National Park Paklenica
The Paklenica karst river canyon is a national park in Croatia. It is located in Starigrad, northern Dalmatia, at the southern slopes of Velebit mountain, not far from Zadar. It has two canyons: Mala (Small) and Velika (Big) Paklenica. Today there is no water flowing throughout Mala Paklenica. Near the entrance into the Velika Paklenica there is an artificial basement/cave complex that had been built for Josip Broz Tito during the tension between Yugoslavia and the USSR in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Hiking is the only way to really get to know Paklenica. The Park area contains 150200 km of trails and paths, from those intended for tourists, leading from Velika Paklenica Canyon to Manita peæ cave, Lugarnica forest cottage and the mountain hut, to those intended for mountaineers, leading to the highest peaks of Velebit. The trails in the Park are marked with boards and mountaineering signs.
Paklenica National Park is the most visited climbing site in Croatia, and the largest in Southeast Europe. The close proximity of seawater gives this climbing site a special charm, making Paklenica Riviera an ideal place to combine climbing and water sports. Today, there are over 360 equipped and improved routes of various difficulty levels and lengths within Paklenicas climbing sites, so each climber can find to their liking. The main climbing season begins in spring and goes on until late autumn.
The most attractive and most valuable parts of South Velebit are surely the impressive canyons of Velika Paklenica and Mala Paklenica. Velika Paklenica canyon is 14 km long and 500800 m wide. In its narrowest part around the Bunkers, the canyon is only 50 m wide. Vertical cliffs rise above both sides of the canyon up to a height of over 700 m. The most attractive part is the area around the steep drop of the stream downstream from Aniæa luka, where steep cliffs rise directly above the stream, forming the narrowest part of the canyon between Aniæa luka and the parking lot. Mala Paklenica Canyon is of lesser dimension, and the torrent running through it is much less powerful. It is 12 km long and 400-500 wide. In its narrowest part, it is only 10 m wide, while the surrounding cliffs rise up to a height of 650 m.
The central part of the Park is distinctive for the relief complex of Borovnik and Crni vrh, with the valley of Mala Moèila and Velika Moèila nearby. In terms of relief, Velika Moèila is a very interesting bowl-shaped valley at an altitude 850 m asl, surrounded by Crni vrh (1 110 m asl), kiljina kosa (1 015 m asl) and Zeleni brig (842 m asl), while Borovnik, named after the black pine forest, stretches along the south edge.
The east part of the Park is very differentiated geomorphologically, inaccessible and wild. Further to the east, this zone of wilderness transforms into an area of milder forms around Malo Libinje and Veliko Libinje, karstic plateaus with numerous pits, the bottoms of which were mostly treated.
The highest area of Paklenica National Park is the narrow ridge of Velebit, 1 to 3 km wide. The highest peak of Velebit Vaganski vrh (1 757 m asl) is also here. The area of Paklenica National Park is one of the most completely explored areas in Croatia in terms of speleology. 76 speleological objects are known and have been explored in the Park, namely 39 pits and 37 caves. We will mention some of the most interesting speleological objects in the National Park. Vodarica Pit is the longest cave in Velebit at 300 meters, Precipice on Bunovac (534 m) is the deepest object in Central and South Velebit.
Watertight sediments are situated beneath very porous karstic deposits of carbonate rock in the extended part of Velika paklenica, Brezimenjaèa, and in the spring parts of Mala paklenica and the occasional flow of Orljaèa. This is why Paklenica National Park has several permanent or occasional flows and many permanent springs. The permanent springs of high-quality drinking water are Strabenica, Kontinovo vrilo, Crno vrilo, Velika Moèila and Peæica