Geographical structure : Carpathians
> Eastern Carpathians
Muntii Rodnei ( Rodnei Mountains , Rodna ) is second ( after Muntii Bucegi ) highest mountain range in the Eastern Carpathian Range ( Carpatii Orientali ). The highest peak is Pietrosul (2303m)
and is located on the ridge leading to the north from the main ridge. The range is located in the North Romania, close to the Ukrainian border. Main ridge is situated in the east-west direction and is about 60km long. It can be crossed in 4-5 days. Main ridge constitutes part of the border of two Romanian administrative units : Maramures and Bistrita-Nasaud.
In the east Rodna is separated from Muntii Tibles by the Pasul Setref (818m) pass, in the west from Muntii Suhardului by Pasul Rotunda (1271m) pass and in the northeast from Maramures by Pasul Prislop (1416m) pass. The south border is valley of Somesul Mare, which separates Rodna from Muntii Birgau, southwest border is valley of Salauta river and north border valley of Viseu river.
There are 36 small mountain lakes. In the southern part of the mountains is deepest Romanian cave - Pestera Tausoarelor (461m).
As in all Carpathian range you should be prepared to meet brown bear in these mountains.
Local possibilities are covered first, then how to get to the area.
Main starting points for the routes are :
a. Vatra Dornei - if you want to cross mountains from the east, starting with the Suhard mountain range and then crossing Rodna.
b. Rodna - if you want to cross just the Rodna from the east.
c. Romuli or Dealu Stefanitei - if you want to cross the mountains from the west.
d. Borsa - if you want to get directly to the Pietrosul summit and eventually continue to the east by the main ridge.
e. Salva - important railroad node in the southwestern corner of the mountains. Not great starting point for crossing main ridge, but if you like trips in areas with virtually no tourists it may be it.
Local train connections are covered further below.
Roads connect these cities :
a. Salva - Borsa
b. Borsa - Cirlibaba ( through Prislop Pass )
c. Cirlibaba - Vatra Dornei
d. Cirlibaba - Rodna ( through Rotunda Pass )
e. Rodna - Salva
There is also road leading from Vatra Dornei to Ilva Mica village ( on the Rodna - Salva road ).
Other local centers that may be used as starting point are covered in the Local Centers section.
Sometimes it is "necessary" ( you're in a hurry, or you just descended the mountains and do not want to go 20km to the nearest city ) to do some hitchhiking. Romanian truck drivers will often take you ( if empty ) to the nearest station, but they often expect some payment, sometimes it is part of the initial deal, sometimes they won't tell you, but you are expected to pay something. Of course you may encounter someone who will take you for free.
How to get to the general area :
International airport is in the Romanian capital Bucuresti.
Train is definitely best option for travelling in Romania for smaller groups. It is quite cheap, reliable and the railroad "net" is quite extensive. Conditions in the trains differ greatly, but are always bearable.
Romanian railways site is here
Unless you are coming from Ukraina you should get to the Salva railway station. From there you can choose 3 different ways :
a. To Vatra Dornei
b. To Rodna
c. In the direction Viseu de Sus
- you can leave the train in Romuli or Dealu Stefanitei or
- continue to Viseu de Sus and get on the train to Borsa.
Timetables are here
a. Your own bus - great for big groups, but there always should be someone staying with the bus (probably driver, so he can wait for the group at the end of the route). Directions are in the car part below.
b. Public bus transportation - not much is known about it, except the timetables (if they even exist) are not reliable.
Problem with travelling by car is that you may not found it where you left it.
a. From Ukraina - Take the road from Cernovcy to the Suceava. There take the road through Gura Humorului and Vama and continue to the Cirlibaba.
b. From Bucuresti - Take the way to Ploesti, then through Brasov, Tirgu Mures, Bistrita to Nasaud. From there it is few km to Salva.
c. From Hungary - Cross the border in Artand-Bors. Get to Oradea and through Cluj-Napoca, Dej, Beclean to Nasaud. Salva is close.
