Ceahlău Massif

Ceahlău Massif

Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 46.95439°N / 25.94531°E
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 6257 ft / 1907 m
Sign the Climber's Log

LukZem Video



Ocolaşul Mare (1907m)
Ocolaşul Mare at 1907m

Masivul Ceahlău (Romanian)

Csalhó (Hungarian)

Also nicknamed the Olympos of Moldova, the Ceahlău Massif is one of the most spectacular mountain units in the Eastern Carpathians. In the northwest, the Ceahlău is separated from the Bistriţa Mountains by the Bistricioara River. In the southwest, the valley of the Bistra Mare separates the massif from the Haşmaş Mountains, while to the southeast rise the Ţarcău Mountains. The eastern boundary is the shore of a large reservoir on the Bistriţa River (Lacul Bicaz, also known as Izvorul Muntelui), beyond which sit the Stânişoara Mountains.

The Ceahlău Massif
SE face of the Ceahlău Massif - the lower cliffs

The rocks of the Ceahlău were folded in such a way that the axes of the folds run north to south, and so does the main ridge. The highest, central part of the massif presents a plateau, which has been raised to 1800-1900 m and is about 5 km long and up to 1 km wide (in its central part). It resembles a suspended trough culminating in two highest summits: Ocolaşul Mare (1907 m) in the south and pyramid-shaped Toaca (1900 m), with a weather station on its top, at the plateau's north end. Ocolaşul Mare is surrounded by cliffs from three sides, except from the north. About 1 km south and east of Ocolaşul Mare extend lower bands of cliff, which are in fact taller and no less impressive than the cliffs marking the lofty edges of the central plateau. The cliffy walls of the Ceahlău contain a couple of characteristic ledges, marked by belts of coniferous trees that have managed to take roots there, Poliţa cu crini with its 30 m tall larches being a case in point.

The ledge with larches (1494m)
Poliţa cu Crini
Tumbling falls
Cascada Duruitoarea
Cuşma Dorobanţului - Ceahlău mountains
Cuşma Dorobanţului by andreeacorodeanu


The rock material building the Ceahlău is mostly conglomerate and limestone, so it is no wonder that the mountains resemble both the Bucegi Mountains, with their picturesque, towering cliffs, and the Ciucaş range, with its impressive towers and spires. The most emblematic rock tower of the Ceahlău is Panaghia, steeped in legend, like the other unusual rock formations in the massif.

Apart from the crags, the Ceahlău Massif also boasts one of the most picturesque waterfalls in Romania, called Cascada Duruitoarea (Dörgö-vízesés in Hungarian). This monument of nature is about 25 m tall. The fall of water is divided into two tiers by a threshold. The height of the upper part is approximately 20 m, while the lower part measures about 5 m. There are wooden ladders enabling access over the exposed sections.

The table below lists the highest as well as some other conspicuous summits and rock formations.

Elevation in Meters
A few words about
Ocolaşul Mare
Doric column
The highest point of the Ceahlau's central plateau, surrounded by cliffs on three sides: W,S (Coloana Dorică) and E. 2 km S of Dochia hut. Unmarked path.
Toaca peak (1900m)
Conspicuous, pyramid-shaped peak with a weather station on its top. Situated 2 km N of Dochia hut. Red stripes.
Panaghia Rock (1776m)
Distinct, massive tower situated half a kilometre NE of Toaca peak. Red striped traverse.
Piatra Lăcrimată
Weeping Stone (1765m)
Rock resembling a weeping human face. In the central part about 700 m WSW of Dochia hut. Red cross trail.
Turnul lui Butu
Butu's Tower (1728m)
Over 1 km SSE of Ocolaşul Mare. Its S face is a fine cliff. Blue cross traverse.
Piatra Ciobanului
Sheperd's Rock (1700m)
Cluster of limestone cliffs on W edge of central plateau, between Dochia hut and Toaca peak. Red striped traverse.
Ocolaşul Mic
Ocolaşul Mic (1675m)
Spectacular limestone gallery. About 1 km SE of Ocolaşul Mare summit. Red stripe traverse.
Detunatele (1655m)
Two crags named Cetăţuia si Călugarii. In the central part, about half a kilometre E of Dochia hut. Blue stripes.
Clăile lui Miron
Clăile lui Miron - Ceahlău mountains
Photo by andreeacorodeanu
Twin-peaked rock towers. About 1 km S of Ocolaşul Mare summit. Red stripe traverse.
Cuşma Dorobanţului
Cuşma Dorobanţului (1600m)
Rock resembling an armed soldier with a cap. On the main ridge, about 1 km NNE of Toaca peak. Red stripe traverse.

Rock Climbing

Sunlit wall
East face of Ocolaşul Mare
As the Ceahlău Massif is formed mostly of conglomerates, it offers relatively few rock climbing routes, most of which are to be found on more solid limestone. Some of those routes, for example on Panaghia, have pitons which were placed there several decades ago and are far from reliable. The most suitable for rock climbing are the cliffs of Ocolaşul Mic and Ocolaşul Mare, and also the following rocks/areas: Piatra Miresei (near the Dochia hut), Fundul Ghedeonului, Piatra Sură, Detunate, Piatra Ciobanului, Turnul lui Budu, Panaghia, Claia lui Miron and Turnul Sihastrului.

Maps & Books

Online map

Paper map


Piatra Teiului (508 m)
Piatra Teiului (508 m)

Getting There

Ceahlau MassifToaca (2nd highest summit) ahead


Piatra Neamt - Bicaz (road 15)
Cabana Izvorul Muntelui
red stripe
Clăile lui Miron, traverse of Ocolaşul Mic/Mare
Vatra Dornei - Bistriţa valley - Poiana Teiului (road 17B)
Cabana lui Falon
blue triangle
Dochia rock, Poarta Piatră
Access routes Trailhead at Marks Destinations
Topliţa - Grinţies - Durău (roads 15/155F)
Durău resort
red cross red stripe
Duruitoarea waterfall Cuşma Dorobantului, Panaghia, Toaca
Gheorgheni - Lacu Roşu - Bicaz canyon - Bicazu Ardelean (road 12C)
Bistra Neagra
blue stripe blue cross
Gardul Stănilelor,Piatra Lăcrămată Turnul lui Butu
Târgu Neamt - Petru Vodă - Poiana Largului - Durău (road 15B/155F)
Curmătura Lutul Roşu
blue stripe
Poliţa cu Crini, Detunatele


Durău resort offers plenty of accommodation facilities. The Dochia hut is the most convenient option for hikers. It is situated in the middle of the central plateau, by the junction of the most frequented hiking trails (1750m). Its capacity is about 100 people.  

Dochia hut (1750m) Dochia hut

Camping & Red Tape

Campsite in the Ceahlau Massif Campsite

The only designated campsite in the Ceahlău Massif is located at Piatra Lata din Ghedeon (1718m) about half a kilometre SE of the Dochia hut. In 1955 Ceahlău National Park was established and the visitors must pay an entrance fee at one of the checkpoints, which are located at the Durău, Dochia and Izvorul Muntelui huts. There are two strictly protected scientific reserves:

  • Ocolaşul Mare
  • Poliţa cu Crini

Weather & Mountain Rescue

Edelweiss Edelweiss

Weather forecast for Toaca summit(1898m) The national Salvamont dispatcher can be reached on 0-SALVAMONT or 0725-826668 Salvamont Neamt

External Links

Many thanks to yatsek who helped me write the Overview.