A Peak With Surprise: Vlădeasa, from Rogojel, in Winter Season (Jan 2022)

Hiking Mar 17, 2022

Vlădeasa Peak (1836 m) is one of the highest summits from around Cluj and the second highest from Apuseni Mountains. The trails which lead to the peak are short and relatively easy, great for a one-day hike.

The characteristics of the surrounding terrain makes the mountain accessible all-year round. Summer or winter, if the weather is good, and you are somewhat equipped, Vlădeasa peak is surely a good option.

Vlădeasa's Plateau seen from Rogojel

January 24th

Today we enjoy a day off because we celebrate The Union of the Romanian Principalities. We listen to the Dance of the Union (Hora Unirii) while we prepare for the hike. The weather forecast is promising, and a good while has passed since we were last on Vlădeasa. Especially in winter. And even more so on the route from Rogojel. So we take on the opportunity together with Adina, Călin and Fanuel.

We do not get up very early, but that is not a problem. At 9 o’clock we are already on our way. And at about 10:15 we are searching for a parking spot in Rogojel.

Although the roads were partly covered in snow, the drive was ok. But not for everybody. After we passed Săcuieu, we found a car that fell off a bridge and was now flipped over in a deep ditch. They skidded in a slippery turn and the bridge’s railing did not stop them. As we reached them, they were trying to get the passengers out of the car. They were hurt, but not badly, as they were able to walk on their own feet. Fortunately, they were in a group and their friends made sure that they got safely to the hospital. We hope that they are ok and that nothing too serious happened to them.

For the rest of us: just make sure that your speed and manner of driving is appropriate for the icy and snowy roads.

Technical Details

The route we chose is an out and back hike. We start from Rogojel and follow the road, alongside houses and the forest, up until Vlădeasa Cabin. From there we start ascending on a path and on the road until we get to the northern peak, at the weather station. From the summit, we turn back on the same route.

Map: https://muntii-nostri.ro/

Parking: Rogojel
Route: Rogojel (1000m) - Vlădeasa Cabin (1430m) - Vlădeasa Peak (1836m) - return
Markings: Red Triangle + Red Dot
Length: 13km
Height Difference: +830/-830
Duration: 6h, breaks included
    ~ 1h 30m Rogojel - Vlădeasa Cabin
    ~ 1h 45m Vlădeasa Cabin - Vlădeasa Peak
    ~ 2h Vlădeasa Peak - Rogojel
Water Sources:
    - Vlădeasa Cabin
Tracking: Strava

The Story

It’s 10:30. We layered our clothes on. We put our boots on, we took our hiking poles, our sunglasses, and we are ready to go.

From where we parked our car, we begin our hike on the village road, close to households and inns. We sometimes follow the road and sometimes follow the electric poles which lead to the cabin.

Rogojel is a mountain village with scattered households. We take our time to admire our surroundings. On this sunny winter day, the village looks especially charming.

Houses from Rogojel.

Skiers with their touring equipment and other hikers already trod the fluffy snow, but from time to time our feet sink in the snow, and we realize that some gaiters would have been nice. Next time!

We start our ascent, and we begin to warm up. We are shielded from the wind on this slope. It is so quiet that the only things we hear are the steps we take in the snow and our breaths. As we go up, the snow gets even lovelier.

Up we go, through the snow.

Soon there is a new image in front of us of the houses from Rogojel and the neighboring hills.

A part of Rogojel, seen from above.

We finish the first climb and what follows is a smooth and flat part of our hike.

Now we can see a glimpse of the Vlădeasa plateau. We can see how, the higher we go, more snow is covering the tall and imposing trees. We are curious to see what beautiful scenery is awaiting us up there.

After the climb we go on level curve. In background: Vlădeasa Plateau.

Going on the road that takes us through the forest requires little effort and is very pleasant. The sun delights us from time to time with little light shows amid the snow covered trees. We chat and move forward on our hike. And we realize that we can see the cabin.

We try a little shortcut which proves to be deceptive and slows us down a bit, but soon we get to Vlădeasa Cabin. It’s 11:55. We had a good rhythm, so we got here in an hour and a half.

The weather is great. We allow ourselves to get a little break and to eat a snack and drink a hot tea.

We ask the people there what is on their menu, because we plan to stop there on our way back. Thinking that we are going to eat there when we return, we did not pack a lot of food.

They have a white bean soup, but it would have been advisable to call beforehand to tell them that we wish to dine there, so they can accommodate us and for the soup to be enough for everyone. But in this case, we are not sure whether we will stop there on our way back. We don’t want the food to be insufficient for the hikers that called and announced their intention to eat there. We will decide depending on our hunger level.

