MTB Tours Padiș – Day 2: Răchițele and The Bridal Veil Waterfall

We continue our Apuseni Mountains MTB tour started here. Our plan for the second day was to cross from Bihor county to Cluj county in the village of Răchițele where we arranged accommodation. In reality the highlight was the Bridal Veil Waterfall in Răchițele which I wanted to see for a long time.

Brief useful information:

Date: 14th of  September 2014
Route: Brădeț Guest House – IC Ponor – Doda Pilii – Giurcuța de Sus – back – Răchițele (you can find the map at the end of the post as usual)
Distance: 48 km
Level difference: +915 m/ -1207 m
Duration: 6 h (breaks included)

last checks before we start off

At exactly 10.17 AM we left the guest house :)) It was raining very lightly and it only lasted for several minutes so our hurry to dress up with waterproof clothing was in vein. Right after the guest house you start a small climb and then you get to the stop sign you can see in the picture above. I really don’t know the target of this sign since this is the only road there but anyway 🙂 From here until Răchițele you only have dirt road, with a really small exception maybe 2 km long where you have tarmac.

it’s nice to wait for others 🙂
forest highway

We continue on the dirt road which mainly crosses forests. It’s pretty wild here. We are crossing fir and spruce forest. Everything is wet here from the heavy rainfall from yesterday. After about an hour since we started off we reached the small village of IC Ponor. You can see several houses here mainly owned by people as their vacation homes. We cross Someșul Cald river (Warm Someș) which is wrapped in a mystical morning fog. We stopped for a couple of minutes to admire the view and take some photos. Then we continued to Doda Pilii village, our main pit stop for today.

Someșul Cald river

After only 20 minutes since we left IC Ponor we reached Doda Pilii. We stopped right in the centre of the village (I guess) where we found a big map which we studied. Since we underestimated ourselves again and reached Doda Pilii much earlier than estimated, Călin had the idea of making a small detour towards the village of Giurcuța de Sus. Why here? Well because it was really close to a big lake we saw on the map we studied, called Beliș-Fântânele Lake. The idea was to get to a high point where we could find a nice panorama spot over the lake. Off we were. We would pit stop later when we would come back and continue to Răchițele.

the map and the road to the right leading to Giurcuța de Sus and Beliș – Fântânele Lake
the map panel
bikes need rest too 🙂

The first part of this detour means you climb on a plateau with no trees around. We suddenly descent and enter the forest. After this we are welcome by a climb, quite a solid one on a partially asphalted road. The problem was that we were searching for a panorama point and we kept pedalling through the forest which meant no panorama for us 🙂 Anyway, we kept going until we finally got out of the forest just before Giurcuța de Sus. Since we left the map panel in Doda Pilii until here we did about an hour. Our effort was not totally in vein :)) We had a bit of a panorama, over the tail of the lake and from quite a distance but it still is something! :))

towards Beliș – Fântânele Lake
towards Beliș – Fântânele Lake
good water, with a view

We took several pictures here, we walked a bit, we rested and headed back to Doda Pilii on the exact same road on which we came. Going back, that climb from our way up here, obviously turned into a thrilling descent 😀 Speeed! We reached a top speed of 44km/h and we averaged 35km/h. Not bad for a dirt road with some potholes 🙂 So we were back in Doda Pilii in only 25 minutes. We stopped at the same map panel where these is a “huge” crossroad of 3 roads. We ate, rested, hydrated. A very welcome pit stop for the mind and the body.

We continue to Răchițele on the main road which seems to be prepared for modernisation. It’s very good for bikes but we still have to climb a bit to a peak after which you only have downhill until Răchițele. It’s not such a steep climb but it’s long and constant.

the long climb to the peak before Răchițele

From Doda Pilii until this peak we did about an hour. Distance – wise there are about 10 km. As you can see on Călin’s face this long climb solicits your body but it’s doable. When you reach the peak you’ll see a parking space and a big wooden panel which welcomes you to Apuseni Natural Park. It was a good place to wait for my teammates and rest a bit. After a few minutes they also reach the peak. Everything is good and well especially since we know from here we only have to go down 😀 I reached a top speed of over 40 km/h and I overtook a car :))

the peak and the welcome panel

Everything was perfect until I entered Răchițele. When I got passed the first houses, with considerable speed, a dog, which was let free by his owner, jumped to attack me and ran exactly in front of my wheel. I tried to avoid him but I turned too tight and I lost control. I fell pretty badly. I hurt my back and my shoulder. I couldn’t ride the bike until the guest house where we made reservations for tonight. I was really mad on the owner of that dog and a dog owner should never let his dog loose if he knows he is not friendly!

I was really worried that this accident will compromise the 3rd day, which was scheduled to be the most spectacular and I would ruin the fun for my teammates. Anyway, me and my teammates continued on foot until Șușman Guest House. The nice owners of the guest house offered me all the medicine they had when they heard I hurt myself. The truth is I had a pretty nasty pain. 

Șușman guest house
Șușman guest house

The owners of the guest house, two old people, offered us blueberry brandy, a local speciality. Because it was Sunday we were the only tourists since all the weekend tourists had already left. So the entire guest house was ours 😀 The owners prepared food until we planned visiting the Bridal Veil waterfall. This was our main objective for today and we didn’t let my small accident ruin the visit. We went on foot because it was close to the guest house.

It was such a nice walk to the waterfall. We passed through Stanciului Valley Gorges. The air is clean and the scenery is wild and spectacular. Like any gorges, the mix between the rocks, the water, the forest and the high walls is very cool. We walked for about half an hour until we reached the waterfall.

Bridal Veil Waterfall

The Bridal Veil waterfall is one of the most beautiful and more elegant waterfalls I’ve seen in Romania. It’s 30 meters high and has a middle stage where the waterfall forms a pool of water. During the winter the sight is stunning since the entire wall on which the water falls is made of ice! It’s definitely in the Top 3 waterfalls I’ve ever seen! Stay tuned for the next post and the last from our Apuseni bike tour series posts. More pictures of this beautiful waterfall below 🙂

Bridal Veil Waterfall
Bridal Veil Waterfall

Map (Padiș – IC Ponor – Doda Pilii – Giurcuța de Sus – back to Doda Pilii – Răchițele – Bridal Veil waterfall):

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