HIKING TRAILS IN RETEZAT MOUNTAINS
1. Oraşul Uricani (775m) - curmătura Tulişa (1555 m) - dealul Făgeţel (1591 m) - vf. Bilugu Mic (1532 m) - vf. Bilugu Mare (1755 m) - vf. Lazăru (2290m) - vf. Gruniu (2300 m) - vf. Custura (2457 m) - vf. Păpuşa (2500 m) - vf. Peleaga (2509 m) - lacul Bucura (2041 m).
The City of Uricani (775m) - Tulisa anticline (1555 m) - Fagetel hill (1591 m) - Bilugu Mic Peak (1532 m) - Bilugu Mare Peak (1755 m) - Lazaru Peak (2290 m) - Gruniu Peak (2300 m) - Custura Peak (2457 m) - Papusa Peak (2500 m) - Peleaga Peak (2509 m) - lake Bucura (2041 m).
Marking: yellow cross on white background;
Duration: 13 hours;
Degree of difficulty: This route is part of the difficult tourist routes of Retezat Mountains, so it is recommended to advanced hikers, or under the direction of a guide.
Description: the route starts from Uricani northward, from the confluence of the Sterminos Creek with Western Jiu, on the right side of it. After approx. 200 meters from the departure the path crosses a forest road, which we leave after about 1 km on the tourist path in its left, following the yellow cross mark. The path climbs on the land between Sterminosu and Serpoanea reaching to La Iepure saddle. Passing through the woods and across a series of glades, we climb to Dealul Serpilor (Hill of Serpents) (1463 m) that we detour to the right, thus reaching Dealul Serpilor. From here forward, through the forest and along Serpilor crest, we arrive in a large saddle, Tulisa Saddle at 1555 m altitude, under Tulisa Peak (1793 m), finding here the commemorative crosses erected in remembrance of the soldiers that have fallen in the battles fought in these places in World War I. From the saddle, turning to the West, we climb up to Fagetel (1591 m) and descend then to Fagetel saddle (1390 m).
From this point on an exhausting climbing starts through the forest and mountain pine on Mount Bilugu Mic (1532 m) and through the forest, we continue the path to Bilugu Mare Peak (1755). From here we descend into a small saddle and detour Sohodol Peak (1900 m), the path climbing then on Custura Vacarei, the NE edge of Vacarea Peak (2284 m) the first peak of over 2000 m on the route.
From here our route passes through the main crest, the path crossing either to the Southern face or to the crest, passing through a range of saddles and reaching some of the mountain peaks of the crest: Lazaru Peak (2290 m), Gruniu Peak (2300 m) and Ciumfu Peak (2335 m). In the saddle between Ciumfu Mare Peak and Valea Mare Peak (2614 m), the crest curves powerfully and the path leaves the sheep herd path. From here, our path climbs up to a glen to Valea Mare Peak. Next, we will climb and descend another series of small peaks and saddles, true stone steps, the crest road ending under Custura Peak (2457 m). Custura Peak gives us an excellent panoramic view over the Southern branch of Retezat, the landscape being completed to the South by the crests of Mountains Valcan and to the East by Parang Massif. From beneath Custura Peak, we turn right and soon reach Custurii Window (2255 m). From here on, our route (yellow cross) passes through the sharp crest which, starting from Custura Peak, arrives to Papusa Mica Peak (2376 m) and Papusa Mare Peak (2508 m), thus connecting the two main peaks of Retezat Mountains. On this portion thereof, Custura Papusii exhibits road accidents that make it accessible only to advanced hikers.
From here the path descends in the deep saddle between the two major peaks of Retezat, Peleaga Saddle (2285m), and climbs on Peleaga Peak (2509 m), the dean of elevation of Retezat Mountains. Being isolated from the other peaks of the massif, Peleaga Peak offers us the opportunity to admire the heart of Retezat in all the splendor of its greatness.
To the North, the glacial valley of Valea Rea (the Valley of Evil) deepens the vast path the bottom of which, beneath us, sunburned, the tarns of Valea Rea (the Valley of Evil) shine. In the background, far in the distance you can see the wonderful valley of Hateg. Pietrele Peak, with Pietrele Peak (2231 m) stands guard in the left of Zanoaga. Beyond Pietrele valley, Stanisoara crest covers the foothills of Retezat crest, however leaving uncovered Retezat Peak (2485 m altitude), which, here, appears sharp and not cut as a falchion. You would think that, straining terribly, the dragon has clipped the quiff of Bucura, whose peak (2439 m) can be seen from here, beveled. The neighbor of Bucura, Judele Peak (2400 m) lies in the eastern end of Barlea Mountains, and to the SE Slaveiul crest watches, high and mighty, over Lapusnicul Mare Valley, hailing, over it, with Dragsanu crest.
