Escaping the heatwave at Tureni Gorge - June 2021

Hiking Jul 29, 2021

Tureni Gorge (Cheile Turenilor) is a small but beautiful gorge, located 25 km from Cluj-Napoca. It is not as famous as Turda Gorge (Cheile Turzii) because it is less imposing and because up until recently it was very difficult to pass through. Now it's an ideal place for a short but exciting and quite spectacular hike.

I've seen the Tureni Gorge from above for a long time. I’ve passed near it a bunch of times, but I knew that it was wild and difficult to walk through. The path was not clear, and you had to go multiple times through the water that crosses the gorge, Pârâul Racilor (Crayfish Stream).

In 2018, the Salvamont Cluj (Mountain Rescue) team arranged the route through the gorge with chains and climbing rungs, so that it could be traveled through without the need to pass the water. In 2020 the routes on the two sides of the gorge were also marked. Since then, we have been looking for an opportunity to go and see it.

Some time ago, our friends set off on the route, but they had to return because someone in the group stepped into the water and, as it was cold, they could not continue.

This winter we also tried to go, but again, someone from the team got their feet wet when crossing the river, and we had to go back even though we only got to the first chain.

This time it's summer. It has been raining for the last couple of days, but a heat wave is now upon us. The temperature in the city is over 30 degrees, and the air is more and more unbearable. Having no other plans for Saturday but having in mind the coolness of the gorge and the desire to do the whole route - that we’ve already begun twice - we decide to try it again.

We are, therefore, on the third attempt to cross the Tureni Gorge. Given the temperature, no one would be upset if they got a little wet this time. We consider ourselves more prepared than before and, as if it weren’t challenging enough, we have a fifteen-month-old baby with us.

Technical Considerations

The chosen route is a circuit. We start from the end of Tureni village - through the former stone quarry - near the bed of the Racilor stream, which leads us through the gorge. At one point, when the rocks end, and we reach the access road from Copăceni, we climb the left slope and return to the village on the plateau above the gorge.

The map with all the paths from Tureni Gorge. Our path is highlighted with blue.

Parking: At the end of Tureni village
    - next to the Information and Promotion Center
    - near the access road to the former stone quarry
Route: Tureni - Tureni Gorge - left slope - Tureni.
Markings: Blue Triangle/Dot (through gorge), Blue Dot (left slope).
Length: 5,5km
Height difference: +300m
Duration: 3h 45m, with breaks
    ~ 1h 45m through the gorge
    ~ 1h 30m ascent and return on the left slope
Water sources: In the village
Tracking: Strava
Observații: The route involves climbing on chains and climbing rungs.
    Good training and fitness are recommended.

The Story

We arrive in Tureni in time, so we are ready to start at 10 o’clock. There are a few cars parked, so we expect to meet more people on the route, but we knew this was coming since we chose to come on a Saturday. We just hope we won’t trouble each other on the chains.

The beginning of the route is not very promising. We start on a muddy road, through a former, abandoned stone quarry. Now that the ground is covered in green grass and it's sunny, it looks decent, but last winter the landscape was rather post-apocalyptic.

We pass quickly through the quarry, keeping right, next to the river that can be heard. At the end of the quarry, hidden behind a knoll, we find some information panels and the path that leads to the descent through the gorge.

The stream is turbulent, the water is a bit cloudy from the recent rains, and the path is mysteriously lost in the shade of trees and rocks.

The Entrance to the Gorge.

After a short walk, we reach the first challenge: a part of the track that must be crossed on climbing rungs and chains. It doesn't surprise us, because we went through it in the winter. But now, the chain has come off the wall in one place, and its passage is more difficult for the shortest people of our group.

The first more serious chain.

We all pass this part smoothly, including Corneliu with Filip on his back.

Adventure for grown-ups and children alike.

For some of us the passage was more difficult than for the others, but we warmed up and now we are curious of what awaits us. The route continues for a while on the path, with some useful chains here and there.

