Huda lui Papară cave in the picturesque Trascău Mountains by MTB

Mountain biking season has already started and we thought we should tell you about our mountain biking experience in the Trascău Mountains. It was the summer of 2013 when we decided to go on a trip in the village of Sălciua de Jos on the beautiful Arieș Valley.

Brief useful information:

Date: August 2013
RouteSălciua de Jos – Huda lui Papară cave (signposting) – Vânătările Ponorului – Dâlbina waterfall – descent on tarmac towards Sălciua de Jos
Distance: 13 km
Duration: 4 ore
Difficulty: medium
Water sources: Huda lui Papară cave and Dâlbina waterfall

Trascău Mountains

Our plan was to do a spectacular circuit which had a bit of unknown included in the bit between Huda lui Papară cave and up on the mountains in a place called Vânătările Ponorului. We couldn’t find much information about this part but we decided we would see what’s what then and there 🙂
That day was particularly hot and we had quite a bit of going up the mountain planned :)) Nothing to worry about because we soon forgot about the heat as soon as we saw the picturesque landscape towards the Trascău Mountains and the meadows filled with wild flowers. These landscapes have charmed us and we can’t wait to do another trip here.

just before the entrance in Huda lui Papară cave
suspended bridge that you must cross to get to Huda lui Papară cave

Getting to Huda lui Papară cave is very easy. From Sălciua de Jos village follow the road to Sub Piatră Monastery (The Monastery Under The Rock). You can visit the monastery and leave your car in the parking lot. From here until the cave you have about 30 minutes left. Before you reach the cave you must cross the suspended bridge that you can see in the picture above and then continue on the banks of the creek.

We read many amazing things about this cave but when we got to the entrance we were hugely disappointed. The entrance was blocked with iron railing. We found out that it was mounted in 2013 because this cave, as spectacular as it may be, is also extremely dangerous for tourists. Basically the only safe and allowed way to visit it is if you have speleology training and gear. So we couldn’t visit it on the inside and all that remains is for us to tell you information about it that we read ourselves 🙁

Huda lui Papară cave
Huda lui Papară cave

Let’s start with the cave’s name. Huda could mean narrow passage, hole in the ground, shelter in local dialect. Papara could come from the Latin papa which mean religious leader. So the cave’s name could mean the religious leader’s shelter.To regret even more that we were unable to visit it every data regarding this cave is at its best. Let’s exemplify:  the longest, the most uneven, the most difficult, the largest room (56 m wide, 93 long and a record 102 m high), longest underground water course, biggest water flow, biggest underground waterfall and the largest bat colony in Europe. It’s easy to understand why we still have hard feelings that we were unable to see all these beauties.

bridge towards Huda lui Papară cave
creek from the cave surfacing among big boulders
creek from the cave surfacing among big boulders

From the cave we continue on a trail signpostedwith which immediately leads us to a small meadow and then we enter the woods. This was the part where we didn’t know what to expect and we had no idea if we would be able to ride our bikes. Pretty soon we figured out that we were condemned to do push-bike. The climb is pretty steep and it was very hot outside.

push-bike through the woods up until Vânătările Ponorului
almost on top at the trinity

If I remember correctly we climbed for about an hour and a half and this was because we had to carry our bikes as well. On foot you’ll climb in about 45 minutes from Huda lui Papară cave until the trinity you see in the image below. Here, at the trinity, we relaxed a bit and took advantage of the “slim fit” shadow of the trinity. Meanwhile we simlply watched over the Trascău Mountains towards the Arieș Valley. The views are fabulous and it’s one of those places where you want to stay forever. 

“slim fit” shadow of the trinity
Trascău panoramas
admiring the beauty of the area
nice panoramas for our bikes as well 😀

We stayed several tens of minutes here at the trinity. We could have stayed longer but we had to get to our next target: Dâlbina waterfall. From the trinity you continue down on the dirt road and you must keep right and go downhill until you hear the waterfall. You’ll get from the trinity to the waterfall in about 20 minutes. The last bit is pretty tricky because you have to make your way through the vegetation which invaded the trail. The good news is that at the end of the trail you have a surprise in store: a balcony with the best view towards the waterfall.
Someone built this wooden balcony overlooking the waterfall and here you fin yourself connected to this beautiful fall of water. It’s pretty spectacular as well because the waterfall is 25 meters high. Unfortunately we saw it during a period of drought and the water flow was not so impressive but I can only imagine how cool it must be to see it after a couple of heavy rain falls. You can also get to the bottom of the waterfall if you return on the same track and, at some point, turn left and go steeply downhill until the banks of the creek where you can take a cooling bath 🙂

Dâlbina waterfall
Dâlbina waterfall

We returned to the trinity where we took some more photos to be sure that we didn’t miss an angle 😀 Then we hopped on our bikes and we followed the road, which soon after the trinity is tarmac, down to Sălciua de Jos. It was an amazing descent with an average speed of 35 km/h and a top speed of almost 60 km/h. It was brilliant 😀We loved Huda lui Papară cave, the amazing picturesque views offered by the Trascău Mountains and Dâlbina waterfall. This is a really nice circuit which you can do both on foot and with your mountain bike. Below you can find some more photos that we took before our steep mountain bike descent back to the village.

At the end of the post you have the map with the entire circuit, as always! 🙂

Trascău landscapes
descent back to Sălciua
Trascău landscapes
houses with hay roof tops
a lot to photopgraph here
Șipote waterfall, on DN 75 highway, between Sălciua de Jos and Lunca, water served directly from the waterfall


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