The waterfalls in Nerei Gorge – Beusnita National Park are among the most beautiful and famous waterfalls set on limestone in Romania.
The Nerei Gorge- Beusnita National Park is located in the Caras-Severin County. It includes the southern part of the Anina Mountains and the northern part of the Locvei Mountains. To the south, the Nerei Gorge – Beusnita National Park is bordered by the Iron Gates Natural Park and to the north by the Semenic National Park.
Nerei Gorge – Beusnita National Park occupies an area of 36,364.8 ha of which almost 19% is represented by the 6 nature reserves of the park:
- Nerei Gorge Nature Reserve- Beusnita (4069.40 ha),
- The Ciclovei – Ilidia Valley (1939,30 ha),
- Ducin (284,90 ha),
- The Bigar Spring (270.90 ha),
- The Susarei Gorges (247.80 ha),
- Liciovacea (33 ha).
The purpose of Nerei Gorge – Beusnita National Park is to protect:
* the karst environment. The park is located on the most compact limestone surface in Romania-over 800 sq. km.
* the cultural-historical values of the region. Note: the ruins of the Beiului Fortress from Socolari, the remains of a roman road on the Cameniței Valley, the Calugara Monastery, the caves with traces of human habitation from the paleolithic and neolithic etc.
The Nerei Gorge – Beusnita National Park, general data:
- the minimum height is 152 m and the maximum height is 1160 m-Vf. Leordiș;
- the park includes limestone plateaus with sinkholes, limestone pavements and pit caves (Poiana Roschii, Poiana Liciovacea, Poiana Florii);
- you find spectacular gorges carved among the calcareous steep slopes – (called in Banat carsii): the Nera Valley, the Minișului Valley, the Beului Valley, the Susara Valley, the Ciclovei Valley, the Vicinicului Valley, the Oravitei Valley, the Cremenita Valley etc.
- the waters that are lost on the karst plateaus reappear at the surface at their edge, in the form of karst springs: Bei, Bigar, Beusnita, Moceris, Lapușnic, Ducin, Vicinic etc.
- the travertine sediments specific to the area created waterfalls of a special charm: Beusnita Waterfalls, Bigar Waterfall, Carsa, Vaioaga, Moceris, Vicinic.
Most of the Nerei Gorge – Beusnita National Park is covered by beech forests. You can also find hornbeam, oak, ash and alder, and at lower altitudes gallery forests of white willow.
In 2017, over 4000 ha of secular beech forest from the Nerei Gorge – Beusnita National Park were made part of the Unesco Natural Heritage.
In the Nerei Gorge – Beusnita National Park there are over 470 caves and pit caves, most of them accessible only with caving equipment. The longest cave in the park is the Cave cu Zgarieturi (with scratches), with a development of more than 3000 m.
The Nerei Gorge – Beusnita Nature Reserve – General Data:
- it is the largest of the 6 reserves of the Nerei Gorge – Beusnita National Park.
- includes the most representative waterfalls throughout the park.
- it is also part of the site Natura 2000 – Nerei Gorge – Beusnita. Thus, the conservation of some fauna species is important (lynx, wolf, marten, horn viper, scorpion, bats, otters, dragonflies, butterflies, stone crayfish, fish, amphibians, peregrine falcon, stag beetle etc.). We find here flora with plants specific to the sub-Mediterranean climate (Turkish hazel, hornbeam, smoke tree, thorn, lilac, orchid, etc.).
The main attractions of the Nerei Gorge – Beusnita Natural Reserve that draw numerous tourists are:
the Nerei Gorges where you can find Dracului (Devil’s) Lake;
the Beusnitei Valley with Beusnitei Waterfalls;
the Beiului Valley (or Beului) with Ochiul Beiului Lake and Vaioaga Waterfall.
The main access to the Nerei Gorge – Beusnita Nature Reserve is located near the confluence between the Nerei Valley and the Beiului Valley. This place is known as the Beiului Bridge, an important trail intersection. Here you can find:
* information boards that guide you to the sights of the reserve
* a small parking lot where you can leave the car.
* the point where the reservation entrance fee can be paid (5 lei (around 1 euro/ pers). The Beiului Bridge is reached from the village of Potoc (about 5 km), on asphalt road.
Vaioaga Waterfall, Ochiul Beiului Lake and Beusnitei Waterfalls.
Access: starting from the Beiului Bridge, follow the yellow line marking. The forest road that accompanies the Beiului Valley leads to the Beiului Trout Farm (4.2 km). But don’t miss the short trip to Vaioaga Falls. It is about 2.5 km from the Beului Bridge, under the forest road. A small wooden indicator signals the presence of the nearby waterfall.
Next to the Beiului trout farm (where you can buy trout) there is a camping site and a cottage. From here the trail goes around the trout farm to the left and follows the Beiului Valley to Ochiul Beiului Lake. Not 500 m from the trout farm, a red cross marking comes off to the left. It leads to the Socolari village in about 2 hours. At 1 hour walk from the intersection a deviation marked with yellow cross leads to the ruins of the Beiului Fortress.
The route can be done by bike, as well. You can choose a spectacular circuit on the trail Sasca Montana – Potoc – Socolari – Beusnita Waterfall- Beiului Bridge – La Tunele – Sasca Montana -34 km.
The wide path to Ochiul Beiului Lake continues through the forest in an easy climb until you reach the lake. The elevation gain from the trout farm to Ochiul Beiului Lake is about 50 m. The trail can also be made by bike (2.2 km from the trout farm).
