Ideal Escapes in Retezat National Park

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Retezat

High view on the island of Taul Tapului.

Mountain passionate call them “lakes mountains”, due to the approximately 100 of lakes that color their landscape. Forty of them are large or medium size. This is one of the features of this famous massif.

Some complex glacier circuses host groups of many lakes, and this is also specific to this mountain. For example, in Bucura circus 16 water eyes look to sky.

The mountain is named after the Retezat Peak, renamed for its shape, in fact without peak. It looks as its peak would have been cut (by a sword hit as tells the story).

The lovers of mountain landscape find here large spaces guarded by high peaks covered by stones, long valleys opened in large glacier circuses that host quiet lakes.

In Retezat there are 11peaks with altitude over 2400 m, the highest being Peleaga – 2509m.

Retezat National Park

Retezat National Park

In this area were identified 970 plants species, a vegetal cover very diversified and picturesque. 15,4% of the plants are Carpathians endemic and 4,2% Retezat endemic.

Fauna is also well represented by a large range of species of big, medium and small animals, birds, insects and reptiles. Two snakes species viper and horn viper are venomous.

The National Park and Natural Reservation protect this valuable ecosystem. Plants collecting is forbidden except the legitimate scientific purposes and so are the hunting and fishing.

There are also limitations regarding the camping that is permitted only in areas specially intended next to chalets, at Bucura Lake, in Poiana Pelega and Stana din Riu.

Access

The main access points for mountain routes are:

  • Campul lui Neag for Buta Chalet.
  • Hobita for former Baleia Chalet or Stana din Rau Refuge.
  • Nucsoara for Pietrele Chalet through Carnic.
  • Rau de Mori for Pietrele Chalet through Valea Rausor.
  • Rau de Mori for Gura Zlata Chalet
  • Rau de Mori for Bucura Lake through Poiana Pelegii.

This access points are connected to national road DN 66: Tg. Jiu – Petrosani – Hateg – Simeria or to railways: Caransebes – Subcetate and Filiasi – Petrosani – Subcetate – Simeria.

If you travel by train you have to arrive to Petrosani, Pui, Ohaba de sub Piatra or Subcetate/ Hateg and from here by local transportation in one of the above mentioned access points, depending on the route you have chosen.

If you travel by car, from national road DN 66 you have the following choices:

  • DN 66A for Campul lui Neag (ramification before Petrosani).
  • Local branch from Pui for Hobita.
  • Local branch from Ohaba de sub Piatra to get to Nucsoara.
  • Local branch from Santamaria – Orlea to arrive to Rau de Mori.

You will find accommodation for your holiday in one of the old chalets Pietrele; Gentiana; Buta; Gura Zlata situated next to mountain routes.

If you travel by your own car, you can enjoy the comfort of one of the guesthouses placed at a lower altitude.

Glacial lakes love nature

Glacial lakes love nature

In high areas there are refuges where you can rest in extreme cases: Stana din Rau, Poiana Pelegii, Bucura Lake.

The most courageous can camp directly in the middle of the nature in tends, but as we already specified, only in the special designated places.

Suggestions for your holiday in Retezat

  • Route 1: Buta Chalet – Saua (saddle) Plaiului Mic – area Custura Peak –Papusa Peak –Peleaga Peak–Galesul Lake –Pietrele Chalet.

Time: 10 hours

Effort level: The route is long and includes the passage of 3 peaks over 2400 m, going from the lower altitude of 1580m at Buta and reaching 2509 m on Peleaga Peak. For these reasons it is very demanding as effort.

Difficulty level: medium, having a critical point in “Spintecatura Papusii”.

The route starts from Buta Chalet and follows the path that goes up abruptly to Saua Plaiului Mic. Once got here, the view is astonishing and full of promises. Huge glacier valleys, ridges, forests, grasslands, all lie under our eyes in a perfect harmony.

We choose the way to the right and up hard through the area near to Curmatura Peak. We can deviate a little to the right and climb the peak to admire from highs Taul (Lake) Tapului (Goat Lake) and Taul (Lake) Custura.

Once returned in our route we follow up the ridge path to Papusa Mare (Big Doll) Peak having to cross “Spintecatura Papusii” that could be a little bit difficult especially in rainy days.

To the right we have the wonderful Ghimpele Lake and the foamy water of Peleaga that spring from it.

After we stay for a while to feel the atmosphere of highs on the peak, we go down in Saua Peleaga. Here we make another deviation, to Peleaga Peak, this time.

