Other treks like the GR20?


Posted: Mon, Jul 9, 2018, 14:20

Apologies for going a bit off topic, but given the spammers on the loose again, I thought any topic that was actually current would be better than accidentally looking at items from 2013...

I've come back from doing 6 stages in the Northern section of the GR20 the week before last (then the link route to Corte via Refuge de Sega), which was an excellent walk. Corsica is just stunning. Thanks to SQFP and Gaffr for their help before it - I'd thank you on the actual thread if I could find it..

I'm wondering if any knowledgeable people on here might have a suggestion for similar walks anywhere in the world. I'm a solo walker so like the companionship the refuges bring (although I camp). I've done the Overland Track in Tasmania, which I also loved - that had refuges but not manned ones, so had to carry own food. Thankfully the main path was much much easier than the GR20, and the side routes (basically, the interesting bits! :-)) were done without a pack at all.

So similar walks to GR20 / Overland Track, 1-3 weeks in length?



Posted: Mon, Jul 9, 2018, 15:00

They say West Highland Way (UK) is quite good. Up to 1 week of hiking across Scotland.

El Camino de Santiago (Spain) is world known long distance hike. About 1 month of hiking through villages and towns of Spain. You're pretty much in the civilization all the time. Even USA hikers know this thru hike. It'd say it's the most famous hike we have in Europe. I know people who did it and they say it's a "pilgrimage" type of walk.

Slovenian Mountain Hiking Trail (Slovenia), perhaps? 3 - 4 week hike. It is the oldest hiking trail in Europe. It's more or less mandatory to stay in refuges and huts since we in Slovenia do not recognize / endorse wild camping (which is shame).


Posted: Tue, Jul 10, 2018, 7:01

GR20 is special and it does inspire to go on similar hikes. I also enjoyed Camino de Santiago in both Summer 2009 and Winter 2017. The hike is about 900km long depending on your starting point and wether you walk all the way to Fisterra. You should look at the variant Camino Del Norte along the coast for most of the hike. It's less crowded and more scenic - Also tougher but with the Gr20 in the bag it should not be a problem.

I would recommend to take this guidebook (https://www.csj.org.uk/product/pilgrim-guides-camino-frances-2017-2018-s...) as it's a small paper-bag/pocket sized book with only the most needed information: Ie. distance to the next city, what to find in that city, altitude and variants of the track. The Camino is very well marked and you do not need a map or GPS.

If you want to combine the distance of the Camino with the terrain of GR20 I can highly recommend you to look at the following the routes along the Pyrenees mountains. There are 3 main variants:

1) GR10
This trail follows the Pyrenees on the French side.

This trail follows the Pyrenees on the Spanish side.

3) Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne
This route stays close to the main ridge in the highest and most spectacular central Pyrenees. It's also the toughest variant as you for several parts has to carrie your food, tent and sleeping gear in real mountain terrain. So if you liked the northern part of the GR20, this might be for you. I really loved the first half - It's simply stunning. I still have the second on my to-do list. Take a look at this guide book which I used as it contains GPS way-points: https://www.cicerone.co.uk/the-pyrenean-haute-route

Happy Hiking!


Posted: Wed, Jul 11, 2018, 10:22

Thanks Stom_Slo and Bosser, excellent information! And yes Bosser, since I've come back I've spent most of my spare time looking for my next adventure :-)

The Haute Randonee Pyreneene (apologies for the lack of accents, too difficult on phone) does sound excellent - I will have to research more into it. With 45 stages to go at there's definitely a good few options there, and it's easy to get to from the UK. I must admit, I was glad I was travelling light on the GR20 (8kg + water & snacks) so carrying food and cooking equipment in that terrain might not be that tempting...

The Camino de Santiago is also interesting as it can be done in Winter, and also looks like it could be cycled. Of course, that brings extra logistical problems, but does enable a lot more of it to be done in a week or 2 (not that much more, my cycling is much weaker than my walking!)

The Slovenian Mountain Hiking Trail I had never heard of - will look it up. I like the idea of it being the oldest trail in Europe, and it would be a new country to add to the list :-)

The UK trails I'm pretty aware of - I'm from England - I have the West Highland Way on the list. Coast 2 Coast will be my next one though, it's easier for me logistically and more varied overall I believe. There's not quite the same sense that you're all in it together as on the GR20, as there's so many day walkers around.