In the meantime, we get back on our track. As soon as we leave the cabin behind, we are immersed in the snowy white paradise. All we can see is white and puffy snow!

Through snow.

As we continue on our route, we can see that the trees get more and more covered in snow.

Snowy tree.

The thick layer of snow gets bigger and bigger, so we are thankful for the touring skis that leave traces in the snow.

More and more snow.

Behind us, the hills seem small, and the once near scenery now drifts away.

Following our little guide.

We haven't admired trees so loaded with snow in a long time. Here it looks like we are entering the city gates in a mighty fortress.

Walls of trees.

The ascent gets steeper and steeper until, finally, we reach the plateau.

White landscape on the plateau.

Here it looks like winter swallowed everything. Everywhere we look, we see nothing but white. An alien-like white. The wind blows with a powerful force. Now we get why the trees are frozen in such a crouched manner.

Carrying through, despite the wind and the little slopes, we start to feel the tiredness that grows and grows and our empty stomachs. My restrained cravings remind me of the dried – and probably frozen – figs that we will use to try to trick our stomachs when we reach the peak. It’s the only food we have.

Just white.

All white. And we see the Summit!

The wind and the snow lead us slowly to the last climb. The trees are much more scarce now. The ones we see look like they were covered in snow while trying to escape the frost. It all looks cold and breathless, and the fact that everything is frozen and devoid of life gives you a weird feeling of uneasy calm. It’s wonderful!

The last climb

The last part is more wearing than we thought. The fatigue, wind, and our hunger add to the discomfort and make us feel like every step ahead is harder and harder.

But none of us are expecting what we are about to find on the top.

We somehow reach the end of our ascent and… Surprise! We rub our eyes, and we cannot believe what we see: we are greeted with cheese filled warm fry bread and hot tea. The Weather Station employees are very welcoming, and we get to rest for a bit inside, near a fireplace.

We are cold, hungry, and tired, but this is not a hallucination. It really is true! And our stomachs are very happy.

Best fry dough ever.

We cannot believe it. A few moments ago, I imagined I will get to the top and will try to chew on my dried and frozen figs to make them somewhat palatable. I imagined I will rest in the cold and try to shelter somehow from the wind. And here we are, warming ourselves while eating fresh, warm, moist and delicious fry bread and drinking hot tea. We get another piece of fried dough and there are more where they came from.

Our hosts are very nice people. Grateful for their hospitality, we had a good chat with them and with our fellow hikers.

With all the warmth and food, time passes by quickly. In what felt like a few moments, some good minutes passed. Slowly and hesitantly, we layer up again and get going, but this time we are ready to bravely face the strong wind.

Before we begin our way back to our cars, we decide to go to the actual peak and admire the Drăgan lake.

Sadly, the view is not very spectacular. Instead, we find even more snow and we see that the wind really had its way with it, creating delightful shapes and sculptures.

Somehow, the wind lost its power. Entirely. We decide not to rush back, but to enjoy the sheer white kingdom that is before us.

Our long shadows.
We are leaving the plateau.

We say our goodbyes to the plateau, and we get back to the puffy and enchanting snow.

In the time in which we ascended and descended, the touring sky enthusiasts were having a great time. Making creases through the snow, they also provided us with a lovely view.

Going downhill through snow can be a lot of fun. We did not realize how fast the time went by. At 15:30 we once again reach the Vlădeasa Cabin. Our bellies were still filled with delicious fry dough, so we decide to let other people enjoy the much desired soup.

At about 16:30 we arrive at the place where we parked our car. We stretch for a bit, we get some of our warm layers down, and then we begin our drive back home.


A beautiful and easy route, gorgeous weather, an awesome team, fresh fry bread and warm tea enjoyed near a fireplace on the peak are great ingredients for a memorable hike.

But with or without food and drinks, the tour to Vlădeasa peak, starting from Rogojel, is definitely a proper route for a light half day hike.

And for those that do not have a fear of heights, I wholeheartedly recommend the ascent from Pietrele Albe, starting from Vălul Miresei Falls.

If you reached this far, we really hope you enjoyed today’s blog. If you wish to give your opinion or any suggestion, we are more than happy to have a chat with you.

Have you been to Vlădeasa? Which way did you choose? What is your recommendation for other things worth seeing in the area?

We can’t wait to hear from you on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, in the comment section, or by private message.

Till next time!