The Stan Valley Canyon

By far the most spectacular track we’ve ever been on in Romania is Stan’s Valley on the famous Transfăgărășan highway. Nothing can really prepare you for how gorgeous and thrilling this track is :D. Believe us, you’ll be speechless!

Brief useful information:

Date: August 2014
Route: Transfăgărășan – Poiana Călugărița (signposted ) – Vidraru Dam (not signposted, but the trail is obvious, on a forest road)
Duration: 5 h
Difficulty: Medium (implies climbing stairs, walking on chains, short portions of climbing boulders and a steep climb out of the canyon to the forest road)

start of the trail

If you’re travelling and visiting the famous Transfăgărășan highway, and you must, please find out that near Vidraru dam, right in the first hairpin corner in the direction from Curtea de Argeș – Vidraru dam, you can find the start of this great trail, the most spectacular canyon in Romania! You can see this place in picture above and also you have our recorded GPS track on a map at the end of the post 🙂 You can leave your car in this corner since its very wide and you won’t obstruct incoming traffic if you leave it here.

man-made waterfall, bypass to the left and climb a ladder

From your car follow the trail for about 5 minutes and you reach this hydrological planning which you bypass to the left and then you climb a short ladder. The first ladder of the many that you’ll climb 🙂 Then continue on the valley, through the water or on the banks. Basically just follow the flow of water.

rocks, a lot of rocks
waterfalls, many waterfalls
water, rock, forest

The trail until the first serious ladders is nice. Rocks, vegetation and water surround you all at once. You’ll see quite a few waterfalls on the left, on the right. It’s amazing than you can see so many beautiful things in such a small area. Stan’s Valley track was first designed in the 50s – 60s once the Stan river underwent a hydrological planning. Since then until 2012 this track wasn’t modernised. Until 2012 tourists literally risked they’re lives doing this track because all the ladders were rusty and shaky. The chains were weak or missing and there were a lot of exposed and dangerous areas which were not protected by safety gear. 

In 2012 this track was modernised by Argeș Mountain Rescue and all the volunteers that helped them. They did a fantastic work and we congratulate them. Thanks to them this track is completely safe now and very well highlighted.
waterfalls everywhere
the footbridge, between 2 waterfalls, the most spectacular place on this track

Coming back to crossing the canyon we think that if you ever climbed a ladder in grandma’s attic you will do well on this track as well. Some of the climbs are pretty  high and if you’re afraid of heights don’t come here or don’t ever look down! 🙂 Due to this adrenaline rush is guaranteed 😀

The red steel ladders that vertically climb the walls surrounding the canyon or go along the mountainside are incredible. It’s very hard to describe in word this place, you’re better off going there yourself 🙂 

the footbridge, between 2 waterfalls, the most spectacular place on this track
the footbridge, between 2 waterfalls, the most spectacular place on this track

By far the most spectacular and thrilling portion is the footbridge which crosses the valley between two gorgeous waterfalls. It’s amazing that you can be in the sweetest spot, just between the waterfalls. You can see them up close and you will understand us that we stayed here for at least 20 minutes 🙂 The sound, the colours, the rushing water, the height all of these amazed us and I urge you to experience this for yourselves.

In the footbridge area you will encounter the first delicate  section. Before you reach the footbridge you have to cross a smaller waterfall. The problem is that the rocks that you have to step on are wet and extremely slippery. So you have to be very careful and just have patience and don’t rush on this particular portion.

on the footbridge
stairs in the mountainside leading to the footbridge
waterfall to the left, vertical 10 meters high ladder in the front, another waterfall to the right
waterfall to the left of the footbridge
10 meters high ladder to continue the track
the way to the footbridge

After you pass the footbridge you have to climb the ladder straight up, about 10 meters, after which the track continues on the other side of the canyon. The next part of the track is a mix between ladders and cables. In many portions you’ll find waterfalls with a big flow which form small lakes which you must bypass using the installed steel “U” – shaped supports on the walls. You step on these steel supports and on the to part you have cables which you use to keep balance with your hands. It’s not very hard bu you need to be careful not to slip.

It’s a lot of fun and you can’t get bored here. This track makes you use a lot techniques for going forward: through water, on rocks, climbing boulder, on cables, on ladders, through the forest. What a great mix! 🙂 

fan – shaped waterfall, bypass it to the right
supports that help you bypass waterfalls and lakes
the fan – shaped waterfall
boulders, a lot of boulders
another waterfall, this time you bypass to the left
another waterfall, bypass to the right
beautiful waterfalls
waterfall rock funnel, 10 meters fall

Stan’s Valley rockiness is superbly carved by water. In the photo above you can see how water carved a perfect funnel to release the water in a 10 meter fall. This track is amazing also because it lets you get really close to the most impressive sections, too see nature’s work up close from the best possible angle.

At one point you have to cross a narrow area, less than 2 meters wide between the tenths of meters high walls (photo below). In this area the water is a bit deeper and it’s over your knees, so you’ll get a bit wet 🙂 And another thing, the water is very, very cold. You have to get out of it as quick as you can! 🙂

narrow passage way
surrounded by tenths of meters high walls
another beautiful waterfall, bypass to the left
trail along the mountainside

This track is so amazing (and I’m sorry I used so many commendatory words, but it’s the only way I could this stunning track) that you don’t even realise how time passes. It’s just one thrill after the other.

After so much rock, tall walls, ladders, cables and countless waterfalls a steep climb through the forest awaits you :)) Great… The climb leads to Poiana Călugărița (Călugărița clearing). Once you get here it’s a good place to catch your breath, relax and enjoy the sun, maybe eat something. The spectacular sights end here. From now on you must follow a trail through the forest that leads to a forest road.

Once you intersect with the forest road follow it until Vidraru Dam, the biggest dam in Romania. You’ll get to see Vidraru Lake from another perspective than the classic one from on top of the dam. Before you reach the dam you’ll cross a tunnel and after that you’re straight on the dam. From the dam until the hairpin corner where you left your car at the start of track you have about 2 km to go.

It was such an amazing track that I’m afraid my words didn’t completely cover the greatness of it. Hope I made you want come here and explore this wonder of nature! 🙂

waterfall on the side of Vidraru lake
Vidraru lake
Vidraru lake
Vidraru dam

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