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Retezat Hikes - Peleaga Peak

Let’s go on a hike to the impressive Peleaga Peak, towering at 2509 meters in the center of the Retezat National Park, the oldest park in Romania and definitely one of the wildest. Retezat National Park is remote, with no roads that pass through it, and isolated with no permanent human settlements as such it has remained untouched by “civilization”.  In our guide we will cover the best access road to the park, where you should sleep, what water sources you have available, facts about the hike and other useful information you should be aware of.


Hiking stats

Time: 9 hours
Distance: 11 kilometers
Altitude gain: 900 meters
Difficulty: Medium-Hard
Routepeleaga-peak-hike-ba.gif  peleaga-peak-hike-cg.gif  peleaga-peak-hike-br.gif GPS Track


Where is this?


There are multiple access roads to the Retezat National Park but I will present the one I consider the best if you are coming from the west part of Romania (mainly from Timişoara). The road is great until you reach Clopotiva Village, where you will switch and drive on an industrial, but paved, road that ends up at Gura Apelor Dam. From this point, you enter the park's unpaved road that requires a car with a decent ground clearance. While an off-road vehicle is ideal for this road you will manage, most of the times, just fine with a high ground clearance vehicle. You can park the car at the end of the road close to Poiana Pelegii.


Entrance fee?

When entering the park you will have to pay an entrance fee that is 7 lei per person (~1.5 euro) and 10 lei per car (~2.5 euro). You only need to pay this once, when entering and there are no daily fees.


Let’s start!


The hike starts at Poiana Pelegii where you arrive by crossing the river next to the parking place of your car. Depending on what your plan is you can either camp in Poiana Pelegii, do the hike to Peleaga Peak and return here or you can camp up at Bucura Lake and do the hike from there. I recommend the second option if you plan to stay in the park for a few days and do more hikes; from Bucura you can do many one day trips on the surrounding mountain tops.

Follow the peleaga-peak-hike-ba.gif marking of the track passing close to the Mountain Ranger’s hut (you can find a freshwater spring here) until you reach Bucura Lake. This section is about 3 kilometers long and has an altitude gain of 300 meters (it should take about 1.5 - 2 hours if you carry a heavy backpack).

From here you need to follow the peleaga-peak-hike-cg.gif path on the right bank of the lake passing by the Mountain Ranger’s hut from Bucura (you can find a freshwater spring near the hut). After about 30 minutes walking time you will enter a vast glacial valley and you will see Peleaga peak - 2509 meters - right in front of you. Approach the climb on the right side of the peak as you are looking at it, and follow the trail until the top. This section should take you 2-3 hours and you will gain 500 meters in altitude.

From the mountain top, you will follow the peleaga-peak-hike-br.gif markings and start the descent back to Bucura Lake. You could also go down the same way you came up, it is up to you. The trail will take you on the other side of the mountain and you should keep going until you reach Curmătura Bucurei.

From here you go south and towards Bucura Lake on the peleaga-peak-hike-ba.gif. Continue on the same route as you come after reaching Bucura Lake until you get to Poiana Pelegii.


Where do I sleep?

For this particular hike, you can camp at one of the two recommended camping spots, Bucura Lake or Poiana Pelegii. Both places are free of charge and you can pick your place wherever you feel like it. Do note that there are no showers or toilets available. In case of any emergency or if you need help you can ask the park ranges for assistance as they have a hut at each of the above locations.


What do I eat?

You can eat only what you bring with you. There are no shops or restaurants in this part of  Retezat National Park. The only chalets that offer food are farther away at Genţiana or Pietrele, and even here, because there is no road available, you might only find a warm bed (bring your own sleeping bag).


Good to know!

Even though you can basically camp anywhere you wish (as long as you don’t leave any marks or trash) I do strongly recommend you sleep in designated camping places. As I have already told you Retezat National Park is wild and the bear population here is in fair number. Even though wild animal attacks are not common among tourists (they mainly focus sheep herds) it is good to take precautions. Another recommendation would be to not sleep with food in your tent, try and hang it outside in a tree at a height of 3 meters so no wild animals can reach it. Don’t just keep it outside of the tent on the ground as you will probably not find it there the next morning.

