MTB routes in Piatra Craiului National Park

1. Zarnesti – Plaiul Foii Chalet - blue colours on the arrow keys          download gpx

An easy ride, 12 kms long, with spectacular views over the steep north-western side of Piatra Craiului, which is wrinkled by numerous torrential valleys called „padine”, characteristic to this limestone mountain. The route is partially asphalted (only 5 kms for now), but there is an ongoing project to asphalt the whole road to Plaiul Foii. From the Touristic Information Center of Zarnesti, situated in the center of the town, follow the sign for Plaiul Foii which leads us out of the town on Barsa Mare Valley. After aproximately 2 km, on the right side, there are the headquarters of Piatra Craiului National Park Administration which shelter also the Visitors Center where you can find information about the tourist attractions and the regulations of the protected area. Further on, the road passes by Crapatura Valley and the junction with Coltii Chiliilor Hermitage road, situated on the left side. At 6.5 km our route meets a first tributary of Barsa Mare stream - Barsa Fierului - , and after another 4 kms we reach Gura Barsei where Barsa lui Bucur, another tributary, flows into Barsa Mare. From this point the forestry road leads us to the left, along the water course. Soon we reach the end of the route, Plaiul Foii Chalet, situated at the jonction of Barsa Grosetului and Barsa Tamasului, the point where Barsa Mare starts. Close to the chalet there is a Mountain Rescue surveillance and first aid point.

2. Zarnesti – Coltii Chiliilor - black colours on the arrow keys       download gpx

Difficult ride, suitable only for experienced riders because there are single trail sections on narrow paths, with tree roots and boulders. The initial section is the same with route no. 1, but after just 1 km turns left on the touristic trail marked with blue band that leads to Coltii Chiliilor Hermitage. This junction is sign-posted. The cart road goes through arable land, then climbs shortly the terraces from the foot of Piatra Mica northern side („Sub Barc”). Further on the road follows the contour line, going through the hay meadows, mowed by the locals during the summer, and becomes a narrow path with roots and boulders that would test the technical skills of the riders. After traversing Crapatura Valley, the path will join the forestry road that climbs straight from Barsa Valley (the one that will follow at the way back) and won’t challenge the riders until the end. The descent on the forestry road could be tricky if it rains. At Coltii Chiliilor there is a spring, necesarry to replenish the water supplies.

3. Zarnesti – Bran Castle - blue colours on the arrow keys          download gpx

Easy ride that connects Zarnesti to Bran. From the Touristic Information Center of Zarnesti, situated in the center of the town, follow the road signs for Brasov for several hundreds of meters, then turn right at a way sign for Bran. Traverse Caraiman neighbourhood with blocks of flats, then go straight ahead on Soseaua Branului. After the last houses the asphalt ends and a gravel road starts to climb to Tohanita. We can admire from the saddle Saua Magurii, Piatra Mica and Zarnesti town. Soon we reach the first houses of Tohanita and also the asphalted road where the climb ends. We are heading now to Bucegi mountains, with Magura Branului on the right side, that once sheltered the old frontier line between Habsburg Empire and Wallachia and the custom office from Bran. From Predelut a swift descent leads us to a park, just in front of Bran Castle, the summer residence of Queen Mary of Romania. In the park there is a water source, but there are many refreshments  available in Bran.

4. Zarnesti – Prapastii – La Table – Saua Joaca – Pestera – Magura – Zarnesti - red colours on the arrow keys           download gpx

A medium ride with spectacular view. The route is the same with route no. 9 (to Curmatura Chalet) until the exit of the gorges. After a winding section we leave the way to Curmatura and turn left to Vladusca glade and La Table. After a short descent we continue to climb until the end of the forestry road. From here it starts a marked trail that goes through the forest and Vladusca clearing to La Table, a junction for several touristic trails. Close to this point there is a spring. Turn left on a tractor road, a steep ascent leading to Joaca saddle. The descent to Pestera village is very rocky and you should pay attention to avoid falling off the bike. Just before Casa Folea, the touristic trail descends to Magura village, at the foot of Toanches ridge. From here the road winds on Coturile Magurii, descending to Botorog spring, and the loop ends.

5. Zarnesti – Prapastii – La Table – Dambovicioara – Ciocanu – Sirnea - Pestera – Magura – Zarnesti - black colours on the map - black colours on the arrow keys          download gpx

Difficult ride because of the elevation gain. The route is the same with route no. 4 until La Table, from where it goes to Grind and descends to Brusturet on a rocky road through Valea Seaca a Pietrelor. Close to La Table there is a spring, necessary for rehydration and replenishment of the water supplies. From Brusturet Cabin a forestry road descends to Dambovicioara, going through the spectacular Brusturet gorges. Soon we reach Dambovicioara Cave, one of the main attractions of the area, visited from the XVIII Century. After visiting the cave, we continue the descent to a junction where a steep climb on asphalt leads up to Ciocanu village. The asphalt ends at the entrance to Brasov county and a gravel road goes down to Sirnea. We turn left at the center of the village and soon we join the route no. 6 that is the same from here to Zarnesti.

6. Zarnesti – Prapastii – La Table – Curmatura Groapelor – Sirnea –Pestera – Magura – Zarnesti - red colours on the arrow keys          download gpx

A medium ride on a varied route. The route is the same with route no. 4 until Joaca Saddle, where it turns right and goes through a clearing, then it descends on a tractor road to the gravel road that climbs to Curmatura Groapelor, situated on the old border line between Romania and Austro-Hungarian Empire. From this point you have a splendid view over the traditional villages and Bucegi mountains. The descent to Sirnea village on Fruntes road is very rocky and you have to pay attention to avoid injuries. Turn left at the end of the road and open a gate that limits the cattle’s acces. After another downhill section, a short, but very steep climb leads to the asphalted road that connects the villages of Moieciu and Sirnea. On the short climb, on the right side, there is a spring that could help for replenishment of the water supplies. From the top of the asphalted road, the route descends to Magura village, then to Botorog spring and finally to Zarnesti, completing a very complex ride.