To the SW, Custura Peak (2457 m) can be seen, a guard that lines up, in a chain, toward the sunrise up to Tulisa. To the NE, from Papusa Peak, dotted about like the fingers of a hand, the crests of Valea Rea (Valley of Evil), Galesu, Varfu Mare and Vasielu, Picioru Lancita string down the valley.
To the West, 500 meters beneath us, the huge glacial valley of Bucura reveals to us in full grandeur. On the bottom of the valley, to its North-Eastern pocket, Lake Bucura sparkles in the sunlight, surpassing in size and pictoresqueness the whole necklace of lakes located on the other side of Zanoaga. At 2208 m above sea level, Bucura valley receives the waters of one of Enjoy the highest alpine lakes in the Romanian Carpathians, Lake Agatat (the Hanging Lake). Above, at 2240 m altitude, under the Western tilts of Bucura Peak, the glowing mirror of Taul Portii shines beneath the sun. Irregularly shaped, at 2080 meters altitude, you can see Lake Florica. Very irregular in shape, Lake Viorica (2070 m) follows downstream, with three satellites, three small unnamed Lakes. The right strain of Bucura Valley, after draining through Lake Ana (1979 m), ends with Lake Lia (1910 m), as well as the left strain of the valley, descending here from Lake Bucura. From Lake Lia, bundling together the two threads of water into one, Bucura Valley descends quickly to Gura Bucurei (1587 m) where, joining their waters with Peleaga stream, gives rise to Lapusnicul Mare.
Detaching hardly from the spell of the landscape that the layover on Peleaga Peak offers us, the descending road to Lake Bucura passes through Cascada Berbecilor (Waterfall of Rams) to catch the thread of the creek descending gently to Lake Bucura, the final point of this route to the North-Eastern corner of Lake Bucura, ending then in the area through which the lake is voided. The descent from Peleaga Peak is difficult both as effort and guidance (almost deleted marking, creating problems for finding the trail).
2. Oraşul Uricani (720 m) - Şaua Tulişa (1555 m) - dealul Făgeţel (1589 m) - vf. Bilugu Mic (1463 m) - vf. Bilugu Mare (1764 m) - vf. Văcărea - vf. Lazaru(2282 m) - vf. Gruniu (2294 m) - vf. Custura (2457 m) - Şaua Plaiului Mic (1879 m) - vf. Drăgşanu (2080 m) - sub vf. Albele (2013 m) - Piatra Iorgovanului (2014 m) - Şaua Paltina (1935 m) - vf. Galbena (2194 m) - culmea Munţilor Godeanu - Băile Herculane. Este traseu de legatură.
The City of Uricani (720 m) – Tulisa Saddle (1555 m) - Fagetel hill (1589 m) - Pilugu Mic Peak (1463 m) - Pilugu Mare Peak (1764 m) - Lazaru Peak (2282 m) - Gruniu Peak (2294 m) - Custura Peak (2457 m) - Plaiul Mic Saddle (1879 m) - Dragsanu Peak (2080 m) - under Albele Peak (2013 m) – Piatra Iorgovanului (Iorgovanu Stone) (2014 m) - Paltina Saddle (1935 m) - Galbena Peak (2194 m) - Godeanu Mountain crest - Baile Herculane. It is a connection trail.
Marking: red strip;
Walking time: 12 - 14 hours, until Piatra Iorgovanului; from here forward, up to Baile Herculane, about 2 days.