Northern slopes and side-ridges are short and steep, southern ones are long and quite deserted. That is why main ridge is better approached from the north. Pietrosul
the highest peak of Rodnei mountains was once considered the highest peak of Eastern Carpathians, but since the Bucegi range was included in the Eastern Carpathian range its highest peak Omul
(2507m) is now higher. Mountains shape was formed by ice age glaciers and there are many lakes in the range with such origin. Most rivers belong to Tisza water system, only few streams in the north-eastern part of the mountains belong to Siret water system.
Lala Mare (1815m) is the biggest one with area 0.56ha and 1.6m deep. Some of the others are Lala Mica, Iezer, Cailor, Taurile Buhaescului. The deepest one, nearly 6m deep, is one of the Taurile Buhaescului lakes.
Some cave systems can be found in the area including deepest Romanian cave Pestera Tausoarelor ( 461m deep and 16km long ). Others include Jgheabul Lui Zalion ( 303m deep and 4.5km long ), Grota Zinelor ( 112m deep and 4.3km long ), Cobasel Cave ( 30m deep and 570m long ), Iza Cave ( 2.4km long ) and Schneider Cave ( 490m long ).
Rodna mountains consist mainly of crystalline and metamorphic rocks. There are few places where you can find limestone and sandstone formations.
There are few waterfalls that are becoming tourist attractions : Cascada Cailor ( 80m ), Cascada Buhaescu Mare ( 20m ), Cascada Puzdra ( 20m ) and Cascada Verde ( 20m ). Mountains are rich in mineral water sources, mostly in the southern part. Rivers Bistrita and Viseu rise near the Pasul Prislop pass.
The vegetation in the higher parts are mostly pastures, rocky terrain and small alpine bushes, between 1600-1950m we can find dwart birches, cembra pines, larch trees, mountain pines and blackberry. Above 1200m grows spruce and between 800-1300m beeches. In the lower parts woods are oaken. In several areas woods are heavily lumbered. Mostly in the woods in lower parts you can meet bear, wolf, fox and also lynx. Chamois ( extinct and introduced back ) and marmot ( acclimatised in 1973 ) can be found in the Pietrosul Reserve. Other animals you can find here : red deer, wild boars, pinemartens and beechmartens. Birds include hawk, buzzard, sparrowhawk, goldeneagle and peregrine falcon. In the rivers and streams are common and rainbow trouts. Also adder is quite common there.
Nine highest peaks :
2. Vf.Ineu 2279m
3. Vf.Rebra 2268m
4. Vf.Ineut 2222m
5. Vf.Grohotu 2203m
6. Vf.Puzdrelor 2189m
7. Vf.Laptelui Mare 2172m
9. Vf.Omului 2134m
These rules aplly to all Romanian mountains.
Marks are combinations of 4 shapes and 3 colors, so 12 different marks are in use.
Shapes are :
- band ( stripe )
Three colors are :
Main ridge mark is always the same in the whole range, and in most mountain ranges it is red stripe mark.
Romanian mountains are often written with Vf. in front of the name, Vf. is short of Virf(ul) (=summit). I will mostly use this notation.
There will be main ridge route in the routes section, so this section will be rearranged then.
Important points on the main ridge beginning from the west :
Pasul Setref (818) - pass
Vf.Capu Muntelui (1194)
La Jgheaburi - camping place, some water ( probably not the best idea because of many cows all around )
Pasul Pietrii (1196) - pass, camping place
Saua Batrinei - saddle
Tarnita Batrinei (1735) - saddle, camping site
Vf.Buhaescu Mare (2119) - side-ridge leading to Pietrosul
Tarnita La Cruce (1985) - saddle, water source
Saua Obirsia-Rebri - saddle
Saua Intre-Izvoare - camping site, saddle, great spring
Tarnita Negoieselor - saddle
Tarnita Birsanului (1970) - saddle
Saua Puzdrelor - saddle
Saua Laptelui - saddle
Saua Galatului (1882) - saddle, water
Saua Gargalau (1907) - saddle
Saua Cisa (1950) - saddle
Tarnita lui Putredu (1960) - saddle
Vf.Coasta Neteda (2060)
Saua Putreda - saddle
Saua Ineului (2223) - saddle
Vf.Ineu (2279) - second highest peak of Rodna
Saua cu Lac (2140) - saddle
Saua Ineutului - saddle, water below
Saua Gajei (1721) - saddle
Pasul Rotunda (1271) - pass
There are no fees, but Rodnei mountains are part of Rodnei National Park ( 46399ha ). There are also some other reservations. Specifically Pietrosul area is in the
UNESCO network of world biosphere reserves
. Pietrosul Reserve was established in 1932 and currently protects an area of 3300ha. Other reservations are Valea Cormaia ( Cormaia valley ), Rezervatia Piatra Rea, Rezervatia Bila Lala, Rotunda Preluci, Izvoarele Mihaiesei.