When arrive on the top, we are in the highest point of the massif that lie on our feet. We share now one of the wonders of this mountain: any direction we look we see lakes or chains of lakes, eyes of this blessed mountain opened to the sky. In a 360 degree tour we can admire Bucura Lake and all the lakes of glacier circus Bucura to the West; Ghimpele Lake at our feet, the lakes of Valea Rea to the East. But this is not all because to the East we have the spectacular and dangerous ridge called Coltii Pelegei (Peleaga Fangs).

Happy after this show of nature, we go back in Saua Peleaga and then down to Valea Rea continuing our travel to Galesul Lake. In a short rest we admire its dark green waters and enjoy the peace of the place before following the path through juniper trees, fir forests and over foamy waters up to Pietrele Chalet.

  • Route 2: Buta Chalet – Saua (Saddle) Plaiului Mic –Lapusnic Valley–Peleaga Glade– Bucura Lake – Curmatura (Saddle)Bucura –Pietrele Valley– Chalet Gentiana – Chalet Pietrele.

Time: 7 hours

Effort level: our way goes up in the main Southern ridge (in Saua Plaiului Mic), then down in Lapusnic Valley, up again in the Northern main ridge (in Curmatura Bucura at 2206m) and down again to Chalet Pietrele (1480 m). All these many up and down require a high effort.

Difficulty level: on this route there are not difficult points.

From Buta Chalet to Saua Plaiului Mic the way is the same as the previous one. If you have enough time you can make a short deviation to see the Buta Lake and will not regret.

From Saua Plaiului Mic our road goes down to Valley of Lapusnicul Mare that we cross and arrive in Poiana Pelegii, a very picturesque place. From here, through woods and juniper trees areas, we get to the alpine area close to last glacier step with Bucura Lake. During this stage of our travel we have in the left the wild ridge of Slavei and in the deep of the valley, the Bucura Creek going in waterfalls to meet Lapusnic River.

The first lake we see, is Lia situated lateral of our itinerary at the feet of Slavei ridge.

At Bucura we take a rest and make a horizon tour to admire the fabulous landscape: the dark green immensity of Bucura, Saua Plaiului Mic (where we come from), Slavei ridge, Judele and Bucura Peaks (3), and the Ana Lake.

The view is so impressive that the ones that enjoyed it once will bear it in mind for ever.

Pause ends and we go up hardly to Curmatura Bucura and then to Pietrele Chalet, but the wanders continue. Going down from the ridge we pass next to beautiful Pietrele Lake. Pietrele Valey itself is spectacular. If you choose June for your travel you will enjoy the view of large areas with blooming rhododendrons. In the days with lower touristic traffic is possible to see chamois.

  • Route 3: Pietrele Chalet–Lolaia edge –Lolaia Peak (2278 m) –Retezat Peak (2485m)– Saua (Saddle) Retezatului –Stanisoara Lake– Stanisoara Valley – PietreleChalet. Time: 6 hours

Effort level: medium.

Difficulty level: medium.

The way starts from Pietrele Chalet and goes up hard in Lolaia ridge, first through the wood and then through rocks. Further, it follows the ridge, passing over Lolaia Peak. From this point begins the final climb on Retezat Peak. After a short rest on the top our route goes down to Saua Retezat, Stanisoara Lake and Stanisoara Valley. Following Stanisoara Valley we arrive to our starting point, Pietrele Chalet.

From Lolaia ridge we can admire the parallel rows of the lateral ridges going from the main ridge: Stanisoara, Pietrele, ValeaRea and Galesul, if we look to the East.

Once got to Lolaia Peak we can see the astonishing Retezat abrupt and Stevia Lake. The most spectacular lake view is after we cross Saua Lolaia and the most dizzying from the Retezat.

From Retezat Peak we can admire the entire Northern ridge up to Varful Mare (Big Peak), the Scientific Reservation with Taul (lake)Gemenele, Taul (lake )Negru and Taul (lake)Stirbu.

Stanisoara Lake is very picturesque and on the glacier steps a lot of waters intertwining their courses.

All gather in Stanisoara Creek and fall in sparkling waterfalls to the valley toward Pietrele Chalet going almost permanently next to our way. On this valley can be admired many exemplars of Pinus Cembra (endangered species).

Advices

  • The three routes recommended go in the high altitude area and cross rocks specific to high peaks and for these reasons is recommended to be proper equipped
  • Choose a nice day for your trip. It is safer and the view will offer you higher satisfaction.
  • For the ridge you need to have water with you. You could go down for water to one of many lakes in the valleys but it is necessary an additional effort.
  • Our route presentations are general only as starting information. They do not include all the details for going on the routes (times on stages, markings, detailed descriptions). It is necessary a further documentation if you decide to hit the road.

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