The English version of the Buila-Vanturarita National Park web page - September 2007



Pietei 7, Horezu Town, Valcea County

Tel.: 0250/860.157
Fax: 0250/860.180

Bistriţa Monastery (connection point with Trail 1) – Arnota Monastery – Arnota Peak (1183 m) – Netedu Peak (1757 m) (connection point with Trails 3, 17, and then joined) – Lespezi Peak (1822 m) – Mount Zănoaga – Govora Peak (1958 m) – Zmeuret Pass (connection point with the Căpăţânii ridge trail)

Surface length
Start elevation
End elevation
High elevation
El. max - El. min
Cumulative increase
Cumulative decrease
19.82 535.7 1951.7 1951.7 1415.5 2151.2 -744.6

Hiking duration:

  • on summer: 9-10 h
  • on winter: not recommended outside the area Bistriţa – Arnota Peak

Refuges: the Arnota Monastery, the Arnota sheepfold, the Gura Plaiului forestry station, the Netedu Sheepfold, Lespezi Refuge

Water sources: tthe Arnota Monastery, the Arnota sheepfold, the Netedu Sheepfold, the Lespezi sheepfold


This trail crosses the ridge of the Buila-Vânturariţa Massive through the Arnota Peak, connecting it with the main ridge of Căpăţânii Mountains passing between the rivers Bistriţa and Costeşti. It’s long and difficult, especially in its middle part (from the Târnicior Pass to the Netedu Plateau), where the track is hard to follow, being covered by shrubby vegetation, especially in the old deforestation areas.

The trail starts in the same point as Trail 1, at the gates of Bistriţa Monastery. 200 m down the road, there is a crossroad with a route indicator, then a bridge over Bistriţa river, followed by an area where you have to walk for 100 m upstream on its left bank and, after 5-10 minutes of walking up on the trail, along the fences that guard the gardens down the road, you reach the Păpuşa Hermitage (information panel). From there, the trail goes on through the woods by north-east, meeting one of the curves of the winding road that goes up from Bistriţa to the limestone mine and to the Arnota Monastery, you cross the same road two times and, after 45 min -1 h since the departure, arrive at the gate of Arnota Monastery (there’s an arrow-indicator). From here you can go up over to the west, pass the monastery (there is an information panel), or straight on the road. Choosing the road, 100 m later, you will reach a crossroad and from there start upwards on the left path (straight ahead, you will get to the mine). The road makes a curve and, after that, you reach the grasslands (alpine meadows) of Mount Arnota. Another 300 m further down the road, you get up on a valley, wherefrom the path starts over left, towards the alpine meadows. The trail makes a large curve to the west (it can be cut directly up the hill), among the sinkholes, turns around the slope and gets into a small pass, between two sinkholes, from where you can see the sheepfold. From here you can climb directly to the top, and then follow the ridge, at first on the meadow, and in the last part, through the woods, up to a small glade, on Arnota Peak (1183 m) (marked by a wooden indicator).

From top, the trail goes down abbruptly over north, on the rocky, forested slope of Mount Arnota. Going down is hard only at the beginning, until you pass the limestone area. Starting from down the calcareous slope, you walk down the ridge, through young beech woods, going down slowly, into a small pass, very close to the Costeşti river Valley – the Târnicior Pass, from where you can see the alpine meadows from Mount Cacova. There is a water tower from the hydro electrical plant and an arrow-indicator. From there, you can go down fast to the valley of Costeşti (100 m), or to the valley of Bistriţa (15-20 minute).

Then the trail goes up to the ridge heading north, and there are young beech woods on its left, and on the right there are coniferous plantations. At first, the path is very good and, after one hour’s walk, it reaches a pass down a slope forested with old centennial beeches. You have to walk upwards on the slope up to the ridge, above a deforestation area, a point from where you can get a clear view over the north-western slope of the Buila-Vânturariţa Massif. Starting here, the path will not be that clear anymore, but hidden under the shrubs, now and then. But it is not hard to find your way, as the path follows the ridge. It goes around the forest exploitation area, by its upper part, until getting into another pass, where it overcrosses a tractor road that goes down both sides of the mountain. You can get down on Costeşti Valley, to the Large Spring, at the northern corner of the Prislop forestry station. Our trail goes on by the western side of the ridge, to the north and climbs up on a forestry road, passing by the deforestation area, on one side, and by a young beech forest, on the other. As you walk up, the tractor road gets harder and harder to distinguish, you get into a mix forest, much older than the ones before. The road ends at a certain point, and a small path takes its place, a path that goes up, on an inclined angle, to the ridge ahead. When reaching that secondary ridge, you have to walk upwards to the right, up to the main ridge and get into a small forested plateau, right under the Prislop Peak (1339 m). It takes 5-10 minutes to climb up the peak, and from there, you can go down into a small pass, at the boundry of another deforestation area, this time on the slope facing Costeşti Valley. Down the pass there is an indicator, marking the crossroads with trail no. 3, the yellow triangle, that climbs up from Pietreni village on the Costeşti Valley. From this point on, the two trails go on together. From here on, you leave the forest wilderness behind and go on up the ridge, following a forestry road. Once you past the deforestation area, you go over centennial beech forests and, half an hour later, you will be passing through centennial spruce forests and from that point you can immediately get to the alpine meadows, at the place called Gura Plaiului (1430 m). Shortly before getting there, a small secondary path sets off from our trail, a path that goes down to the right side, to a small forestry station, well preserved, thus a good refuge for bad weather. In the alpine meadows area, the signs are painted on rocks, at ground level mostly, but orientation is very easy, if you only follow the ridge line.

From Gura Plaiului you have a clear view for the north-western slope of the Buila-Vânturariţa ridge. There comes a high ascent in the middle of Netedu Peak up to the Gura Plaiului Peak (1510 m). On the right, you can choose another option: the track that goes to the Netedu sheepfold.

The Netedu Plateau lies bare to the north, with easy slopes, giving large perspectives over Plaiul Lespezi, Curmătura Comarnice and Buila-Vânturariţa and, as you climb up, the trail gets wider.

The ridge becomes a wide plateau. The trail goes to the right into a pass (between Costeşti and Cheia valleys), passes a crossroad (on your right, there’s the path for Curmătura Ignat), goes round the Netedu Peak (1757 m) by east, it goes through another crossroad (on your left, there’s the road for Lespezi Peak) and crosses the top of Muchia lui Ignat, where there’s another indicator – intersection with trail no. 17, that goes down to Cheia refuge, a point from where the two trails that you came by and the one coming from the Cheia refuge get united up to the main ridge of Căpăţânii Mountains. As a reference for the ending point of our trail, you can look for the sign on the Zmeuret Peak, as you have to get on its left. From there, you will go down for 15 minutes at the refuge in Curmătura Lespezi (1610 m), and then go up the road over north, then left, you cross the Bistriţa Valley source area, following a winding road all the way to a crossroad. The direction changes there, going right, heading for the spring of Cheia river (the Cold Valley). You get close to the source (you can see the foamy waterfalls on your right, and down the valley, you can see the ruins of a sheepfold). Following the curve on your left, the one that goes round the Govora Peak (1957 m), you reach the main ridge of Căpăţânii Mountains, in the Zmeuret Pass, located in the western corner of the Zmeuret Peak(1978 m). A shorter way, recommended especially for descent, is the straight one, cutting through the wide curves of the winding road.

Page made by Kogayon Association from
Environmental Administration Found project

Page translated by Daniela Sargu & Alan Kerslake