Touristik Label - 315MN01: Piatra Fântânele-Vf.Pietrosul-Secu (DJ 174A)

Trail 1 (Red stripe) is the main ridge trail of the Calimani Mountains, providing charming views from the lookout points and crossing no less than 64 km across four counties: Bistrita-Nasaud, Mures, Suceava and Harghita.
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Trail Details

Difficulty
hard
Distance
64,58km
Duration
24:00-32:00h
Ascent
2814m
Descent
2951m
Peak
2059m

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Directions

The red stripe trail is the main ridge trail of the Calimani Mountains, totaling 64 km and crossing all four counties on which the Calimani stretch, namely Bistrita-Nasaud, Mures, Suceava and Harghita. The starting point is in Tihuta Pass, namely the villlage of Piatra Fantanele, at an elevation of approx. 1100 m. The first part of the trail is on a paved communal road leading to the village of Dornisoara. At km 3, turn right and enter the forest on a tractor road. From here and up close to Ratitis Peak, on a length of approx. 42 km, the ridge trail almost entirely overlaps with Maria Theresia road, a road of historical resonance, built a few hundred years ago for military purposes. From here, the tractor road alternates with paths winding through the forest until the first demanding climb to Buba Peak (1670 m). Next, there is a descent through Terha Meadow to Terha Saddle, where there is a sheepfold and a water source. In the saddle, the trail intersects trail 2 (red triangle) that comes from Mita village along Izvorul Lung River. Climb to Viisorul Mountain, to an elevation of 1810 m. While climbing, meet trail 3 (red triangle), which also comes from Mita village, but through Dalbidan Meadow. The path climbs through dwarf pines and reaches Struniorul Peak 1963 m (incorrectly marked as Stracior Peak). After 500 m, reach Bistriciorul secondary ridge, where the trail deviates for approx. 600 m to reach Bistricioru Peak (1990 m). You have been walking for approx. 18 km and climbed 1400 m. (There is a possibility of an overnight stay if you descend on trail 4 – blue triangle – that comes from Mita village along Colbul Valley. This deviation takes about 30 minutes and descends about 380 m below Bistricioru Peak where there is a mountain hut and water source). The trail turns towards Bistriciorul secondary ridge and continues along the contour line (slightly downhill), on the path between dwarf pines, below Stranioru Peak, to Tihului Saddle. This is where it meets trail 18 (blue cross) that climbs along the Mures Valley, from Rostolita. From here, there is a 2 km climb, at the end of which there is a small meadow with a water source and a camping spot (1-2 tents). The trail then follows a path on the contour line, between dwarf pines, passing below Rustei and Grui peaks, where it meets trail 25 (yellow cross), which also comes from Mures Valley, namely from Lunca Bradului. Next, climb the highest peak in Calimani, Pietrosul Peak, at an elevation of 2100 m, followed by a slight descent to Negoiul Unguresc Peak. Then, a steep and dangerous descent on debris takes you down to Negoiul Saddle (1712 m). Here, you can find a water source and a camping spot (1-2 tents), as well as the intersection with trail 27 (blue cross) that also climbs from Lunca Bradului. It is also where it meets and runs along trail 43 (red dot) that comes from Neagra Sarului. The ridge trail continues and crosses the road that comes from Calimani Exploitation (suspended activity for many years) and Gura Haitii. Then climb up a path between dwarf pines below Pietricelu Peak to Nicovala Saddle (1910 m). This is the intersection with trail 29 (red cross) and trail 44 (blue triangle). After another 20-30 minutes, reach Ratitis Peak, at an elevation of 2021 m, with a Weather Station and the fourth and last accommodation / camping possibility along the ridge trail, at Roza Vanturilor Hut that shares the same yard with the Weather Station. Up to this point, the trail ran for 38 km and climbed 2600 m. There is a long (29 km) descent (with several short climbs). After the first 6 km reach Voievodesei Saddle where the ridge trail splits from trail 43 (red dot) and turns right. (WARNING – this is the intersection with trail 41 (red stripe) that climbs from Paltinis). From here, descend steeply to the right, towards Voievodesei Spring and get to the intersection with trail 40 (blue stripe). The two markings, red stripe and blue stripe, run together and cross Steja and Toplicioara meadows, but also forested areas until they reach La Mori Peak (1379 m), where the blue stripe descends to the village of Bilbor and the red stripe continues for another 11 km zigzagging through small forests and meadows up to 174A asphalt road between Bilbor and Secu.

