Water on the GR20?


Posted: Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 14:55

Apologies in advance if this has been asked already:

What is the typical water source on the GR20? I recognize that three liters of water storage is a minimum necessity. Do all refuges have clean, potable water? Are there any sources of potable water along the trail? I have done backcountry backpacking before, and I know it is possible to purify running water in certain circumstances. Is this possible on the GR20?

For context, I am a 24-year old American male looking to complete the GR20 from South to North in mid-June 2019 before enrolling in medical school.

Thank you in advance for the help! :)



Posted: Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 18:11

Hi Charlie, I have done entire South part of GR20, all refuges had clean portable water from “sources”. I carried 3 liters of water every day with me. On some stages I was able to find a “source” between refuges, but I wouldn’t say that’s reliable. Sometimes the “source” like a small creek or pool is some distance away from the path, and I missed the markings, sometimes I saw the marking but didn’t find the “source”. I’m not a novice to hiking, I’ve done long distance backpacking trips prior to GR20, I’m moderately experienced. but it’s possible that just I’m lacking skills at locating the “sources”. I carried a small filter, didn’t get to use it at all, but I’m planning to bring it again anyway, because circumstances are never quite the same on that trek. I heard from other hikers in the trek that some stages in the North don’t have any “sources” at all, and some “sources” were marked but didn’t exist.




Posted: Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 18:23

Thank you Annaou for the detailed reply! Very helpful. I'm in the early planning stages of my GR20 so still trying to work out some of the important details.


Posted: Sun, Apr 7, 2019, 19:52

See here for examples of what the "sources" look like (it's usually little more than a hosepipe sticking out of rocks, and thus hard to locate).

As long as the flow is sufficient and cold, water from such sources can be drinked as is.
If in doubt (in early spring or late fall, water can bear abundant filaments of organic matter, or a brownish hue and earthy taste) just add some treatment e.g. chlorine.


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