Solo hiker


Posted: Tue, Feb 18, 2014, 18:16

I've been contemplating this trip for a few years now and I wanted to get an opinion of someone who's done it before. I'm sure most hikers go with at least one other person but I'm finding it hard to find a friend who'll be willing to go through with it and I'm wondering what past GR 20 hikers think of a young female going alone?


Posted: Tue, Feb 18, 2014, 20:38

Hi Dell,

I believe everybody will agree on the fact that the GR20 is considered to be safe for a solo female. In fact if you do it during the hiking season (June-September) you will always find people along the trail and at the huts. And you might also find other hikers like yourself that go at your same pace willing to walk with you.



Posted: Tue, Feb 18, 2014, 20:41

For me it doesn't matter what others think, do what you feel is right for yourself. If you are comfortable walking by yourself, do it.

And, you will most likely meet other people on the way. I walked it alone, but met other people that I spent time with on the way.



Posted: Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 9:22

I travelled solo up from Conca to Calinzana in June last year. As it was, during a previous trip, with my wife a few years ago there there were several folks 'going solo' along the route. One lady whom I met at the final camping in Calinzana had travelled solo but because she had been doubling-up on parts of the route I had not come across her at all along the route. It is a bit like that where everyone travels at their own pace so I guess that most days you meet up with different folks on the trail. Being a camper you tend to be a bit detached from the folks staying in the refuges and taking food in there.
On the other long distance routes on the island, of which there are five, you also meet other solo travellers and in our case again since we were campers met up occasionally with folks at the evening meal at the gites when we decided to eat within.
All of the routes on the island can be done in both directions so plenty of folks coming and going.




Posted: Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 16:38

Thanks everyone for responding! I've also been reading that it's better to start from the south and head north because it gets to be very crowded heading north to south? any comments on that?


Posted: Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 20:59

Certainly better to start in the South if like in early June last year there were large snowfields still around in the high parts of the North.
Maybe the day of the week when starting to walk could be a factor? Both times when travelling the route the flights had Sunday arrivals. By the time I reached Calinzana, or Conca when starting in the South, I didn't get started walking on the route until Tuesday morning. Internal travel on the island, by bus/train, is not that frequent or not at all by bus on a Sunday. Could a midweek start perhaps get you clear of the week-end rush?
Going from the North in 2007 in the middle of June it seemed quite busy at most of the refuge/campings until, as happens for several reasons, the numbers going all the way over the fifteen stages thins out. I recall that at Paliri the final refuge area it was fairly quiet....fewer folks around. Of course some folks do the Northern section and finish at Vizzavona and a few more leave the trail at Bavella.
Going from South to North last year there were a large number beginning at Conca and quite a few of those had only arranged to go to Vizzavona....The Southern GR20. But of course others joined the trail at Vizzavona some went onto the other multi stage routes and I met up with folks who had done this at Col di Vergio (the folks had taken the train from Vizzavona down to Corte then followed the Mare a Mare Nord )and in Calinzana and again others prior to the flight home at the camping near to the airport.
Remember also that the traffic is in both directions. So some refuges/campings can get crowded although I have never not been able to find a space for my tent.
To be honest the trail seems to be busy in June and into July and probably too in August.
I have always allowed three weeks when walking on the island....which allows for internal travel and for bad weather days.




Posted: Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 21:00

Most people go north to south, so the possibility is there to be caught in a crowd more easier from north to south I think. But going south to north doesn't shield you from the possibility of coming to an overcrowded refuge.

If there is a period with several days in a row with crowed refuges from people coming from the north, it will still be crowded if you come from the south.

I think maybe the best reason for going from the south is to avoid snow in the northern part if you're starting early in the season or that you will avoid starting the trek with the heaviest ascent at once and rather let your body get accustomed to walking before tackling the harder northern part (not that the southern part is easy).



Posted: Mon, Mar 17, 2014, 20:37

I see no problem in walking solo when it comes to safety and/or company. What might require some consideration is the weight of the backpack. Couples or more numerous teams are usually able to split the weight of common items whilst a soloist has to carry everything herself. Moreover, in a typical girl/dude couple, the guy would carry the heavier pack.
A solo girl might therefore find herself carrying a very heavy pack.



Posted: Fri, Jan 13, 2017, 7:19

There are a lot of people on the trail and since you must end up at a refuge each night, it is a pretty intense social experience. I can't imagine any reason to not do it.


Posted: Tue, Sep 10, 2019, 21:15

Lots of solo walkers on the trail at the moment - male and female (including me) - none seem to be having any problems that are just related to being solo.


Posted: Wed, Sep 11, 2019, 8:31

there is no problem walking on your own, did it a couple of weeks ago.
as others commented , a lot of people walk on their own , so you will have a lot of social interaction anyway.
the only drawback i can think walking alone of is a heavier pack.
going south or north doesnt make a difference in the crowd , the only crowd you are likely to see is at the refuges , and there , it doesnt make a difference if you arrive from the north or south , the refuge will be just as crowded...

If you have a tent , there is no problem finding a place to pitch your tent anyway...
Most people start from the north , because it is the most challenging and spectacular part,
so being fresh has its advantages.