The Vaser Valley

Short intro

The Vaser Valley – with its length of some 50 kms – climbing from Viseu de Sus to the end of line near Comanu, is rather different from other valleys of the Carpathian mountains. With the exception of a few logging camps, the valley covers a vast area devoid of human population. It is accessible only by railway, along with a handful of logging roads that link key points on the line.

Starting from Viseu de Sus you will see a number of individual houses alongside a rough dirt road for a distance of approximately 8 kms. At the Novăţ Delta triangle junction the railway branches in two directions: to the right the line runs a further 7 kms into the Novat Valley; to the left the main branch continues beside the River Vaser towards Comanu, with the turning point for regular steam trains at Paltin, halfway from Cozia to Bardău.

If you continue on foot you will discover that the railway line passes through the most spectacular landscape of the whole route between Cozia, Bardău, Botizu and Făina: narrow, rock lined canyons; fast-flowing, sparkling mountain brooks; the colourful wildlife of the mixed forests; and no less than three short tunnels before Botizu station. Located above Făina station, you can visit a small church, built by Austrian settlers and dedicated to the famous Empress Elisabeth (“Sissi”).

Some 5 kms beyond the camp at Făina, near Măcârlău station, the railway passes the remains of an impressively large retaining wall. At this point the Vaser River was retained by a temporary dam in order to raft the timber down to the saw mills in former times.

Each time you visit the Vaser Valley – whether as a day-trip on the forestry railway or a longer hike with tent and sleeping bag – is always an adventure. With dense, dark forests, sun-drenched mountain pastures, lonely railway stations, and bustling logging camps you will discover a fascinating and different world.

Hiking

take a hiking or trekking

If you want to see more of the Vaser Valley beyond just the forestry railway route, take a hiking or trekking tour of two days or more. The first and most important step is to ensure you are properly prepared. You must take account of the following rules and procedures:

  • Essential: take with you the “Vaser Valley Map” showing hiking trails, published by the Nature Park and available at the station in Viseu de Sus.
  • You must be in sound physical condition and have good hiking experience.
  • You must be equipped with good shoes, rain protection and warm clothing.
  • Never hike alone!
  • You must be equipped with tent and sleeping bag.
  • You must be self-sufficient for food (there are no shopping facilities).
  • Recognise and respect border controls – carry your passport/ID-card.
  • If any problems occur, walk to the nearest CFF station or forest lodge, which are linked by radio to Viseu.
  • Note that there is no network coverage for cellphones!
  • Please avoid walking in the vicinity of the Ukrainian border.
  • Beware of unattended shepherds’ dogs.
  • Obtain drinking water only from springs (look at your map).
  • Respect nature (you are in a Nature Park biosphere reserve!).

There are few real hiking trails with clear markings within the Vaser Valley. However with “shepherds’ trails” and forest paths you will always find a route – together with a sound map!

Some possible hiking routes are:

    • Borșa – Toroiaga (1930m) – Măcârlău – Făina.  May be continued via Bardău – Pietroșul Bardău (1850m) to Poienile de Sub Munte. This is the only route with footpath markings.
    • Făina – Novicior – Novicior CFF Station.
    • Vișeu de Sus – Valea Peștilor – Pietroșul Bardău (1850m) – Bardău CFF.
    • Delta Novăț – Ihoasa – Moisei.