Lake Gales. A summer day hike in the Retezat Mountains
August 2022. The weather forecast predicts a balmy 40 degrees Celsius for the upcoming weekend. So where do we go? The mountains would be the perfect place. An ideal destination with pleasant temperatures, lush forests, waterfalls and picturesque landscapes. We have wanted to visit Lake Gales for some time now, so choosing our place to go was relatively easy. It is located in the Retezat National Park, a spectacular mountain range in the Southern Carpathians of Romania, full of stunning scenery, pristine glacier lakes, and unspoiled wildlife.
The alarm clock starts to ring. It’s 05.15 in the morning. For efficiency, we had prepared our backpacks the night before. This way, you avoid wasting time in the morning and, more important, make sure everything you need is packed. The engine is on and we head for the highway. A tree hour-long journey toward the Retezat Mountains awaits us. We started early in the morning because once we arrived at our destination, we still had an 8-hour long hike to and from Lake Gales ahead of us, followed by another three hours on the road back home. It is a 15 hours day trip. Two hours later, we drive through villages and mountain valleys on secondary roads. We park the car at Popasul Carnic Camping for a small fee. It is a pleasant place to stay overnight if you want to avoid driving and walking for so many hours in one day. There are also tree chalets where you can sleep, but we have yet to learn the costs or conditions they offer.
Lake Gales trail description: Carnic – Lake Gales – Taul dintre Brazi – Carnic
At about 9 o’clock we started our 8-hour-long trail to Lake Gales, a breathtaking destination at 2,000 meters. The weather and the day were fine, making it the perfect opportunity to explore the Retezat National Park. From Carnic, we started along the Lolaia River valley on the forest road that leads to Cabana Pietrele (Stones Chalet). After about an hour of walking, we left the road with the Blue Stripe Marking and entered the forest. For a short period, we followed the Blue Triangle Marking. Afterward, we turned left towards Gales Lake on the trail marked with a Red Triangle. Although the route seems a little complicated, it is not; in fact, the path is very well indicated, so it is easy to find your way. We also use an app called Munti Nostri (Our Mountains), which shows our position on the trail in real-time. After a while, we reach a crossroads: the track on the left marked with Red Dot leads to Taul dintre Brazi (The Lake Among the Fir Trees) and then reunites with the one that leads to Lake Gales. It’s like a loop, so we chose to go to Taul dintre Brazi (The Lake Among the Fir Trees) on our way back. It was an excellent idea since the trail is quite steep.
Adding all the photography breaks and all the stops for admiring the scenery and small waterfalls along the way, it took us about four hours to reach Lake Gales. But all the effort was worth it; the wild beauty of this place is unbelievable. Lake Gales is a breathtaking glacier lake in Romania’s Retezat Mountains. It stands at an altitude of 1,990 meters. With a total surface area of 3.68 hectares and a maximum depth of 19.5 meters is one the biggest glacier lakes in Romania. It is a remarkable natural wonder that will surely take your breath away. We stayed at the lake for about an hour, took photographs and enjoyed the alpine view. On the way back, we took a slight detour to see Taul dintre Brazi (The Lake Among the Fir Trees). Also a fantastic place.
Lacul Gales. An unforgettable landscape with a glacier lake
Romania’s Retezat Mountains are one of the most beautiful and varied landscapes in Romania and have something to offer for everyone, from beginners to experienced mountaineers. Exploring the Lake Gales trail is an unforgettable experience, at least from our point of view. Whether you’re a nature lover, an avid hiker, or just looking for a unique travel adventure, it is an ideal destination with breathtaking views to create lasting memories.