- Ascent: 1000 meter
- Descent: 1250 meter
- Time: 7hr
There are two variants of this stage. The old GR20 crosses the high plains of Plateau du Cuscione and continues straight towards Refuge d’Asinau. The new GR20 is split into two stages. This variant only skirts the Plateau du Cuscione and allows you to spend the night at the modern Refuge the Matalza (legend has there are warm showers to be had there). The variant described here is the old GR20.
This is fairly long stage with the long climb up to Monte Alcudina at the very end of it. Plateau de Cuscione and Monte Alcudina are very exposed to sun and thunderstorms so an early start is necessary. Despite all this, the day feels fairly easy as most of the trail is gentle and features a huge amount of pretty and varying scenery.
The stage starts out by continuing the rugged ridgewalk from stage 12 all the way untill Bocca di l’Agnonu. After the Bocca the terrain suddenly becomes much more gentle and the trail comes through a half open terrain with trees and lush secluded pastures. This is a fairly long stretch and energy should be conserved for the considerably tougher second half of the hike.
When the hilly Plateau du Cuscione is reached the tree cover ends and crossing the plateau in the middle of the day when the sun is high can be very draining. Still, the Plateau du Cuscione is a very pretty place with many streams and small clumps of trees alternating with grass and the prickly Macquis.
After crossing Ruisseau de Furcinchesu on a suspension bridge the climb towards Mone Alcudina looms. To reach the summit you have to climb some 600 meters on an unrelenting climb. The stony summit of the solitary Monte Alcudina offers amazing views back to the GR20 and Corsica’s rugged interior. From Monte Alcudina the GR20 descends to a rocky shoulder on the other side of the summit. Here the new GR20 joins the old route. Turnleft for Refuge d’Asina. The descend of about 600 meters is steep and technical in places but no worse than any of the large descends on the Northern part of the GR20.
Refuge d’Asinau used to be very crowded and dirty even by GR20 standards. In 2016 it was demolished by a fire and has not yet been replaced. Bivouacking is allowed, but hikers can also continue a short while to Bergeries d’Asinau which offers basic Refuge services and allows hikers to pitch their tent as well.