Stages

Piatra Fântânele-Vf.Străniorul-Vf.Bistricioru-Vf.Pietrosul-Vf.Negoiul Unguresc-Vf.Răţitiş-Secu (DJ 174A)

Description

Trail 1 (Red stripe) is the main ridge trail of the Calimani Mountains, climbing to the alpine area, from where it follows the Maria Theresa historic road, crossing a series of peaks measuring over 1800 m in height and then climbing to the Pietrosu Calimani-Negoiu Unguresc-Retitis section, its elevations over 2000 m. This is a long demanding trail, an elevation difference of over 2800 m, to be hiked over 3-4 days.

The trail starts in Piatra Fantanele village, follows the communal road toward Dornisoara village, then turns right, goes into the mixed forest and reaches the Maria Theresa road, which was built for military purposes a few hundreds of years ago. This approximately 3-hour section winds through forests and meadows (hosting wild boars), then climbs the Buba Peak slopes steeply (1670 m) to further descend toward Terha Saddle, where there is a water source.

On the second day, you enter Calimani National Park, climbing Mount Viisorul and continuing through the dwarf pine area of Struniorul Peak (1963 m) to reach the secondary ridge of Bistriciorul Peak, from where you can follow an alternative route to reach Bistriciorul Peak (1990 m). Your efforts are fully rewarded by the view toward Colibita Lake to one side and Pietrosu Calimani Peak (2100 m) to the other. If necessary, you can descend (via trail 4 – blue triangle) from the peak to the cirque hosting Bistriciorul Mountain Rescue Hut and a spring, which is situated within 200 m upstream of the mountain hut. The mountain hut features an inside stove and can accommodate 5-6 people.

Returning to Bistriciorul Saddle, you continue in a slight descent below Stracioru Peak (1875 m), between dwarf pine, rhododendron, cranberries, bog bilberries and juniper areas, to reach Curmatura Tihului within approximately 3 hours. A spruce and dwarf pine clearing section follows and then you reach below Rusca and Grui Peak, which is known locally due to the events that occurred during World War I. In fact, the Calimani Massif was a front line in its entirety. It is said that a shepherd discovered the bones of numerous soldiers while shepherding his sheep in its proximity, marked the spot and then built a memorial in their honor (access to trail 26 – blue stripe). A service is held on Whit Sunday every year.

From Grui Peak, you continue through the dwarf pine area, climbing for approximately 2 hours before you reach Pietrosu Calimani Peak (2103 m), the tallest of the Calimani Mountains, where beautiful views open up in both directions. The next section passes Negoiul Unguresc Peak (2081 m) and then descends steeply (even hazardously) to Negoiu Saddle along the scree. Here, a water source can be found and hikers can camp (1-2 tents). Here, you are joined by the red dot marking (loop trail 43) to reach the intersection with the (sulfur) open pit road in the Calimani exploitation area and turn toward Nicovala Saddle below Pietricelu Peak. Within another 20-30 minutes, you reach Retitis Peak (2021 m), where the weather station and Roza Vanturilor Hut are located (accommodation and camping available).

The 38 km climb to this point is followed by a 29 km long descent (a camping site available within Iezerul Calimani Reserve), as you turn right toward Voievodeasa Saddle and descend steeply toward the Voievodeasa Spring, Steja Meadow and farther on to the forested La Mori Peak (1379 m). From here, you continue through groves and meadows to reach the paved Bilbor-Secu road, which provides an overall view over the Bilbor Depression.

Observations

Restricted / not recommended in winter.

Weather

Best Seasons

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

People who contributed

 

Piatra Fântânele-Vf.Pietrosul-Secu (DJ 174A) in Suceava, Bistriţa-Năsăud, Harghita, Mureş, Călimani is a hard hiking trail.
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