Piatra Craiului #3: The Descending. Curmătura Cabin - Zărnești Gorge - Botorog's Fountain (Aug 2022)

Backpacking Sep 7, 2022

This story is about our last day of a three-day tour in Piatra Craiului Mountains.

Here is the route, divided by days, with links to the stories of the first two:

  1. Ascent: Botorog's Fountain - Curmătura Hut (2h).
  2. Northern ridge: Curmătura Cabin - Țimbalul Mic Peak - Curmătura Cabin (8h 30m).
  3. Descent: Curmătura Cabin - Zărnești Gorge - Botorog's Fountain (2h).

This route was the best option for us this time and is, in a way, close to ideal.

You have one day for the ascent, one day for the descent, and a full day for the ridge route, where you are only constrained by the weather and the physical condition of the team.

If you only have one day, it's worth going up at least to the Curmătura Cabin.

From there, you may choose a route that appeals to you, according to the shape of the team: Piatra Mică, Turnu Peak via Crăpaturii Saddle and return via Padina Popii etc. Or, you may just sit at the table on the terrace of the cottage, and enjoy the good food and the scenery.

Regarding the access to the Curmătura Cabin, I personally like the option of going up through Zănoaga Meadow (yellow band) and descending through Zărnești Gorge / Prăpăstiile Zărneștilor (yellow dot + blue band), which I recommend.

If we have to walk the road, it better be at the end.

Whichever route you take in Piatra Craiului, I recommend the maps and the app from Munții Noștri.

Technical Details

As I said, today's route is the descent from the Curmătura Cabin, through the Zărnești Gorge (Prăpăstiile Zărneștilor), to the Botorog's Fountain, where we left the car.

The Map. Screenshot from https://muntii-nostri.ro/

Parking: Botorog's Fountain
Route: Curmătura Cabin (1470m) - Zărnești Gorge - Botorog's Fountain (840m)
Markings: Yellow Dot + Blue Band
Length: 6,6 km
Height Difference: -630
Duration: 2h
Water Sources:
    - Curmătura Cabin
    - Botorog's Fountain
Camping: Curmătura Cabin
Tracking: Strava

The Hike

We had big plans for today, initially.

We wanted to wake up early, pack our tents and descend quickly, to climb up to the Mălăiesti Cabin, in the Bucegi Mountains.

Fortunately, we abandoned the original plan last night, and decided that today would be a relaxing day.

It would have been difficult for us to start early anyway, because it rained last night and we would have had to pack up the water-soaked tents.

We also decided that it was worth setting aside a whole day for the hike in Bucegi Mountains, a decision that turned out to be very inspired (details in the next story).

So we have two major goals left for today: breakfast and coffee!

Camping near Curmătura Cabin

We woke up when we woke up, without any kind of alarm.

Everyone stayed in the tent as long as they wanted. At some point we all came out.

It's obvious that it rained last night. The grass is well watered and the air is cool and fresh.

Our tents and Curmătura Cabin.

Finally, we go up to the cabin, to see what's on the menu.

Breakfast menu. Just scrambled eggs, scrambled eggs with cheese, scrambled eggs with sausages, fried eggs, bread with butter, jelly and honey, and some other stuff.

We take a portion with butter, jam, honey, bread and tea, and different types of omelettes. Delicious!

Then we move on to the second goal of the day: coffee. The coffee prepared in Adela's moka pot turned out to be delicious.

She also taught us that you can, very easily, get foamed milk if you have a bottle at your disposal: pour the hot milk into the bottle and shake it well 😋.


In the most relaxing way possible, around 11 o'clock we finish packing the tents and bags, and start to descend.

We start to descend.

The route follows the rhythm of the day: leisurely.

From the forest we go through the Curmătura Meadow, from where we can once again admire the rocks of the main ridge and of Piatra Mică peak.

Curmătura Meadow. View towards Piatra Mică
Through Curmătura Meadow.

There is nothing spectacular in the forest. It's just beautiful and relaxing.


The descent becomes slightly steeper, a sign that we are getting closer to the road.

The final part of the descending through the forest gets steeper.

Before the final descent, we have a lookout point that shows us a fragment of what awaits us: Zărnești Gorge, a canyon also called Prăpăstiile Zărneştilor.


Here we are at the road, after an hour and five minutes of descent. From here we follow the route marked with a blue band, through the Zărnești Gorge.

At the end of the path we find a signpost with the estimate of the climb on the route we descended.

Signpost at the road.

But, as I said at the beginning, if you want to go up to Curmătura, I recommend going up directly from Botorog's Fountain, on the route marked with a yellow band.

In the meantime, we start the walk on the road, through Zărnești Gorge.

Through Zărnești Gorge (Prăpăstiile Zărneștilor).

At first we marvel at the high rock walls at the sides of the road.

Through Zărnești Gorge (Prăpăstiile Zărneștilor).

Then, in addition to the grandeur of the rocks, we also wonder at how many people can be here on a Thursday. It's full.

The road through the Zărnești Gorge is beautiful, but at some point it is a bit too much. Especially when you pass the gorges and the landscape becomes monotonous.

Fortunately, from the moment we feel that enough has been enough and we want to reach the end, we only have a little more to go. Just enough to startle with joy when we see, after a last bend, the place where we left the car.

It's been 55 minutes since we came on the road, through the Zărnești Cliffs, and two hours since we started from Cabana Curmătura.

We cool down, arrange the luggage in the car, and head to Jimmy's Corner, where we end the hike with pizza and burgers.

At Jimmy's Corner. Photo: Fanuel


That was our experience in Piatra Craiului this year.

On the first day we climbed with big and heavy backpacks through the rain, on the second day we enjoyed the routes and spectacular landscapes on the ridge to the fullest, and the last day was the icing on the cake: breakfast, coffee and a relaxing descent.

Have you been to Curmătura Cabin? What route did you choose for ascending? How about descending? Where did you like it more?

What other beautiful trails have you hiked in Piatra Craiului, which you recommend?

We are looking forward to your messages on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, in the comment section below, or in private message.

'Till next time!