Negoiu peak (2535 m) on the Dragons Trail

We’ve been long waiting to conquer the top 3 peaks in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains and they were scheduled for the summer of 2015. We’ve previously said that for us the numbers or the records are not so important but it’s essential to discover and reunite with nature.
 
However I must admit that the feeling of pride and achievement of making it to the top of a mountain is there and if the weather is good it’s even better since you get to admire the surroundings from somewhere high up. We started with the second highest peak in Romania: Negoiu, 2535 m altitude.

Brief useful information:

Date: 18 – 19th of July 2015
Route: start of trail on the Sărății Valley – Negoiu Guesthouse – Cleopatra’s Saddle – Negoiu peak (2535 m)
Distance: 7 km
Slope: +1500 m
Duration
– start of trail on the Sărății Valley – Negoiu Guesthouse: 1h
– Negoiu Guesthouse – Cleopatra’s Saddle – Negoiu peak: 3.5h
Difficulty: medium/hard (abrupt climb until Cleopatra’s Saddle and then a more abrupt climb starting at the base of Negoiu peak)
Water sources: at Negoiu Guesthouse and in Sărății Valley
Accommodation: Negoiu Guesthouse (tel.+4 0744 573 875)
 
Climbing to Negoiu Guesthouse
 
We chose the most accessible, fastest and easiest routes to conquer the top 3 peaks in Romania because we did not have much time at our disposal. Of course, there are quite a few alternatives to these routes that we chose but the ones that we will present you in the following two articles are the fastest 🙂
 
In order top reach Negoiu peak we chose this route: Porumbacu de Sus – Negoiu Guesthouse – Cleopatra’s Saddle – Negoiu peak. We arranged for accommodation at the Negoiu guesthouse and this makes it the easiest and fastest route to this peak.
 
here you can leave your car
You can use almost any car from the village of Porumbacu de Sus on a decent forest dirt road. There are very few places where you need to go slow and be careful not to scratch your car. Follow theuntil you reach the small dam you can see in the first picture above.

You can still go further with a car suitable for offroad since the road gets much worse from here with rocks and a very uneven surface. You’ll get to the end of the road and to the start of the trail leading to Negoiu guesthouse and you’ll earn a half an hour if you do so.
 
crossroad on the way to Negoiu guesthouse, to the right: Șerbota Waterfall – 15 min away
the greedy donkeys at Negoiu guesthouse

Once you reach the end of the road you’ll also leave the Sărății Valley and start a pretty abrupt climb (at first at least) through the forest. It will take an hour – an hour and a half to reach Negoiu guesthouse.

Just before Negoiu guesthouse you’ll reach a crossroad and an indicator will guide you to Șerbota Waterfall which is only 15 minutes away. Unfortunately it was already late in the day when we reached it and decided to leave it for when we come back down to the cars.
 
Negoiu guesthouse

We’ve finally reached the famous Negoiu guesthouse which is not actually a small guest house but almost a hotel. It’s quite big and has many rooms for tourists and also a restaurant. I must point out that this place is kind of showing its age and many things need repair. You have the right to 10 min. of running hot water which costs extra…

I can understand that it’s hard to get running water at over 1000 m altitude but it’s somehow absurd. Also the staff is not that friendly and if you order something from the restaurant it will take ages! They have donkeys which they use to carry food and construction materials up here and I must warn you that they are very greedy. One of them almost stole my sandwich :)))
 
On the Dragons Trail towards the second highest peak in Romania: Negoiu (2535 m)
 
nice morning to climb to Negoiu
Dragons Trail
Dragons Trail

The tourists that come here to Negoiu guesthouse are nice and friendly people who love sharing a story and are quite excited to explore the Făgăraș Mountains, the highest in Romania.

Early next morning we woke up to discover a gentle sun shining in the morning sky. What a perfect weather to start a hike to Negoiu! However we know that the weather in the mountains is very unpredictable. We start on the trail called the Dragons Trail signposted with      . It was specially built for tourists to access Negoiu peak. It’s very spectacular and it has several iron bridges that cross deep ravines.
 
