Off-road motorcycle ride in Sunset Mountains
It is not Kings Road and it does not take you above the clouds, but it leads you on a twisting road straight into the heart of the Sunset Mountains. It is Transapuseni.
The route traverses the peaks of Trascau and Metaliferi Mountains on a stretch of about 80 km. Transapuseni has its beginning in Aiudul de Sus and passes through the entire southern section of Sunset Mountains up to village of Bucium on the following route: Aiudul de Sus – Rîmeţ – Brădeşti — Geogel — Măcăreşti – Bîrleşti Cătun — Cojocani — Valea Barnii — Bîrleşti — Mogoş – Valea Albă — Ciuculeşti — Bucium — Izbita — Coleşeni — Bucium Sat — DN 74 (Cerbu).
Even though the elevation is just a bit over 1000m, the countryside that you will encounter here is of unique splendor.
Rich forests and narrow ravines
The asphalt ends just before the forested area begins. At the beginning, the gravel is loose, and it can surprise you with uncontrolled skidding at any time. Slightly, the loose gravel becomes more and more solid and safe. You are now at the bottom of Trascau Mountains and the thick forest is protected area of national interest. Sloboda Forest was declared a Botanical Reserve ever since 1969. Crossing it on Transapuseni Road offers you captivating views during summertime as well as during the autumn colours
Picturesque landscape carved in limestone
The solid gravel road continues up to the village of Ramet. The ascending hairpin curves reveal a new, spectacular view with every turn. Once you reach 750m in altitude the road continues right on top of the mountain. The wild, limestone view of the Monastery Gorges seen from above is magnificent.
The Monastery Gorges dug patiently by the waters of Ramet River have limestone walls that reach 180m, perfect for rock climbing.
The ragged and sharp peaks of the canyon catch the eye of the beholder with a picturesque landscape carved in limestone.
Thick shade and freshness
If time allows you to really enjoy the wilderness of the area and your off-road riding skills let you descend to Monastery Valley, enjoy a hike in Ramet Gorges. Riding downhill on a serpentine road with loose surface made of rocks and dirt can be challenging even for the most experienced motorcycle rider. Ramet Gorges worth the try. Cross the spectacular canyon by following the route up to Goat’s Breach. Hiking on the ridge of the mountain will provide for some of the finest views of the area. Descend in the hamlet of Cheia and have a picnic lunch. Enjoy the freshness of the region and be astounded by the desolated mountain huts. On return you can hike straight through Ramet Valley, traversing the narrow gorge. The emerald river becomes deeper and deeper and you must change hiking through the water with walking on the cables mounted on the steep mountain walls.
Back to the motorbikes. After changing the clothes, ride along the stone road to Geogel. Closed to the junction with Geogel Village the path turns from gravel road into dirt road. If you know your off-road riding skills will not help you resume the journey on the dirt road, do not get pissed. From Ramet you can continue your voyage towards the city of Teius. This road section is made of good, solid gravel. There’s even a stretch of perfect tarmac in the middle of nowhere, over the mountains, in an amazing place that resembles with Lord of the Rings setting.
Transapuseni route offers plenty of belle viewpoints over Retezat, Sureanu and Grand Mountain.
The road is part of a European Union financing project. During this project 44 million euros will be spent on the modernization of this road sector as well as for consolidation/replacement of the bridges on the road. The road will be completely modernized by end of March 2023.
Distance: about 80kms from Aiudul de Sus to Bucium (DN74 Cerbu)
Road quality: at present the route is made of gravel up to km 40, close to the junction with Geogel Village. From here it turns into dirt road.
Motorbike model: off-road/adventure
- Before hitting the road carefully check the weather forecast. The rain (even a few days before your journey) can make the dirt section of the road impossible to pass on an adventure bike.
- Remember to pack a pair of sneakers ready to get wet, changing socks and bathing suite. After crossing Ramet Gorges you will need to change into your motorcycle gear. A row of dry clothes will make the rest of your journey much more pleasant
- Remember to enjoy the traditions of the place. The hospitality of the people who live in the area is renown. Once you cross their threshold, they will offer you food and drinks. If they are inviting you to dine you cannot say no. Try out the traditional balmos and drink at least a shot of crampa, especially if it is a cool evening. Crampa is a traditional alcoholic drink made of caraway boiled in caramelized sugar and fruit spirits.
Photo credit: Alex Palfi