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Cerna Valley Hikes - Arjana Peak

Arjana Peak is the highest mountaintop in the very beginning of Cerna Mountain range with an altitude of 1511 meters, which isn't much, but let me tell you the view and the track itself are simply incredible. From the summit, you will have a great open view of the vast Cerna Valley and of all the surrounding mountains. There are multiple tracks to reach Arjana, some are longer, some are shorter, but even though the one I am proposing below is for two days walking I believe it is the most scenic, taking you through a remote and isolated region.

Arjana Peak

Hiking stats

  • Time: 12 hours
  • Distance: 30 kilometers
  • Altitude gain: + / - 1500 meters
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Route: pg.gif br.gif GPS Track

Where is this?

Getting to Baile Herculane is pretty easy and the road is really good no matter where you are coming from. To reach Herculane from Timisoara you need to go on road E70 in the direction of Lugoj and Caransebes; note that both towns have ring-roads so no need to go through them. After passing by Mehadia, a small town, you will have to do a left turn in about 5 kilometers in order to enter Baile Herculane over a narrow concrete bridge. The road has good markings and the entrance is hard to miss as the railway station is also there.

Entrance fee?

There is no entrance fee for the Domogled - Cerna Valley National Park but if you wish to enter the thermal baths at some resorts you might need to either book a room there or pay the admission to the pool.

Let’s start!

You will start the hike at Motel Dumbrava, 13 kilometers away from Herculane (in the North, towards Baia de Arama), if you chose to sleep here over the night and want to have a fast start early in the morning. From the motel you need to go 1 kilometer in the direction of Baia de Arama on the main road, against the water flow, until you reach a wooden bridge (photo on the right), on the left side, over Cerna. Here you will also find the pg.gif markings that will take you all the way to the top.

The first checkpoint of the hike will be Dobraia hamlet, one of the biggest in this region, with a total of 20 households, a school and a church. Most hamlets in these mountains are remote, with no access road or electricity. The people here use horses to transport the products they need and most have built small hydro-power plants for electricity. Note that there are no shops or accommodation facilities in the mountains so you should pack everything you need.

From Dobraia you have two possible routes: on the forest road next to the church in the direction of Poiana Lunga - Biliana Peak - Arjana Peak or on the footpath with pg.gif markings next to the school in the direction of Saua Prislop - Arjana Peak (this is the one we took). If you are doing this hike in the summer time you should know that the last water source is in Dobraia, as all other springs will dry up during this season.


Right under Arjana you will find a big clearing where I suggest you should camp as the view is fantastic. You can leave you gear in your tent and continue to Arjana with only a small backpack for about 1 more hour walking time. The pg.gif track will intersect with the br.gif one, at which point you should do a left turn and start the final ascension through the forest. After the trees, you will enter a vast clearing that is full of different types of berries that will accompany you all the way to the top.


After reaching Arjana Peak return to your tent and hit the sack for some well earned sleep. The next day you start the descent in the direction of Prisacina hamlet followed by Inelet hamlet on the pg.gif markings (check the GPS track for directions). When you reach the main road you can either walk the 7 kilometers back to your car or you could hitchhike a ride.

Where do I sleep?

You can sleep by tent in the glave next to Dumbrava Motel, roughly 13 kilometers from Baile Herculane, if you plan to start the hike early the next day. We like this place because it is remote and far away from the busy life of the resort and also it is close to most hiking routes in the area. If you wish for even more intimacy you can cross the footbridge over Cerna River that is located in front of the motel and camp in that glave. Both glaves are owned by a local farmer that sometimes comes to collect approximately 1 euro (5 lei) per person/night for your stay there but he accepts any currency as we found out at some point (we had only euro with us). There are no toilets or bathrooms available in the glaves but for such things you are welcomed to use the facilities at Motel Dumbrava as the owners are really open to this.

We usually eat at the motel as the prices are really decent, a breakfast would be 2-3 euro and a lunch about 4-5 euro but if you have packed food you are welcome to eat it on their outdoor terrace free of charge. If the outdoor sleeping isn't your thing you can rent a cozy double room at Dumbrava that will cost you 18 euro per night (80 lei) and you will also have access to their indoor swimming pool. From the motel, you have many close destinations and hikes that don't require a car to get to.

Sleeping under Arjana Peak

As this is a two-day hike you will have to sleep one night in the mountains and for this I recommend the big opening right before Arjana Peak or in the clearing where the pg.gif markings meet the br.gif markings.

What do I eat?

It really depends on what you have planned to do and where you are sleeping, but you will find many restaurants in Baile Herculane. If you are sleeping close to or at Dumbrava Motel they are serving food from 8 AM until around 10 PM but if you are hiking in the mountains you will have to pack your own as there are no chalets or places you can do you groceries in the area.

Good to know!

You can only find fresh water sources in the few mountain hamlets present in the area (Dobraia, Prisacina, Inelet), other than these, during the summer season, most mountain springs dry out and you should have a good water stock with you. Also, there are no shops or chalets in the hamlets so bring everything you need!

I recommend starting the hike in the direction of Dobraia hamlet because the slope is a lot steeper on the side with Inelet hamlet.

If you go in August here, expect to be amazed by huge alpine fields of berries. Never in my life I saw so many berries in one place! And they are for free and taste excellent!

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If you have a good physical condition you can do this hike in one day with only a small backpack but do note that the track is about 30 kilometers long and you will have a + / - 1500 meters ascent.

Besides hiking and thermal baths, there are many other activities available in the area like rafting, canoeing, gliding, bouldering and mainly rock climbing. For climbing enthusiasts, Herculane is simply a paradise (because of the limestone rock composition of the mountains) with a lot of tracks scaling from easy to a professional level of difficulty. Most, if not all tracks are in great condition as the guys from Alternative, are constantly taking care of them. There is also a big annual international competition going on here for all levels of climbers that will take place somewhere in September 2015 (current year), the Herculane Climbing Open.

In the glaves close to Motel Dumbrava and also in the glave close to Arjana Peak you can build a campfire as long as you take safety measures not to start a forest fire.

Other close destinations?

There are a lot of other destinations you can go to in the close vicinity, but for more info consult this map of the hiking routes in Domogled - Cerna Valley National Park.

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

Leaving Dobraia Hamlet behind

Sleeping spot close to Arjana

Final ascent in the forest before Arjana

Close to Arjana Peak


View from the top - Arjana

Cerna Valley Hikes - Arjana Peak Reviewed by Alex on 09:56 Rating: 5

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