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Cerna Valley Hikes - Stan Peak

There are many places in Romania that are of incredible beauty, but they are mostly, either unknown or are hard to reach. Cerna Valley, even though it isn't marketed as one of the top attractions anymore, offers a lot of touristic diversities and stunning views with its surrounding mountain ranges and thermal waters with perfect bathing temperature. Herculane, the main city on Cerna, used to be one of the best and most visited thermal resorts of Europe until the second world war and the communist regime. It was a place where the European royal families would come and meet, some even having holiday homes here. After 1990, for almost 20 years,  the resort fell into ruin as it was forgotten by the state authorities, but recently we can see some efforts in restoring this site to its former glory. If you are more interested in hiking then relaxing, rest assured as there are plenty to see and do. You could stay here for a week and not manage to do them all!

View from Stan ridge

Hiking stats

Time: 6 hours
Distance: 6 kilometers
Altitude gain: + / - 600 meters
Difficulty: easy / medium
Route: br.gif, ta.gif Stan Peak 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!


From Herculane you need to continue in the direction of Baia de Arama on road DN75D for approximately 35 kilometers and stop a few hundred meters before reaching the little picnic place from the below image (check the map also).  If you reach this point you can drink some fresh mountain water, but do have in mind that you have gone a bit too far and need to go back. The forest road that represents the start of the hike will be visible in the distance from the main road as the area has been deforested. Unfortunately, there will be no marking at the start of the hike as the trees have been cut down, but as soon as you start climbing and reach the forest line you will find the br.gif signs.

Start of the hiking route - view from the road

Continue on the forest road on the br.gif markings and at some point you will go straight through the forest until reaching a rocky edge. After a steep climb, you will reach the below plateau and the blue triangle markings, ta.gif. Here the landscape changes drastically as the forests are replaced by smooth rocks, shaped by the ever blowing wind. The ascent to the peak is done on the right side of the edge and it is quite manageable for all people with no demanding parts. Even though, the peak is only at 1446 meters and the general ridge is at 1200 - 1400 meters the view is fantastic especially in the direction of Godeanu Mountains. Usually the round trip takes us about 6 hours with many pictures and constant brakes but you can even do it in 4 - 4 and a half hours if you don’t stop that often.


Where do I sleep?

There are plenty accommodation options in Herculane, depending on personal budget and preferences, you can choose from. Our favorite spot is the small camping glave next to Dumbrava Motel, roughly 14 kilometers from Baile Herculane. 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.


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 mountain you will have to pack your own food as there are no chalets in the area.


Good to know!

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, you can build a campfire and there is a freshwater spring in the vicinity of the footbridge.

On our way to Stan Peak, just stopped for a little break

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!


On the Red Marking - with the Godeanu Mountains in the back

Just before reaching Stan Peak


View from the top of Stan Peak


View from Stan Peak - Cerna Valley in the back and Godeanu Mountains covered with snow

Cerna Valley Hikes - Stan Peak Reviewed by Alex on 09:33 Rating: 5

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