Facing My Fears in the 7 Ladders Canyon of Romania

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

I’m just going to put it out there right from the start. I am afraid of heights. That’s right. You’ll likely never catch me sitting peacefully up on a tree, you’ll probably never ever see me rock climbing, and you’re not too likely to spot me on the side of a ladder. Except when I’m in a super cool place and I’m too scared of missing out on something amazing. That’s when the FOMO somewhat overrides my mild acrophobia, and I just do it. Not without any commotion, though, to tell you the truth…

Ever since I was a little kid, I used to dread climbing up ladders. My legs were usually too small to reach the steps properly, and I didn’t feel any rush of adrenaline once I started going up on a ladder. All I felt was a huge knot in my stomach, a sweaty brow and a shivering sensation running up and down my spine. But to tell you the truth, it’s not actually the “climbing” part that I hate so much. It’s the “coming down” part that worries me much MUCH more. I can somehow ascend without looking down, to keep my brain in blissful ignorance so it doesn’t have to deal with the reality of the situation, but it’s a completely different story when I’m descending. Because then I have to look down at my feet to see where they land, and for me, that’s likely the worst possible feeling ever.

Despite all this personal drama, I was still quite excited when we finally got to visit the 7 Ladders Canyon, situated in the Piatra Mare Massif just outside the city of Brașov. I still had knots in my stomach, but I thought that since the hike is basically a round-trip, I might not need to climb down from anything. But little did I know, that there were other challenges ahead I wasn’t too prepared for. Read all about them:

The trail towards 7 Ladders Canyon starts at a small village in the outskirts of Brașov, called Timișu de Jos. We left our car adjacent to the Vila 7 Scări and continued our journey on foot by the Șipoaia Creek. I didn’t know too much about the karst gorge at first. I only saw photos of it on the internet and was continuously stunned about how crowded it was on weekends. Because of the masses of tourists flowing in, I thought 7 Ladders Canyon was a mere 10-15 minutes away from the parking lot. But boy, was I wrong!

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

The trail looks something like this in the beginning and it’s not easy to get lost on it. Just follow the yellow stripe and you’ll be fine. Naturally, after a while the trail becomes somewhat narrower, but the marks are visible throughout. I was quite surprised to see that we had to walk up to an hour just to reach the entrance to 7 Ladders Canyon. Because of the massive crowds I’ve seen on social media, I thought it’d be more like a short walk.

But the trail is really beautiful throughout. Don’t hesitate to venture off it every now and then, so you can see some cool mini-waterfalls. Oh, and unless I wasn’t clear before, don’t plan your visit on a weekend. Just don’t. We were there during the weekday and it was excellent, without too many people. Because the last thing you want when you’re climbing a tall ladder is to have someone hurrying you or breathing down your neck.

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

After an hour of walking, you finally reach the ticket counter. I though the 10 lei we paid for entering the limestone gorge was absolutely worth it, after I saw the level of maintenance throughout. Everything is very well-kept, which, sadly, is quite a rarity here in Romania… Once you buy your ticket, all you need to do is follow the ladders. It’s basically a round-trip, so you don’t have to return the same way you came from, but proceed on the trail through a steep forested area.

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

Once we got closer, I got quite nervous at the sight of the first ladder. I hesitated at first, but managed to push myself a bit and start climbing. I kept my gaze upwards to help with my anxiety and I was so happy once I was up, I felt like I deserved a medal. I failed to realize that this was only the first of the 7 Ladders. But then the hard part came. Because the second ladder was massive, thrice my size and scary as hell.

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

Needless to say, I was already sweating bullets at the mere sight of it. I’ve never in my life climbed such a tall ladder, since even the ones that are merely 3 meters high send shivers down my spine, and I hope I won’t ever have to again. But, after some hardcore cheerleading to help my brain guide my foot up the first step, I put my conscience into ignorance-mode and climbed up as fast as I could to simply be done with the experience. Nope, I didn’t enjoy it at the time. But once I was at the top, a wave of calm spread over me – because I did it! And even though my fear still persisted on some level since I didn’t know what to expect further up the trail, I was immensely proud of myself. That’s right, I am going to pat myself on the back on my own blog (lame, I know).

Continuing our journey through the 7 Ladders Canyon, the ladders got somewhat shorter and the scenery got even prettier. I don’t want to bore you with long descriptive sentences, so I’ll just leave you with the photos so you can see exactly how the gorge looks like from this point onward.

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

You’ll know that you’re near the end of the trail once the narrow corridor starts to open up. After a few minutes of walking, you’ll only see the forest and the river, still guiding you faithfully. A few hiking trails continue from here onward, if you’d like to go beyond the 7 Ladders Canyon. For us, that will be a different trip at a different time. As you reach the end of the gorge, don’t be the asshole that goes back the same way they came. Respect your fellow nature-lovers and don’t cause any delays just because you want to go for another round for your money’s worth.

Continue your journey through the forest like everyone else, back towards the ticket counter. I hope I don’t need to emphasize the importance of not littering on this (or any) hiking trail. The ending isn’t any less exciting than the trail through 7 Ladders Canyon. It goes up a steep curve, only to go down via an abrupt portion in the forest. It’s definitely not without its challenges and you should take special care if the leaves are wet and the trail is slippery.

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

If you don’t want to walk down to your car on your two tired feet and you’re still lusting for an extra dose of adrenaline, there’s a different path you can take. The 7 Ladders Canyon is home to the longest ziplining trail in Romania (2.1 kilometers) and it’s officially open for business. Some portions are fairly high, whilst others are quite reasonable. I couldn’t muster up the courage to try it myself, but maybe next time? (Naaaahhhhh. I don’t think so). But you should definitely do it, if you’d like to. It costs 90 lei and they provide you with gear and everything. Enjoy!

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

As we headed towards our car in the last portion of the trail, the lazy sheep herd and the ultra-friendly shepherd dogs that posed for the camera and let us through peacefully were an additional bonus to an already fantastic day. The calm of these grazing animals was in stark contrast to how I personally felt only 1.5 hours before, but the entire experience was definitely worth the stress.

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

Practical Info:

7 Ladders Canyon Visiting Hours: Monday – Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM (low season) + 9 AM to 6 PM (high season)

Entrance Fee: Adults – 10 lei (2.5 euros) | Students – 5 lei (1.2 euros)

Zipline Price: 90 lei (20 euros)

Note: the 7 Ladders Canyon is not always open after heavy rain or during long winters, so it’s best to check their Facebook page, where they regularly post updates about the weather and access situation. 

If you liked the post, don’t hesitate to Pin it to Pinterest to help spread the word!

7 Ladders Canyon | Canionul 7 Scari Romania

2 Responses to “Facing My Fears in the 7 Ladders Canyon of Romania

  • Having to write a blog about something is a good way of forcing oneself to overcome fears.
    Although I am still not sure if I would do it. Maybe I would just stay behind with the sheep all day. 🙂

    I am even afraid on those wooden structures that have rails on both sides. But once it gets too high, my legs are trembling and I can’t really enjoy the views that much.

    But very brave of you!

    And what a cute shepherd dog! I wish all of them looked as peaceful.

    • I was VERY surprised to see how stable the ladders were, they didn’t move an inch! So that stability definitely helped, all I needed to do was to hold on tight 🙂
      The dogs were also surprisingly chill, I’ve never walked through an entire sheep herd without getting barked at, so this was a brand new experience.
      And yes, my legs trembled. A LOT. :))

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: