Piatra Mare and Seven Ladders Canyon
The Seven Ladders Canyon is carved from the Șapte Scări Brook from the Piatra Mare mountains, it is located south of the Timișu village in the Romanian county of Brasov and is the most popular tourist attraction in the Piatra Mare Massif. Each waterfall has a ladder leading to another one, and there are seven of these ladders – The Seven Ladders Canyon, get it?
The Seven Ladders Canyon
The receptionist at a hostel where I stayed at recommended the trail and stated it could not be completed within 5 hours unless you are determined. It is a mountainous region with rugged trails so proper attire and equipment like hiking boots/shoes are required – which I didn’t have at the time, so I was to do with regular walking shoes.
I invited a couple of my hostel mates to do the hike with me, Kevin and Bryan (both from the U.S.). We hailed a taxi for well under $10 (between the 3 of us) to take us to the trailhead. It’s a little over 40 minutes from the center of Brasov and the drive there was reasonably pleasant with excellent views.
At the trailhead, there was a fair amount of caution posted all over the place. It was all in Romanian, and we could not understand any of it. I think it was there to make it seem more dangerous than it is. I’ve hiked way more hazardous trails than this!
The ladders are slippery because it’s wet from the waterfalls; however, the handrails are solid. You shouldn’t have any problems climbing up and completing the canyon portion. Some people end the hike at the end of the canyon, but the best views are at the top of the peak past the chalet of Piatra Mare.
The trail is kids and family friendly so getting stuck behind a swarm of pupils along the way up the mountain is extremely common. In better weather, there is zip liner available for 50 RON so that you can hike up to near the summit and then zip line your way back down the mountain dodging pine trees along the way.
An easy trail
The waterfalls were not at all impressive, but the gorge is stunning and is unique enough to more than compensate for the tedious waterfalls. There is a 10 RON entry fee for the road, and it takes about one hour to finish hiking the canyon section.
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From there you can make your way back down the same route you took back to the canyons or choose a different direction. Both lead to the same spot. Going the other way is more comfortable as the trail has no carved canyons, it’s just an old fire road that’s muddy and wet.
The Seven Ladders Canyon trail system is beautifully designed. Yellow markings take you up higher to the mountains and following the red markings take you back down. Every few steps markings are making it impossible to get lost.
Getting to the trailhead is easy. Located 17 kilometers south of Brasov in a village called Timisul. A taxi is the most convenient and fastest way to get there. We paid 20 RON (5 dollars) one way. You could take a bus, but I found the bus system in Romania very confusing, but your mileage may vary. You can also drive, but I don’t recommend it. Romanians are insane drivers.
Getting back to Brasov, you can either take a bus or hitchhike your way back. We met a nice couple at the chalet, and they were kind enough to give us a lift back to Brasov. If this isn’t an option, there’s a little snack back at the trailhead, and the lady there speaks English. You can ask her to hail a taxi for you, or you can ask for the bus schedule. Either way, it’s easy to get back.
TREK THE SEVEN LADDERS CANYON TO PIATRA MARE MOUNTAIN
- The canyon is about 2.5 hours from Bucharest by car.
- It’s 15 minutes from Brasov by Taxi.
- Entrance fee is 10 RON.
- Graded easy to moderate.
- There are two ways back down the mountain. Go the same way or the other longer route that’s more moderate. Look for signs on the way back down.
A DAY IN BREAKDOWN:
- Taxi from Brasov to the Trailhead – $2 (per person, $6 split three ways)
- Entrance fee to the park – $2.5
- Breakfast at a hostel – free (included)
- Packed lunch – $2
- Cooked own dinner at the hostel – $1.50
- Hostel stay – $14
- 1.5-liter beer after the hike – $2
- TOTAL: $24