After experiencing The Seven Ladders Canyon, I felt like I needed to step up my adrenaline game. And I did, by deciding to complete the longest marked canyon in Romania – The Stan Valley Canyon (Romanian: Valea lui Stan). And all I can say is that this canyon exceeded all my expectations.
If you know some things about Romania, you probably heard before about Transfagarasan Highway. It’s a road included in almost any list of the most amazing roads in the world. So if you visit Romania, chances are you might want to see it for yourself. If that’s the case, you should know that Stan Valley Canyon is very close by. Actually, the track starts from the side of the road, just before Vidraru Dam. The trail marking is a red dot in a white circle, but sometimes the markings are not very visible, so following the riverbed should do the trick.
The Stan Valley Canyon can be completed without special equipment, but some training, previous mountain experience and a strong sense of balance are highly recommendable. Also, you should consider proper footwear, like mountain boots with outsole made of adherent material. Although the track starts as an easy one, overall it has a medium level of difficulty, requiring your full attention on several segments. As a side note, I don’t recommend this canyon for kids. The Stan Valley Canyon is much more dangerous than The Seven Ladders Canyon. Also, it is longer and requires more skills and strength to complete it.
Besides the natural wonders of the canyon (waterfalls, impressive mountain formations and dizzying heights), there are many man-made elements that will help you keep going. There are numerous metal ladders, cables and other support elements.
Shortly after you start walking through the forest you’ll find several waterfalls with beautiful water basins:
Then the metal ladders start to appear. They are both horizontal and vertical, small and big. Make sure you don’t look down while climbing them.
The main forest footpath is a good way to catch your breath, since the landscape is very relaxing.
Soon you’ll reach a place guaranteed to leave you speechless. Imagine a landscape two water basins, with waterfalls and tall stone walls between them. And you get to see all this from a high and amazing bridge.
From now on, it gets harder and harder to advance. There are some sectors that require having a strong connection with the metal cables provided. Literally.
When you’ll think you’ve done it all, you’ll face another challenge: rock climbing. Be extra careful here, there is a high risk of injury, due to slippery rocks.
And if you didn’t believe me when I said this track is not for kids, you’ll probably be convinced after you see the following photo, which is already taken from a great height:
The path will continue in the woods. You’ll know you almost completed the track when you’ll reach Călugăriţa Meadow (English: Nun Meadow). It’s a nice and quiet place to catch your breath and regain your strength.
From this point the markings disappear, but the road is obvious. If you reach a beautiful lake, you’re on the right track. This is Vidraru Lake. The view is simply amazing.
Straight ahead you can also see the impressive Vidraru Dam.
To your left is a tunnel that will lead to your starting point.
While some come from all over the country to the canyon specifically for this trail and return the same day, there are others that make Stan Valley Canyon a part of their Transfagarasan area exploration. In this case, you can find an accommodation nearby and use it as an intermediate step of a bigger itinerary. Here are some options that are the closest to the canyon:
Hope this destination sparked that adrenaline thirst that all the adventure seekers have. Let me know in the comments below if you think you could complete the trail and if you want to give it a chance for a full outdoor day sometimes soon.
Woah! That was an impressive hike! I’m not sure if I’m adventurous enough to climb those ladders, but I’d definitely be so proud of myself if I did all that!
Was it dangerous at all? It looks like an amazing part of the world. The lake and the mountains are so beautiful!
Well, it is somehow dangerous, but if you’re careful enough and well equipped, you should be fine.
This looks like an adventurous trek. The metal ladders look exciting and yes i think it would be prudent not to look down :) Would love to experience this trek some day.
Really hope you will :)
This seems hard, definitely not for kids. I like the detailed photographs you have taken, I usually forget to do that and concentrate on climbing part.
There were lots of landscapes that I couldn’t photograph because I was holding on for dear life to the metal ladders. Those memories of me struggling to keep balance will always make me laugh :)
That looks like a pretty advanced trail not for kids as you say. Some of those trails with the metal hand rails look pretty scary to be honest. I think that I will pass on this until I’m more advanced but the whole trip looks beautiful.
