The National Park of Bicaz Gorge – Hãºmaºul Mare (3575 ha*), Gheorgheni, Sândominic

The Hãºmaº Mountains form the crystalline-limestone massif in the middle of the central group of the Eastern Carpathians. The massif is crisscrossed by several deep valleys and gorges, carved in limestone, with steep or sometimes vertical walls, neat ridges combined with high peaks, where the erosion carved today’s picturesque landscape during thousands of years.

This is one of the most spectacular and thus the most visited part of the country. The National park is rich in attractions: lakes formed by massive land-slide, keys, straights, defiles, vertical walls hundreds of meters high, caves, sinkholes, debris flows, dolines, waterfalls or tower like peaks. The difficult accessibility of several areas led to the protection of a selected and rare flora and fauna. Over the 3575 ha of the National Park there were discovered 1147 species of plants (including 29 hybrid species and 99 subspecies).

This is the only place on Earth where we can find the Astragalus pseudopurpureus and the Hieracium pojoritense from the hawkweed family. Out of the impressive number of rare plants we have to mention the savin juniper (Juniperus Sabina), Zawadski’s catchfly (Silene zawadzkii), the Waldsteinia geoides Willd., the rose daphne (Daphne cneorum), the European Yew (Taxus baccata), the lady’s-slipper orchid (Cypripedium calceolus), the edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum), the Nigritella rubra orchid, the Minuartia laricifolia, the Astragalus römeries and the Sempervivum simonhraianum.

Among the aminals we can mention the brown bear (Ursus arctos), the wolf (Canis lupus), the lynx (Lynx lynx), the Carpathian stag (Cervus elaphus), the wild-cat (Felis silvestris) and the chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra). Among the lepidopteron species we should mention the rare mountain Apollo butterfly (Parnassius Apollo) and the Palacochrysophanus hippothoe Linne. Among the amphibians and the reptiles we can mention the alpine newt (Triturus alpestris), the Carpathian newt (Triturus montandoni), the great crested newt (Triturus cristatus), the salamander, the common toad (Bufo bufo), the common frog (Rana temporaria), the common lizard (Lacerta vivipara), the European viper (Vipera berus) and the smooth snake (Coronella austriaca).

Some of the birds that one may come across are the three toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus), the wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria), the rock bunting (Emberizacia), the common raven (Corvus corax), the western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), the Uran owl (Strix uralensis), and the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos).

Some of the most remarkable and must-see touristic attractions of the National Park of Bicaz Gorge – Hãºmaºul Mare are: the Killer Lake (formed in the summer of 1837, after a massive landslide, which blocked the valley) is one of the most visited destinations of the reserve. The visitors can take boating trips on the lake. Starting from the lake there are several nature (educational) trails. The resort offers plenty of culinary delights to ensure the necessary energy supply to cope with any trail. The main tourist attractions that with the help of the nature trails may be visited are: the Suhardul Mic (overlook), offering tourists a splendid panorama of the resort, of the lake and the surrounding mountaintops such as the Suhardul Mare, Ghilcos Peak and Fagetul Ciucului peak; the Ghilcos Peak overlook that enchants any visitor because of the beautiful landscape; the Bicaz Gorge that is situated along the 12C driveway linking Gheorgheni town with Neamț county and it is the narrowest gorge of the Eastern Carpathians open for road traffic in the country; then the Licos depression located in the north-eastern part of the N.P; the Munticel-Sugãu gorges located in the southern part of the reserve; the Duruitoarei Gorges lying along the upstream the Bicajel brook (this can be reached only by foot); In the N.P. we will notice several tower-like rocks, cliffs, which are part of several tourist trails.

Some of these are the Hãghimaºu-Mare Peak (1792 m), Piatra Singuraticã Peak (1587 m). They are accessible from Bãlan as well. The Tosorog Cave measures 250 meters in length, the Munticelu Cave and 51 other caves which are in the park await the curious visitors. Other attractions that are worth to visit are the ridges and rocks like Piatra Altarului, Turnul Porþii, PiatraPoienii, Turnul Negru, Peretele Bardos, Santinela, Podul Ungurului, Peretele Poºtei, Gãtul Iadului, Peretele Nordic or the Peretele Sudic. Because of these rocks the N.P. is a rock climber’s playground.

Protecting the natural environment is our legal duty. A nature reserve is an area of a particular status, enforced by law, where not just a couple of rare species of plants, animals, geological formations or archeological-paleontological objects can be found and need to be protected. To ensure, that these protected elements will remain or survive, we need to protect their living habitat as well. The natural values and the biodiversity of a given area offer a spiritual experience, and an aesthetic enjoyment, thus contributes to a spiritual recreation of the explorer of nature. Harghita County is one of the few places, endowed with several authentic natural treasures. These gems of nature represent an economical asset, and by this, an improper visitor’s behavior can endanger its content and existence. Protecting our environmental treasures is a collective task and duty. The managing organizations which are responsible for these reserves have been already assigned, and they can enforce or apply special rules for visitors regarding protected area. Below you can find some recommendations concerning the avoidance of natural damages:
  • do not leave the marked trails
  • do not litter or leave garbage behind
  • keep the peace and quiet by avoiding to use strong sources of music
  • do not tear any plants down, including the protected species
  • camp only in specially designed and marked areas
  • make fire only in special designated areas, and make sure that you put you put it out before leaving
  • do not throw lit cigarette butts
  • avoid using motorized vehicles in the vicinity of the protected areas, and use only the marked accessibility routes
  • enjoy the sounds and sights of nature and do not disturb others in enjoying these as well
By this informative material, which presents the natural protected areas of Harghita County, we wish to contribute to the promotion of a responsible and eco-conscious form of tourism. To a better success we count on your open mindedness and interest.

Closer to nature: through visiting and preservation!


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