Băniței Gorges (nature reserve) is located in the Grădiștea Muncelului-Cioclovina Natural Park and is situated near to the Disease Cave, being sculptured by the Bănița River in the same limestone massif.
The gorges are particularly spectacular, offering a rare landscape. The water-sculpted rocks delight the eye, as does their spectacular color, as there are areas where the rocks partially cover the gorges, like an umbrella.
Băniţei Gorges are located 8 kilometers north of Petroşani, in the Băniţa-Merișor-Baru corridor, in the area where the Petroşani Depression joins the Haţeg Depression in the north, where the Jiu basin makes way, to the north, for Streiului and its waters which gathers from Șureanu and Retezat.
Băniței Gorges can be easily reached both by train and by car. By car, on DN 66, coming from Petroșani, you have to drive until you reach the serpentines that go up to Pasul Merișor.
By train, coming from Petroșani, you get off at Halta Peştera Bolii and climb the same serpentines- Petroșani-Simeria.
Băniței Gorges represents a natural sculpture, of a beauty rarely found in the area. Tourists arriving in these gorges are recommended to have adequate equipment, even if the route is one of low difficulty.
The novelty of the route is the fact that you have to walk through the water (water shoes are recommended, with an adhesive rubber sole, so as not to slip on the stones).
During the summer, the water is not very deep, reaching in most places up to the ankles, only in some parts it reaches the knees, so that this route can be covered without problems.
Bănița Gorges are formed by Bănița which runs along a fairly high part of the limestone wall. Over time, a rather deep sinusoidal corridor dug in this limestone. The height of the walls exceeds 10-15 meters and the way in which Bănița eroded the rock is very interesting, and in many places the rock is exactly above the tourists.
The length of the gorges is not large, they are about 250-300 meters long, they are formed by the collapse of the ceiling of a cave. At the entrance to the gorges you can see some excavations in the rock, which represent former secondary watercourses, which are called "The Nostrils", due to their shapes.
On the hill that rises above the gorges, there can be found a Dacian fortress called Băniței Fortress, which was part of the Dacian defense system in the Șureanu Mountains, which served Sarmizegetuza Regia.
Foto source: facebook/Cheile Banitei