Degree of difficulty: High;
Description: It is a tourist route that crosses the Eastern massif to the West on the Southern main ridge. As starting point, the City of Uricani up to Tulisa Saddle, it follows the yellow cross on white background mark, also having here the red strip on white background mark. The route is shared with the route described in section 1 to Custura Peak (2457 m). Here, the two routes split up, and our route turn left to Plaiul Mic Saddle where it meets the trail marked with blue strip coming from Ohaba from beneath Piatra (the Stone) through Poiana Pelegii (Peleaga Glade) to Campu lui Neag neat Buta Chalet. The trail keeps following Dragsanu crest, bypasses through the left Albele Peal (2013 m) and reaches Piatra Iorgovanului (2014 m). Here it crosses the path marked with red triangle coming from Campu lui Neag through Campusel. The two routes share a common segment until Paltina Saddle (1935 m). Here the trail marked with red triangle turns right to Berhina Meadow and our route follows the crest line reaching Paltina Peak (2149 m), Scurtu Peak (2090 m) up to Galbena Peak (2194 m). Here it crosses the unmarked path that goes to the right towards Borascu platform. The route continues on the crest passing over Micusa Peak (2162 m), passes to the left of Scarisoara Peak (2210 m), Bulzului Peak (2245 m) continuing to Godeanu Peak.
Marking: red cross;
Duration: 8.5 hours;
Degree of difficulty: medium;
Description: one of the tourist trails that provide access to Retezat Mountains offering the possibility of arriving at the heart of the Massif and viewing of both branches, both the Northern and the Southern one is the route: Cheile Butii –Buta Chalet – Plaiul Mic Saddle – Peleaga Glade – Lake Bucura. The route is one of medium difficulty, recommended especially in summer, accessible to all categories of tourists. It can be completed in a single step, assuming a more intense effort, with duration of approx. 8.5-9 hours depending on physical preparation and duration of the rest breaks or photo session, or in several stages, with the possibility of accommodation in cottage or tent, in places specially designed for that purpose.
The route may be approached in two ways: either from the back of the complex, the departure being on a path that climbs in tight serpentines and follows the blue stripe marking until the junction with the forest road which climbs to Buta chalet, or from the intersection of the forest road Lazarul with DN66A, following the red cross mark. Starting from an altitude of about 900 m in 4-4.5 hours we can get to Buta chalet at an altitude of 1580 m. Up near the chalet, the tourist climbs along the forest road lined in both sides by mighty beech trees, and as we climb they leave the place to towering firs. All the way to the chalet he tourists are watched over by the heights of Piule-Plesa Massif, and here and there the channels dug into the rock by Buta River are revealed to them.
After reaching this point, the ascent continues and after about 50 minutes we reach Plaiul Mic Saddle (1879 m), crossroad place of the tourist trails of the massif, Buta, Bucura, Iorgovanu, Custura roads meeting here. If at the ascent we admired beautiful views, now our attention is captured by the great chiseling of Bucura Valley, framed by the giant crest of Slavei and the lacery of Peleaga. From this point we can say that we are in the heart of Retezat. The route continues to Peleaga Glade following the red cross mark, passing near the two small alpine lakes, Lake Papusa (1855 m) descending among bushes of mountain pines and junipers, meeting here and there small springs that allow us to soothe out thirst, we arrive at the place where, the meeting of the streams Bucura and Peleaga, Lapusnicu Mare River ("La Scortar"-1587 m) takes birth. From here forward, an uphill ascent on the high shores of the valley takes us to Peleaga Glade. Having a large area and sufficient sources, the glade offers a very good campsite, with the possibility of excursions to Bucura and Slaveiu circuits, as well as to Peleaga. From the glade, we continue our path via the path marked with a red cross, through the woods.
Here and there, the shadow of the forest is interrupted by glades and openings. Along the vastest of them, scattered marking pillars ease us the orientation during fog. Later, the path goes above the valley the bottom from which we can hear how, without distress, Bucura stream babels its waters. Further, we enter in the area of mountain pine passing, one after another, by two alpine streams. At the last of these, we turn slightly to the right between mountain pines, climbing at the top thereof. After the first backfall, we reach the threshold of one of the terraces of the valley. Yet another backfall and then, on the second glacial terrace, we come across a marking pole with an arrow ("to Buta chalet, through Gura Bucurei, 3 1/2 hours").
From here you can see Lake Bucura, turning a bit slightly to the left, going down along the slope filled with grass. After two hours from crossing near Gura Bucurei, we arrive at the bank of Lake Bucura (2041 m), at the point where its waters flow into Lake Lia.
