Pietrosul Călimanilor, Călimani Mountains

Poiana Bradul Ciont (1.725 m) – Salvamont – Vârful Rățițiș (2.021 m) – Șaua Nicovala (1.910 m) – Șaua Negoiu (1.705 m) – Vârful Negoiu Unguresc (2.081 m) – Vârful Pietrosul Călimanilor (2.100 m) – retur Poiana Bradul Ciont (1.725 m) – Lacul Iezer (1.740 m) – Poiana Bradul Ciont (1.725 m)


We started from Toplița (HR) on DN15 towards Borsec upstream on Valea Mureșului. After 8 kilometers, next to the Heroes’ Monument, we turned left on a forest road, upstream on Valea Lomaș, we passed Poiana Tinoasa, Gura Izvorului Monastery, Cabana Lomaș, right again on a forest road but much rougher, accompanied by a blue cross marking, upstream on the Puturos stream, until the alpine gap where we meet the unpaved Trans Călimani road, in good condition, which we follow to the left to Poiana Bradului Ciont, where there is a larger place where you can camp. Here we parked the car and started the hike. I traveled 30 km in 1 hour. Those who wish can continue for another 8 km by car on Trans Călimani until near Șaua Negoiu. Trans Călimani can also be accessed from the opposite side, from the locality of Gura Haitii (SV), 20 km, 1 hour to near Șaua Negoiu.

About the Calimani Mountains

The Călimani Mountains (in Hungarian: Kelemen-havasok) are a mountain group of the Eastern Carpathians. They are the most extensive (extinct) volcanic mountains in Romania. The maximum height is reached in Vârful Pietrosul Călimanilor, 2,100 meters above sea level. The Călimani Mountains have a northwest – southeast orientation. Their limits are: to the north the Dornelor Depression and the Bârgăului Mountains, to the east the Bistriței Mountains, to the southeast the Giurgeului Mountains, to the south the Gurghiului Mountains and the Mureşului Valley, to the west the Transylvanian Plateau.

Route Map

(click on objectives for extended version)

Technical Box

Difficulty: difficult
Duration / distance: 8 – 10 hours / 20 km
Marking: road // red dot // red stripe // blue stripe // blue cross
Water sources: in Poiana Bradul Ciont, under Saua Negoiu, near Lake Iezer
Minimum altitude: 1,700 meters above sea level, in the Negoiu Saddle (Șaua Negoiu)
Maximum altitude: 2,100 meters above sea level, on Pietrosul Călimanilor Peak
Level difference: +1,000 m / -1,000 m
Observations: hard climb on Negoiu Unguresc, stock up on water in Saua Negoiu

1. Poiana Bradul Ciont (1.725 m) – Salvamont – Șaua Rățițiș (1.869) – Vârful și Cabana Meteo Rățițiș (2.021 m)

1.5 hours / 4 km / easy / unmarked, then red dot

We parked in Poiana Bradul Ciont, a place with a spring, suitable for camping. Here I read the explanatory panel with the map. We entered the Lake Iezer Natural Park. We look towards the peak in the foreground that we have to climb. We continue on the Trans Călimani road, on which we came. We pass by the Salvamont Refuge, which was closed. We gain altitude in wide serpentines. Marked paths branch off on both sides of the road. At some point, the red dot marking begins to accompany us. We reach the ridge, in Saua Rătițiș, from where we can see to the left the main objective of our route, Vârful Pietrosul Călimanilor but also Negoiu Românesc, Negoiu Unguresc and Vârful Rătiţiș. We leave the road on the left, to follow the marked path through the juniper, then through the alpine gap. In Vârful Rătițiş we enjoy the view once more and make a stop, talking with a meteorologist from the Meteo Hut Rătițiş, who gave us useful information.

Retitis Peak

former sulfur mining

the salvamont refuge

our group

the map from Poiana Bradului Ciont

2. Vârful și Cabana Meteo Rățițiș (2.021 m) – Șaua Nicovala (1.910 m)

30 minutes / 1.5 km / easy / red lane

We descend the path along a dense row of metal poles set up for orientation in foggy weather. We meet the road again for a short time, but continue on the marked path, which quickly leads us to the intersection in Șaua Nicovala, where a marked path leads to the right in Gura Haitii. On this sector of the road I saw the Via Maria Theresia marker, a route arranged by Tășuleasa Social, just like Via Transilvanica. The indicator in the saddle mentions that we still have 2 hours to reach Pietrosul Călimanilor Peak.

Weather cabin Rătîtis

we descend from Vârful Retîtis

common route with Via Theresia

Șaua Nicovala and Vârful Pietricel

3. Șaua Nicovala (1.910 m) – Șaua Negoiu (1.705 m)

30 minutes / 2 km / easy / red stripe

In front of us rises Vârful Pietricel, which we will bypass. We keep the direction, still going down. We have to go through the juniper once more. We go out into the road, where we meet head-on a herd of sheep and goats. We follow the road for a bit until the marked path turns slightly to the left. We have the visual spectrum of Vârful Negoiu Românesc, a mountain ecologically mutilated by a former sulfur mine. Saua Negoiu is another crossroads, but mainly a stopping place with a good spring located 200 meters below, to the left of the path marked with a blue cross. We fill up with water, hydrate, rest because the challenge of the day is coming, the climb to Vârful Negoiu Unguresc. The indicator in the saddle still shows 1.5 hours to the maximum altitude that we are also aiming for.