Start training in the meantime :)
Interesting trek. I have done many treks but those vertical metal ladders are something new. I would actual prefer to just trek wth my feet even if it takes longer.
Don’t worry, here you get the chance to do a lot of that too.
There are some seriously stunning views on this track, but it would take me a lot of courage to cross those ladders. How long did the track take to complete? I didn’t see a time in your post but would love to know how long it is.
It took me about 5 hours from start to finish, breaks included.
What an amazing place to see! Fantastic trek for adventurous peoples:-) I would love to make it, but some parts seem to be quite risky. I think it would be a thrill :-)
It is a bit risky, but that’s the beauty of it :)
The Canyon looks like a great hike but I don’t think I’ll ever have the courage to climb those ladders, they look so unsafe. I am afraid of heights and by that point I would probably turn around. The scenery is stunning through and worth it.
The problem is that at one point you can’t go back. The only way to go is forward :)
That climb with the metal bars in the rock really looks like something that would make the heart beat faster. Must have been an amazing experience reaching the top and knowing that you have made it. Haven’t done anything like that myself, but it would be nice to give it a try one day. But I would probably do something easier to start with. :)
Yes, reaching the top gave me so much confidence. I felt like I could achieve anything!
This was fabulous, and I especially loved the sections on rock climbing. Even though I know I will be a little afraid, I will still do it for the adrenaline rush :)
Is there a fee for this? Do you need a guide?
The canyon is open to anyone, you don’t have to pay anything to complete it. And no, you don’t necessarily need a guide (I was just fine without one), but you can always opt for one if you want to.
The hike is definitely for someone with a strong heart or the adventure enthusiasts. At some points, it does look real dangerous is it really safe for the adults too? Vidraru dam looks real impressive. We love hiking and trekking but not sure if we be going to make this ;)
All the support elements are pretty new and stable. In my opinion it has a certain level of risk, of course, but if you have some experience with this sort of things, you should be fine :)
This hike does not look fit for kids for sure. But it definitely looks like an amazing hike. Now let me go Google more about the highway.
This looks like an amazing hike! It is definitely not one with kids. There are obviously some safety issues with those steep ladders, but it looks like it would be fun! How long did the hike take you overall? I would love to try this if I’m ever there.
Hey Marla, the ladders are stable and safe, the only issue would be if you wouldn’t hold on tight :) It took me five hours from start to finish, with a couple of stops along the way.
Fantastic trek! That’s another thing I can add to my solo bucket list, since my gf would kill me rather than try to walk that path!
But first I have to go to Romania, and that’s a problem of mine instead…
Haha, I totally know the feeling! I also have friends that aren’t as adventurous as I am and trying to convince them to come with me it’s pretty much a work in vain :)
Holy sh*t, this looks dangerous and adventurous with the ladders and support elements! Don’t know if I could have done it. How many hours did this whole trip take you?
It took me five hours from start to finish, with a couple of stops along the way.
Wow, this looks pretty terrifying actually (and also beautiful). I think you give some solid advice when you say to not look down the ladder though…
It mainly depends from person to person. For example, I could look down but not too much, as I was starting to get dizzy after a few seconds, but others would get dizzy right away, and for them it’s pretty dangerous.
To me, trekking is definitely not something for the faint of heart. I do love all things adventure and adrenaline but somehow this just gets too scary for me haha. Congrats on doing the longest canyon in Romania!
This hike looks like a TON of fun! We took a road trip through Romania from Switzerland a couple years back, and we loved it so much we wanted to move there. That says a lot since we were living in Switzerland, land of snow-capped pointy mountains and endless hiking. Bummer that we drove the Transfăgărășan and didn’t know about this trail. Considering that thunder storms and torrential rains almost blew us off Făgăraș Ridge in our tent, this trail probably wouldn’t have been passable anyway. We’ll file it away for any future trips to Romania though!
So glad to hear that you enjoyed Romania so much! As for this trail, I think it’s better that you didn’t do it at the time, considering the bad weather, as I wouldn’t recommend it. But if you ever return, make sure to put this canyon on your list :)
This definitely looks impressive! Romania is a country I would like to discover