Romanian Motorcycle Roads
Jieț Canyon and Bănița Gorges
Over 60% of the road that links Obârșia Lotrului and Petroșani has rough surfaces, potholes or tarmac covered with sand and gravel. It is not a road that challenges an adventure touring motorcycle rider, but I would not have the guts do the complete route on a sports motorcycle. The road forces you to lower your rhythm and pay more attention to the traffic and the road. This gives you time to discover and appreciate the environment. The landscape is wonderful, a fresh green delights your eyes, and the crystal-clear waters of Jieţ River and the waterfalls that flow resoundingly from the rocks invigorate you.
We left Transalpina Road behind and started riding slowly on the bumpy road towards Jieț Gorges: at times on decent asphalt, sometimes dodging the potholes or riding on gravel. The road connects Vâlcea County with Hunedoara County, and the region is preferred by climbing and hiking enthusiasts. The road starts with a succession of twists and turns across a beautiful coniferous forest. Among the fir trees you can see Parângul Mare Peak, with its alpine pastures and patches of snow still not kissed by the sun’s rays. Resume the adventure with Parâng Mountains on the left and Șureanu Mountains to the right, separated by a narrow, aggressive road with tight bends and bridges with old and rusty railings.
The gorges welcome you with vertical walls and an untamed scenery, interrupted only by heavy weekend traffic and the smoke from wood-fired grills made by the water. Among potholes and fillings in asphalt, you find the time to have a look around. Out of the corner of your eye you see a 7 m high waterfall. Have a break and marvel at the superb waterfall washing the rocky walls and spreading a well-deserved freshness. Although we would rather throw ourselves under the streams, we continued our journey. The waterfall is known as the Ranger’s Shower Waterfall. Judging by its name, certainly it was not reserved for motorcyclists.
If the road takes you around here, make sure that the motorcycle you are riding copes with various road surfaces. About 15 km before Petroșani, the road gets better and better and the landscape changes.
Leave the city behind and head to Bolii Cave. The mysterious grotto is hidden about 15 minutes away from the city of Petroșani, to the right of the winding road leading to Hațeg. You leave the European road E79, and ride on an easy gravel road, about 1 km in length. Walk down the stairs leading to the cave and discover a spectacular 10m high entrance portal. The steps will take you to extraordinary galleries, lighted bridges and you will be amazed by the acoustics of the hallways. The journey continues to one of the most spectacular canyons in Romania, Banița Canyon.
Nature reserve located in Grădiștea Muncelului-Cioclovina Park, Bănița Gorges are the dazzling result of the Bănița River naturally carving a fairy-tale tunnel crossed by a cold, crystal clear water. The image makes you think of fantastic legends with long tail dragons, ladies, and mythical heroes. The canyon can only be reached on foot. Take a pair of walking boots with you as you will need to cross this miracle trough water, and you will not be able to do this without getting your motorcycle boots and socks wet. In some areas the water reaches your knees on a unique water crossing, at times on rocks, sometimes through the refreshing water.
Meeting ranger Vlad was a joy. He has made some travel recommendations, but also watched over our gear and motorcycle until our return from the short getaway.
The area proposes a variety of tourist attractions and places to explore. The surroundings are remarkable and the roads that lead you to them will offer you unforgettable experiences and feelings tattooed onto your soul.
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