But it doesn’t get boring. We soon find a new suspended portion. Again, the taller ones are at an advantage. At the end of it, it takes a huge step to reach dry ground, which is a real challenge for some of us. This part concluded with some wet feet, but it's okay. It’s summer.

In addition to the spectacular trails, the Tureni Gorge is also known for its biodiversity. The gorge is a nature reserve and it has been declared a protected area of national interest. There are not so many in the valley, but from place to place various colorful flowers are catching our eyes.


We advance on the path in the roar of the river, breathing fresh air, and we reach a new suspended part. This time we are accompanied by a mini-waterfall.

On the chains, near a small waterfall.

Some put in a lot of work on the chains, others not as much, but others don’t have to work at all :).

Different levels of effort.
The small waterfall and the route.

The route continues at an exciting pace. The views are also worth the effort we make.

Photo: Lavinia

From time to time there are portions that are not suspended, but still have a chain that we can use to help us not to fall into water.

Soon we reach a clearing, where a natural dam collects water in a small lake. We also make our way past it.

Another mini-waterfall. Foto: Lavinia

The route seems to get smoother and we wonder if there are any more chains.

On the path.

There are a couple more. But the trees are getting fewer and the distance between the rocky walls is getting bigger, which tells us that we are nearing the end of the gorge.

Another suspended portion.

Shortly after passing this chain, Fane - my brother - catches up with us. Fane wanted to come with us through this trip, but he also had a bike ride to do. So he started early, cycled about 90 km, then pushed himself hard to catch up with us on the route.

From this place the trees are really rare, and we can see the rocks above which we are going to climb.

Although we did not reach the intersection where the marked route turns left, we see a path, and with the help of the map we decide to follow it. The path might take us on a trail, or it might lead us to some interesting places.

The footpath turns out to be a shortcut that gives us some beautiful views of the gorge. It's an unmarked route that leads to some rock-climbing places.

The right slope of Tureni Gorge.
Other rocks on the right side.

It's 11:45. The time it took us to go through the gorge was 1h 45m, but in reality it flew by much faster.

We start to climb and, after a few steps, the heat hits us and we remember that we are hungry, so we look for a somewhat shady place to have the lunch break.

Lunch break.
Rocks that we are going to pass by.

At 12:30 we set off again. A climb in the sun awaits us. It is a bit steep, but it's not long, and it's the only climb of the day. In the meantime, we find again the route marked with a blue dot.

Above Tureni Gorge there is a smooth plateau. There are pastures and arable lands belonging to the locals. If you didn't know about the gorge that is located below, you could easily pass beside it without even noticing.

Tureni Gorge seen from above.

Once you reach the top, the almost flat route goes on a grassy road. Nothing difficult. For curious explorers, however, there are paths that deviate, and visit some rocks on the left side.

We followed them and found a cave, a great place for a tent with an awesome panorama, and a few more places with beautiful views over the gorge.

Finally, we leave the gorge behind and enter the last part of the route. It's a smooth road between boulders, above the former stone quarry.

Smooth road among boulders, above the stone quarry.

At 13:45 we close the circuit by reaching the place where we left our cars. We are tired and excited after the good hike, and we are talking about how nice it would be to have a lake nearby, in which to cool ourselves with a swim.


The route through Tureni Gorge is short - we did it in less than three hours - but it is spectacular and exciting.

It's a good hike option when your time is limited to one day or less. Or when you feel like going on a more challenging trip, which involves climbing on metal chains and rungs over a river and an easy ascent with memorable views.

If you've read this far, we hope you enjoyed the story. As usual, if you want to tell us your opinion, we are glad to hear it.

Have you been through Tureni Gorge? Which route option did you choose? What else have you seen nice in the area, and would recommend to us?

We are waiting for your answers and opinions on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, in the comments section of the blog, or in a private message.

Till next time!