Romania off-road tracks
Romania off-road tracks – Strategica
There are avenues and trails, freeways and tracks, lanes, and spectacle. What makes the difference is the high altitude and the wilderness of the landscapes. Instead of a perfect paved road that only makes the connection between 2 places better use a track that takes you to the rooftop of the World and entices you with a memorable display of nature.
Join us on Strategica – one of the most impressive off-road tracks in Romania.
Magical views on a wild track
Strategica is an old military route built by the Germans during the 1st World War. The route crosses the edges of Latoritei Mountains and presents enchanting views over Vidra Lake, Parang or Capatanii Mountains. Strategica challenges you, demands your full attention and rewards you.
The trail connects the Kings Road – Transalpina with Voineasa on Macesului Valley – a continuous adventure on a difficult descent or with Malaia on Rudaresei Valley, an easier approach.
The fairy-tale landscapes entice and reward you and the wild route that takes you to the clouds challenges you.
To be closer to the off-road route at the beginning of the day and to avoid the crowds that usually form on Transalpina on week-ends, start your adventure in Obarsia Lotrului.
A quick stop at Stefanu Sheepfold gives you a boost. Be it to watch or to taste a bit of the traditional food, a halt here is a must if you ride on Transalpina Highway. At the sheepfold, everybody works from the first hours of the day. You can choose homemade sausages with shepherd’s bulz (polenta with cheese on grill) and the most famous meal of the shepherds – cauldron made Sheep Stew (tocan de oaie), cooked at wooden fire. The sheepfold food caresses your senses.
Even if you’re not hungry, stop at the sheepfold, try the sheep wool coats and visit the small traditional museum arranged here.
No markings, no road signs
6 km after Stefanu Sheepfold (about 10 minutes by motorbike), in Stefanu Pass, an unpaved road opens to the left. There is no sign to guide you to Strategica, just a few sunburned panels that once offered information on Parâng Natura 2000 Site.
Beginning the Strategica from King’s Road, you feel as if you’re on an intensive off-road course. The route starts with quite easy sections of dirt, gravel road and smaller gulches. This section is ridden easily, and allows you to appreciate the views that the mountains offer from the very beginning. The road climbs up to 2000 m in altitude and you are accompanied throughout by captivating views. You may be tempted to stop every 5 minutes for a photo. Use your time wisely.
Mushroom pickers on top of the mountain
On the way you meet cyclists, 4X4 cars and some lower cars used by mushroom pickers. The rain is heavenly manna for them, and they are up on the mountain looking for mushrooms all season. When you ask them how they distinguish the good mushrooms from the inedible, they are secretive, they shrug and smile mischievously. They’re just saying that the tastiest ones are the smallest and that from time to time they also find gigantic mushrooms.
In addition to mushrooms, the mountain offers the freshest blueberries – if you pick them with your own hands. We also craved blueberries and enjoyed them each time we had the opportunity.
Gulches and Rocky Roads
At a junction, keep right, ascending on the grass trail will thrill you. Look to the left and in the distance, you will catch a glimpse of Vidra Lake. Transalpina Ski Resort is one of the preferred ski resorts and the views it honors you with are fascinating. The road continues with descending sections on unbroken, uncut stone, lots of it. Your skills are put to the test by riding up on a road dug into the rock of the mountain: short sections to roll on broken pieces of rock, and large stones. Only 4X4 cars, cyclists or motorcyclists venture here. Suddenly, the beautiful landscape fades in the background and the main hero is you. Your attention is fully captured by the route. It stimulates you, strengthens you, tests you.
If you want to admire the nature – take a break. The route requires your full attention. Continue scanning the track with interest, anticipating each challenge.
There are two ways to leave Strategica:
- More practicable option:
Arriving in Plaiul Poienii, continue the descent to the right on Valea Rudăresei. It is much more practicable to descend on Rudăresei Valley than on the Măceș Valley. The gravel road takes you to Mălaia. Closer in Ciungetu you can continue with another off-road section to Petrimanu Lake and Olteț Gorges.
- We chose the harder option. Not because we are gods, but because a local informed us that the road was recently rehabilitated. We wanted to verify the information and it turned out to be incorrect. Heavy rains and logging have severely broken a long stretch of the road.
If you’re an experienced rider you can continue Strategica on the difficult route. In Plaiul Poienii keep left. The route continues easily through the forest on a dirt road but gradually becomes more complex as you descend. Logging has severely affected the condition of the road, leaving behind rocks, multiple gulches and larger or smaller pieces of wood. A short section through a deciduous forest laid a blanket of dry leaves on the path. Cross the area carefully. The leaves decrease the grip and you don’t want any surprises. The route becomes more and more difficult with a section of tight turns with multiple gulches, inclined road sections and level difference. The descent on Măceșului Valley is extremely difficult and is only recommended for those with off-road experience. Estimate more time on Strategica than the one given by the navigation. There are sections where you will only be able to ride at low speed.
Access: From Transalpina on Stefanu Saddle to Valea Măcesului or Mălaia (and vice versa)
Route type: off-road – dirt road, stone, rock, criss-crossed gulches, puddles, and mud
Distance: 43 km
Obstacles: trees, wood left over from logging, rocks
Motorcycle type: dual-sport, enduro and adventure motorbikes for experienced riders
GSM signal: on some sections the GSM signal is non-existent
Luggage type: textile luggage – don’t pack the whole house but small and light luggage that includes a flat tire kit and the minimum necessary for motorcycle maintenance.
- Calculate the time you spend on Strategica well. The road is not marked, there are no road signs and you can easily reach the steep descent instead of the easier one in Valea Rudăresei. You don’t want to be caught at night riding down towards Valea Măceșului on an extremely difficult road.
- Check the weather forecast carefully. The rain, even a few days before the trip, can make the route inaccessible.
- If you have researched the road before and you know which option you want to take, do not let yourself be influenced by the shepherds in the area. They may not have experience in motorcycling and may underestimate the difficulty of a road. Besides, if they tell you that you still have about 6 km to go until you reach the asphalt, hold on tight – it could be 26 km.
- Take enough water with you for hydration. We only found one source of water on Strategica, a spring – and it is on the difficult descent.
- The route was included in Trans Euro Trail Romania (TET), off-road tracks for dual-sport enduro motorcycles but also in Adventure Country Tracks (ACT), off-road routes for adventure motorcycles.
- Strategica Trail is recommended for motorcyclists with off-road experience. If you haven’t spinned the wheel off-road so far, this is not for you. If you have done some off-road laps, you can venture on Strategica but have an experienced companion to escort, guide and help you if you need.