Piatra Mare: day-hike near Brasov, Romania
Piatra Mare Mountains are located 10 km south from the city of Brasov.
The fact they are not very tall mountains makes their highest peaks accessible all year round. The summit of Piatra Mare Mountains is at Varful Piatra Mare (1844 m).
The hiking trails up to Cabana Piatra Mare hut are easy to moderate and accessible all year round. Some are steeper than others, for example ascending via the Drumul Familiar path is a less strenuous hike than the one that goes through Canionul Sapte Scari (The Seven Ladder Canyon).
In the cold season, ice can form on the trails, so wearing crampons may be a good idea.
During winter, Canionul Sapte Scari may be open only in the weekends – we couldn’t find the schedule. During summer, it should be open every day.
- Difficulty: easy during summer, easy to moderate during winter
- Duration: 8 h round-trip
- Length: 15 km round-trip
- Recommended equipment: hiking boots, crampons (during winter)
From Dambul Morii we ascended via the Drumul Familiar path (marked with red stripe) up to Cabana Piatra Mare and from there to the summit, Piatra Mare Peak. From the summit, we returned on the same path to Cabana Piatra Mare from where we continued our descent back to Dambu Morii by following the yellow stripe markings.
Normally, we would have ascended through the canyon (yellow stripe markings), but since we knew the canyon was closed, we preferred to ascend via Drumul Familiar because it was less steep.
Red sttripe: Dambu Morii – Cabana Piatra Mare hut (1630 m): 3 h
Red sttripe: Cabana Piatra Mare hut – Varful Piatra Mare (1844 m): 1 h
Red sttripe: Varful Piatra Mare – Cabana Piatra Mare hut: 1 h
Yellow stripe: Cabana Piatra Mare hut – Dambu Morii: 2.5 h
Start of the trail: Dambu Morii
Most of the trails that lead to Cabana Piatra Mare and Varful Piatra Mare start at Dambu Morii touristic complex, in Timisu de Jos, where you can park your car for free.
By public transport, you can get to Dambu Morii by taking the bus 17B from Brasov. Click here for the bus schedule.
In order to ascend to Piatra Mare summit we followed the trail called “Drumul familiar” (the familiar road).
Drumul familiar, marked with red stripe, starts at Dambu Morii, reaches Cabana Piatra Mare hut and then continues to the Piatra Mare summit.
Dambu Morii to Cabana Piatra Mare
- 3 h, 7 km, red stripe markings
Cabana Piatra Mare is a small hut located at the altitude of 1630 m, at the intersection of several marked hiking trails.
Up to the Cabana Piatra Mare hut, the Drumul Familiar path is wide, not very steep, good for mountain biking and trail running – if it’s not covered with ice, of course.
The Cabana Piatra Mare hut is open all year round. They usually serve food during weekends otherwise just hot beverages like tea or coffee.
If you want to spend the night at the hut, make sure you book your beds in advance.
Cabana Piatra Mare phone number: +40744322632
The dogs at the chalet, Hungarian Kuvasz shepherd dogs, may seem very cute and cuddly, but are not always friendly, so don’t try to pet them.
Cabana Piatra Mare to Varful Piatra Mare
- 1 h, red stripe markings
From Cabana Piatra Mare, we continued to follow the red stripe markings towards Varful Piatra Mare peak.
We got to the summit in about 1 hour.
Despite the fact it was very cold and windy, we spent more than 30 minutes on the summit taking photos. Even if it was partly cloudy, the panoramic views over Brasov and the Bucegi Mountains were impressive.
IMPORTANT: If you plan to reach the summit during winter you may need some proper equipment. There is a steep portion after exiting the forest that can pose difficulties to inexperienced or unprepared hikers. If the snow is frozen you will need an ice ax and crampons to safely pass over this portion.
Descending back to Dambu Morii
- 2.5 h, 7 km, yellow markings (red dot marking for a while in order to bypass the canyon)
From the summit of Piatra Mare we descended back to Piatra Mare Hut on the red stripe markings from where we followed the yellow markings down to Dambu Morii.
The yellow stripe path is also 7 km long but steeper and rockier than Drumul Familiar. It was also more slippery and, after a few falls on our back, we decided it was time to put on the crampons.
The path goes directly through Canionul Sapte Scari (Seven Ladders Canyon), but it was closed at the time we visited so we had to bypass the canyon by following the red dot markings until we intersected again with the yellow stripe markings.
It took us 2.5 hours to get back to Dambu Morii.