If you’re from Arad and you’ve never been mountain biking or trekking to Șiria Fortress you don’t exist 🙂 We did all these many times, I don’t even remember how many. Why you might ask. Well, up here you have a great panorama over the West Plains an the southern side of the Zărand Mountains.
Basically these not very tall mountains were our learning ground for off road biking. These mountains are perfect for mountain biking and trekking. You have tens of kilometres of trails available ranging from easy ones to hardcore ones. It’s really beautiful here and it’s very close to home 🙂 We’re trying to promote the adventure tourism in this region because you really do have where to practise it! From the town of Șiria until Hunedoara county you have kilometres upon kilometres of trails hidden in the dense forests.
|southern side of the Zărand Mountains|
It’s a pity that few of the trails are signposted properly and you can easily get lost. That’s the reason why we always record the GPS tracks on which we go and this makes no exception. You’ll find the map with the tracks at the end of the post.
Brief useful information:
Route: Șiria – Șiria Fortress – Curcubăta Peak (~ 499 m) – Unknown Peak (~ 497 m) – Galșa
Date: May 2014
Distance: 15 km
Duration: 2.5 – 3 ore (breaks included)
Slope: +315 m/-324 m
Signpost: non existing
Water sources: non existing on the track itself, only from shops in Șiria or Galșa
|hairpin towards the fortress|
We started off from Locotenent Ciurdariu street in Șiria. The first part is a slow climb through the houses and then the slope becomes more intense up the hill. Riding on the bike is doable but it takes some effort 🙂 It was only May but it was very hot. This combined with the effort of climbing can be exhausting. We were lucky to find some people out with their car here (I don’t know how they got it up here, but anyway) and we took 5 in the shade of the car. Us and some dogs :))
|hot, shade, dogs|
After about an hour struggling with the climb and the heat we finally reached the fortress. We always love climbing here since you have some of the most beautiful panoramas in the Zărand Mountains. Before you are the West Plains and the Zărand Mountains which from here are not so small as the figures claim: the highest peak is Highiș, only 799 meters high.
The fortress barely stands and only ruins can be seen. Unfortunately, like many other fortresses, this one has also been neglected by the authorities. I don’t know too much about its history, but I know that it dates from the 13th century and was obviously built for its strategic vantage point over the entire region below.
|Șiria, seen from the fortress|
After half an hour in the fortress, taking photos, admiring the view and enjoying the nice weather, we once again started off to a peak near the fortress that I saw in a video of some guys which came here with their mountain bikes. I have a map of the Zărand Mountains and I thought I managed to pin point the peak: Curcubăta peak. I didn’t have any GPS track to use for navigation but we finally managed to reach the peak that we wanted to climb on, or so we thought… We climbed up but the peak didn’t resemble at all with what I saw in the video. The one in the video was very rocky, full of boulders and surrounded by vegetation. This one was flat with grass and had a geodetic sign on it…
|Curcubăta peak (499 m)|
|Curcubăta peak (499 m), to the East|
|Curcubăta peak (499 m), to the South|
We were pretty disappointed that we didn’t find the target peak and we continued our way to Galșa thinking that I’ll look more closely at that video and find more landmarks in order to get to it. We went on through the forest on a wide trail and suddenly the scenery started getting pretty rocky. After a minute or two I started recognising the scenery from the video and I realised that the peak was just to our left. I was really happy. We left our bikes on the trail and started climbing on foot. My hunch was right and we managed to find it after all! :))
We found a great pile of boulders which we climbed to get to the top. The top barely takes you over the tree line in order to give you a beautiful view over this beautiful mountains. It was a wonderful feeling and we stood there for several minutes to enjoy the view. You can find this tricky peak on the maps at the end of this post. Unfortunately this peak is not marked on the map and I don’t know its name.
|Unknown peak (~ 497 m), to the South|
|Unknown peak (~ 497 m)|
|Unknown peak (~ 497 m), South – East|
Being completely satisfied with our fortunate find we head back to our bikes and continued the descent to Galșa. After we leave the forest the slope becomes steeper until it quickly reaches a small plateau. Here we take a small break to freshen up, adjust our seats and check that all is good for the amazing descent that come next 🙂 We also took several pictures since this plateau offers a great panorama over the region.
|Plateau on our way down to Galșa|
|Plateau on our way down to Galșa|
|I love my brain. Always wear a helmet when mountain biking!|
Up next is a steep descent towards Galșa. One of the fastest, most technical and thrilling ones I’ve done. It’s 100% off road descent so I urge you to go slow if you’re not experienced in handling the bike on off road at high speeds. There are a lot of ditches, bumps, different soil types (hard and sand) and combined with the slope result in a guaranteed adrenaline rush! 🙂 We were going at over 30 km/h on a very tricky surface and it was worth it! 😀 The descent is not very long, about 3 km, but in this distance you loose about 300 meters in altitude, so it’s pretty steep 😀
|descending towards Galșsa|
Map (Șiria – Șiria Fortress):
Map (Șiria Fortress – Curcubăta Peak – Unknown Peak – Galșa):
Video presentation of Șiria Fortress: