Views, Views, and more Views
At Plitvice Lakes National Park, there are views around every corner but we will focus on the actual hiking trails in this post. To whet your appetite, below are just couple trail pictures but there are spectacular waterfalls and lakes to see on all these beautiful paths. The trails are really nice to hike, most of them being dirt or wooden boardwalks that are in good condition. They wind you up and down through forest, along the side of the lakes, and past spectacular waterfalls. Some of them take you over a lake to get you close to a waterfall, something you could only otherwise do if you had a small boat. Sadly, if you work up a sweat and want to take a dip…sorry, no swimming in the lakes. For that, you can head south to Krka National Park with similar karst lakes, where you can swim.
Hiking Trails Maps
Below are some examples of the maps that show the hiking trails. The first one is the entrance ticket; kind of useless except to give you an overview, but don’t expect it to get you around the park very well. We entered at Entrance 2, kind of in the middle of the park. From there we first explored the upper lakes and falls. There was a great combination of small trickling falls, big wide cascades, and tall series of tumblers all down a long slope. We even saw a stream along a path that just vanished into a hole in the ground, pretty awesome!
Take it from us, buy the map when you enter, it’s only a few bucks and does help for navigation, mostly. Don’t be confused, the routes are not trails and the trails are not named (why there are no D, G, I, and J routes, I have no idea). One trail may be part of several routes and some of the routes are pretty similar. And don’t rely on the maps posted within the park, they’re OK but we found none of the maps in the Croatian parks have a “you are here” dot, so it can be really confusing. 🙂
Later in the day we took the boat across the middle lake to the lower lakes and falls. While the upper lakes and falls feel a little more intimate (we were there very early with almost no one around, the lakes and falls are generally smaller, you can get close to them, and there’s hundreds of lake trout), the lower part was bigger and more wide open, with much taller falls as streams enter the valley from high above. In the lower part of the valley, there we more places where you could hike up to the top of the canyon and get dramatic views, we’ll worth the effort and further away from the mobs of tourists. It gets really busy after about 10 am, so try and get there early like we did, 7:30 am. If I had to say, I would say that we did a modified version of routes H and K and saw almost all of the lakes and falls, and went up to some spectacular views from the edge of the valley. It’s not a park to miss!
- Hike “A” – 2.2 miles, no boat or train available – starts/ends at North entrance
- Hike “B” – 2.5 miles, boat and train available – starts/ends at North entrance
- Hike “C” – 5 miles, boat and train available – starts/ends at North entrance,
- Hike “E” – 3.2 miles, boat and train available – starts/ends at South entrance
- Hike “F” – 2.9 miles, boat and train available – starts/ends at South entrance
- Hike “H” – 5.6 miles, boat and train available– starts/ends at South entrance
- Hike “K” – 11.5 miles, boat available – starts/ends at North entrance