Sohodolului Gorges, gold for climbers and a relaxing oasis in the hot summer days
Sohodolului Gorges Natural Reserve is a protected area of national interest located in Valcan Mountains near Runcu and Rachiti villages, Gorj County. Sohodolului Gorges are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Gorj County, and formed following the action of Sohodol River over the limestone relief in Valcan Massif, which is part of Retezat – Godeanu group.
Due to the karst relief in the area, which comprises heritage values ??and rare plant species, Sohodolului Gorges received the status of protected area. These wonders of nature stretch for about ten kilometers deep into Valcan Massif and resemble a canyon carved into the rock. Up on the crests, guests are greeted by rock formations shaped by wind’s force. The gorges’ walls rise vertically and arch here and there above the road. On the versants around, the curious eye can discover diverse landforms represented by sinkholes, canyons, ravines, caves and impressive rocky steeps.
The best known attraction that draws the attention is the Cow’ Creek Cave, a place where Sohodolului waters are divided into two streams, one of them penetrating tumultuously the cave and coming to the light down, in Runcu shaped as crystalline cold streams.
In summer time, temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius, due to the shaded rocks and Sohodol River’s waters. Here there are over 300 species of plants including century-old chestnut trees, planted before 1859. The protected area located in the northern part of Gorj County attracts annually thousands of Romanian and foreign tourists. Nostrils (Narile), Fusteica, the Ring (Inelul), Priest’s Cave (Pestera Popii) Cow’ Creek Cave (Pestera Garla Vacii) are just some of the impressive landmarks of this area. Priest’s Cave, located at the entrance to the Gorges, is the most visited, because cave paintings of some anthropomorphic black silhouettes have been tracked down here.
Sohodolului Gorges are ideal for climbers because there are numerous special routes for them. In autumn a climbing competition runs here, involving hundreds of mountain lovers. Currently there are no less than 120 escalade routes, with different difficulty levels.
Entrance fee – RON 10