Ciucas Mountains, or Masivul Ciucas in Romanian, is one spectacular mountain landscape from the Carpathian Mountains in Romania. It is close to the main mountain resorts and close enough to Bucharest for a day trip. That’s why I want to give you some tips and suggestions for some beautiful hiking trails in Ciucas Mountains, Romania.
I assume you’re into hiking and day trips since you are reading this post. I recommend checking out there two other resources for hiking in Romania:
- Easy hiking near Bucharest: Scropoasa Lake
- The Best Day Trips From Bucharest, Romania
- Hiking In The Breathtaking Bucegi Mountains in Romania
First of all, I have to let you know that this is a rather medium level hike. But if you have the time to take plenty of breaks, anyone could do it.
So how to get to the Ciucas Mountains?
If you plan a hike in the Ciucas Mountains, you’ll need to drive there. Consider renting a car for the day. I recommend checking out Rentalcars.com.
Beautiful hike trail in the Ciucas Mountains to reach Ciucas Peak
The trail I did in Ciucas mountains started from Keia, a facility for bottling water, which is right next to the main road.
Starting point: Keia (45.4937626,25.9174437). You can park the car here, for free.
During the summer, many tourists choose this trail. That’s why this parking place gets crowded, especially during the weekend. I recommend arriving at this point no later than 10 am.
After you put your hiking shoes on, the trail starts from that parking lot and it is marked by a blue cross. It starts off pretty easy, with a walk in the woods. After a while, you will start ascending towards Cabana Ciucas, on a steep, dusty road, built for cars.
I did this hike on a hot day in June 2020 and I had to stops for a few moments every now and then to catch my breath.
Meanwhile, I was envious of those who were in the car, driving up and amazed by those car driving down the mountain. It was my first time hiking in Ciucas Mountains and I had no idea about this dirt road which provided access to cars all the way up to the cabin.
To be completely honest, I was terribly out of shape and that also affected my lack of energy. It was a Saturday, so there were many others on this hike. I even saw a sweet grandma, walking on that steep trail, and she had a cane to help her walk. So the trail is definitely doable by anyone, and I was just spoiled to complain so much.
Arriving at the Ciucas Mountain Cabin(1560 m) felt like a blessing. I was surprised to see there were many city cars parked there. So that steep dirt road isn’t as hard on cars as it was on me.
The cabin was full of tourists having lunch in front of it, on the wooden tables, from within the cabin’s yard.
I and my friends had a taste of our homemade snacks, while my boyfriend went to buy some beer. He got back saying we had no chance to get some food from the cabin’s restaurant because the queue was too long.
That’ why I strongly recommend doing this hike during the week, when the trail isn’t packed with people. The same issues apply to most mountain resorts, roads and trails close to Bucharest, during the hot summer weekends.
From Ciucas Cabin to Ciucas Peak
From Cabana Ciucas, the trail that leads up to Ciucas Peak (Varful Ciucas) is marked by a vertical red line. You can’t miss it, because you’ll see the peak from the cabin, as the highest peak around.
From the cabin, the trail becomes more of a mountain path, and a tad less crowded.
While most people come to this place to conquer the tallest peak around, some are happy with the car ride and a hot soup at the cabin.
At some point, you’ll notice there’s a path going up (red line), for the Ciucas Peak, and another one (red cross), going slightly left, going under the peak.
As I was there on a hot Saturday, and the peak seemed to have a bar on top of it, judging by the enormous queue heading towards it, my group decided to skip Ciucas peak, and just admire it from a distance, while continuing the trail on the left, just under the peak.
From the point of where the two paths cross, it’s another one hour to the peak.
That’s under normal conditions. But when you have a blazing sun to torture you, your legs shaking from the giant stress of hiking up the mountain after 3 months of no exercise, and a top of people going all over the mountain, in the middle of a pandemic, you tend to take the path less travelled. And that’ why we skipped the peak.
Also, my friends were under the impression that will get finish this hike in about 5 hours in total, and the current pace wasn’t going to allow that. I had no idea of their plans. No worries, it wasn’t possible.
Continue after Ciucas Peak
Once you leave Ciucas Peak behind, there’s another path crossing. You’ll have to continue to the left, on the trail marked with the red line.
Congrats, you’re halfway through this beautiful Ciucas mountain trail.
From this point, the trail is straightforward, and there aren’t many chances of getting lost. The path is on Culmea Bratocea (in case you need to find it on the map). Enjoy the beautiful views of Ciucas Mountains, take all the pictures you want and don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated.
