MTB in the Trascău Mountains via the Întregalde Gorges

Just 30 km away from the beautiful city of Alba Iulia, in the village of Benic we did a fun MTB trip in the picturesque Trascău Mountains.

Brief useful information:
Date: August 2016
Distance: 41 km
Route: Benic – Poiana Galdei – Întregalde Gorges – Modolești – Tecșești – Cetii Gorges – Cetea – Benic
Slope: +680 m/ – 680 m
Duration: 8 h (breaks included, 2h break at the Roman Baths in Cetea)
Signposting: no signposting most of the time
Difficulty: 7/10 (mostly decent dirt roads, a short rough abandoned forest road, a short section with rocks)
 
We start from the centre of Benic, a small village at the base of the Trascău Mountains. Then we continue on the asphalted road towards Poiana Galdei. The landscape is very picturesque: forests on the hills, high stone walls and the impressive Piatra Cetii (Cetii Rock) in the background 😊

The road passes through the first series of gorges: Gălzii Gorges, right before entering another small village Poiana Galdei. Cycling surrounded by this beautiful landscape in the morning coolness is perfect!
The asphalt road transforms in a decent dirt road several kilometres before reaching the Întregalde Gorges. Starting from Benic we climb steadily but without really realising it since the slope is very gentle.

Slowly we enter the Întregalde Gorges. The scenery changes dramatically since we now cycle at the bottom of high stone walls. A very cool experience! 😊
Since we barely knew anything about the Întregalde Gorges we didn’t have high expectations but we must admit we stopped quite a few times to admire them and take pictures 😋 It’s a very nice place, very peaceful where you can easily go by car as well.
 
After these beautiful gorges we reach an even smaller village called Modolești. Here we turn right at the indicator you see below. We follow the   signposting  for a while. From this point you can also hike up the mountain to the top of Piatra Cetii by following the   signposting. It must be an awesome view from up there! 
The slope up to Modolești was very gentle and we barely realised we were climbing. However, after making the right turn the slope got steeper and the dirt road filled up with small stones which meant we had to do some push bike.

Good thing that the landscape here is so picturesque and invited us to stop in the shade and admire the beautiful green meadows, the haystacks and the mountain tops in the background 😊
A few old wooden houses with hay rooftops mark the end of the climb. A few people still leave here on the top of the mountains, hours away from civilisation. We cross the small community and reach a crossroad. where you must be careful since you need to go straight ahead. If you go left you’ll reach the Râmeț Gorges.

We soon reach a grass-filled plateau where we start to get a closer look at Piatra Ceții. What a sight! 😋
A slightly confusing section is after climbing down from the plateau. Here, what seems to be the main forest road goes straight ahead, but in a right turn you must leave the main road and turn left 90 degrees in a spot marked by a wooden table and benches.

Then the confusion increases since we get to an abandoned or less used forest road which we must tackle slowly, making way through the vegetation. Al our GPS devices confirmed we were on the correct track however and so we continued on a steep descent followed by a climb. This last climb lead us to a totally different world, a world owned by rock.
Here we are above the Văii Cetii Gorges and the landscape is impressive! We have to climb down to the village of Cetea but before that we must tackle the road filled with boulders and stones.

We can see the high rock walls of these gorges and the villages which lay at the base of the mountains somewhere in the background.
We take on a lot of speed going down through this beautiful area but we are careful not to miss the indicator that you can see in the image below. This indicates the 10 min. (by bike) path to a stunning waterfall called The Roman Baths in Cetea (Băile Romane de la Cetea).

We are now basically at the bottom of the Văii Cetii Gorges which we climbed down earlier. The waterfall has an impressive flow even in August and you should visit it since it’s easily accessible by car as well! 😊

Our route on the map:

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