Piatra Craiului in English translation means the Kings’ Rock. Why is this name? Because this mountain is truly special: it has the most spectacular ridge of the Romanian mountains, it has exposure and vertical huge walls, is always full of mountain goats and is simply beautiful but as well as challenging. Piatra Craiului is the love of many mountaineers in Romania and a must hike mountain.


Subjective evaluation of outdoor options on this mountain: 5 – the top of its class and a must; 4 – one of the best you will find; 3 – beautiful, you should go here too; 2- second best option; 1 – once in a lifetime is quite enough; 0 – other mountain is better.

5 – The top of its class and a must.

4one of the best you will find.

3 – beautiful, you should go here too

1 – once in a lifetime is quite enough

4 – one of the best you will find


  • For North, West and North-East routes – Zarnesti city.
  • For South and South-East routes – Dambovicioara village, Brusturet cabin.
  • For South-West routes – Podu Dambovitei / Satic villages, Garofita Pietrei Craiului cabin.


Counties: Dambovita (South) and Brasov (North)

Group: Southern Carpathians

Neighbors: Bucegi (East), Leaota (South-East), Iezer-Papusa (South-West), Fagaras (West), Persani (North)

Closest large cities: Brasov (about 25 km) – North, Campulung Muscel (about 35 km) – South.


  • The rock is mostly limestone.
  • The mountain has a North-South orientation, with a sharp ridgeline going for about 24-26 km, all of it being part of a challenging touristic path.
  • The East slope is less steep while the West slope is rocky and close to vertical.


The ridgeline stays generally at over 2000m altitude with the highest point being rising at 2238m – Piscul Baciului.


National Park Piatra Craiului

Contact data: www.pcrai.ro; office@pcrai.ro; +40 268 223165

Protected areas:

  • Prapastiile Zarnestilor (gorges)
  • Pestera Liliecilor (the Cave of the bats)
  • Pestera Dambovicioara (cave)
  • Avenul din grind (vertical cave)
  • Zona carstica Dambovicioara-Brusturet (gorges)
  • Pestera Dobrestilor (cave)
  • Pestera nr. 15 (cave)
    Pestera Stanciului (cave)
  • Pestera Uluce (cave)


General emergency number for mountain rescue:


Salvamont Dambovita

http://salvamontdambovita.ro/; 0727.138.650 / 0729.762.611; salvamont_db@yahoo.com

Salvamont Brasov

salvamont@judbrasov.ro, +40.268.471.517


  • The ridge trail

The ridge is the essence of this mountain. Seen from the air it is like a snake spine. It is narrow, steep and exposed. And you have to scramble. The full ridge hike takes you a full day with light backpack and it is not for the easy hearted.

  • The north side routes – La lanțuri

All the north routes are splendid. You basically climb a wall. The comparison that comes to mind is Triglav in Slovenia. The most known route is the one called “Chains” because the vertical sections are secured with safety cables. A lot of them!

  • Prapastiile Zarnestilor gorges and Cheile Dambovicioarei gorges

For those which seek easy walks the Eastern row of gorges, North and South, offer beautiful panoramas with vertical siding rock walls. Good for biking too.

  • The canyon of Oratii

This is a more hidden gem. It is a narrow canyon, in summer and autumn dry that is secured with bolts for abseiling from top to bottom. Depending on your rope length you must prepare for about 5 abseils.


  • Magura, Pestera and Sirnea villages

This may simply one of the most beautiful vistas you will find in Romania. The pass between old Romania and Transylvania is sided by Piatra Craiului and Bucegi and in between these mountains, on steep grassy slopes, are beautiful villages with houses spread atop each hill.

  • Bear reservation in Zarnesti

Near Zarnesti city you will find the only bear reservation in Romania. Caged bears were rescued, treated, re-used to forest and accommodated in a large area. There are more than 80 bears, each one with his/her heartbreaking story. A place you need to see.

Huts Shelters
Curmătura Vârful Ascutit
Garofița Pietrei Craiului Grind 1
Plaiul Foii Grind 2
Șaua Funduri


Piatra Craiului is a difficult mountain to hike no matter the season. So do not approach it lightly. It is steep, involves at least easy scrambling on most of its routes and above all it has exposure, all around you.

