Mountain trip in Piatra Craiului National Park from Plaiul Foii

by Victor Grigore, Webphoto.ro

The National Park Piatra Craiului is situated in the central part of Romania. To the west, it is quite isolated, being bordered by the Carpathian Mountains, but from south-east it can be reached from the European Road E574, that connects two major cities, Pitești and Brașov. Pitești, home of the national car manufacturer, Dacia Renault, is connected with the capital Bucharest through one of the few highways in the country, which makes it accessible. From Pitești you head to Câmpulung, Dragoslavele, After that you reach the heavily touristic area of Rucăr, Moeciu corridor, dominated by Bran Castle, a tourist magnet for those charmed by the legend of Dracula. The landscape is excellent and in each village encountered there are guest houses with plenty of room.

The closest to Plaiul Foii valley is the city of Zărnești. It can also be reached from the touristic town of Brașov. Be sure not to miss the attractions on the way from Brașov, like Poiana Brașov resort (the Meadow of Brașov) or Râșnov Fortress. Unfortunately, the road from Zărnești to Plaiul Foii is for the moment only recommended to off-road vehicles. It is some 10-20 km of dirt and rocks road with some traffic but no maintenance. The landscape of the massive Piatra Craiului massive and of river Bârsa is worth the pain of getting there, as the rocky mountain is one of the few in the country that resemble the boldness and severity of the Alps. There are numerous accommodation facilities, from guest houses, to an organized camping place with wooden houses, but you can also cam on the meadows next to the river in safety, along other tents and caravans. The name of this mountain means The Rock of the Womanizer or Prince’s Rock.

The highest peak of Piatra Craiului is Vârful La Om (At Man Peak, not to be misstaken with the Man Peak in Bucegi Mountains). It is 2.237 m and can be reached by foot in a three hours trip from Plaiul Foii. The trip follows the line of the clean water that springs from the mountain, with some places in which it has to be crossed over some rocks. At some point, the climb leaves behind the river for an abrupt climb of half an hour towards the Grind Refuge. From there you can enjoy the panorama and continue towards the peak.

There are also other hiking paths you can take from Plaiul Foii, but they are quite long routes, of some 6-8 hours, which require sleeping a night in a chalet. One is from Plaiul Foii – Plaiul Mare – Curmătura Foii – Curmătura Oțelei – Șaua Tămășelului – Poiana Tămășelului. From here there are two possibilities to Cerdacu Stancului Cave: through Garofița Chalet or through Marele Grohotiș (the grat detritus).

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