Dragons Trail
Dragons Trail
Sărății Valley

This beautiful trail passes through spruce forest, rocks, ravines and juniper trees and finally reaches Sărății Valley (image above). It’s a 50 minutes hike until here and this place is the perfect place to take a longer break before the challenging climb to Cleopatra’s Saddle.

You can also admire the beautiful Sărății Waterfall which rushes down on the high stone wall of Custura Sărății (one of the most dangerous mountain trails in the Romanian mountains). You’ll also discover a large sheepfold here.
 
abrupt climb to Cleopatra’s Saddle
Piatra Prânzului (The Lunch Stone)
I won’t lie, the climb is pretty hard starting from Sărății Valley. It can be quite exhausting. The trail is pretty obvious but signposting is also available, just follow      .
Our next longer break is at the Lunch Stone (Piatra Prânzului) which we took literally. We sat down, rested and had our lunch 😀
large slabs of rock perfect for climbing

My feeling was that after the Lunch Stone the trail got a bit easier, or maybe I just got used to it :)) We continue our way through large boulders and slabs of rock. The scenery is definitely rockier than before. And it’s also much more spectacular since now you start seeing beautiful panoramas of the Făgăraș Mountains.

We also loved this part since we love climbing slabs of rock 😀 It’s much easier than it seems and it’s totally safe!
Cleopatra’s Saddle
Cleopatra’s Saddle

After so many rocks and a long climb we finally reach Cleopatra’s Saddle. We stopped here to rest and wait for the others 🙂 This place is a milestone since Negoiu peak is very close.

I looked at the trail leading to the peak, now signposted with. I initially thought that Negoiu peak is the closest one to us but no. It was behind a very steep stone wall that we had to climb. I was dejected since it seemed that our effort until here was nothing compared to what was next :))
 
Negoiu peak and its steep rock wall
last climb just before the peak

After a lot of thinking we decided that it would be stupid to turn back now. We continued until we reached the rock wall which seemed undoable from far away.

Being next to it we discovered that it is doable and it shouldn’t be that hard. Of course you’ll need your hands to climb this steep slope but it’s pretty safe and I encouraje you not to be discouraged when you see it 😀 We reach Negoiu peak victorious, happy and amazed! It’s so awesome here! Here are some pictures from Negoiu:
 
Negoiu peak (2535 m)
Negoiu peak (2535 m)
panorama from Negoiu peak (2535 m)
panorama from Negoiu peak (2535 m)
panorama from Negoiu peak (2535 m)
Negoiu peak (2535 m)

The weather was not exactly perfect when we reached the top. There was a menacing black cloud right above us and the summer mist was not ideal for seeing far away from the top. However we enjoyed every second of it, this is the most important thing.

We stayed about 45 minutes on Negoiu, time which we used to look in every direction, to talk to people we met there and just to relax a bit. Even more dark clouds were starting to gather in the area and we decided it’s time to head back to Negoiu guesthouse on the same trail we used to climb up here. Mind you that getting down from Negoiu peak on that steep rock wall is more dangerous than when you climb it up. So please be very careful here and take your time!
 
climbing down Negoiu’s stone wall
indicator in Cleopatra’s Saddle
flowers on the way to Sărății Valley

More and more clouds were covering the sky and they started to enter the valleys under Negoiu peak. This created a beautiful phenomenon with low clouds in the valley which you walk through. Impressive! Beside this, we started hearing thunders and we feared a storm was coming so we accelerated a bit in order to reach the guest house.

When we finally got to Negoiu Guesthouse it started to rain pretty heavily and it was like this for several hours. So we were lucky to get to the guest house before the storm started. You must always be prepared for all kind of weather on the mountain: be it hot, be it cold, be it sunny or be it rainy! 🙂
sheep in the Sărății Valley
 
Our route on the map:

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