Location: Romania, Europe
Length: 102 km
Time to arrive: 3-4 h
Surface: forest road, partially asphalt
Surface quality (out of 5): 1
Highest point: 1200 m
Romanian national road no DN67D
Route: From Campu lui Neag, Hunedoara County to Baile Herculane, Caras Severin
Description of the road from Campul lui Neag to Baile Herculane thru Cerna
DN67D is a secondary road, linking northern Oltenia towards Banat, via Baile Herculane. From Campu lui Neag it becomes a forest road, hardly usable by a city car. I think Google Maps only recently decided to mark it as a main road, before that it was marked as a forest road. There are no construction works there whatsoever, which is a good thing, since the road passes right through the middle of Retezat Moutains National Park.
There have been plans for upgrading this stretch a while ago, but they have been met with widespread critique. Situated in the Southern Carpathians, in the district of Hunedoara, Retezat National Park has an area of 54400 ha and an altitude between 800 and 2509 m. The park was founded on the area of the ex-hunting domain of the Royal House. The chamois were protected at that time, but soon they were hunted, reason for which from the beginning of the former century certain areas were chosen where grazing was forbidden.
Even if there is a forest road between Baile Herculane and Cerna, it’s not really impossible to drive with a regular car but you have to take into consideration that there are big areas of the road with large bumps made by trucks. Between Cerna and Iovanu dam, there is a road that has been concreted, but in time, major landslides ruin it.
Adventure on the road from Campul lui Neag to Baile Herculane thru Cerna
But so what: when you’re in paradise, how much difference can a couple of potholes make? From the dam to Cernei Spring, the forest road continues, with big lumps and areas destroyed by tree’s falling or rock debris which often slows down the average speed considerably over long stretches. This happens especially in wet weather, when their surfaces become extremely slippery, with a tendency to transform into a mud-filled flume ride during rainstorms.
This is the most difficult part of the road, dangerous I may add, because it is extremely difficult to handle the car if you encounter another vehicle. The road is very narrow and it has portions where is impossible to avoid another vehicle that may appear. The whole road has the mountain wall on a side and hollow on the other. The signs will warn you that you will pass through a logging zone and that is possible that the road will be closed or blocked buy the cut logs. Then, just when you’re nervously starting to wonder if the road continues into infinity (because the contents of your fuel tank most definitely won’t), the asphalt begins.
After Cernei Spring, around Hunedoara County, you can reach some good areas (still forest road, even if it’s called national road) with lumps, pounds and falling trees. Due to the rich vegetation and rivers that flow from the mountainsides, the road is always wet and dark. Potential situations are primarily connected mostly to bad weather. Upcoming thunderstorms should in any case be avoided by descending into the shelter of the valleys.
DN 66A is a road for SUVs equipped for rough terrain and it’s good if the driver has experience on this kind of roads. It’s not enough to have your spare tire with you, you will need also your compressor functioning and you will have to remain calm if something goes wrong. Also, keep in mind that the mobile network is weak in the area so it’s possible not to be able to call somebody if something happens. Your only solution is to go back to the workers in the logging exploitation area. In the mountains you can never count on the weather and in here, the rain will make that road impossible to pass, not to mention the possibility of landslides, so be prepared.
Cernea Valley, one of the most spectacular views in Romania
If this national road would had been done according to the standards of a national road, you could go through safety, enjoying in the same time one of the most spectacular views in Romania. Cernea Valley is a fascinating place to see and it ensures a calm and pleasant climate, with Mediterranean influences.
After 4 hours of driving, you will reach Băile Herculane, a town in Romanian Banat, in Caraş-Severin County, situated in the valley of the Cerna River, between the Mehedinţi Mountains to the east and the Cerna Mountains to the west. The history of Baile Herculane and its thermal baths goes back to much older times so if visiting natural thermal springs is on your list of things to do, you might want to think about coming to one of the most famous Romanian gems, such as the criminally overlooked Baile Herculane.