You can build a campfire only at Poiana Pelegii and only in the camping area, outside of it you risk a high fine from the park rangers (no fires allowed at Bucura Lake).


Other close destinations?

There are a lot of other destinations you can go to in the close vicinity, but consult this overview map of the hiking routes in Retezat.

Hope you found the information helpful and accurate, but remember, if you have any questions drop them in a comment below!

Close to Poiana Pelegii
Before Bucura Lake
Camping at Bucura

Close to Bucura Lake
Valley under Peleaga
Close to Peleaga Peak
Peleaga Peak
Descent from Peleaga Peak

Retezat Hikes - Peleaga Peak Reviewed by Alex on 10:23 Rating: 5


  1. Dear Karina and Alex,
    Thank you for such detailed and well-structured information. Once I saw the photos, I immediately made my mind I have to be there asap. You seem to be real experts of the region and genuine nature lovers. Thus, I have a question. Is it possible to find a room to rent (at a private house, for instance) nearby the park and have one-day hiking trips, not staying overnight in the camping. I mean drive to the entrance to the park, have a circular trail, 20-25 km and then come back to the car? :)

    Also, could you please recommend a guide book/ atlas of the region to look for on the internet? :)

    Thank you so much.

    Vilte, Lithuania

    1. Hi Vilte,

      Thanks for the kind words and we are happy to hear you found the site useful. If you want to do day hikes in Retezat Mountains I recommend sleeping at Pietrele Chalet (Cabana Pietrele) or Gențiana Chalet (Cabana Gențiana). Both of them are located in the park but a little bit of hiking is required to reach them. From Carnic village you need aprox. 2 hours to reach Pietrele Chalet and about 4 hours to reach Gențiana Chalet (the two chalets are somewhat close to each other).

      Google maps Pietrele and site:,22.8445771/@45.4029676,22.8653468,14.25z/data=!4m9!4m8!1m5!1m1!1s0x0:0xf7a1b6a9966b9df2!2m2!1d22.8776765!2d45.4056591!1m0!3e2

      Phone: +40722715595 or +40374975188

      Google Maps Gențiana:,22.8445771/@45.4037873,22.8654697,14z/data=!4m9!4m8!1m5!1m1!1s0x0:0xfdb4b16e4697d942!2m2!1d22.8804016!2d45.3928297!1m0!3e2

      Phone: +4733 963 292

      You should make a reservation prior to getting there using the above numbers. Not sure if they speak English but if you have problems communicating with them I can make the reservation for you. If you don't get a connection be persistent as the network coverage isn't the best in those mountains.

      You should know that Peitrele is a bigger hut and they also serve food while Gențiana is smaller and only have drinks available. From these huts you can do one day hikes on the close peaks.

      As for the Map with available hikes check these guys out:

      The price is 18LEI which is about 4 EUR (on top of which you probably need to pay shipping).

      Depending on when you want to travel to Retezat maybe we might join in for some hikes as we really love the area. Just drop a word :)

      All the best and happy planning,
      Alex and Karina

  2. Hello, i read your post and i was wondering if there were also several day hikes in the park? And if so, where can i find more information about that?
    Thank u!

    1. Hello,

      Most of them are one day-hikes but you can combine them to create a route for several days as well. Depends on what you want to do, how much time you have and logistics. You can get inspired from these articles:

      Let us know if you have any questions.

      Alex and Karina :)

  3. Hi sweetie! Thank you for write this amazing post :) I feel doing Retezat Mountain now, but I would like to know if it is possible to go there by bus? Or somewhere close and then, go there by foot? Im backpacking in Romenia and I dont have car :( haha.


    1. Hi Catarina,

      Unfortunately in the area there is no public transportation - you can try to hitchhike. The best option is to rent a car to get there. If you are looking how to get to the nearest place to travel by bus use this site to check out the schedule / price / routes:

      Good luck,
      Karina and Alex


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