Red Lake (Lacul Rosu in Romanian), also known as “the Killer Lake”, is a natural barrier lake at the foot of the Hasmasu Mare Mountains in the Eastern Carpathians Range in Harghita County, Romania. The amazing lake falls within the jurisdiction of the municipality of Gheorgheni. It is about 93 m deep and covers about 12.01 hectares, and it is the largest natural mountain lake in Romania.
It probably got the name „Red” because of the reddish alluvial (a mixture of iron oxides and iron hydroxides) deposited in the lake pine-trees.
The Killer Lake was formed when the Bicaz River was blocked by a natural dam resulting from two landslides during a heavy storm in 1837. The forest caught at the bottom of the lake remained standing and became petrified over time, so that today the black spruce trunks jutting out of the water look like tombstones.
Lacul Rosu is a special case because the accumulated water’s volume after the valley’s barrage was significant and the geology and consistency of the barrage did not allow the quick erosion of this.
The lake is supplied by 4 constant and 12 periodical brooks, among which the most important are the Rosu, Oii (Haghimas), Licos and Suhard.
The surroundings of the lake present a very rich flora and fauna. The coniferous forests are mixed with nut forests and the mountain willow. What the flora is concerned, one can see sycamore maple, larch, silver birch, beech woods, white pine trees, and poplar trees. The animals that live in the area are the following: the chamois, the red Carpathian deer, the lynx, wolves, stags, wildcat and wild boars.
You can also visit Keys of Bicaz. Downstream the Lacul Rosu, you can see the Bicaz Canyon, which is dug by the Bicaz river waters and serves as a passageway between Moldavia and Transylvania. The Bicaz Canyon is 8 km long until it reaches the village called Bicazul Ardelean. The Keys of Bicaz are connected by a series of other impressive keys formed by the branches of the Bicaz River: the Keys of Sugau, the Keys of Lapos, and the Keys of Bicajeu. This fantastic area is part of the National Park “Bicaz Canyon”, which actually includes the following protected areas: Bicaz Canyon, Red Lake, and Hasmasu Mare Mountain.
How to get to Red Lake (Lacul Rosu) – Romania
The access to the lake is possible from Gheorgheni, by following the national road 12/C. Gheorgheni is situated on the route Brasov-Deda. In addition, Targu Mures Airport is 105 km away from Gheorgheni. From Moldavia, one can get to the lake, by proceeding from Piatra Neamt on the national road 12/C. Red Lake lies 57 km away.
The legend of Red Lake
A long time ago, there lived a beautiful long haired and green-eyed girl. She was called Eszter Fazekas. In the Gyergyo market, Eszter Fazekas saw a handsome young man and she instantly fell in love with him. He was taken in the army as a soldier and the wedding never took place. The girl waited her love in vain. Later, she was found by a dirty Allan and he liked the girl very much. Suddenly, he put her on his horse and took her away. He took her in the caves of the Kis-Cohard mountain.
The thief promised her all the treasures in the world but Eszter Fazekas was still waiting for her love. The man couldn’t make her love him. After a while, the girl begged the mountains’ spirit to help her, and nature answered with a huge storm, trees were crashing, mountains were moving and the clouds burst out. In that terrible storm, the mountains were covering everything in their way. The falling rocks buried the thief and her too. The narrow valley turned into a lake and the name became Killer Lake.
Red Lake (Lacul Rosu) offers a splendid view and conveys a mystery aura given by all the bloody legends that surround it.