GR20 stages

The GR20 Corsica is a hike divided into 16 stages, but you can do fewer depending on your objective: 16 days, 12 days, 8 days or even 5 days? The route doesn’t change, but the way you divide it up does!

Unlike other long-distance hiking trails such as the Tour du Mont Blanc or the GR54, the GR 20 Corsica is not a loop, but a line that runs from the north (Calenzana) to the south (Conca). It’s a beautiful diagonal hike through the Corsican mountains, stage by stage with 15 refuges

This means that you’ll need to organise your transport: you’ll need to be able to get to the departure point and then return from the arrival point to the nearest airport or port, depending on your booking. It’s a challenge to find the most convenient and cheapest :). You can find out more about transport in Corsica in this article.

GR 20 stage maps
Map of the GR20 with stages. More maps

The GR20 from north to south is the route most often chosen by GR20 hikers! Starting from Calenzana, you’ll begin with the northern half of the GR20, i.e. the steepest side of the GR20 (the south after Vizzavone is easier). Depending on the time of year you choose to do the GR20, there could still be snow to the north, which is whyin June, for example, hikers prefer to head south > north (by the time you leave, the snow is still melting in the north)

The GR20 from North to South: the stages

Stage 1 of the GR20: information and maps

STAGE 1 of the GR20

from Calenzana to Ortu

11 km | 1450 D | 250 D-| 6h30 walking time
This is the first stage of the GR20. Please note that in 2019, the Ortu refuge burnt down. It is possible to sleep at the Ortu refuge, but not under the same conditions. >> See stage 1 of the GR20

Stage 2 of the GR20: between Ortu and Carrozzu

STAGE 2 of the GR20

from Ortu to Carozzu

8 km | 720 D | 950 D-| 7h00 walking time
This is the second stage of the GR20, with some technical sections and some incredible views! You’ll arrive at the Carozzu refuge, with its panoramic terrace! >> See stage 2 of the GR20

Stage 3 of the GR20: route to Asco station

STAGE 3 of the GR20

from Carozzu to Asco Stagnu

9 km | 800 D | 640 D-| 6h00 walking time
Third stage of the GR20 to Ascu Stagnu, known in winter for its ski resort. You’ll cross one of the few routes on the GR20 and have several options for sleeping in Asco. >> See stage 3 of the GR20

Stage 4 of the GR20: from Asco station to Tijhgettu

STAGE 4 of the GR20

from Ascu Stagnu to Tighettu

9 km | 1200 D | 1000 D-| 8h00 walking time
This is the old stage from Asco that used to pass through the cirque de la solitude, and which is now diverted by Monte Cinto. Just as beautiful, it will take you higher up before you arrive at the very bottom, at the Tighjettu refuge. Look ahead to this stage in terms of positive altitude difference! >> See stage 4 of the GR20

Stage 5 of the GR20: from Tijhgettu to Ciottulu di i Mori

STAGE 5 of the GR20

from Tighettu to Ciottulu di i Mori

7 km | 700 D | 340 D-| 4h00 walking time
This is a shorter, less strenuous stage that will give you an incredible view from the Ciottulu refuge! >> See stage 5 of the GR20

Stage 6 of the GR20

STAGE 6 of the GR20

from Ciottulu di i Mori to Manganu

24 km | 920 D | 1300 D-| 8h00 walking time
In contrast, this is the longest stage of the GR20 in terms of distance: a section of over 20 kilometres, with a “fairly flat” profile, especially the section between the Vergio pass and Lake Nico! A stop can be made beforehand at the Vaccaghja sheepfolds, otherwise it’s a little further down the valley, at the Manganu refuge! >> See stage 6 of the GR20

Stage 7 of the GR20: from Manganu to Petra Piana

STAGE 7 of the GR20

from Manganu to Petra Piana

8.5 km | 830 D | 600 D-| 6h30 walking time
This is a stage that gets off to a great start in terms of elevation gain, with an ascent to the Capitellu spit and an incredible view of the two high mountain lakes! You’ll see Petra Piana in the distance, on the mountainside. >> See stage 7 of the GR20

