To those of you who like experimenting, adventuring and living life out loud, we invite you to undertake an aquatic periplus in Southern Romania, near the well-known Băile Herculane resort.
Please note! This article addresses to those with advanced training in technical climbing and swimming in the aquatic environment or to those willing to hire a specialized guide in canyoning.
Băile Herculane, situated in the valley of the Cerna River. The area is noted for its various outdoor activities in the mountains (climbing, hiking, rafting), and lesser-known for its deep and thrilling gorges and canyons that are favourable for canyoning.
Location: Travel Guide Romania touches on 4 canyons in the Cerna Mountains, in the Domogled National Park – Cerna Valley.
You can get here:
by car: E671 route: Caransebeș – Băile Herculane (cca. 75 km/46 miles)
E671 route: Drobeta Turnu Severin – Orșova – Băile Herculane (cca. 44 km/27 miles)
by train: trains leave frequently from Caransebeș and Drobeta Turnu Severin;
Băile Herculane has its own train station. The community from the aforementioned city prides themselves on having the most beautiful train station in the country, built in 1878.
Recommendations: before setting out to the four canyons recommended by Travel Guide Romania, we suggest making a stopover for at least one day in the Băile Herculane. You can visit not only the old part of the resort (pertaining to the Romanian National Patrimony) but also the facilities and services offered by this spa resort.
The way to the 4 canyons: for the flamboyant adventurer, the road to adventure is Băile Herculane – Baia de Aramă (DN 67).
Accommodation: since the distance between canyons is variable, we recommend you to camp at the camping sites in Cerna Valley. The plethora of guesthouses, inns and lodges scattered around the national road can satisfy even the fastidious tourists.
Camping: in the National Domogled Park, in Cerna Valley, camping is permitted only in the following camping sites:
- 7 Izvoare Calde - properly arranged (3rd km, DN 67D);
- Poiana Țăsnei – arranged on private ownership (13th km, DN 67D);
- Poiana Bechet - only the fireplace/hearth available (touristic route Cheile Țăsnei – Vârful Ciolanu, after a 2-hour walk);
- Cerna-Sat – only the fireplace/hearth available (periphery of Cerna Sat towards Iovanu Dam);
- Izvoarele Cernei – not arranged;
- Poiana cu Măcriș – not arranged (DN 66A, 5th km from the park entrance, from Retezat National Park – Jiu Cerna Pass).
Canyoning: to practice canyoning, the proper natural setting is of utmost importance. Gorges and canyons are a peculiar environment. They are like deep crevices formed through the erosion of limestone, or in terms of geologic and morphologic ambiance, they are simple valleys, gaps, gorges, deep channels and beds travelled by rivers and brooks.
Canyon abseiling: is in fact the controlled descent of the canyon down the stream, towards the end of the canyon, and is one-way. It sounds simple, but the difficulties are deceiving.
Baulks and obstacles met while canyoning: waterfalls that need abseiling, cracks and crannies that require swimming, cascades that require climbing, fast streams that require a zip-line, basins that require jumping, cave passages and underwater breathing. It is an extreme sport of climbing, speleology and swimming.
Useful information in canyoning:
- Footing the canyon (the approaching and returning march, technical difficulties level, ruggedness, physical input, water level);
– Possible route deviation, supplementary access routes;
– Water flow depending on the geographic coordinates, altitude, abrupt basin discharge, geomorphology;
– Weather forecast (temperature, precipitations, season, snow melting, etc)
– Local rescue services (rescue headquarter, police, fire department)
- Artificial regularization of water flow (dams and barrages) and the danger of flash floods due to unexpected flow rise. Forewarning a third party about the journey and the possible date and time of return may be useful in such cases.
Canyoning safely: in order to canyon safely, the following rules must be enforced:
- Check the state of the gear (moorage, harness, carabiner, prusiks, etc);
– The team must be united;
– Always check the state and the length of the rope;
– Pay attention to slides or descends that may be dangerous;
– Never jump into a basin without checking beforehand some issues: depth, shape, existing logs, rocks, etc.
– Nutrition and hydration with energy supplies on a regular basis while canyoning (it is important especially when the temperature drops or due to prolonged waiting)
– A clear system of signs will be used between the members of the group.
Minimum individual gear:
- a wetsuit (thermals, a hood or a beanie), protective helmet, light shoes (that won’t retain water)
- take also harness and moorage, life vest (if necessary), gear for descends, whistle for better communication due to the noise of the waterfalls.
Collective gear: rope, double the length of the longest descend, carabiners with thread, material and fabric for the moorage, lilo.
After descending, the rope is pulled down, which makes turning back impossible.
Safety equipment: first-aid kit (anti-inflammatory cream, heavy duty crepe bandages, energizing tablets, anti-venom – in Băile Herculane there’s every likelihood of encountering adders),
- a lighter, a knife, an underwater torch, material for abseiling, supplementary SOS rope (equal to the length of the highest climb).
Nutrition before canyoning: it is highly recommended that you eat light food: pasta, rice, grains and cereals, and liquids for a supply of glycogen and a water intake.
This diet should be started days before the canyoning.
Nutrition while canyoning:
it is recommended the consumption of light food in small dosages in order to maintain the glycolic levels as well as the water intake.
Products with glucose for sportsmen are perfect for this endeavour.
Țăsna Canyon: Drastanic Canyon:
- GPS coordinates: N: 44°57´59,8˝ – E: 22°30´49,4˝ - GPS coordinates:
- Approaching march: one hour; - Approaching march: one hour;
– Canyoning: 4 hours and 30 minutes; - Canyoning: 3 hours and 30 minutes;
- Water temperature: 7°C; - Water temperature: 8°C;
- Altitude on entering the canyon: 660 m; - Altitude on entering the canyon: 608 m;
- Ruggedness, level difference: 400 m; - Ruggedness, level difference: 130 m;
- Returning march: 20 minutes - Returning march: 20 minutes
- GPS coordinates: N: 45°03´05˝ – E: 22°36´27˝
- Approaching march: one hour;
- Canyoning: 5 hours
- Water temperature: 9°C;
- Altitude on entering the canyon: 577 m;
- Ruggedness, level difference: 181 m;
- Returning march: 10 minutes
- GPS coordinates: N: 45°04’26 – E: 22°37’34
- Approaching march: one hour and 20 minutes;
- Canyoning: 4 hours and 20 minutes
- Water temperature: 8°C;
- Altitude on entering the canyon: 609 m;
- Ruggedness, level difference: 164 m;
- Returning march: 10 minutes
Recommended period: due to the fact that in the summer time the canyons have a low water flow, Travel Guide Romanian suggests canyoning in the spring time, in April, May at the latest. By visiting in spring, you will avoid the plethora of tourists visiting in the summer time.
Advice: for those of you who practice mountaineering and abseiling, we recommend having on you your climbing equipment while you are in the area. The most of the cliffs and peaks of the national park are woven with tracks for abseiling and mountaineering.
Pentru versiunea in limba romana