Have also been looking at the John Muir Trail over in the US of A, which looks interesting.



Posted: Wed, Jul 11, 2018, 15:47

JMT, along with other long distance trails in US, looks amazing. From what I understand they have some kind of lottery system for JMT permits. Based on time slots, entry points etc.


Posted: Thu, Jul 12, 2018, 8:01

I'll just throw in two others in France....the GR55 through the Vanoise and the GR52 through the Mercantour down to the Mediterranean. Each of these can be done on a shorter holiday timescale.

I live in Scotland but don't really do the long distance organised trails here although I have done two of them on by bike. My own, and probably many others, approach to multi day walks in Scotland is to take tent and rucksack and link up paths/Glens on a journey and to visit the higher hills en route and very often use the system of Bothies for overnights to escape the summer insect infestation.




Posted: Thu, Jul 12, 2018, 12:50

Cheers Gaffr, I'll look them up, hadn't heard of them.

I have friends that have done the West Highland Way and Hadrian's Wall and they sound good but I think I'd prefer company to do them and not sure I can persuade any of my friends to go on it - am at the stage of life where most have got young kids. When I visit Scotland (which is pretty regularly, I love it) I tend to bring my canoe, camp on the shore and go for an occasional day walk when the weather looks a bit rough or there's a tempting munro nearby. Had some excellent adventures that way :-)

I've foolishly not been up there yet this year, so am now well into midge season. Dusk will be hellish.

And Stom_slo, I hadn't realised that there was a permit system for JMT, hadn't even thought about it. Looks tricky to get. I thought USA was the Land of the Free...



Posted: Thu, Jul 12, 2018, 13:51

Hi Steve

It depends how far you want to go but - can I recommend New Zealand? The Department of Conservation runs a booking system for 9 Great Walks, which range in difficulty, scenery etc. Most are shorter than a week (3-5 days), however there are options to extend or do multiple within the same region. I can give you some advice if interested.




Posted: Thu, Jul 12, 2018, 14:38

Hi Steve,

Permits are pretty much standard for US National Parks & trails if backpacking or thru hiking. Even vast majority of parks have entrance fee. And I'd say that's not a bad thing, quite the opposite. Their rangers are cool :).

Some of you guys are from UK... Is there any other part of the country that's known for hiking? Except Scotland? How's Wales or far north?


Posted: Thu, Jul 12, 2018, 17:36

Hi Stom_slo

I can see the benefits of a permit system, but it feels a bit over-regulated to me. Selfishly, I'll never get a JMT permit, I'm just not organised enough to apply exactly 168 days in advance. I don't think I've ever started planning a holiday that early!

The Lake District (NW England) is lovely for day hikes, my favourite part of England (and handily, close by). Anywhere away from Lake Windermere is lovely (Windermere is by far the busiest, most commercial lake)

There's quite a few multi-day hikes in England, I'm going to do the Coast 2 Coast walk in the North of England some time this summer as from what I've heard it's the most varied and interesting. I have a friend that has run the Pennine Way, all 270 miles of it, she's an absolute nutter. Look up the Bob Graham Round if you want to feel inadequate, she's also done that. It's basically the GR20 with better paths...in 24 hours.

I'd also recommend the SW Coastal Path, a path going all the way round Devon, Cornwall into Dorset. It's a lovely part of the country, and the path is considerably more hilly than it sounds, at least it is in the bits I've been to. There are lots of campsites on or very near it, and there's the sea to play in too. The whole thing is properly long, but there's lovely sections all along it for any length of hike.

Wales has Snowdonia in the North, a range of 1000m mountains (just!) that make for nice day hikes. Wales also has a coastal path around the entire country - I believe its the only country to do so - and the South West section of that looks lovely.

There's basically lots of areas known for hiking - any of the National Parks (and none of them have fees!). I've missed loads off here.

Scotland has the advantage for wildcamping, as it's legal there, but it's common in the Lake District (there's an unwritten rule that you're allowed to wildcamp for 1 night above 400m elevation). Overnight camping (ie setting up late, leaving early) is rarely a problem anywhere, as long as you're not in someone's garden. Outside of Scotland you're never really far away from a village or town, which can be a good or a bad thing. If you want wilderness, it's really got to be Scotland.

Hope that helps,