Walking the GR52 - the Route





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The route of the GR52 and GR5 covered by FFRP topo-guide 507 Tinée-Vésubie (Copyright FFRP)

Just three days walk before reaching Nice and the Mediterranean, the GR52 leaves the GR5 at Saint Dalmas Valdeblore climbing North towards the Italian Border before curving East across a series of high and rugged cols to the Vallée des Merveilles, home to over 10,000 Bronze Age petroglyphs. From here it heads South, down a series of ridges bearing the relics of Franco-Italian hostilities, to Sospel before the final day crossing the col du Razet to Menton.

Compared to the GR5, the GR52 is more rugged, with fewer villages and services along the route and adds three to four days to the walk.

While the GR5 never reaches 2,000 metres again after the turnoff, the GR52 spends four days over 2,000 metres topping out at the Baisse du Basto (2,693 metres), before reaching the fascinating Vallée de Merveilles. This area deserves a day for exploration before the long descent to Sospel. Even then it is not finished, climbing 700 metres to cross two more cols before descending precipitously into Menton and the Mediterranean.

In my opinion the GR52 provides a superb finish to a traverse of the French Alps, prolonging the pleasures of travel in the alpine heights with cols equivalent in altitude to the highest crossed anywhere on the GR5.

The elevation profile below does NOT accurately show the distances between named geographic locations.