between Şaua Nicovala and Şaua Negoiu

the signs from Saua Negoiu

Vârful Negoiu Românesc (foreground right), Vârful Negoiu Ungurescu (l), Vârful Pietrosul Călimanilor (distant plane, middle)

the Trans Călimani alpine road

4. Șaua Negoiu (1.705 m) – Vârful Negoiu Unguresc (2.081 m)

1 hour / 1.5 km / hard / red tape

We see other tourists climbing before us and we get an idea of ​​what awaits us. The path goes through the junipers so we benefit from the shade but also from light scratches from them. About halfway up the climb we enter an exposed area. The slope increases, we climb carefully on stone slabs. The effort will be fully rewarded in Vârful Negoiu Unguresc. At the top there is a metal cross on which a Romanian tricolor hangs. We look at the Negoiul Românesc as equals. In the distance, even the chain of the Făgăraș Mountains can be guessed, but we will do a complete horizon tour on Pietrosul Călimanilor Peak, which already seems closer, and it really is. A little after the summit, to the left of the ridge, in the shelter, I took the main meal break.

the sign from Saua Negoiu towards the spring

the spring under the Negoiu Saddle

through the juniper

the descent from Negoiu Unguresc

5. Negoiu Unguresc Peak (2,081 m) – Pietrosul Călimanilor Peak (2,100 m)

30 – 45 minutes / 2 km / medium / red band

The route between Vârful Negoiu Unguresc and Pietrosul Călimanilor is almost flat and can be walked freely, with the exception of the final climb to the peak itself, which is done on large blocks of granite and requires caution, without being dangerous. We reached Pietrosul Călimanilor Peak, at an altitude of 2,100 m, at the highest point of the Călimani Mountains. We will take a well-deserved break again.

The surprise offered by this peak is the 360 ​​panorama that opens up, which is one of the most comprehensive that I have encountered in Romania. From this point we identify with the help of the Peak Finder application almost all the mountainous massifs of the Romanian Carpathians, starting from the north clockwise: Rodnei Mountains with Pietrosul Rodnei, Obcinele Bucovinei, Rarău Giumalău Mountains, Bistriței Mountains, Ceahlău Mountains, Hășmaș Mountains, Nemira Mountains, Vrancei Mountains, Ciucaș Mountains, Neamțului Mountains, Bucegi Mountains with Omu Peak, Piatra Craiului Mountains, Iezer Păpușa Mountains, Făgăraș Mountains with Dara Peak, Moldoveanu Peak and Negoiu Peak, Buila Vânturarița Mountains, Cindrel Mountains, Șureanu Mountains, Parâng Mountains with Peleaga Peak, Piatra Seciului, Bihor Vlădeasa Mountains, Poiana Ruscă Mountains. In the close-up we mark the peaks of the Călimani Mountains: Negoiu Unguresc, Negoiu Românesc, Rățitiș, Călimanul Cerbului, Iezerul Călimanului. Dreamlike! In spite of a clear day, thanks to the humidity in the atmosphere, I guessed more peaks than I saw clearly. You can watch a complete skyline tour on the following link https://youtu.be/v2Dgs03w_0U?list=PLlH9tlgCODG8Bl-3vzuVTpUAIunWRLMmr.

Pietrosul Călimanilor Peak

Vârful Negoiu Unguresc

6. Vârful Pietrosul Călimanilor (2.100 m) – retur Poiana Bradul Ciont (1.725 m)

4 – 5 hours / 9 – 10 km / hard / red lane, then blue lane

On the way back we will follow the same route until before Vârful Rățitiș. The descent from Negoiu Unguresc was at least as difficult as the ascent, but great care was needed to avoid falls in the sector of descent on the rock. I didn’t climb the Rătîtisș Peak and followed the alpine road before it, which goes along the curve, below the weather hut. We wanted to go down the unmarked shortcut to Lake Iezer, but we entered the juniper forest on a rather imaginary path. After messing around a bit with the map in hand, we decided to get back on the road and go down the first marked path. This is marked with blue tape and descends on a well-marked path even if it also partially crosses an area of ​​juniper. I could already see the car parked in the clearing. We arrived exhausted in Poiana Bradul Ciont.

Nicovala Saddle

towards the source

the sign from Saua Negoiu towards the spring

in the foreground Şaua Negoiu, then Vârful Negoiu Ungurescu (l) and Vârful Pietrosul Călimanilor (r)

Poiana Bradul Ciont



7. Poiana Bradul Ciont (1.725 m) – Lacul Iezer (1.740 m) – Poiana Bradul Ciont (1.725 m)

15 minutes / 1 km / easy / blue cross

I crossed the clearing with benches, passed the spring and followed 0.5 km of an almost level road marked with a blue cross to Lake Iezer. Lake Iezer is a natural dam lake, next to which there is a spring and which can be surrounded by the path. The return to the clearing I did on the same route.

at the end of the hike

campsite in Poiana Bradului Ciont

the spring from Poiana Bradului Ciont


Pietrosul Călimanilor Peak, the highest peak in the Călimani Mountains offers a dream 360 panorama that includes most of the arc of the Carpathian Mountains. Visit the Calimani Mountains with My Travel Express!

All the best!