Alongside my journeys and the many tracks I'm following I've met lots of different hiking markers which are supposed to mean something not just a sign that you have to follow to reach your destination.
And to be honest none of the people I've travelled with knew the meaning of these other than the sign that they are supposed to follow. Which made me think I should write about it because there is much information behind a simple sign drawn on a tree, a rock or a stone.
And due of promoting the tourism of my country
- Romania with each passing year is more visited by people from abroad, I will explain the meaning of the Romanian Hiking Markers that you must be acquainted with before starting a new journey.

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When we get into a new journey, we all need to follow some markers in order to reach our destination. Those might be crosses, arrows, lines, dots, triangles or characters depending on their meanings. More or less the mountains lovers know that those signs aren't randomly picked but they are trying to make you aware of the trails you are are going to follow by offering you some clues about them. Not to mention that many of the tourists don't make any distinction between some of the hiking trails comparing with the forestry ones. But keep in mind that those markers you will find on the hiking trails from Romania.


So let's start this by firstly explaining how you can find those markers:

  1. A group of at least 2 markers on the same spot: this represents more touristic destinations which share a part in common, after a while branching successively in different ways. So make sure you know exactly what sign you have to follow in order to arrive where you planned.
  2. Centrifugal: very similar to the first one excepting the fact that from the beginning the trails have different ways you need to follow, so there is not a common part for them.
  3. The Circuit: usually when you go on a long trail you will notice two different markers you need to follow. One when you are going to a place and a different one when you return - but NOT when we are talking about a circuit. So when your trip represents a circuit, you will need to follow the same marker.
  4. The Common Axis: also very similar with the first one but this time we are talking about the main trail which usually is a ridge trail from where many secondary tracks are starting their own roads. Like a mother with her babies. :)
  5. The round-trip: as I have already mentioned on "3", for most of the trails you need to follow two different markers - the one from going being different than the one you follow when you come back.

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After we've learned how we can find those makers, let's find out what they truly mean.

A. The characters

  1. "A" - avalanche DANGER
  2. "C" - cornices on the route
  3. "D" - alpine difficulties on the route
  4. "M" - routes which change their difficulty depending on the weather
  5. "O" - routes with orientation difficulties - such as not being enough markers or the lack of visibility when the fog is very dense
  6. "P" - routes with very steep and slippery inclinations
  7. "H" - he boundary between two forestry places

This kind of markers are placed at the beginning or the end of a trail which are supposed to explain you the difficulty of the routes.

A. The shapes

While in Romania you will find different markers drawn in square shapes of different dimensions depending on the surface they are applied but usually the size is somewhere between 16-20cm to be visible from distance.

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The marker which represents the main trails and the routes for the ridge trails.

2. marcaje-banda.jpg

The marker which represents the trails that are connected with others and the trail that will intersect with a main route.

3.

The marker which is used for secondary routes that describe from the main trail OR the marker that brings you on the peak of a mountain.

4.

The marker used for circuit trails.

5.

Very similar with the previous marker, this one represents the round-trip trails.

6.

The marker that tells you are in a natural reserve area.

7.

The marker that makes you aware you are starting a trail with a high-risk of avalanche.

8.

The marker used for trails dedicated to mountain biking.

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As you can see, none of the hiking markers are not randomly picked and each one of them has a story to share. In plus, you will meet other markers with the name of the touristic attraction you are heading to or the estimated time of the journey. Depending on the time spent on the route or the difference of altitude we can also make a distinction of the trails by their difficulty:

  • EASY trail: 3-6 hours long trail / 300-700m difference of altitude.
  • MEDIUM trail: 4-8 hours long trail / 500-1000m difference of altitude.
  • HARD trail: 5-9 hours long trail / 800m+ difference of altitude.

Last but not least, we all need to remember that even though the mountain love its travelers, we need to follow its rules and not venture on the routes where the access is denied in different seasons but also to follow the markers even though we might believe there are other ways shorter or easier than the marked ones. Don't forget that those markers were drawn by specialists and if they decided to pick that way, they definitely had at least one reason to do so.

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