Cabana Urlea was, until it got so deteriorated, one of the most important access points to the Făgăraș Mountains Ridge, when hiking from East to West. Now it’s just a ruin, but hiking there is still a pleasure, so we planned a day trip beginning of June. It was just after the COVID state of emergency was over, so we were desperately looking forward for some proper hiking.
There are three options to get to Cabana Urlea, one of them (the red triangle trail ) being closed for the moment due to some heavy flooding that broke a bridge a few years ago. The other two, red circle and blue triangle have the same starting point, just outside Breaza village, in the direction of Cabana Sapte. We chose the red circle trial for our trip and started our hike early in the morning. We also had our daughter with us, so we had to walk at a slower pace.
The hike is a medium difficulty one I would say, with a lot of ascent and quite long. It was supposed to last about 3 hours and a half, but considering that we had our daughter with us, it took us about 5 hours to get to Cabana Urlea. The ascent is mainly through the forest and sometimes the path is blocked by fallen trees and branches. Nothing too dangerous, though.
Hiking with our daughter meant, of course, lots of breaks, mostly to explore the forest more in detail – check out on bugs, mushrooms, trees and their leaves. Being outdoor is always a perfect activity for kids. Fresh air, always something new to check on and a very good night sleep afterwards. Although in this case, at the end of the day, it was us, the adults who were completely exhausted and tired, and not our daughter.
We got to Cabana Urlea somewhere in the afternoon and had a well deserved longer break, with a nice picnic and a beautiful view in front of us. Cabana Urlea used to be one of the highlights of the Făgăraș Mountains. Being more than 100 years old, the place got to be in a very bad shape in the recent years. Even more, last year somehow a fire started and destroyed everything that was left of the building. Now, the only proof of this chalet ever existed is only its stone foundation.
The chalet is located in a huge meadow (Poiana Curmăturii on Culmea Moşului), surrounded by pine forest, between Pojorta and Brezcioara Valleys. From the chalet further on, a series of paths open to different destinations, the main attraction being the Făgăras Ridge. You can go towards the ridge through 3 points, with various objectives, such as Urlea peak, Urlea Lake or Urlei Valley, all 3 with impressive views. Also, Urlea Chalet is an important point for those who want to cross from the Făgăraș Mountains to the Iezer Păpuşa Mountains. In addition to this, for fans of heights, from Cabana Urlea through Portița Lacului you can reach 2 of the 8 peaks of over 2500m of Făgăraș, the famous Dara (2500m) and Hârtopul Darei (2506m).
A Romanian NGO bought the chalet and is now trying to get funds to rebuild this mountain beauty and open it again for mountains lovers. It’s a long process, but they seem determined to do things right, so we can only hope that in some years (not too many) we will hike again here and we have a warm tea and a nice meal and spend one, two nights inside – why not, even a week or more. You can also support this project, by donating (more details HERE).
As it was getting quite late and clouds weren’t looking too friendly, we packed up and started our descent back to Breaza. We could have chosen the same trail, the red circle, but we decided to make a circuit trail and chose the blue triangle path for our return. We weren’t too lucky to have a nice weather on our way back. Rain started and we hurried back to where we had parked our cars.
The blue triangle path was a bit more than we were expecting. It actually follows a former dirt road, used in the past to get wood to the base of the mountain. Now it seems that it’s not used anymore and nature started to reconquer it. The first part of the trail is a very steep descent. We were slipping a lot, also because it was raining and all the stones we put our feet on were wet. Still the view was spectacular, we followed the course of a river and had to pass it several times. That was a fun part for our daughter, to try to jump from rock to rock over the water.
We got back to the place we parked our cars in about 3 hours, we didn’t have too many stops on our way, because, even if the rain had stopped, there were some serious clouds on the sky and we didn’t want to get all soaked up. The last part of the path was actually quite an enjoyable walk on a dirt road, next to the river and through the forest. We were actually happy that we chose this path for our descent and not for our ascent, as to go up would have been a serious effort for us, especially for our daughter.
A full day of hiking this was, 8 hours and a half and about 12 kilometers in total. Quite an effort, but it was totally worth it, after all the lock down.