Stage 8 of the GR20 North > South

STAGE 8 of the GR20

from Petra Piana to Onda

10 km | 500 D | 900 D-| 5h00 walking time
There are two options for getting to the Onda refuge: via the traditional GR20, or via a variant via the ridges: it’s up to you to choose between the two options. >> See stage 8 of the GR20

Stage 9 of the GR20: from Onda to Vizzavone

STAGE 9 of the GR20

from Onda to Vizzavone

10.5 km | 700 D | 1200 D-| 6h00 walking time
This is the stage of the trek that takes you back to civilisation (or not, if you decide to take the alternative route that avoids Vizzavone). There is also a variant route that allows you to climb the sublime Monte d’Oro! Study the IGN maps carefully to choose your options and make your reservations: there are several options for sleeping in Vizzavona! >> See stage 9 of the GR20

Stage 10 of the GR20: from Vizzavone to Capanelle

STAGE 10 of the GR20

from Vizzavone to Capanelle

16 km | 1000 D | 500 D-| 5h15 walking time
You are now officially on the GR20 South: the stage to Capanelle is relatively long, with over 15 km of walking and a great climb! >> See stage 10 of the GR20

Stage 11 of the GR20: from Capanelle to Prati

GR20 stage 11

from Capanelle to Prati

17 km | 900 D | 750 D-| 6h00 walking time
There is also a variant on this stage, which allows you to climb Monte Renoso and then descend to the Prati refuge! As you can see, there are so many variations on the GR20 that you can really personalise your trek to suit your mood and fitness level! >> See stage 11 of the GR20

Stage 12 of the GR20: from Prati to Usciolu

STAGE 12 of the GR20

from Prati to Usciolu

11 km | 700 D | 750 D-| 5h45 walking time
This is a High Mountain stage, and you will often be at altitude on the Corsican trail, with two fine passages at 2000 metres as far as Usciolu. >> See stage 12 of the GR20

Stage 13 of the GR20: from Usciolu to Matalza

STAGE 13 of the GR20

from Usciolu to Matalza

11 km | 300 D | 600 D-| 4h30 walking time
Long regarded as “the new stage of the GR20”, this section takes you out of the mountains to visit the Cusciunu plateau and reach Matalza (or the nearby sheepfolds). The stage can be bypassed by a variant route to take you directly to Asinau. >> See stage 13 of the GR20

Stage 14 of the GR20: from Matalza to Asinau

STAGE 14 of the GR20

from Matalza to Asinau

10 km | 650 D | 540 D-| 4h00 walk
10 km to the Asinau refuge, or the sheepfold below (Aline’s). >> See stage 14 of the GR20

Stage 15 of the GR20: from Asinau to I Paliri

STAGE 15 of the GR20

from Asinau to I Paliri

15 km | 600 D | 1100 D-| 7h00 walking time
The short GR20 trail will take you to the Bavella mountains, with a pass of the same name, but two options for getting there: the classic GR or the sublime Bavella alpine variant! Option to eat at the Col de Bavella before resuming the walk to I Paliri. >> See stage 15 of the GR20

Stage 16 of the GR20: from I Paliri to Conca

STAGE 16 of the GR20

from I Paliri to Conca

13.5 km | 370 D | 1100 D-| 5h00 walking time
This is the last stage of the GR20, so don’t be too quick to claim victory before reaching Conca! There’s still a long way to go and some bumps on the descent: despite the downhill profile, the route is far from easy, especially with the 16 days of hiking fatigue in your legs! >> See stage 16 of the GR20

The GR20 from south to north

Discover the 16 stages of the GR20 from south to north, starting from Conca and heading up to Vizzavone and Conca.

