Containing more than 60 peaks over 7,500 feet and over 100 crystal clear deep glacier lakes, the Retezat Mountains are some of the most beautiful in the Carpathians and include Romania’s first national park. Retezat National Park is a natural reserve area covering more than 275 sq mi., including 4.500 square acres in a strictly protected scientific reserve area called “Gemenele”. The area shelters one of Europe’s last remaining, unaffected natural primary forest and the largest single area of pristine mixed forest. Wolves, brown bear, wild boar, lynx, wildcat, chamois, roe and red deer, as well as small carnivore species such as badger and otter populate the area. In 1979 the Man and Biosphere Program of UNESCO included the park in the international network of biosphere reserves.
South Retezat Region
The southern approaches to the Retezat extend from the town of Vulcan on the east end of the valley to Campusel on the west end of the valley. Although there are several points of entry into the Retezat Mountains from the towns of Vulcan, Lupeni, Uricani, Cimpu lui Neag, and points in between, direct access to the National Park begins in the Cheile Butii area (approximately 35 km west of Petrosani) and extends west to Campusel. Bus service provides access from all Jiu Valley towns to as far west as Cimpu lui Neag. From there, visitors can hike west along the main valley road to the National Park border near Cheile Butii (approx. 3-4 km).
North Retezat Region
The Retezat Mountains and Retezat National Park are accessible from the North by way of Romania’s Route 66 (DN-66) and/or by way of train, which runs alongside Route 66, from Petrosani to the southeast or Simeria to the North. From Route 66, there are several gateways into the Retezat Mountains. Almost all the villages along the highway, from Ohaba de sub Piatra, just outside of Hateg, to Merisor, just outside of Petrosani, have access roads that run south into the Retezat Mountains. From any of these towns, taxis can take visitors directly to forest areas. Distances from Route 66 and train stations to the forest areas vary from 10-15 km.
The three main entrances into the North Retezat are located south of the towns of Pui, leading to Baleia, Ohaba de sub Piatra, leading to Carnic / Pietrele, and Carnesti, located on the northwest side of the park on Route 68, leading south along Route 685, which acts as the western border of the National Park. The entrance from Ohaba de sub Piatra, is the easiest approach to the National Park and the protected scientific reserve. Carnesti also provides access to the Park. Pui provides access to the Retezat mountains but not the National Park.
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