Ciucas Mountains – one day winter hike loop

View from Ciucas Peak in winter

The Ciucas Mountains are close to Brasov and Bucharest and are great for easy to moderate day hikes, all year round.

The highest peak in Ciucas Mountains is Ciucas Peak (1954 m), followed by Gropşoarele (1883 m), Tigăile Mari (1844 m) and Zăganu (1817 m).

In the beginning of February, Ciucas Mountains are covered in snow and the temperatures well below zero degrees Celsius.

The trail we took was a 7 hours moderate hike. We started at Cabana Muntele Rosu (1280 m), headed towards Saua La Rascruce saddle (1663 m), descended towards Cabana Ciucas (1595 m) and then ascended the summit – Varful Ciucas peak (1954 m). We then returned to Cabana Muntele Rosu on a shorter trail.

Equipment

Wear proper hiking boots and dress in layers. Crampons and ice axe are recommended.

Accomodation

There are plenty of accommodation options in Cheia mountain resort, at the foot of Ciucas Mountains.

Cabana Ciucas is located at 1595 m. From the chalet you can reach Ciucas Peak in about 1.5 hours. They have a restaurant and a terrace. It gets crowded during weekends. You can get to Cabana Ciucas with a 4×4 car. Find out more info on their website.

Cabana Silva is located at 1300 m, near Cabana Muntele Rosu. They also have a restaurant and provide accommodation in small wooden cottages. You can reach Cabana Silva with any type of car since the road is now in good condition.

Cabana Muntele Rosu is closed until further notice.

Getting to the start of the trail

Ciucas Mountains are located 2.5 hours away from Bucharest by car and 1 hour from Brasov.

From Bucharest you can reach Cheia mountain resort by bus. The bus station is near Gara Basarab train station, at Autogara IDM Basarab. Info about buses here.

Make sure you buy bus tickets for Cheia, Prahova County (PH) as there are more towns in Romania with the name Cheia.

Click the image to open Google Maps

From DN1A head towards Cabana Silva, located near Cabana Muntele Rosu, where you can park your car for free.

At the time we visited, the asphalt road was in good condition and the snow removed, there was no need for a 4×4 vehicle.

Cabana Muntele Rosu is closed since autumn 2018.

Cabana Silva, located nearby, is open. At Silva they serve food and offer accommodation.

Hiking in Ciucas Mountains – trail profile

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Hiking in Ciucas Mountains – trail summary

Cabana Muntele Rosu – Saua La Rascruce 2 h, red triangle

Saua La Rascruce saddle – Cabana Ciucas: 2 h, red cross

Cabana Ciucas – Ciucas Peak: 1.5h, red stripe

Ciucas Peak – Cabana Ciucas: 1h, red stripe

Cabana Ciucas – Cabana Muntele Rosu: 1.5h, yellow stripe

Start of the trail:
Cabana Muntele Rosu (1280 m)

The trail starts at Cabana Muntele Rosu (1280 m) in Ciucas Mountains. Near the chalet you will find a sign post with 2 markings – yellow stripe and red triangle.

Yellow stripe markings will take you directly to Cabana Ciucas chalet, through the forest, on a less spectacular way then the red triangle path.

From Cabana Muntele Rosu, we started hiking on red triangle (towards La Rascruce) and returned on yellow stripe from Ciucas Chalet.

Checkpoints

Cabana Muntele Rosu – La Rascruce saddle

Red triangle, 2h

The start of the ascent is a bit steep, but soon you will be rewarded with panoramic views over Ciucas Mountains.

La Rascruce
La Rascruce

La Rascruce – Cabana Ciucas

Red Cross, 2h

After you reach the signpost at La Rascruce, start following the red cross markings. The trail starts to slowly descend towards Cabana Ciucas.

At Cabana Ciucas they have a restaurant and offer accommodation.

Cabana Ciucas – Ciucas Peak

Red stripe, 1.5h

Since Ciucas Mountains are quite popular, there usually is a well visible trail in snow especially during weekends.

Crampons and ice axe are recommended since there are some steep portions that become slippery when the snow freezes.

Ciucas Peak – Cabana Ciucas

Red stripe, 1h

We returned on the same way as we ascended.

Descending from Ciucas Peak towards Cabana Ciucas
Descending from Ciucas Peak towards Cabana Ciucas

Cabana Ciucas – Cabana Muntele Rosu

Yellow stripe, 1.5h

From Cabana Ciucas you can follow the yellow stripe markings in front of the chalet (however this descend will be quite steep and will eventually leave you on the forest road). An easier alternative would be to descend directly on the forest road.

After about 20-30 minutes you should notice a sign post on the left side of the road. Pay attention because you can easily miss it. Continue to follow the yellow stripe markings until Cabana Muntele Rosu.

Photo gallery

Ascending from Muntele Rosu
Ascending from Muntele Rosu
Ascending from Muntele Rosu
Ascending from Muntele Rosu
La Rascruce (At the Crossroads)
La Rascruce (At the Crossroads)
La Rascruce (At the Crossroads)
La Rascruce (At the Crossroads)
Ascending towards Ciucas Peak
Ascending towards Ciucas Peak
Ascending towards Ciucas Peak
Ascending towards Ciucas Peak
Ascending towards Ciucas Peak
Ascending towards Ciucas Peak
View from Ciucas Peak in winter
View from Ciucas Peak in winterView from Ciucas Peak
View from Ciucas Peak in winter
View from Ciucas Peak in winter
View from Ciucas Peak in winter
View from Ciucas Peak in winter
View from Ciucas Peak in winter
View from Ciucas Peak in winter
Descending from Ciucas Peak towards Cabana Ciucas
Descending from Ciucas Peak towards Cabana Ciucas
View from Ciucas Mountains
View from Ciucas Mountains
View from Ciucas Mountains
View from Ciucas Mountains
View from Ciucas Mountains
View from Ciucas Mountains