As soon as we arrived in Brasov, Romania, we saw that there was a certain hike that we just had to do. It’s called Canionul Sapte Scari, or the Seven Ladders Canyon on the Piatra Mare Mountain.
When we saw that it was a hike literally up through a Canyon with waterfalls, we couldn’t say no. So, we booked another night in our Airbnb room and prepared ourselves for the day.
We began with packing a backpack with water, a few extra layers and then made our way to the grocery store to pick up some food on the way. Before we went, we had read that there were a few options for hikes to take after the actual 7 ladders part of the hike, but nothing we read was very clear so we weren’t sure exactly how long we would be, so we brought enough for the day.
We walked to the train/bus station and bought 2 tickets for the bus for 8 lei ($2.50) and we were on our way. We got off the bus and followed what we believed was the right way. I should also note here that I do not have a sim card in my phone so it’s pretty useless. We rely on Robins phone while on this Europe trip for last minute searches and things, as he has a sim card that will work in all of Europe…but it seems that Robin wasn’t getting reception in the whole country of Romania. But we managed with a little know-how and asking around.
While walking up the road to begin the hike, we bumped into a man probably in his thirties, wearing tight jeans, a dress shirt and dress shoes, a small water bottle in one hand and a cigarette behind his ear. He was asking us where the 7 Ladders Canyon hike was, so we pointed the way and said we hoped it was that way too since we were going as well. He went ahead while I frantically had to find some tree somewhere to pee behind before the hike. It was about an hour walk to the bottom of the canyon, where the ladders start. At the bottom, you must pay 10 lei per person which is around $3.00CAN or 20kr.
We paid the fee and were told very vaguely to either follow the yellow marked path or the red one depending on what we wanted to do. We started off walking and were really excited to see the canyon! There were a few people by this time walking as well but not so many that it was annoying. We finally made it to the bottom of the canyon and were ready to start!
We started up the ladders and walkways, and it was so amazing. The canyon has 7 waterfalls, and metal ladders and walkways bring us through and above the canyon, with the longest ladder being 15 metres high. It was breathtaking. A little scary in a couple places, but so beautiful. I was thankful that the ladders had recently been replaced, because the photos of the old ladders are pretty scary. We started up slowly while enjoying every moment. Climbing up ladders inside of a limestone canyon, with cold waterfalls cascading around you is a pretty amazing experience.
We stopped a few times to take some photos and enjoy the moments together.
The actual ladders portion of this hike did not take very long, which was a little sad, but we took advantage of the time we had. The temperature was perfect that day. Not too hot, not too cold. The water drops from the waterfalls were just enough to cool you down as you climbed.
We met a few families and couples along the way, but that curious guy in the dress shoes seemed to stick fairly close to us. As we climbed up the last ladder, we knew that we were not done this hike quite yet. We kept walking on the trail until we met a few groups of people who all looked a little confused. We looked up and saw that there were three signs pointing three different directions, three different trails to take. They were in Romanian of course, but our dress shoes friend immediately came to us and we asked him if he was Romanian and if he could read the signs. And lucky us- he was! He explained all three signs and we tried to figure out which which way to go. We decided to take the longer one, the one that takes you to the top to see some beautiful views…but no one else of all the people there were taking that same trail. We decided to go up, and our new friend Dress-Shoes-Dennis decided to tag along.
We walked and walked uphill, so steep in some places. We walked for about 2 hours with Dennis, talking about nothing and everything. Him in his fancy outfit and water bottle, and us decked out in all of our hiking gear.
He wanted to hear all about the Canadian/Norwegian couple who met in Australia and who are living in New Zealand. We wanted to hear all about his thoughts on Romania and also Austria, since he grew up there. We chit chatted and huffed and puffed and walked the whole way to the top without ever seeing another soul. A few times we questioned whether or not we had gone the right way, but the trail was clearly marked, so we just kept following that yellow stripe on the tree the whole way to the top. And when we finally made it there…it was so worth it.
We saw the most beautiful mountains and landscape. We saw Brasov far down below, and we saw the fog coming in through the mountain that we were standing on. We saw a couple farmers and their dogs, herding a mob of sheep and a few donkeys. The first thing I thought was “Imagine farming up here everyday with this view….”
There was a small cabin at the top for hikers to go into, where they could also stay the night if they wanted. We enjoyed the view and drank it all in as much as we could, knowing that we shouldn’t stay long, as some clouds were rolling in.
As soon as we got up there, we knew that we would have to come back to Romania and spend more time here…it is so beautiful. There is so much to see here, so much to experience and so many nice people to meet.
After some pictures were taken and some chocolate was consumed, we made our way down the other trail down to the bottom. Not a very exciting walk, but different from the way up so that was good. It was used as a bit of a road to get supplies up to the cabin, so it wasn’t so steep. There was quite a bit of jack knifing in the road, so some places we just kind of slid right down in between the jack knives rather than walking back and forth. As we finally approached the bottom of the trail, Dennis was just so shocked and glad to be done. He had not planned to walk this far today, but wanted to walk up with us and thought it would be fun. I don’t think he was having much fun by the end, especially when we got to the bus stop and we had to wait an hour for the next bus.
We waited at the bus stop, and Dennis went for a walk to find some cigarettes. We sat down and ate some fruit and talked about the day.
We were so happy that we booked another day in Brasov, because there was just so much that we wanted to do and see. That is the huge upside to travelling the way we decided, not having any flights or trains booked ahead of time so we could be more flexible with our stays!
We eventually got on the bus and Dennis did too, and we took it back to the train station, where we said our goodbyes. We walked straight into the Old Town and indulged in a few beers and a delicious meal.
We made it back to our apartment with full bellies, tired legs, and hearts bursting with happiness and adventure, as another day passed by that we were able to explore another corner of the world together.
-On to the next one.