We are free again to take our backpacks and boots and venture on the mountain trails that have been waiting for us to test our trekking training hours gained by walking from the living room to the kitchen, back and forth. We recently asked you on our Facebook page about your favourite outdoor places from the Apuseni Mountains or, why not, all of Transylvania. We gathered the answers here, in what we hope will turn into a several chapter guide created together by you and us. The photos in this article have been sent by people in the SJF community and the credits go to them. 

There are more than 500 kilometers of marked trails to choose from. Their difficulty level varies between easy and medium and there are even portions suitable for off-road. This application can help you create a map and choose a route.

Ponor Fortress Circuit: the main recommendation for tourists that come here for the first time is to follow the route marked with a blue dot that starts from Cabin Padiş and leads through forest roads and difficult descents to the carstic complex of Ponor Fortress and back to the Cabin, in about 5 hours.

More details and a practical guide here. 

Rodnei Mountains National Park

This year might very well be the perfect time to discover Romania, and we received a recommendation for another National Park, but this time not the Apuseni one.

Emilian Gabor told us that at the end of June, when rhododendron blooms, The Rodnei Mountains National Park is one of his favorite places. 

The route recommended by him: “Rotunda Pass – Lake Lala Mare (1815 m) – Lake Lala Mică (1920 m) – vf. Ineu (2279 m). Under the peaks of Ineu (2279 m) and Ineut (2222 m), the northern part, in the heat of the glacial lakes Lala Mare and La Mica is full of Rhododendron, flowers popularly known as mountain peony. Duration: approx. 4 h, medium difficulty (slightly hard around La Mica).”

With an area of over 46,000 hectares, the Rodnei Mountains National Park is the largest protected area in the northern part of Eastern Carpathians.

What we found out about it

Before you venture, it’s good to know that the Rodnei Mountains are the highest mountains in the Eastern Carpathians and the most difficult to explore. They have everything a mountain lover could desire: lakes, waterfalls, caves, interesting peaks and picturesque landscapes. The trails range from 1.5 to 26 hours, a variety from which we can choose a suitable one: here.

If you want to go especially to enjoy the pink landscapes created by the rhododendron in bloom, we have learned that the season begins somewhere in the early days of June, the peak most often is reached in the middle of the month, while the last explosions of color can still be seen until around July 1. 

The “Tour of Rhododendron” is an unusual route proposed by two youngsters from Borșa with the starting point at the Rotunda Pass (Bistrița-Năsăud county), and the destination – the tip of Pietrosul Rodnei in Borșa (Maramureș county).


Padiș, Rădesei Fortress, "Focul Viu"

Olivia Nica advised us to take a walk through Padiș before we go back home to Apuseni Nature Park, since it’s so close to Smida.

“Padiș is filled with trails for all tastes and andurances, it’s also close to Smida. The Lost World, the Citadels of Rădesa… The Living Fire… Balconies (I think the balconies themselves no longer exist, unfortunately).”


What we found out about it

From this article we learned a lot of useful things about Padis, the Lost World, the Living Fire and other places with fairytale names in the area.
What we found most interesting is that the Padis area is a karst plateau, meaning a region formed as a result of water erosion, and underground there are eight pools that communicate with each other. Basically, during the hike you can think that “under your tired feet on the trail, there is a whole other world with lakes and underground waterfalls.”
You can travel on the Ponor Fortress Route and the Lost World Route in a single day, starting with any of them, only if you have the necessary endurance and equipment.

Stay tuned for the next list on this topic!

If you have a favorite hiking/trekking/bike trail or you know an exciting cave accessible for speo tourism, send us a message!

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