7. Zarnesti – Magura –Pestera – Moieciu de Jos - Magura – Zarnesti - red colours on the arrow keys         download gpx

Medium ride. The route is the same with route no. 8 until the junction with Valea cu Calea, from where it goes straight ahead through Magura village, up to the top of Prapastii gorges. After a short descent, another tough climb ends up in Pestera village where it joins the asphalted road. You can admire from the saddle the traditional architecture of the mountain village and the meadows filled with flowers, mowed by the locals during the summer, in the backdrop of the impressive western side of Bucegi and eastern side of Piatra Craiului mountains. From Pestera it starts a fast descent to Moieciu, so a safe approach it’s recommended because of the hairpin curves and the high speed you could reach. There is also quite a lot of traffic, especially in weekends. In the same area there is the Bat Cave, that gave the name of the village. At the end of the descent, we’ll soon join the route no. 4, that we will follow to the end.

8. Zarnesti – Magura – Valea cu Calea – Magura – Zarnesti - red colours on the arrow keys         download gpx

Trail with an average difficulty level, where the short lenght of the tour is compensated by the elevation. Up to “Podul Magurii” the trail is similar with the one described at number 4. From here we turn left and ascend on a curvy road towards Magura village. After approximately 3 kilometers the climbing will end with the arrival into a forest. During a short descend we can admire the traditional architecture of the mountain village and the steeply side of Bucegi mountains. We will turn left and cross the village up to “Vaii cu Calea”, where an indicator on the left side will guide us to a spectacular descend toward Moeciu de Jos. The trail will test the technical abilities of the bikers due to steeply slopes and deep ravens carved by heavy rains. A few water crossings enriched with puddles will follow. As we reach the end of the valley we turn left and follow the asphalt road to the junction point with Pescarului Valley, where an informational board is placed. From this point on we will ride on a gravel road towards Magura village, having the chance to admire beautiful landscapes. After the final upward riding our loop ends and we can ride down to ZarneČ™ti.  

9. Zarnesti – Prapastii – Cabana Curmatura – Zarnesti - black colours on the arrow keys          download gpx

Difficult trail due to the elevation. From the information point, located in the center of Zarnesti, we follow the indicators toward Magura and Prapastiile Zarnestiului. As we reach Gura Raului Chalet the asphalt road will end. After a short ascend we cross a former stone quarry and in a short while we will spot a camping area. Not far from here we can fill up our bottles at Botorog spring, on the right side of the road. From here, we continue ahead towards Zarnesti gorges. Verysoon we will notice that the vehicle access is limited by a barrier. From this point on, the road gradually ascends through the calcareous walls, which are home to numerous chamois. After a section of winding rocky road, at the end of the gorges, we will leave behind us, on the left side, the road towards Vladusca. We will continue with a short ascend and then turn right towards Curmatura Hut. Two steep sections, named by the locals “Panta Mare” and “Panta Mica”, will represent a challenge for bikers with climbing abilities. Near Curmatura Hut there are two streams from where we can refill the bottles. From here, a long descend toward Zarnesti on the same route will represent a reward for all the physical effort made up to this point.

10. Dambovicioara – Podu Dambovitei – Satic – Cabana Garofita Pietrei Craiului - blue colours on the arrow keys   download gpx

An easy trail recommended for all bikers. From the junction with the road towards Ciocanu village we follow the asphalt road along DambovicioaraValley, crossing a spectacular gorge area, and we arrive in Podu Dambovitei. From here we turn right on the National Road towards Pitesti, and after a few hundred meters we turn right again towards Satic - Dambovita Valley, where a forest road starts. We pass the Dambovita gorges, then we will see the first houses from Saticvillage, then we see a dam and an artificial lake on the right and we continue our road along DambovitaRiver till the intersection with “ Valea Dragoslovenilor ”, where we cross a bridge on the right, and then we turn left. The vehicles access is limited by a barrier and our way going upwards to Garofita Pietrei Craiului Hut becomes steeperand we can observe signs of wildlife existence.

At the Hut we can admire the steep calcareous walls, extremely attractive for photographers, when the Sun sets. A walking hike to “Marele Grohotis” and “Cerdacul Stanciului” can complete this tour, giving us the opportunity to spot flocks of chamois and to discover the rich flora of Piatra Craiului.

11. Dambovicioara – Podu Dambovitei – Valea Cheii – Fundatica – Fundata – Sirnea – Ciocanu – Dambovicioara - red colours on the arrow keys         download gpx

Trail with an average difficulty level. The starting point of the trail is similar with trail number 10 until it reaches Podu Dambovitei. From this point it follows the European road on a few hundred meters towards Brasov, and then turns right entering again in Piatra Craiului National Park. After we ride through a gorge, the trail crosses „Valea Cheii” on a forest road, and then starts ascending to Fundata. The indicators will guide us at the intersections and after a gradual ascend we arrive in Fundata, where the asphalt road will start again. At the intersection with the European road we will turn left towards Rucar,but after just a few hundred meters we will turn right to Sirnea,following a horse cart road. Soon we will reach a recently asphalted road what will lead us into the locality’s center. The last gravel road from our tour ascends to Ciocanu village, where we meet again the asphalt road. A quick descend will lead us back to Dambovicioara, representing the starting point and also the end of our loop trail.