, it’s entirely possible to do the GR20 more quickly, if you divide the stages up properly and, above all, if you’re in good physical condition!

Chiara, GR20 in 4 days

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a race yet, but doing the GR20 in 5 days requires you to be in great physical condition! You’ll probably miss out on a lot of things, like the impromptu stops at the waterholes, and you might not take the time to see the English waterfall or the animals on the banks of Lake Nino, but if you’re a runner or used to long efforts, you’ll manage without a problem!

Find out more here about planning your GR20 in 5 days, and read Chiara’s account of doing it in 4 days