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Retezat Hikes - Retezat Peak

If you are going to Retezat National Park you cannot miss the hike to Retezat Peak, after all, the whole park is named after this mountain. Towering at 2485 meters above sea level, it isn’t the highest peak in the park, but it is one of the easiest to visually identify because of its “cut” mountaintop (Retezat means cut in Romanian). If you didn’t know Retezat is the oldest national park in Romania dating since 1935; before this it used to be a black goat royal hunting ground for the king of Romania. Retezat National Park is remote, isolated and has remained untouched by “civilization”, with no roads that pass through it and no permanent human settlements.  In our guide, we will cover the best road access 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.

Close to Bucura Lake

Hiking stats

Time: 6 hours
Distance: 10 kilometers
Altitude gain: 500 meters
Difficulty: Medium
Route: retezat-peak-hike-bg.gif retezat-peak-hike-br.gif retezat-peak-hike-ta.gif retezat-peak-hike-ba.gif Retezat 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 road that is unpaved and 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!


We will start the hike from Bucura Lake as it is a great place to sleep, but you can start from other locations as well (Poiana Pelegii, Genţiana Chalet or Pietrele Chalet). Having a base camp at Bucura Lake is a great idea because you can do other one-day hikes to the neighboring mountain tops. If you don’t wish to sleep in the park or at Bucura, you can do this hike with no backpack in one day starting from Poiana Pelegii and it should take about 9-10 hours.

From Bucura, you start the hike on the left side of the lake following the retezat-peak-hike-bg.gif markings towards Tăul Porţii. After this small patch of water, you will climb a steep slope to Umărul Porţii and soon you will reach a pole where a new marking (retezat-peak-hike-br.gif) joins the path. Continue to Retezat, but if you feel like it, you can make a short detour and climb on Bucura I Peak. From here we continue slightly downhill on Custura Retezatului, a narrow and rocky path with a deep valley on the left side. You will soon reach another intersection, the retezat-peak-hike-ta.gif marking that goes to Pietrele Chalet, before your final ascent towards Retezat Peak. You continue upwards and in about 30 minutes you should be on the mountaintop at 2485 meters above sea level.

For the return trip, we can go on the same path or from Şaua Retezatului follow the retezat-peak-hike-ta.gif marking toward Pietrele Chalet. Pass close to Stănişoara lake and continue until you pass near Pietrele lake where you turn right and follow the retezat-peak-hike-ba.gif marking. From here you start the final climb until you reach Curmătura Bucurei that offers a great view of Bucura Lake and beyond.


Where do I sleep?

I would strongly recommend sleeping by tent at Bucura Lake because it is in the center of the park and the view is great. Another nice place to sleep is at Poiana Pelegii down in the valley, but you add 3 kilometers (one way) to the hike. Do note that there are no showers or toilets available. In the case of any emergency or if you need help you can ask the park rangers for assistance as they have a hut at each of the above locations. If you want accommodation the only places in the park are Pietrele and Genţiana Chalets (we have not covered the routes from here in this guide, but feel free to ask in the comments).


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 a 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.

As mentioned in the previous article, please note that Retezat National Park includes a protected area Gemenele Scientific Reservation. The area protects endemic and extremely rare flowers and vegetation therefore a special permit from Romanian Academy is requested for passing through.

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.

Check these other close-by hikes:


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

View from Bucura Lake

Start of hike
Near Taul Portii
Taul Portii
On the footpath
Somewhere near Retezat Peak
On the left side: Taul Portii (the first one) - Lacul Bucurel - Lacul Bucura (the one in the back)
On the right side, lakes: Florica (first one), Viorica, Ana, Lia. 
Retezat National Park under a wonderful blue sky
Retezat Peak, 2485 m

Retezat Hikes - Retezat Peak Reviewed by Alex on 11:53 Rating: 5


  1. Hey Alex, fantastic photos as usual! I will be in Romania very soon and am planing on trekking through Fagaras and Retezat for 2-3 nights. I know Fagaras has lots of cabanas along the way, but are there many in Retezat? Cant wait to be in your beautiful country!

  2. Hi Elliot,

    Thanks for the kind words! In Retezat, if you are planning to go on Retezat Peak, Peleaga Peak, Papusa Peak or others there you have two accommodation options: Chalet Gentiana and Chalet Pietrele.

    Chalet Gentiana
    - Map link:
    - Contact: +40 733 963 292 / +40 721 331 125 / +40 728 028 409 / +40 737 671 778 (hopefully one of these is still valid and they know English);
    - No food service;
    - 42 sleeping spots;
    - Reservation advised;

    Chalet Pietrele -
    - Map link:
    - Contact: +40 722 715 595 / +40 374 975 188
    - They are serving food last time I checked;
    - Reservation advised;

    Have a great trip and hopefully this is information was useful.


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