Motorcycle Route Romania – Mixt
Sunny meadows, fabulous caverns, and wild canyons – all lure the mountain lovers in the Padis region. Sunset Mountains Natural Park attracts the motorcycle riders in Padis with natural wonders and an unpaved road that entices with a variety of road surfaces.
A dirt road, easy to cross on two wheels invites you. Progressively, the surface turns into a sharp stone road, loose gravel, uncut stone, puddles, mud, and a short section of log crossing. The route defies you. There is no turning back now.
The region is in the north of the Bihor Mountains, part of the Western Carpathian chain, known as the Sunset Mountains. The road between Ic Ponor and Padiș Plateau is difficult, but not impossible to cross by car. For this reason, traffic is almost non-existent. Few vehicles pass through this area which makes the motorcycle adventure here a real pleasure.
Sunset Mountains in all their splendor
We ventured on motorcycles to Padis, starting the journey from the Tarnița Lake. Traveling to Răchiţele, you cross Mărișel on a sector of twists and turns, that reveals enchanting views after every corner. The asphalt is in a very good condition, but there are short sections where you can find gravel in the middle of the road, which makes you cautious, especially when cornering. Or at least, that would be responsible.
Should you need fuel, remember to fill the tank in Marisel. There is only one gas station here, located in the vicinity of the school. At the intersection with 1R road, keep right towards Beliș. The road is paved with uneven sections and takes you riding on the shore of Beliș Lake to Bride’s Vail Waterfall.
Bride’s Vail Waterfall
With a drop of over 30 m, the Bride’s Veil is a stepped waterfall located on Stanciului Valley. Accessing the waterfall involves about 1 km of unpaved road, but not at all difficult.
Take a break here, admire the Bride’s Veil Waterfall and find out the local legend. Before continuing your adventure to Padis, stop at the village bakery and taste the hot, steaming pita, fresh out of the oven. You do not need to search much; it is right on your way to the waterfall.
The adventure continues with an ascent on a narrow road, slightly uneven. The winding road is narrow, so ride carefully. The asphalt is getting better and better, and the road gets wider.
Someșul Cald River accompanies you on a short section. Not long after Ic Ponor Camping site the unpaved road section begins. The adventure starts with rides through a coniferous forest and ascends to 1200 m in altitude to Padis Plateau.
Off-Road Adventure in Sunset Mountains
The route challenges. It lures you with a dirt road easy to cross on two wheels. Gradually, the surface turns into a road of angular stone, loose gravel, uncut stone, puddles, mud, and a very short section of logs. There is no turning back. When in doubt, bite the bullet and throttle up. It won’t necessarily save the situation, but at least it ends faster!
The vibrations make you hungry, and the warm bread bought in Răchiţele is simply perfect to cover the concert in A minor of the empty stomach. No, not just bread. We added some cheese and meat to calm the stomach fire and we set off again. We will quench our thirst with a cold beer at the end of the day. Until then, the water is enough for hydration and the forest is the place for a lunch break.
The dark eyes of nature
If you have time, stop at Molhașurile de la Izbuce. In these active peat bogs, you climb a wooden tower especially designed to admire the area. The dark eyes of nature (black waterholes also known as bottomless lakes) capture and reflect the wild landscape – a rare beauty.
Riding the motorcycle from Ic Ponor, you travel the unpaved road section uphill to the Padis Plateau. The last part of the road is on a loose gravel section. They did not skimp on this area at all. Once you reach the top, the landscape delights your eyes.
The 6 km of unpaved road ends abruptly, too fast, too soon. It is almost like you are eager to ride back for another round.
Twists & Turns, forests and waterfalls
The road continues on asphalt towards Pietroasa on a section of serpentines, just perfect to get your blood flowing. After the off-road session, the motorcycle seems to ride by itself. You can barely stop to take a picture of Bălileasa Depression. This sunny, open field is the entrance to Padis from Bihor area and is the starting point for various tourist routes. Padis region includes the most natural attractions per square kilometre in Romania, a paradise for hiking lovers.
The road reveals refreshing forests, rapid waterfalls and sharp rocks, real stone fortresses. Turn after turn, you ride along Crisul Pietros River.
You cannot cross the area without paying a visit to Bears Cave. Located in the village of Chiscau, the Cave is one of the most spectacular caverns in Romania. The grotto consists of 4 main galleries: Bones Gallery, Emil Racoviță Gallery, Candles Gallery and Scientific Gallery. Access to the Scientific Gallery is intended for professional speleologists only.
The 3 galleries accessible to the public show you many fossils, remains of the cave bear. This is how the cave gained its reputation. The cave is lit up and offers you the opportunity to admire various impressive natural formations, such as stalactites and stalagmites. Depending on their look, some formations obtained names such as: The Enchanted Palace, The Dwarf’s House, The Water Lily Lake or The Council of Elders.
You can visit the Bears Cave from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:00. The cave is closed on Mondays. The entrance to the cave is organized in groups of at least 3 people accompanied by the local guide.
Schedule about 45 minutes to visit the Cave plus the waiting time until the start of a new guided tour.
Padis – has a resonance that reaches the most sensitive strings for hiking enthusiast. Certainly, our steps will take us through Ponor Fortress, Living Fire or Yellow Gorges, again.
Route type: mixed with perfect asphalt, uneven asphalt, narrow roads, dirt road, unpaved stone, potholes, puddles, mud, and a short section logs crossing
Distance: from Mărișel to Bears Cave, there are about 115 km to ride. Of these, about 6 km are covered on an unpaved road (between Ic Ponor and Cabana Padiș)
Experience in off-road riding required
Motorcycle type: dual-sport, enduro, adventure for experienced riders
Gas stations: there are only two gas stations in the area: in Mărisel or in Râsca. There are no gas stations in Belis. Fill up the tank ahead of time.
GSM signal: on certain sections you will not get GSM signal
Type of luggage: made of textile material
Photo credit: Alex Palfi