It will take around 2 more hours to get to the national road, where you’ll see lots of cars parked. You can get to the peak following this path as well, which is the reversed of what I did. I find this side more beautiful and slightly easier to ascend.
Getting back to the car
From that point on the street, your best bet to get to your car is by following the road, as it descends, for 4 km.
There’s another path through the woods if you don’t want to walk on the street, but I haven’t tried that one, and it lacks any marks.
So this is the beautiful trail in Ciucas mountains, but there are other starting points as well, and it’s up to you on how fast or slow you will get through the trail.
Recommendations for hiking in the Ciucas Mountains
Here’re some tips about hiking in Ciucas Mountains in Romania, to help you better prepare for this hike and have a great time.
- Arrive early at the starting point, preferably before 10 am.
- Wear sunscreen and a sun hat. If you decided to do the exact same trail as I did, then you’ll need to wear protective clothing, a sun hat and sunscreen. There aren’t many shades on this trail.
- Get enough water for 6 hours of hiking. If it’s a hot day, you’ll drink more than usual. I ran out of water 2 hours before I ended my hike, and it made it even harder.
- Have comfortable hiking shoes. I hiked in some old Skechers, and it was ok, but I recommend proper hiking shoes, especially for rainy days.
- Pack enough energy filling snacks.
- Save the trails map on your phone.
- Schedule enough time for this hike, because you’ll make lots of stops for pics. I would say to schedule around 7 hours. It depends on your breaks.
Other hiking trails in Ciucas Mountains
Many hiking trails in Ciucas Mountains start from Cheia, the closest mountain resort. This isn’t too far away from my starting point, but it will take you longer to reach Ciucas Cabin and Ciucas Peak, if that’s your goal.
Also, there’s another peak worth mentioning, Zaganu Peak (Varful Zaganu), which is closer to Cheia and is worth a hike. Zaganu is also the name of a Romanian craft beer, so give it a taste if you have the chance. It’s good.
But there are options for many trails, so here they are.
Cheia – Pasul Bratocea (1267 m) – Muntele Bratocea ( 1780 m) – Ciucaș Peak (1959 m) – Cabana Ciucaș (1550 m). This trail is marked by the blue line and should take around 8 hours to complete.
Cheia – Railway through Valea Berii (Beer Valey) – Valea Berii – Cabana Ciucaș (1550 m) – Vârful Ciucaș (1959 m). This is the same trail I did, but it starts from Cheia, the mountain resort, and it will take around 4 hours or more to reach the peak. The trail is marked by a blue cross.
Cheia – Muntele Balabanul (1209 m) – Cabana Muntele Roșu (1260 m) – Beer Valey (1162 m) – Cabana Ciucaș (1550 m) – Vârful Ciucaș (1959 m). As I told you already. most trails start from Cheia and reach the same peak. It should take around 4 hours to reach the peak from Cheia, but mind that you also have to hike back. This trail is marked by a yellow line.
Cheia – Culmea Buzăianului (1219 m) – Zăganul Peak (1785 m) – Gropșoarele Peak (1882 m) – Culmea Stîncoasă (1730 m) – Cabana Ciucaș (1550 m) – Vârful Ciucaș (1959 m). I recommend this trail if you truly want to see all the peaks in Ciucas Mountains and don’t mind spending the night at one of the mountain cabins or in a tent. The hike to Cabana Ciucas should take around 8 hours and from there another 2 hours or more to reach Ciucas Peak. And then you will have to turn back to Cheia. The trail is marked by a red line.
Mountain Cabins in Ciucas Mountains where you can spend the night or have a meal
Most of the trails I mentioned above are suitable for day trips. However, you can plan for a 2-day mountain adventure, and spend the night at one of the mountain cabins in Ciucas Mountains.
Here’re the Ciucas Mountains where you can spend the night and have a meal:
- Ciucas Chalet
- Cabana Silva din Muntii Ciucas (Silva Chalet) is located next to Cabana Muntele Rosu (this one you can find on the map, but it is closed at the moment)
- Complex Cabana Ciucas, in Cheia.
Watch the vlog from this hiking trail in Ciucas Mountains on YouTube
I hope this post will convince you to include these beautiful hiking trails in Ciucas Mountains in your future mountain-escapade! I wish you great weather, and I hope you’ll come back for more trails in Romania.
If you want to plan a hike in Bucegi Mountains, read more about it in the Bucegi Mountain Hike post, and also check out this Easy Hike you can do on a day trip from Bucharest.