Special permits are needed for visiting cave systems located in the mountains. There are no seasonal closures.
Be sure not to leave any trash behind. Rodna is in much better shape than lets say Fagaras
mountains in that regard, it would be nice if it stayed that way.
When To Climb
It is possible to climb the mountains all the year, but the winters are quite harsh and it is quite distant region so rescue may not be possible in short time. Another problem is that cellphone network do not cover the area well.
The best time for travelling is late summer and early autumn.
June is the most rainy month. In the winter on the steeper slopes there is danger of avalanches.
There are plenty of accommodation possibilities in the valleys, but nearly none on the ridge, so for crossing the main ridge tent could be useful.
Since the Rodna National Park was created free camping is permitted only in :
- La Jgheabouri
- Pasul Pietrii
- Tarnita Batrinei
- near Meteo Station below Pietrosul
- in the Intre-Izvoare saddle
- between Galati saddle and Gargalau saddle
- near Lala Mica lake
- near Cascada Cailor
Here are some accommodations in the mountains, the remaining possibilities are in the Local Centers section below :
1. Refugiul Salvamont Curatel
(1510m) , capacity 15
Refuge located in the Curatel saddle. You can get there from Cabana Valea Vinului or Rodna town.
Access to main ridge - by blue dot trail : Saua Curatel (1510) - Saua cu Lac (2140).
2.Cabana Farmecul Padurii
(610m) 70 beds , phone : 0263/370323
Hut north of Singeorz-Bai, accessible by road from that town.
Access to main ridge - by marked and not marked trails :
3. Puzdrele Hut
- red triangle : Cabana Formacul Padurii (610) - Vf.Cormaia (2033)
Following Cormaia creek.
- not marked : Cabana Formacul Padurii (610) - Muntele Cucului (1683) - Nedeia Taranului (1857) - Vf.Laptelui (1931) - Mires (1753) - Vf.Nedeia-Straja (1851) - Saua Intre-Izvoare
Follows the south-directed side-ridge above the hut.
On the northern slopes of the main ridge. Not working anymore. You can camp here.
You can get there from Turistic center Borsa.
Access to the main ridge - by marked trails :
4. Cabana Valea Secii
- by blue dot to Saua Laptelui
- by blue triangle to Saua Galatului (1882) : 2.5h
(630m) 24 beds, phone : 0263/372270
Hut located in the Anies valley, working only in the summer and accessible from Anies town.
Acccess to main ridge - by marked trails :
5. Valea Blaznei
- blue cross : Cabana Valea Secii (630) - Intre Aniese - Intre Izvoare - Saua Gargalau (1907)
At Intre Izvoare there is a crosspoint with yellow band trail and at Intre Aniese with yellow cross trail ( see below ).
- yellow band : Intre Izvoare - Saua Puzdrelor
- yellow cross : Intre Aniese - Saua Intre-Izvoare
Consists of two huts and some other buildings. Accessible by car from Sant.
- Cabana Diana - 30 beds, camping site, phone : 0745/821946
- Cabana Corbu - 40 beds
Access to main ridge - by blue cross trail : Valea Blaznei (1240) - Vf.Cobasel (1835) - Vf.Rosu (2113) - Vf.Ineut (2222) - Saua Ineutului
6. Cabana Valea Vinului
(700m) 57 beds , phone : 0263/377421
Hut located in the village Valea Vinului. Working only in summer. It may not be there anymore, since we saw many burnt buildings there
in 2004 summer. You can get there from Rodna.
a. Access to Salvamont Curatel refuge - by red triangle trail : Cabana Valea Vinului(700) - Saua Curatel with refuge (1510)
b. Access to main ridge - by blue triangle trail : Cabana Valea Vinului (700) - Tarnita lui Putredu (1960) : 4-5h
In this section are concentrated informations about inhabited places in the area that are easily accessible by train or car.