Some of the routes, beside your physical fitness and technical skills require constant focus for over several hours which could be quite intense if you are not used to such routes.


Our top three routes for hiking this mountain:

  1. The ridge

This is one of the must do routes in Romanian Carpathians. For sure it makes top three in all the country. The entire ridge is quite long and on a full summer day and some logistical arrangements you have your chances of making it all in one day. But it is more convenient to see it as a three sections route and tackle it as such: the North section, the South section, and the remaining South wooded tail section. This last one section is rarely trodden so you might just not think about it and set for the other two. Each one is about 4 hours long (remember though to take into account the time needed for the approach to and departure from the ridge) and it is like walking on the back of a snake while having huge drops underneath you all the time. You will find on the most adequate points in the route some shelters so you may organize the hike based on these. The views are classic for the Romanian Carpathians and maybe the most beautiful you will see in Romania.

It is recommended to start the ridge from Curmatura hut, from the North side.

  1. La lanturi
  2. Marele Grohotis


Piatra Craiului in winter becomes a really tough challenge. Avalanches are not necessarily a threat on this mountain, but that is because is steep and technical. For the Western routes you need to carry full climbing gear. The ridge itself is magnificent in winter. But, if you envisage doing the entire ridge, you should plan for two days, starting from Curmatura hut and sleeping overnight in the ridge shelters. Ice axe, trekking poles, winter hiking boots with rigid soles, crampons, and shovel should be part of your individual equipment. A 30 m guiding rope might help you as well. Bad weather could be dangerous while on the ridge. The retreat routes are always on the East slope of the mountain, but choose these one well, because not all work.


  • Water is a problem on this mountain so it is necessary to carry lots of it especially in the hot summer days.
  • Most of the routes are challenging and involve good balance and scrambling. So it is better to approach the mountain with light backpacks.
  • Mountain hiking boots and shoes with special soles and crampons for a good grip on rock and loose stone fields are a must on all the high routes.
  • Plan for at least 9 hours hike for all the high routes!
  • If you are really afraid of exposure avoid the ridge, but if you like it, seek it.


You all find on this mountain all levels of difficulty and all types of terrain (asphalt, gravel, village roads, mountain roads, trails, grass etc.).


Our top three routes for biking this mountain are:

  1. Sirnea, Pestera and Magura villages
  2. From Podu Dambovitei to Zarnesti
  3. Zarnesti – Plaiul Foii


You can sport climb in three areas, all of them on the East side of Piatra Craiului:

Access by car fom Zarnesti

Acces by car from Zarnesti up to Magura village and then a 30-40 minutes hike to the base of the crag

Acces by car from Podu Dambovitei.

The routes are equipped mostly with bolts but chances are you will meet some old rusty pegs on the way. For beginners, c) option works the best with some 4 nice routes, while b) options has only two easy routes but the view from while on the crag is gorgeous. Option a) is for advanced climbers. The routes are longer and harder.


The classic alpine climbing area is to be found on the Western wall of Piatra Craiului. The routes may be equipped with pegs, but you need to prepare yourself for trad climbing.

You may choose easy routes where a 30m rope and some slings and runners will be enough but some other require hard climbing and full climbing gear.

For reaching any climbing route you generally need to hike up a two hour trail. In order reach the start of the trails, you follow the gravel road from Zarnesti to Plaiul Foii.

Do not forget to announce the park management for your intention, otherwise you might get fined.


On this mountain you will not find any ski resorts.


The East side of the mountain is suitable for cross country skiing and free ride. Cross-country is the name of the game if you want to follow the North-South direction of the mountain and enjoy the forest clearances on the way, or skiing through the villages of Magura, Pestera and Sirnea – this should be a wonderful experience. For advanced skiing and free ride you should aim for the ridge. There are three routes that should work for you: the route to Varful Ascutit (North), the one to Varful Piscul Baciului (Middle) and the one which gets to Saua Funduri (South). On the first two, be aware of the avalanche risks.

This mountain hosts the oldest and most famous trail running competition in Romania: Marathon Piatra Craiului. It gathers each year in October some thousands runners. It starts in Zarnesti, makes a full circle around the mountain and ends in the same city. It is 41 km long, with 2250m ascent and descent during the race.

More details and registration here: http://www.carpathianman.ro/eveniment.aspx?crt=4.

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