Țăsnei Gorge – rock and water paradise in the Mehedinți Mountains

Our plans for the 1st of May mini-vacation in 2015 were tied to Băile Herculane resort in Western Romania. This place was once one of the most luxurious spa centres in Europe where the Austro-Hungarian aristocracy relaxed in the healing thermal waters. Now, it’s just a distant memory of the once world renown resort but nature hasn’t changed and the outstanding trails you can do here are still available and we decided to explore them 🙂
 
Our last day of our mini-vacation was dedicated to Țăsnei Gorges in the first part of the day and then to Vânturătoarea Waterfall which we already wrote about 🙂

start of the trail to the right, Motel Dumbrava just in front
start of the trail

Brief useful information:

Date: 3rd of May 2015
Duration: 1h 40 min (one way), 3h (both ways)
Slope: + 400 m
Signposting:    
Distance: 2.8 km (one way)
*The map with the recorded GPS track can be found at the end of the post

The trail starts on the side of the DN 67D highway which crosses Herculane just before getting to the Dumbrava Motel. You can check out the start of the trail in the above images. The first 5 minutes are easy but then you get to the point where you have to cross Țășna river. You do that by jumping from rock to rock. Not a big problem. But then you start walking straight up through the forest. And it’s not an effortless climb to say the least 🙂

trail through the forest, crossing Țășna river
trail through the forest, crossing Țășna river
steep climb through the forest

Almost all the trails in the Domogled – Cerna Valley National Park are the same: they start with a steep climb :)) However, we persevered and the steep climb ended after no more than 30 minutes. You can see images of the climb through the forest in the pictures above and the ones below 🙂

When you have steep climbs like these we recommend trekking poles because they relieve much of the pressure on your legs and distribute it to your arms as well. Thus the climb is much faster,  easier and efficient.

steep climb through the forest
steep climb through the forest
steep climb through the forest
steep climb through the forest
steep climb through the forest

After getting out of the forest, about 30 minutes from the start, the scenery completely changes. We leave the trees behind, the rich forest soil, the tree roots on the ground and enter a whole new world: limestone, high vertical walls and the unique Banat Black Pine. Banat is the name of the region we’re in and these black pines can only be found in the area near Băile Herculane. We reach a very interesting trail that is carved in rock and we found out that this used to be the border of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and that this trail was used by border patrol to guard the entrance in the empire.

The landscape is breathtaking to say the least. These gorges are really astonishing and offer great panoramas and overwhelming scenery. There is a panorama point, where you can find a wooden cross, and from there you have a great view over the gorges and the neighbouring Cerna Mountains that you can see on the other side of the Cerna river.

leaving the forest behind, view towards Cerna Mountains
trail carved in stone
trail carved in stone
panorama point, at the wooden cross
Țăsnei Gorges
Țăsnei Gorges
trail carved in stone
the abyss right next to the stone carved trail
Țăsnei Gorges

We continue on the stone carved trail. This trail is not very wide and one of our friends, whose afraid of heights, returned when he saw the great abyss waiting for us on the right side of the trail. However, in my opinion, it’s not dangerous at all and with a little attention you can easily pass this delicate portion. Of course, it’s better to turn back if you’re not sure of yourself.

The trail descends right to the Țășna river banks, at the bottom of the gorges. So the dangerous part of the trail, which is high up in the gorges, is quite short, no more than 10 minutes. From here on it’s like a walk in the park. This is a good thing since you get to admire the astonishing beauty of this place: vertical limestone walls tens of meters high, small meadows on the bottom of the gorges, waterfalls, the raging Țășna river going downstream and the numerous crossings over the Țășna river. It’s extremely spectacular here and very beautiful. I must say that I was wondering if the steep climb through the forest was worth it. Now I can assure you that it’s definitely worth it! 🙂

Țăsnei Gorges
waterfalls on the Țășna river
Țăsnei Gorges
inundated meadows at the bottom of the Țășna Gorges
Țăsnei Gorges
Țăsnei Gorges
Țăsnei Gorges
Țăsnei Gorges

Since we already mentioned the numerous crossings over the Țășna river I want to tell you that I started counting them but I lost track when I reached 10 I think :)) There are many crossings. Some have wooden bridges and some you need to figure out for yourself and bounce from boulder to boulder 🙂 Anyway, the water is shallow and if you happen to get a bit wet, a cold shower is never to be avoided on a hot day 🙂

crossing over the Țășna river
climbing slowly but surely
a lot of rock
rock:)
Țăsnei Gorges
Țăsnei Gorges
Țăsnei Gorges
Țăsnei Gorges

The trail slowly climbs up the gorges again and we leave the banks of the river. Actually we didn’t even notice at first that we were climbing again because we were so absorbed by the landscape. We were deeply impressed especially by the black pines because they found the most impossible places to grow in: steep vertical stone walls. It’s a wonder how nature uses every square inch to prosper.

Walking and admiring we slowly got to our destination of the day: Devil’s Mill. I’m not sure why it has such a name but it’s not scary at all or anything. This is the place where the gorges end but the trail continues to Țășna Meadow and from there up to the Mehedinți Mountains top.

towards Devil’s Mill
Devil’s Mill

You’ll see the mill from the main trail and you have to climb down for about 2 minutes to get to it. This mill is abandoned but it’s built in a very beautiful place: right near a beautiful waterfall. You can see pictures of the mill and the waterfall above and below.

the waterfall right next to Devil’s Mill
the waterfall right next to Devil’s Mill
the waterfall right next to Devil’s Mill
the waterfall right next to Devil’s Mill
the waterfall right next to Devil’s Mill
the waterfall right next to Devil’s Mill
Map:

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