I’ve written a few posts about Piatra Craiului in my blog. It’s a dream of mine to one day hike to the very top. Unfortunately, the timing has never been quite right. Either we got started too late in the day or the weather was not cooperating. However, I have done the hike to Cabina Curmatura and back down through the gorge twice, once in the summer and once in the winter.
This was my first winter hike. I am notoriously not coordinated or graceful and walking on snow and ice isn’t something I’ve ever been able to master. Generally, I avoid going outside at all in the winter if I can help it. But with a little help from my friends and my trusty hiking boots, I made it through the hike. In fact, the only time I slipped was in the canyon gorge and that was right at the very end. Proud of me!
The hike starts at the Fântâna lui Botorog and ends after you walk out through the canyon gorge (Prapastiile Zarnestului). You can see the trail in the picture from Google Maps above.
At the midway point, you reach Cabina Curmatura. It’s a great place to stop and eat your picnic lunch or grab a beer and some soup. Also, try their rum tea. It’s divine.
If you want to continue up the mountain, this is where the trails divide. This time the snow was just too deep and we didn’t have the equipment to go any further up.
There is also a very amenable dog at the cabin. He is huge and basically a bear, but super friendly.
If you go in winter, I suggest getting some hiking cleats. One person in our group had them and she didn’t slip once. At some points during the hike, I felt like I was sliding back more than I was going forward. I was a bit jealous of those cleats.
I did have a pole and I think it made a world of difference. Two poles would have been even better. Also, I am glad I brought two pairs of gloves. They were both needed after we had lunch and started down the mountain.
Overall, I loved this hike. The air is incredibly fresh and crisp and the landscape is breathtaking. I think we took about six hours to do the whole thing (including our lunch break), but more advanced hikers could do it faster. In fact, we saw people running up the mountain. I think they were training for the marathon. If you are coming to the Brasov area and have time for a trip to Zarnesti, you should definitely add this to your list.