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Apuseni Hikes - Galbenei Gorge

Apuseni Natural Park represents a place of fairytale, myth and legend with stunning views and plenty of activities to choose from no matter if you are into hiking, rafting, cycling, skiing,  speleology or simply relaxing. It covers quite a large area and it is densely populated, compared to other mountain ranges, offering the possibility to get in touch with the local culture and old traditions of the people living here. There are plenty of places to try out traditional Romanian cuisine or to sleep at agro-touristic farms and experience first hand the lifestyle of the people living here, up, in the mountains.

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Via Ferrata at Evantai Waterfall


Hiking stats


Time: 7.5 h
Distance: 14 km
Altitude gain: +/- 1000 m
Difficulty: medium/hard
Route: pa.gif pg.gif Galbenei Gorge GPS track

 

 Where is this?


Apuseni Natural Park has many access roads you can take depending on where you are coming from and what attractions you wish to visit. For this particular hike I will highlight the best way to reach Glăvoi, our destination, from Timișoara, but I must warn you that the road, even though it is paved, is in pretty bad condition no matter what route you will choose. As such I recommend that you travel by day and that you are prepared to lose about 5 hours or more on 250 kilometers. The road should be great until you reach Salonta, but after this you can expect the quality to drop dramatically and the trip to take you through a rural part of Romania until reaching the Padiș area. You will have to go on a dirt road for approximately 2 kilometers before reaching the Glăvoi camping area but this section is manageable with most cars and a 4x4 is not required.

 

Entrance fee?


There is no entrance fee in order to enter the park, but some sights might have a small tax in order to visit them (caves, museums, etc).

 

Let’s start!


galbenei-gorge-hike-comments

This hike is a circuit which means it will start and end at the same point, in our particular case, the camping place at Glăvoi and as such you can install your tent here and do the track with only a light backpack. I strongly recommend sleeping at Glăvoi not only because it is free of charge and you have access to many routes close-by, but also because it is one of the most beautiful camping places I have been to. This place will impress you with its tranquility and closeness to nature.

You can include Balcoanele Ponorului in this route; it will not take much longer and the view is exquisite (you will see a section of Cetăţile Ponorului from above). Our hike starts from the Park Ranger’s Hut at the end of the camping place by following the pa.gif markings on the main road in the direction of the Cetăţile Ponorului Chalet. At some point you will have to leave the main road and follow the trail to Balcoanele Ponorului (this is clearly indicated on the path - do note that if you reach the chalet you have missed this intersection). This section should take you approximately 30 minutes walking time.

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Balcoanele Ponorului

After Balcoanele Ponorului, the path will intersect with the pg.gif trail that leads to Galbenei Gorges and in about 1 hour, you should reach one of the local highlights, Avenul Borţig (Borţig Sinkhole). Being 54 meters deep, at the bottom, it houses Romania’s second largest glacial.

We continue our hike for about 30 minutes more until we another intersection, to the left we will have “5 minutes until Izbucul Galbenei (Galbenei Spring)” and to the right we will have “30 minutes to Poiana Florilor (Flower Glade)”. If you wish to skip the gorge you can go right but if you plan to do something somewhat more challenging go left and descend to Galbenei spring. For the most part of the year (June - October) the gorges should be open and you should not need to get wet or walk through water - but this depends on the amount of rain in the area.

The spring represents the starting point of the gorges and you will have to go up and around it to reach the other side. With some resting time and plenty of pictures, we estimate the gorges should take you about 2 hours.

When you reach the Evantai Waterfall you will have only a few section of cables to cross left and then the road will take you on a trail through the forest. After a sustained climb, you will reach Poiana Florilor from where the slope of the path goes back to a more normal angle. After about 2 hours, you should reach another glacial, Focul Viu. From here you will return to the camping place at Glăvoi where a good, cold beer can be served.

Last climb, just before reaching Poiana Florilor

 

Where do I sleep?


There are plenty of places to sleep in this area, finding the right one for you is simply a matter of personal taste. If you want somewhere close to the starting point of the hike I would strongly recommend sleeping in a tent at Glăvoi. It is free of charge and one of the best looking and tranquil camping places I have been in Romania. You can grab something to eat or drink at one of the small huts in the glave at decent prices but don’t expect to have a wide variety to choose from. Keep in mind there are no showers or toilets available at Glăvoi. For fresh water there are two springs you can access, one in the central part of the glave, and one close to the Park Ranger’s hut. If you fancy a warm bed then you can sleep at Cetăţile Ponorului Chalet more down the road. They also serve food in their restaurant.

 
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Poiana Glavoi - Camping

What do I eat?


You can find a few food facilities at Glăvoi where you can serve different types of grilled meat with a small selection of side dishes. Also, you can enjoy some Romanian beers or even ţuică (traditional Romanian schnaps). For some more diversity, you can try the restaurant at Cetăţile Ponorului Chalet or one of the many restaurants in Padiş.

 

Good to know!


Building a campfire is only allowed at Glavoi in designated and protected firepits, building one anywhere else might get you a big fine from the Park Rangers.

Even though you can camp anywhere you want I do recommend sleeping at Glavoi to avoid any wild animal incident. Attacks are really rare and the wild bear/wolf population is significantly lower than in the central mountain ranges, but still it is better to be on the safe side.

You can find fresh water at Glăvoi even during the hot summer months so you will need only a bottle.

 

Other close destinations?


There are a lot of other destinations you can go to in the close vicinity, but for more info consult this map of the hiking routes in Apuseni Natural Park.

Check these other close-by hikes:

 

Hope you found the information helpful and accurate, but remember, if you have any questions drop them in a comment below!

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Balcoanele Ponorului
galbenei-gorge-hike-bortig
Avenul Bortig
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Izbucul Galbenei

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Apuseni Hikes - Galbenei Gorge Reviewed by Alex on 13:51 Rating: 5

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