These places are located like this :
West - between Salva and Viseu de Sus ( train, road ) : Cosbuc, Telciu, Romuli, Dealu Stefanitei, Pasul Setref ( just road ), Sacel
North ( west part ) - between Viseu de Sus and Borsa ( train, road ) : Moisei
North ( east part ) - between Borsa and Cirlibaba ( road ) : Statiunea Borsa, Pasul Prislop, Gura Lalei
East - between Cirlibaba and Rodna ( road ) : Pasul Rotunda, Sant
South - between Rodna ( train, road ) : Anies, Maieru, Singeorz-Bai, Rebrisoara
Here is more detailed description of these places including accomodation possibilities and routes leading to the mountains ( If not mentioned otherwise train station is present ) :
Village between Maieru and Rodna.
Access to Cabana Valea Secii - by blue cross trail : Anies (497) - Cabana Valea Secii (630)
Town north of the mountains in the Viseu river valley.
- Hotel Iezer - 64 beds, phone : 0262/343430
- Hotel Perla Maramuresului - 54 beds, phone : 0262/342539
Access to main ridge - by blue band trail :
Borsa (665) - Meteo Station (1760) - Lake Iezer (1786) - Curmatura Pietrosului - Vf.Rebra (2268) - Curmatura Buhaescului (2073) - Vf.Buhaescu Mare (2119)
Takes about 7-8h and you can get to the highest peak of Rodna Mountains by a short detour from Curmatura Pietrosului ( also marked by blue band ).
Town in the north-eastern corner of the mountains.
Town in the south-western corner of the mountains. Only not marked routes to some local hills.
5. Dealu Stefanitei
Small village and probably the best starting point for crossing the whole main ridge from the west.
Access to main ridge :
6. Gura Lalei
- To Pasul Setref (818) - 1h by the main road, not marked.
- To La Jgheaburi - by blue triangle, 3-4h.
Few houses and supposedly bus stop ( no train ).
Access to main ridge - by blue dot trail : Gura Lalei (1015) - Lake Lala Mare (1815) - Saua Ineutului : 5h
Town between Anies and Singeorz-Bai. No marked routes, just some local trails to nearby mountains.
Small town with road connection to Pasul Pietrii.
Motel Capra Neagra - 6 beds, phone : 0262/347115
9. Pasul Prislop
Mountain pass that divides Maramures mountains and Rodna mountains. There is no train access, only bus.
- Motel Popas Prislop - 16 beds, phone : 0744/934687
- Cabana Alpin - 6 beds, summer only, camping site, phone : 0262/342425
- Cabana Hanu Prislop
Access to main ridge - by partially marked trail :
Pasul Prislop (1416) - Poiana Stiol (1572) - Saua Gargalau (1907)
Takes about 2h and from Poiana Stiol to Saua Gargalau it is blue band trail.
10. Pasul Rotunda
Mountain pass that divides Suhard range and Rodna mountains. This is east end of main Rodna ridge. Supposedly bus stop ( no train ).
Cabana Rotunda - 10 beds, camping site, phone : 0263/372502
11. Pasul Setref
Mountain pass that divides Tibles mountains and Rodna mountains. This is west end of main Rodna ridge. No bus or train, but it is only about 1h by foot from Dealu Stefanitei.
Hanul lui Patru - 15 beds, camping site, phone : 0262/310476
Small village far to the south from the main ridge. Wooden church from XVII century.
Access to main ridge - by blue triangle trail :
Rebrisoara (328) - Rebra village - Parva village - Vf.Obirsia-Rebri (2052)
Very long route takes about 14h. Follows all the way Rebra river ( except for the final part ).
Small town. End station of Salva - Ilva Mica - Rodna railway. Has a museum and ruins of the church from XIII century.
a. Access to Cabana Valea Vinului - by red triangle trail : Rodna (525) - Valea Vinului (700) : 1.5h
b. Access to Salvamont Curatel refuge - by blue dot trail : Rodna (525) - Vf.Lazului (1001) - Saua Curatel with refuge (1510) : 5h
Small town. Good starting point for crossing main ridge from the west, because, altough you miss the first part of the ridge, that
part is sometimes poorly marked so many choose to start at Romuli and head for Vf.Batrina.
