Crowds on the trail + temperature


Posted: Thu, Feb 22, 2018, 10:14

Hi All!

I am planning to walk half of the GR 20 in the middle of July this year. I have read some posts on this forum about it being crowded in the refuges and on the trail. Could somebody please elaborate or explain further? Exactly how crowded does it get in July and August? And what effect does it have on the hiking experience?

Can you still walk empty stretches of the trail on your own without constantly passing hikers going one or the other directions? I don't mind meeting other people, but I also appreciate the feeling of being a bit cut off from civilisation.

I am also wondering how warm does it get on the trail in the middle of July? Is it unbearably hot considering you are doing hard physical work, or is it bearable? I know this is very individual, I would just like to get an idea.

I would really appreciate it if someone could help me with these questions.
Thanks in advance!

Best regards


Posted: Thu, Feb 22, 2018, 13:55

I haven't been on the GR20 very deep into July in fact with a start on the 19th, of June we really only experienced a few days on the first week of July. Thinking back the two times that I felt the crushing heat was on arrival at Bastia Poretta and down in Porto Vecchia after the walk. The second visit in reverse direction earlier in June it all felt a lot cooler. Also bear in mind that you are on the GR20 during the walk you are at 900 metres and above for the entire journey. Unless of course if you take a day off and use the train at Vizzavona.
During the first visit in 2007 the numbers of folks walking were not huge and by the time we reached the Southern areas the numbers had thinned quite at bit.....folks doing only the Northern section and the toll of injuries and folks not feeling well then descending etc.
In 2013 starting from Conca the numbers were greater than we had found prior but some folks were doing just the Southern section and leaving at Vizzavona....but others folks joined there to head over the Northern part of the Trail. What I found when moving Northwards were greater numbers moving South and travelling in bigger groups (military folks and clubs) it did seem at bit busier then.
The quietest day that I experienced was from Auberge Vallone to Haut Ascu. On account of remaining snowfields Folks had the option to descend from Vallone to get a bus round to Ascu thus avoiding the snowfields. Very quiet and met just a handful of walkers all day. In fact the snowfields were soft and fairly easy to travel over. Would have been a different story if the snow had a firm surface. But these are things that you have to work out if going to the route early. No problem in the middle of July.
As I was descending from Piobbu on the final stage there was a constant stream of folks struggling upwards asking how much further it was to the refuge etc. My own thoughts were that many of the folks setting out would not be troubling the 'number counters' after Piobbu. I would guess that there are many who set out but are not aware of the fitness needed when carrying camping kit and all the rest when on multi day routes. If you have done your preparation and been out carrying your load and done your average 800 metres of ascent each problem.
It is a grand multi day journey over a variety of terrain types and remains long in the memory banks.




Posted: Thu, Feb 22, 2018, 17:18


I think you'll find the route fairly busy in the middle of July because in the past few years the number of hikers has increased. However besides some bottlenecks (like the chain sections) in general you'll be able to walk alone (only to find the crowd around the refuge areas). But if you're seeking solitude I guess you have picked the wrong time (September or even October being the best months for this). In this respect those are also the coolest months. In fact the past few summers have been very hot even with fire emergencies. Is the heat bearable? I guess so. Take a lot of water to be on the safe side.


Posted: Sun, Feb 25, 2018, 21:25

Thank you for the reply you guys! :-)

- Joakim