MTB: Stâna de Vale – Drăgan Lake – Remeți

We’re back with a new post about a mountain biking trip we did last year 😀 We’re glad to see that more Romanians are taking up this sport. The beauty of it is that it enables you too see beautiful places, most of them being unreachable by cars and too far to walk to. It also comes with a good rush of adrenaline in many situations once you get the hang of it 🙂

Brief useful information:

Date: 29th of August 2015
Route: Budureasa – Stâna de Vale – Ciripa Forest District – Drăgan Lake – Drăgan Lake Dam – Remeți
Distance: 60 km
Slope: +1000 m/- 900 m
Duration: 9h (with many breaks and going easy in order to admire the scenery)
Times (including some breaks): 
– Budureasa – Stâna de Vale: 2h/17 km
– Stâna de Vale – Ciripa Forest District: 2h/8 km
– Ciripa Forest District – Drăgan Lake Dam: 1h/16 km
– Drăgan Lake Dam – Remeți: 1,5h/19 km
Difficulty: medium/hard (long climb towards Stâna de Vașe, technical downhill towards Ciripa Forest District,  on tarmac – fast downhill towards Remeți)
Water sources: Stâna de Vale, Remeți
This post will be about the first day of our mountain biking tour. Our tour was 2 days long, we had to pedal 105 km and had a slope of +2029 m/ – 2029 m and was fantastic, as usual 🙂 Our starting point was a village called Budureasa in Bihor county. You can find some accommodation options here in Budureasa, but you’ll have more options in a close city called Beiuș.

So, we hop on our bikes and head towards Stâna de Vale on the 764A road. We have tarmac until the top and a pretty big climb with a slope of +840 m/ -65 m. This climb has an inclination between 8% and 13% so it’s pretty hardcore, but not deadly :)) It was really hot outside but as luck has it the climb is entirely through the forest.
The climb is pretty slow, we won’t deny it 🙂 And you know we don’t like climbing, especially with 12-13 kg of luggage on our bikes. We manage pretty well though and we only got off our bikes for a short strip of cubical stone, several hundred meters long. Some good news though: when you reach the wooden gate you see in the above picture the climb is over! 🙂 After this you’ll have a short but intense downhill until Stâna de Vale.

Once in Stâna de Vale you’ll discover a mountain resort in ruins. This resort was once filled with tourists and was pretty famous in Romania but now it’s just sad unfortunately 🙁 We continue our way to a place called the Wonders Spring. You can also find some mineral bottled water called like this in Romania and it comes from here 🙂 Here at the spring (which you can see in the pictures below) we took a longer break to recover after 17 km of climbing. After the break we continued on the obvious road which is now a dirt road. The tarmac ends at the spring 🙂
The dirt road from Stâna de Vale until Ciripa Forest District is wide and pretty decent for mountain biking. We crossed it mainly on our bikes although there are places where there is too much gravel in order to stay on our bikes. We climbed 270 m in 4 km on a burning sun and there is almost no shade at all 🙁

The good news is that the next part is a downhill section 4 km long with a 300 m slope until Ciripa Forest District. Speed and adrenaline! Although the downhill is a bit technical if you insist on going full speed ahead, it’s not challenging if you use you’re breaks when you’re not feeling safe 🙂
In the picture above you can see the crossroads between where we came from (the left one where the bridge is) and the road heading towards Drăgan Lake (the one ahead). As a landmark for this crossroad you have the Ciripa Forest District building (the one in the picture with the red roof).

Until Drăgan Lake you have a perfect cross-country dirt road, almost flat and you’ll often exceed 25 km/h. It’s really fun and has beautiful surroundings 🙂
When we got close to the lake we started feeling very hungry after so much energy consumed until here 🙂 We found some shade and we dropped to the ground and rested and ate and drank water and rested again :))

After this break we continued towards the dam. As we got closer we started having some holes in the vegetation surrounding the lake so that we had some chances to see the beautiful view towards the lake and the mountains that surround it.
We reach the dam pretty soon after the break and we were pretty astonished by its massive size. We didn’t expect to find such a big construction here in the middle of nowhere 🙂 We stayed for a couple of minutes to admire the surroundings and what a nice view indeed!

We continue by crossing the dam and turn right on the 108K road. We return to tarmac, the first time after leaving Stâna de Vale. Tarmac is good but climbing is worse and that’s what we had to do for the next couple of kilometres 🙁
We gain 210 m in altitude in 3 km. That’s the distance from the dam until the wooden gate you see in the picture above. It was pretty hard, I must admit but we were already tired after the 40 km we did until this place 🙂 This gate is also the place where we cross from Cluj county to Bihor county again. I say “again” because I forgot to mention that we crossed from Bihor to Cluj when we reached Ciripa Forest District 😀

We threw our bikes to the ground, literally and threw ourselves as well and started a nice session of recovery by sleeping on the grass. We were exhausted!

I think we just stood there on the grass for at least half an hour in order to recover. After doing so we continued towards Remeți on the tarmac road. We knew that it was going to be only downhill until where we arranged for accommodation in Remeți 🙂 This thought made us get up and get going I think 😀 The downhill was fantastic! We reached 51 km/h although I didn’t feel very safe as the road is pretty terrible. It has potholes and is uneven and it could easily unbalance you and throw you off the bike.

Once we reached the village itself the road got flatter and we crossed some kind of gorges, although not that narrow but beautiful nonetheless. The air is fresh, nice people and beautiful surroundings. When we reached the guest house we were so tired that we were unable to take advantage of the great swimming pool they had in the yard :(( It was a very nice route, but pretty difficult effort – wise.

Don’t miss our next article about the second and last day of this bike tour. It’s more spectacular than this one so stay tuned! 🙂

Our route on the map:

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