Marking: yellow stripe on white background;
Walking time: 8-9 hours;
Degree of difficulty: medium, level difference 1400 m;
Description: the route begins from Cheile Buţii, being a circuit route. It starts from Cheile Butii on the car access road to the intersection with DN66A. Here we turn right and after about 1 km, we cross the Western Jiu on an iron bridge (used for pluviometric station). From here the marking is visible and follows Plesa creek, ascending to Dalma Mare. Here it is the necessary to supply with water, since the route up to Buta chalet there is no source of water. The route meets in the last glade of Dalma Mare a recently built monastery. From here the route climbs steeply through the forest on a sinuous path, reaching the Alpine voidness in the right of the sheep cot in Plesa. It crosses the Alpine voidness on the top of it, passing through the woods through a cluster of spruce trees (about 200 m) and exits again in the Alpine voidness following the field ascending to Plesa Peak (1840). From here the path is easy to follow because it follows the crest line up to Piule Peak (2081). From the peak the crest is divided into two regions: the left one descends to Campu Mielului, and the one on the right descends our path up to Scorota Saddle, where it intersects the route marked with a yellow dot that climbs from Scorota Valley. From this point the routes overlap and descend along to Buta Mica Valley. From here the trail passes through a spruce grove following the level curve, thus reaching the top of the sheep cot in Buta. Here one can see Buta chalet which can be reached in about 10 minutes.
Marking: red triangle on white background;
Duration: 8 hours;
Description: it is a tourist route that connects the Western Jiu Valley and Lapusnicu Mare Valley, through Retezatul Mic.
The route departs from Campu lui Neag following the modernized road built parallel to the Western Jiu. In Gura Butei it leaves on the right the blue stripe marking to Cheile Butii and follows the road up the Cheile Scocului.
From the channels, the road continues towards Campu Mielului, leaves on the right the path marked with a yellow dot to Cheile and continues to Campusel (1180 m). Here our route leaves the road and turns right on Scocul Iarului. Our trail ascends at first through the forest, following the crest line reaching to Piatra Iorgovanului Massif (2014 m) in the Southern part. Our route then meets the crest route marked with red stripe that comes from Uricani via Plaiul Mic Saddle and goes to Godeanu Peak.
The two routes share a common portion until Paltina Saddle (1935 m), after which our route turns right and descends Paltina Valley to Lapusnicu Valley in the place called Berhina Meadow. Here, our route crosses the path marked with a blue dot that comes from the locality of Brazi at Gura Zlata chalet and goes to Peleaga Saddle and the path marked with yellow dot to Bucura Lake atop Slaveiu crest.
Marking: yellow dot on white background;
Walking time: 4 - 5 hours;
Degree of difficulty: medium, the level difference being the of 740 m;
Description: the route leaves from DN66A and ascends on Scorota Valley. The path follows the bare strain of the valley climbing slowly, after about 30 minutes we reach a place called La Cutoni. Here the valley splits in two, to the left Scorota Seaca Valley, and to the right Scorota cu Apa, our route climbing on the latter. The path climbs up through the forest and after about 30 minutes it reaches face to face with the Swift side, almost to the exit from the woods. From here the slope is accentuated, the path leading to the sheep cot of Scorota, where the Valley opens offering splendid views. Immediately after the sheep cot, the path turns right, passes through Scorota creek and begins to climb to Scorota Saddle (1920 m), under the steep walls of Dragsanu, called Moara Dracilor (the Devils' Mill). From the saddle we can admire the peaks of the central part of the Massif. Here we intersect the path marked with the yellow stripe coming from Piule-Paiva, from this point the routes being common up to Buta chalet.
HIKING TRAILS IN VALCAN MOUNTAINS
Câmpu lui Neag (intersection of DJ 685C with DN66A, near Valea de Pesti (Valley of Fish) dam) - Valea de Pesti (Valley of Fish) - Saua Căzută (the Fallen Saddle) - Bucium - Sohodol - Cheile Sohodolului – the Commune of Runcu.
Marking: red triangle;
Walking time: 9 - 10 hours in the summer, 11 - 13 hours in the winter;
Track: hard accessible during winter.
Marking: blue triangle (former red triangle);
Walking time: 9 - 10 hours;
Route: not recommended in winter.
Marking: red triangle;
Walking time: 11 - 12 hours;
Route: not recommended in winter.
Marking: blue dot, red stripe, red triangle;
Walking time: 10 - 11 hours;
Route: not recommended in winter.
Mark: red triangle at the junction of Arcanu forest road to Valea de Pesti (Valley of Fish) motel;
Walking time: 2 hours;
Route: can be practiced all year round.
Marking: red triangle Valea de Pesti (Valley of Fish) motel - Dalma Cazuta Saddle; red stripe: Dalma Cazuta Saddle - Prislop Saddle;
Walking time: 10 - hours;
Route: can be practiced all year round.