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Seven Stairs Canyon

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The Seven Stairs Canyon or Seven Ladders Canyon how the locals are calling is a memorable attraction in Romania, not far from Brasov.

Once upon a time, travel was a way to be surprised. Then, tourists began to flock to destinations with the same combinations of sun, sea and sand. Fortunately, there is still wonder and mystery out there for those who seek it and much of it exists in the fascinating country of Romania.

With its diverse landscapes, charming medieval cities, historic architecture and striking black sea beaches, vineyards, and delta, Romania is full of surprises for those with a nose for adventure. 

Why Would You Visit Seven Layers Canyon

Romania is home to Brasov, one of the most overlooked and beautiful cities in the whole of eastern Europe. This fortified medieval settlement merges ancient history with the vibrancy and dynamism of modern Romanian culture. Brasov is in close proximity to the 7 Stairs Canyon – also known as Seven Ladders Canyon – an impressive natural gorge carved into the rock by the Sapte Scari Brook.

Seven Ladders Canyon is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Piatra Mare Mountains of the country. It is easily reached from Brasov which is why most visitors begin treks and expeditions from the city. Guided tours from Brasov depart frequently and are one of the best ways to experience the rugged, rural heart of Romania.

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A Guide to Tours from Brasov to Seven Layers Canyon

You will enjoy each day on your visit to Transylvania. Some of the places you can explore Brasov, Bucharest, Targoviste, Snagov Monastery, Poenari Fortress, Bran, Arefu Village and Bistrita, among others. Let’s have a look at each place.


Getting to Seven Ladders Canyon

Seven Layers Canyon is close enough to Brasov for guided tours to be completed within a single day. However, the trip is not for the faint hearted. It involves some climbing at hair raising heights in the mountains. At one point, there is an intimidating canyon crossing that presents a real challenge for those without any climbing experience.

For this reason, tourists are strongly advised to explore the area only with an experienced guide. While accidents are almost non-existent, Seven Layers Canyon isn’t like the alpine routes you’d see in Italy or France. Some portions of the route, while used daily, are not regularly safety checked. You need a head for heights and a sense of adventure to take on this attraction.

In total, the journey takes around two hours there and back. While children are permitted, it is our opinion that the mountainous route is unsuitable for them. It should also be noted that, technically, entrance to the canyon itself is disallowed. On arrival, visitors are greeted by a sign that warns them not to enter for their own safety. Needless to say, not many people pay attention to this warning.

Now we’ve given you all the necessary safety information, we can tell you about the breathtaking beauty of Seven Ladders Canyon.


Getting to Seven Ladders Canyon

Guided tours from Brasov to Seven Layers Canyon make their first step at an area called Dambu Morii. It is very close to the rural town of Timisul de Jos which is easy to find using Google Maps. We suggest you do this if you are planning to walk the route without a guide.

You can drive part of the route to the canyon. Often, visitors who do this start out from Bucharest and travel on to Brasov City. Around ten and a half miles from the fortified city is Dambu Morii. If you want to pinpoint its exact location using GPS, the best thing to search for is Camping Dambi Morii, Sacele. This will take you to an overnight resort in the area.

There is a small road that passes by Dambu Morii and this is your route to Seven Layers Canyon. If you have driven from Brasov, look for it on the left. If you are coming from Bucharest, it’ll be on the right. Turn onto this road. You can only drive a little further after this point, so most visitors leave their vehicles here. Keep driving for a minute or two, however, and you’ll reach a more formal car park.

You must walk from this point but there is plenty to see along the way. There are three prominent landmarks along the foot route to the Piatra Mare climb. They are the 7 Stairs Canyon, a striking rock face named Bear’s Precipice and the Chalet of Piatra Mare where you’ll find some truly jaw dropping views.

seven ladders canyon romania

Crossing Seven Layers Canyon

The Seven Ladders of the legendary Seven Ladders Canyon are situated in the midwestern portion of the Piatra Mare Mountains. Though the height of the walking route varies, its average altitude is 980m. It follows alongside the Seven Ladders River on the left hand side of the isolated and wealthy Sipoaia Creek area.

The route will take you past the most visually striking and magnificent of all the natural landmarks in Piatra Mare. The seven gorges which give the area its name boast a length of 160m and a level difference of 58m. The ‘ladders’ – each with a different length – are used to ascend the gorges and climb to the peak.

The first ladder is eight metres in length. The longest ladder of the seven is twelve metres long. All are carved out of ancient Jurassic calcite which is, itself, a geological marvel and a draw for anybody interested in evolutionary geology.

As mentioned, it takes around sixty minutes to make the ascent and another sixty to climb back down. There are further walking routes at the summit, but the popular Seven Ladders Canyon tour finishes at this point. If you do not wish to cross into the entrance of the Canyon – where the 7 Stairs Canyon and waterfall is located – or climb the seven ladders, you can take a detour. It will add additional time to your trip.

For those who wish to climb the ladders, the start of the walking route is clearly marked by a yellow sign in the car park described earlier. From this point, it is difficult to get lost even though the terrain is fairly challenging at times. Regardless, guided tours from Brasov are definitely the easiest and safest way to enjoy this adventure.

On the way back, there are two route options. Some visitors choose to return on the same path by turning backwards and walking the trail in reverse. If you do this, you must always follow the red signs. Follow the yellow signs on the way up. Follow the red signs on the way back down. The alternative is to follow a different trail which links with the detour road. If you want to see as much of the mountain and its landscapes as possible, this is the best route.

Do not follow either the red or yellow signs until out of the canyon if returning on the detour road. This will only lead you further into the mountains. There is no mobile signal in the area so it’s imperative – especially without a tour guide – that you stick to known trails and do not attempt to walk through areas without an established path.

When to Visit Seven Layers Canyon

Seven Layers Canyon is open for walking tours from March to November. This is providing weather conditions permit safe passage. When weather conditions are poor, the route is temporarily shut to prevent accidents. The best time to visit is in June or July when temperatures are soaring and a trip into the cool, relaxing Piatra Mare Mountains is everything you never knew you needed.

For those who wish to stay overnight in the area close to Seven Ladders Canyon, there are several accommodations. Brasov offers a range of hotels, chalets and other places to stay.

Erika Dragu

Erika Dragu

Erika Dragu is a freelance writer and native Transylvanian. She grew up in the small town of Miercurea Ciuc, surrounded by mountains and medieval villages.

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