Sălciua – Sipote – Poarta Zmeilor – Platoul Bedeleu , Alba county


A unique and peculiar region in the Apuseni mountains is the area where the Trascau mountains have its main ridge – Bedeleu – Ciumerna – neighbouring the Salciua commune. Even if they are not considered high altitude mountains, they offer a spectacular landscape rich in biological, geological and speleology reserves: two Natura 2000 sites overlap here. The easiest and most accessible trail in this area is to go up the Bedeleu ridge and visit the travertin waterfalls and Poarta Zmeilor cave.

Of course, there are more than one trail in this area and many of them intersect, depending on the starting point, but the easiest and most appropriate for a school trip would be the one following the Sipote travertine waterfall, the Dragon’s gate and Bedeleu cliff where you will find a wooden a balcony which is considered to offer one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the Trascău Mountains.

The trail starts in the village at a wooden bridge next to which there’s an area where you can leave your car or bus and start following the red cross marking route that takes you up along a thematic educational trail called “Pietrele Vorbitoare” (the whispering stones).

Our proposed approach is to follow the red cross marking that goes up to the Bedeleu ridge and return on the same route, but for some more experienced hikers groups you can do the trail in a loop and come back on the yellow stripe route. Along the trail there are many educational boards that mark the thematic trail of the whispering stones with information on the area’s biodiversity and fauna, on the travertine rocks that are specific to this area which will give you a great opportunity for some stops and educational activities.

When you get to the Poiana Șipote meadow where the 5th information board is, you need to step off the trail and go to the left for a short 5 minute descent to access a wonderful travertine waterfall called Șipote waterfall. Once you go back on the red cross market trail you will start your ascent through the woods up to the Dragon’s gate and Bedeleu ridge where you will have access to the wonderful panorama of Trascău mountains and its villages.


The starting point for the proposed trail is Sălciua de jos village and it can be accessed either from Turda on the way to Câmpeni using the national road 75 or from Alba Iulia towards Aiud and when you get to the Buru village you turn left and join the same national road (DN 75).


Salciua is a commune that gathers several small villages in the area and you can find accommodation easily in any of these villages, depending whether you intend to take a large group of students or a smaller one.
For larger groups of student we recommend a camp accommodation site that hosts summer camps and training programmes –

But there are several other good options in the same area, all with plenty of rooms and space for outdoor activities and sports: 


Huda Lui Papara Cave

From Salciua de jos, if you go further to the Sub Piatra village you will have the opportunity to visit the entrance of the Huda Lui Papara cave, a spectacular formation that can only be seen from outside due to the destruction of the access system. However, the wild and spectacular landscape of the area makes the cave a tourist destination for thousands of people every year.It is also known as the cave with the largest colony of bats in Europe. In 2007-2008, researchers discovered about 84,000 bats from nine species.

Scărița Belioara Natural Reservation

If you are in this area and have one more day, a must visit trail is definitely in one of the most valuable and representative reserves in the Apuseni Mountains called Șesul Craiului – Scărița Belioara. It includes the limestone plăteau Șesul Craiului, Scarița Peak (1382m) and the spectacular cliffs of the Belioara Valley. You can access it from the same road DN 75 from Turda to Campeni, but go to Posaga de Sus village.