Ochiul Beiului is a sinkhole lake with a diameter of 15 m and 3.5 m in depth. It is continuously fed by a strong karst spring which gives the impression of the blue-green water. Its rocky bottom can be seen from the bank of the lake. The karst spring never freezes, due to the constant temperature between 4 and 8o C.
Upstream of Ochiul Beiului Lake, the Beiului Valley continues with the Beul Sec Brook. The water course is dry most of the year, it activates only during heavy rains. The yellow line marking will continue until the Crivina Forestry Cabin. Near the Ochiul Beiului, downstream, there is the confluence with the Beusnita Valley, tributary that falls in steps into the Beiului Valley.
Beusnita Waterfalls have been formed over hundreds of years by the action of the water on limestone. The latter was dissolved by water and was deposited along the river, over the vegetation, forming the limestone tuff.
Access to Beusnitei Waterfalls: from the Ochiul Beiului Lake follow the red cross marking.
- In about 30 minutes the trail leads you to the first vertical waterfall of Beusnita. The tourist marking stops here. To the next two waterfalls, access is more difficult and unmarked. Until the small Beusnita Glade, located about halfway towards the waterfalls, the Beusnita Valley forms an uninterrupted series of waterfalls, which trickle over travertine and rimestone dams.
- Beusnita Waterfall II is located about 400 m further upstream from the first one, being larger more in width than in height.
- Another 500 m on the Beusnita Valley and you reach the third waterfall at about 70 m elevation gain above the first waterfall. The return is on the same trail.
The three vertical waterfalls upstream the Beusnitei Glade reach a height of 15 m and comparable widths. The beauty of vertical falls is given by the numerous water curtains that pour over the green moss. Several caverns were formed at their base in the limestone tuff.
We recommend you to visit Beusnitei Waterfalls, as well as the other waterfalls in the Nerei Gorge-Beusnita National Park during spring, after snow melt or after rain, when water is abundant and it activates strong karst springs. In dry periods the water is scarce, sometimes the waterfalls completely dry up. Keep in mind that during the spring holidays (Easter, 1st May) the trail is very busy.
On another tributary of Nera, Susara, there is a waterfall you can easily reach, Susara Waterfall. The waterfall has 2 steps and is about 15m high. It is located along with the homonymous gorges in the Susarei Gorge Reserve.
Access to Susara Waterfall:
* on the blue cross marking that crosses the trail Sasca Montana -Susara Gorges-Carbunari.
* from the end of the village of Sasca Montana, after about 2.5 km you can reach Susarei Waterfall. You will do a picturesque trail, along a valley with small travertine and gours thresholds, without significant elevation gains.
Bigar Waterfall is one of the much-publicized waterfalls in Romania.
The waterfall became known when it was presented as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, on the site The World Geography, in 2013.
Bigar Waterfall is located on the asphalt road DN57B at 17 km from Anina and 12 km from Bozovici, off the 45th parallel.
It was formed on a short tributary of the Minis, on the Bigar Creek, the waterfall being at its spill in the Minisului Valley. The access to the Bigar karst spring is made on a wooden bridge that crosses the Minis and on the set up footpath along the small valley of Bigar. Keep in mind that there is a fee to pay.
The Bigar Valley has its spring 200 m upstream of its spill in Minis, under a rock.
Tourist facilities at Bigar Waterfall:
- a platform that facilitates the access to the base of the waterfall;
- a crossing over the waters of Bigar up to the Bigar Cave;
- a pedestrian route from the parking lot located about 500 m downstream, along the car route.
Bigar Waterfall impresses not by height, having only 8 m, but by its bell-shaped form covered by green moss, on which the water trickles into strands with variable flow, depending on precipitation.
8 km upstream Bigar Waterfall, also on the Minisului Valley, there is another waterfall, Carsa Waterfall. It is a two-step waterfall, about 30 m, also visible from the road.
Near the Ducin Nature Reserve, at the base of the slopes of Carsei Hill and Morii Hill you can find the Moceris karst spring. It forms nearby the waterfall of the same name, located about 4 km from the village of Moceris.
Access to Moceris Waterfall is on foot following the forest road that accompanies the Moceris Valley. The waterfall, which resembles Bigar Waterfall, falls from a height of about 10 m.
In the Ciclova-Ilidia Reserve there are 2 less known waterfalls, one on the Ciclova Valley and one on the Vicinicului Valley. Piatra Moale Waterfall (Soft Stone) on the Ciclova Valley is accessible from the village of Ciclova Montana, following the forest road about 4km, to the vicinity of the Durmast oak with Icon. From here a trail leads in a few minutes to the waterfall.
Vicinicului Waterfall or Valea Mare Waterfall is accessible by following the Vicinicului Valley when leaving the village of Ilidia. Up to the waterfall the forest road of about 4 km passes through a short section of gorges. The waterfall is located several hundred meters upstream of the Valea Mare Forestry Cabin.
Both waterfalls plunge over a bed of limestone tuff, from altitudes of up to 10 m. The waterfall flow depends on the amount of rainfall, in dry periods the waterfalls being drained.
The villages of Ciclova Montana and Ilidia are reached from the city of Oravita, on DJ571. The road continues to Socolari-Potoc-Sasca Montana.
In Oravita you can also find the nearest railway station (and the oldest in the country) to the Nerei Gorge -Beusnita National Park. Also, the oldest mountain railway in the country starts here, Oravita-Anina. Regular bus rides from Resita or Timisoara also arrive in Oravita. The connection to Sasca Montana is made by minibuses.
The spectacular limestone landscape, with valleys, waterfalls and emerald lakes, as well as its diversity of species make the Nerei Gorge -Beusnita National Park a very attractive ecotourism destination for nature lovers.