KilometersD+D-Walking time
Step 1 South > NorthConca à Paliri13.511003705h00
Step 2 South > NorthPaliri a Asinau1511006005h00
Step 3 South > NorthAsinau à Matalza105406504h45
Step 4 South > NorthMatalza à Usciolu116003008h00
Step 5 South > NorthUsciolu à Prati117507004h00
Step 6 South > NorthPrati à Capanelle177509008h00
Step 7 South > NorthCapanelle à Vizzavone1650010006h00
Step 8 South > NorthVizzavone à l’Onda10,512007005h15
Step 9 South > NorthL’Onda à Petra Piana109005006h40
Step 10 South > NorthPetra Piana à Manganu8,56008304h50
Step 11 South > NorthManganu à Ciottulu di i Mori2413009206h00
Step 12 South > NorthCiottulu di i Mori à Tighjettu73407004h00
Step 13 South > NorthTighettu à Ascu Stagnu9100012005h00
Step 14 South > NorthAscu Stagnu à Carozzu56408004h00
Step 15 South > NorthCarrozzu à Ortu89507207h20
Step 16 South > NorthOrtu à Calenzana1125014506h15

Google Maps :

The stages of the Corsica GR20: which way?

You can do the GR20 from north to south or from south to north, but we’ll see that there is a big difference between the two geographical areas:

  • the GR 20 north is more technical, rockier and snowier at the start of the season.
  • The GR 20 south, on the other hand, is more rolling, warmer and has longer stages.

Whichever way you choose to hike, you’ll cover the same number of kilometres, come across the same refuges and climb the same positive and negative gradients! 🙂

In this article, we’ll help you choose the best route for your project in the Corsican mountains.

The stages of the GR20: how long will it take?

How long does it take to do the GR20? The answer is simple: “it depends”! How long you spend on the GR20 is up to you, because you can spend as much time as you like on the GR20, depending on how you divide up the stages. When we talk about stages or days, please understand that it’s the same distance and the same difficulty, it’s just that depending on your level of fitness, you’ll do the GR20 more or less quickly, and therefore more or less kilometres per day by combining several stages per day!

  • GR20 in 16 stages: this is the standard time, one stage per day with a stop at a GR20 hut each evening. You’ll find the breakdown of the stages just above!
  • GR20 in 12 stages: this is an easy way to divide up the route and is ideal for hikers who are afraid of getting bored but still want to leave some days to relax!
  • GR20 in 10 stages: 10 days on the GR20 is starting to be a good level, you’ll be doubling up on some of the stages, but you’ll still have the freedom to have quieter days
  • GR20 in 8 stages: it’s simply 2 stages per day, so a starting hut, a hut to eat lunch in and a hut to sleep in for the evening
  • GR20 in 7 stages: you’ll be doubling up on most of the stages and tripling up twice: be careful, that’s going to add up to a lot of walking and very little time for rest
  • GR20 in 5 stages: each day you will triple up, i.e. leave a hut at 6am, pass a hut for breakfast, another hut for lunch and finally another hut to sleep in the evening: this is not a race, but a very high trekking pace, leaving little time for lazing around!

What are the hardest stages of the GR20?

It’s a question that’s often asked and difficult to answer. The Corsican GR20 has the reputation of being a very tough trek, but it’s not impossible! You need to prepare well for your adventure, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself: stay humble in the face of the mountain, respect it, and be aware of your own abilities: there are some really tough stages, such as

  • the descent to Asco on day 3
  • the 4th day in the North > South direction, with the ascent of Monte Cinto
  • the long stage to Manganu (rolling but over 20 km)
  • or the terrible descent to Vizzavone
  • The ascent to the Breche de Capitellu!
  • Most of the variants of the GR20, which are designed to take you to additional summits, and particularly the alpine variant of Bavella, which is not very high but is vertiginous!

GR20 North or GR20 South, which are the hardest stages?

If you judge the difficulty on the basis of the facilities (chains or technical passages), then it’s the northern GR20 that you’ll find hardest. If you judge the difficulty by the size of the stages, then perhaps you’ll find stage 6 or the southern GR20 stages a little longer than those in the north.

Is it possible to avoid stages?

Yes and no: as we explained, the GR20 is a straight line, but there are variations. If you set out on the GR20, the only way to get to the end is to walk, or to give up by taking an exit from the GR20

Consult the IGN map of the GR20 for a better understanding

What to do if you give up? What escape routes are there?

If you have to drop out of the race, there are a few possible escape routes, i.e. places where a car could pick you up: Asco, of course, on day 3, the famous ski resort at the foot of Monte Cinto, the Col de Vergio, Vizzavone, the Col de Veder and Bavella! There are other small villages close to the GR20 that you can reach, and we’ll tell you all about them on the GR20 escape routes page.

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