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Cerna Valley Hikes - Prisacinei Gorge

If the sun is shining and the weather is hot and if you just happen to be close to Cerna Valley, Romania, then I warmly recommend going on a hike. And what better destination for half a day of relaxation than Prisacinei Gorge? Even though this track is not that known it has a lot to offer to the wandering tourist that chooses to step on its footpath. You will start the hike on “Patraula”, name of the old borderline between the Habsburgic Empire and the Ottoman Empire, followed by an easy walk through Prisacina Gorge, then climb the steep slope towards Prisacina Peak and finally you’ll discover one of the amazing hamlets from Cerna Valley, Prisacina. And yes, it's all about Prisacina today! From here, even though the altitude isn’t that high, about 1000 meters, you will have a great opening of the whole Cerna Valley in all its might.

Above Cerna Valley


Hiking stats

Time: 6 hours
Distance: 10 kilometers
Altitude gain: 800 meters
Difficulty: easy - moderate
Route: bg.gif - No GPS track but check the image to the right.

Where is this?

Getting to Baile Herculane is pretty easy and the road is really good no matter where you are coming from. To reach Herculane from Timisoara you need to go on road E70 in the direction of Lugoj and Caransebes; note that both towns have ring-roads so no need to go through them. After passing by Mehadia, a small town, you will have to do a left turn in about 5 kilometers in order to enter Baile Herculane over a narrow concrete bridge. The road has good markings and the entrance is hard to miss as the railway station is also there.

Entrance fee?

There is no entrance fee for the Domogled - Cerna Valley National Park but if you wish to enter the thermal baths at some resorts you might need to either book a room there or pay the admission to the pool.

Let’s start!

Start of the Hike
The hike starts at Dumbrava Motel, located at 13 kilometers from Baile Herculane in the direction of Baia de Arama, where you can sleep either in the pension or by tent in the glave close by. From Dumbrava you will walk approximately 1 kilometer on the main road towards Baia de Arama until you will find the bg.gif markings and a wooden bridge on the left side, over Cerna river (see photo for details). After passing the bridge you should go right and continue on the bg.gif markings.

Do note that this is a circuit track and on your way back you will come on the left side of the bridge on the same markings. The first part of the track is done on a footpath called “Patraula” that represents the old border between the Habsburgic Empire and the Ottoman Empire and later in time between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Romania (in case you didn’t know Transylvania was under Austrian occupation for a long time, since 1711 and until 1914).

The path will next take you on Prisacina Gorge (Cheile Prisacinei) where the landscape changes to an ever-green moss, ivy and fern filled river valley, kingdom of the salamanders. The footpath will start on the right side of the river and later, close to the end of the gorge, it will switch to the left, where you will start a steep ascent on a slope in the direction of Prisacina Peak. Pay close attention in this region as the markings get more scarce.


After a sustained climb through the forest and on an ever turning path you will reach one of the first great view points, with a stunning opening on the surrounding cliffs. Continue on the bg.gif marking track close to Prisacina Peak and with a small detour you can even reach this small summit.

Above the gorge

At some point you will reach a final hilltop from where the path will continue on a constant descent back to the bridge that marked the start of the hike. Here I suggest you to stop and enjoy the peace and quiet this place has to offer and also to take delight in the view over the whole Cerna Valley. Follow the bg.gif marking back to the bridge and then to Motel Dumbrava.

View from Prisacina

Where do I sleep?


There are plenty accommodation options in Herculane, depending on personal budget and preferences, you can choose from. Our favorite spot is the small camping glave next to Dumbrava Motel, roughly 14 kilometers from Baile Herculane. We like this place because it is remote and far away from the busy life of the resort and also it is close to most hiking routes in the area. If you wish for even more intimacy you can cross the footbridge over Cerna River that is located in front of the motel and camp in that glave. Both glaves are owned by a local farmer that sometimes comes to collect approximately 1 euro (5 lei) per person/night for your stay there but he accepts any currency as we found out at some point (we had only euro with us). There are no toilets or bathrooms available in the glaves but for such things you are welcomed to use the facilities at Motel Dumbrava as the owners are really open to this.

We usually eat at the motel as the prices are really decent, a breakfast would be 2-3 euro and a lunch about 4-5 euro but if you have packed food you are welcome to eat it on their outdoor terrace free of charge. If the outdoor sleeping isn’t your thing you can rent a cozy double room at Dumbrava that will cost you 18 euro per night (80 lei) and you will also have access to their indoor swimming pool. From the motel, you have many close destinations and hikes that don't require a car to get to.

What do I eat?

It really depends on what you have planned to do and where you are sleeping, but you will find many restaurants in Baile Herculane. If you are sleeping close to or at Dumbrava Motel they are serving food from 8 AM until around 10 PM but if you are hiking in the mountain you will have to pack your own food as there are no chalets in the area.

Good to know!

Besides hiking and thermal baths, there are many other activities available in the area like rafting, canoeing, gliding, bouldering and mainly rock climbing. For climbing enthusiasts, Herculane is simply a paradise (because of the limestone rock composition of the mountains) with a lot of tracks scaling from easy to a professional level of difficulty. Most, if not all tracks are in great condition as the guys from Alternative, are constantly taking care of them. There is also a big annual international competition going on here for all levels of climbers that will take place somewhere in September 2015 (current year), the Herculane Climbing Open.

In the glaves close to Motel Dumbrava, you can build a campfire and there is a freshwater spring in the vicinity of the footbridge.

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 Domogled - Cerna Valley National Park.

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

Small viper



Cerna Valley Hikes - Prisacinei Gorge Reviewed by Alex on 11:29 Rating: 5


  1. Replies
    1. Sunt de acord, dar dacă am reuşit cel puţin să stârnim interesul pentru această tură, eu spun că este win-win! :) Restul rămâne să îl descoperiţi voi!


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