The Seven Stairs Canyon

Location: “Piatra Mare” Mountains, on the valley of the “Sipoaia” River

Access: European route E60 Bucharest-Brasov until the old cabin “Dambu Morii”, then the trail or the railway Bucharest-Brasov to the Timisul de Jos flag station, then 1, 5 km on the road to the old cabin “Dambu Morii” and then the trail.

    The Seven Stairs Canyon, together with theTamina Canyon, is the main touristic attraction which the “Piatra Mare” Massif offers. The canyon is formed by the waters of the “Sipoaia” Brook and has a length of 160 meters, being located at an altitude of 1100-1200 meters. The easiest way to get to the Seven Stairs Canyon is from the old cabin “Dambu Morii” (650 meters). The route is marked with a yellow streak; it is an easy route, accessible all year round, its time of transit being from 45 minutes to one hour. The yellow streak trail goes to the Piatra Mare Cabin, located at 1640 meters, being the main cabin on the massif and from there to the maximum altitude. From Dambu Morii we walk a few hundred meters towards the “Bunloc” Cabin (blue triangle marking), and walking straight ahead the route towards the canyon continues, crossing a concrete bridge. From here, the road is closed for cars. After 200 meters we reach another intersection to the left: the Familiar Route which reaches the “Piatra Mare” Cabin (red streak marking) and the trail that goes up through the “Sirul Stancilor” (The Rock’s String) to the “Piatra Mica” Peak and the Ice Cave (red dot marking). From here the road turns forested and it goes along the “Sipoaia” Brook. After 20 minutes we pass another concrete bridge and then the road becomes a trail through a clearing where we will even find benches for resting. We enter the woods again, in a slight climbing, crossing many wooden bridges. After 50 minutes from the beginning of the route, the trail passes a construction. This was supposed to be a refuge, but it was never finished and it is now in an advanced state of decay. To the left the route towards the “Prapastia Ursului” (the Bear’s Precipice) (blue triangle marking) it detaches. The trail towards the canyon goes right climbing a series of stairs dug into the ground, in order to get an idea about what’s next. Climbing the stairs, after 3 minutes we reach the front of the main attraction the Seven Stairs Canyon. Before crossing over the canyon, tourists can rest on the benches in front of the canyon, or they can read information about the canyon on the board placed nearby.

The canyon represents actually some quays dug into chalkstone, having a length of 160 meters with a level difference of 60 meters. In their contents there are seven waterfalls, the highest being of 35 meters. The trail inside the canyon is set up with metallic stairs and bridges, but it must be crossed with a lot of care. Because of the heavy rains in the summer of 2009, they degraded, especially the big stair, which allows only one person at a time to cross it. The route through the Seven Stairs Canyon can be covered in half an hour, counting also the waiting time until the person ahead climbs the stair. Also, crossing the canyon during winter time is forbidden, due to the water which freezes on the metallic stairs.

From the information board about the Seven Stairs Canyon, the trail seems to be closing. In front vertical walls appear, very close to each other, from where the water falls. It seems there is no way to pass them. And yet, there is. On the right side a metallic stair eases the cross, entering the fantastic world of the canyon.

It then continues on a bridge until the second waterfall and from here the highest waterfall in the canyon. In this portion, the valley has a south-north direction and then it suddenly turns north-west. The walls are practically polished by the constant water fall and in the straight wall marmite appear, suspended at various heights. The deepest marmite is near the third waterfall, having over 2 meters. The marmites form in the direction change area of the river. The beauty of the canyon consists of the frequent direction changes, which blocks the sight to see the canyon on the whole, therefore you don’t know what to expect next. And when you discover it, it’s a real surprise. After four more sudden direction changes, the walls begin to clear and the canyon ends. From the Seven Stairs Canyon, the route may continue towards the “Piatra Mare” cabin or for the ones who only came to see the canyon, they can return downstream on the trail marked with a red dot which goes round the canyon. It can be covered in 15 minutes and it comes out right around the information board.

A unique place in our country, consecutive waterfalls which fall on almost vertical walls, climbing places of scores of meters on declivitous or vertical stairs, but also the deafening noise of the water inside the canyon, all these can be met only by reaching the Seven Stairs Canyon.

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Written by Paul

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