Access to main ridge - by red triangle trail :
Romuli (575) - Zavoaiele Borcutului (930) - Vf.Batrina (1710) - Saua Batrinei
Takes about 5.5-6h. There is mineral water source at Zavoaiele Borcutului.
Town in the north-western corner of the mountains.
Very important railroad node in the southwestern corner of the mountains.
Very nice town, but only bus available.
Access to Valea Blaznei - by blue cross trail :
Sant (595) - Valea Blaznei (1240)
Takes about 2.5h of not too pleasant walk, but it is possible to get there by car.
Medium town with spa resort.
- Hotel Hebe - phone : 0263/370228
- Hotel Somesul - phone : 0263/370079
Access to Cabana Farmecul Padurii - by red triangle trail :
Cormaia (450) - Cabana Farmecul Padurii (610) : 2h
This trail does not start in the town itself, but from Cormaia station, one train stop in the Rodna town direction from the Singeorz-Bai.
19. Statiunea Borsa (Turistic center Borsa)
Turistic center with hotel, campsite and cablecar. There is no train access, only bus.
- Hotel Cascada - 128 beds
- Hotel Cerbul - 62 beds, phone 0262/344199
- Hotel Stibina - 170 beds
- Pensiunea turistica Ursul - 26 beds, phone : 0262/343270
- Pensiunea turistica Calin - 10 beds, phone : 0262/344262
a. Access to Puzdrele hut - by blue dot trail : T.c. Borsa (845) - Buza Muntelui (1663) - Puzdrele hut (1540) : 3h
b. Access to main ridge - by marked trails :
- blue band : T.c. Borsa (845) - Poiana Stiol (1572) - Saua Gargalau (1907)
Takes about 5.5h, but you can use cablecar to shorten that time.
- red triangle : T.c. Borsa (845) - Poiana Stiol (1572)
Takes about 4h. It ends on Poiana Stiol so you have to take blue band trail from there. About an hour before Poiana Stiol there is a detour to Cascada Cailor ( Cailor Waterfall ).
Small town and access point ( by not marked roads ) to the Tausoarelor cave.
Motel Trei Stejari - 7 beds, phone : 0263/369372
21. Viseu de Sus
Railroad node in the north. The railway to Borsa begins here.
Main center of winter sports is Statiunea Borsa ( Touristic Center Borsa ) with several ski tracks of different height difference ( up to 500m ). Good skiing opportunities are usually between December and April. There are few places where skiing is possible until June.
Average precipitation is about 1200-1400mm/year in higher parts of the mountains and 750-800mm/year at the foot of the mountains. Average yearly temperatures are 1.3 C on 2300m and around 6-7 C on southern slopes and in the villages at the bottom of the mountains.
First snow can be expected in September or beginning of October. There are 160-200 snowy days in a year.
is only in Romanian.
Mountain Rescue (SALVAMONT) contact is :
Consiliul Judetean Bistrita - Nasaud
Serviciul Public SALVAMONT
Phone : 0263/215503
Fax : 0263/214750
Salvamont Bistrita-Nasaud WWW
Salvamont Rodna - southern part, phone : 0263/377090 or 0740/652854
Salvamont Borsa - northern part, phone : 0262/342322
Salvamont Nasaud - western part, phone : 0740/651941
National Salvamont phone : 0-SALVAMONT (0725-826668)
Maps & Books
1. This is one of the few maps for sale, and the best one I saw :
Muntii Rodnei ( Rodnei Mountains , Radnai-havasok ) 1:50000 by DIMAP
It has informations in Romanian, Hungarian, English and German.
It can be ordered here : Dutch
2. Interactive digital map
Here will be posted books that are available only locally and hard to come by, but still woth mentioning :
Info about national number for Salvamont thanks to cronos
- Salvamont page about Muntii Rodnei
Salvamont ( Romanian Mountain Rescue ) page about Muntii Rodnei. Unfortunately only in Romanian , but you still can find out some interesting info : weather , GPS , photos ...
- Muntii Rodnei info
General informations on Muntii Rodnei