Google EarthSince Google has blessed us with its magical Google Earth software you can visit any corner of the world from the chair parked in front of your computer. Thankfully Velebit is amazingly clear so you can discover its corners and see for yourself how it looks from the above and where are the places this page is dedicated to.
Each geographical point of interest described on this page has coordinates on the top of its section. You can use these coordinates with Google Earth’s fly to search engine. Just copy the coordinates (like it is written, with coma) and paste them into fly to tab and press enter. And, of course, enjoy the flight!
Crnopac is unknown and forgotten jewel of Velebit. Till this millennium it remained unexplored and unvisited which is quite strange because of its position above Prezid, for decades busiest Velebit road pass which it ceased to be in 2003. Only Southern route existed. Rare visitors from the summit had the opportunity to observe hidden chaos of cliffs, chasms, holes and forests on the northern side. No one dared to enter, explore and make it more accessible to hikers. Then came Tatek, most daring Velebit explorer, path and refuge builder in past 50 years and finally opened the magical box. Now word of mouth is spreading between mountaineers about forgotten corner of Velebit, which has amazing beauty no one knew existed.
Crnopac (1404m)Crnopac (1404m): 44°15'3.69"N, 15°50'16.27"E
Veliki Bat (1385m): 44°15'22.66"N, 15°49'38.58"E
Crnopac (1404m) is highest peak of SE Velebit. When looking from NW towards SE after Sveto Brdo Velebit looses altitude considerably. With 40km in length SE part is second longest of Velebit but it does not exceed 1200m. Also it is quite different from the rest of Velebit as it turns towards east, away from the sea, as has quite different architecture. Crnopac can easily be called ‘a last stand of Velebit’ as here it soars for the last time.
Crnopac is huge! It certainly has the biggest volume of all Velebit peaks and looks more like a mountain than just a peak, a mountain within a mountain. It is standing above Prezid pass on the NW, which divides it from Tulove Grede – Celavac group. On the SE is Tremzina group. Both are significantly lower. On the NE is Lika region with Gracac town. Towards S, deep below, are canyons of Krupa and Zrmanja rivers.
Crnopac has two peaks. Above Prezid pass is little bit lower, but more beautiful, northwestern summit or Veliki Bat (1385m). It is made of white limestone. Peak is completely bare and rocky with several higher cliffs on the north side. Some 1.5km towards SE stands main summit or Crnopac (1404m). Rock is here mixed with grass. Between them is rocky panoramic ridge which ends with pass NW of main summit. From the main summit ridge continues to stretch further towards SE. Only after almost 2km it begins to lose altitude more significantly.
Crnopac has very developed karts. Southern slope is huge, rising some 1200m above Krupa river. Upper part is bare with scattered beech trees. Lower part is partially overgrown by hornbeam and oaks but is still predominantly rocky. North side is forested with beech, fir and spruce. It is not uninterrupted as southern slope but contains huge karst plateau that is closed by Crnopac from SE and Kita Gacesina (1227m) and Munizabin Vrh (1098m) peaks on the NE. This terrace or large undulating plateau with heavily developed karts is most amazing part of Crnopac! It is strewn with cliffs, holes and chasms in such density that it is true chaos which is almost impassable!. Only experienced climbers can move here but it is amazingly tough because there is obstacle after obstacle, hole after hole and once you enter it, it seams there is no end. That incredible terrain is partially covered with beech, fir and spruce forest above which are peaking various white cliffs. This area is very poorly explored and contains many surprises that wait to be discovered, like numerous caves and holes. It seams that lately this area is adopting a name northern chaos of Crnopac. In the bowels of this area are famous Cerovacke Pecine caves (lower and upper cave) about which you can read more in their own section below. Another great object is Munizaba hole whose opening is also in the northern chaos of Crnopac. It is 448m deep and 1115m long. Its trademark is large underground space. In terms of volume it is largest hole on Velebit. Especially impressive is first hall below entrance with 120x80m dimensions as are some corridors which are 20-30m wide and up to 70m high. Also there is 30m wide lake in lower part of the hole. Lately numerous holes have been discovered in the area and speleological activity is intense as lovers of the underworld found their new Pandora’s Box. Among them it is worth to mention Alibabina Jama hole which is over 200m deep.
But first came Slavko Tomerlin – Tatek who became interested in secrets of Crnopac several years ago and opened completely new chapter. What this tireless Velebit explorer, now a 75 years ‘young’ man, has done on Crnopac would be amazing even for much younger person. He was so amazed with what he found on Crnopac that it had to be shared with other mountaineers. First few years ago he and handful of his friends erected beautiful wooden Tatekovo Skloniste (1137m) (Tatek refuge) on the rocky panoramic shoulder, which was base for further exploration. He marked northern Crnopac route and Kita Gacesina route. His recent work, Mali Princ trail, is true masterpiece. This circular route goes through the heart of above mentioned northern karst chaos of Crnopac, with climb to the summit of Bili Kuk cliff. Trail will take you to caves, chasms, natural doors, bridges… Spots are equipped with steel ropes and even 20m high ladders.
As every story has two sides I’ve heard from many people that love Velebit and disagree with what Tatek has done. They considered Crnopac one of the last places on Velebit which was completely untouched and known to only handful of people and which should have been kept from masses. But there are no masses even on more popular places on Velebit and traffic on Crnopac is still very light. Will things remain this way years will show. There is no going back, Crnopac is revealed and one can only hope visitors will do everything to keep it the way it was before Tatek came into action.
But that is really not a problem when comparing with what Hrvatske Sume (Croatian Forests) are doing. In the autumn of 2004 they penetrated into the very heart of northern side of Crnopac with two new roads! Both end below Kita Gacesina peak, one on northern the other on southern side. Of course, their target is beautiful beech forests. This is such crime towards Crnopac, Velebit and nature in general that it is disgusting even to write about it!
Mali Princ Trail
As I mentioned in the Crnopac overview section above Mali Princ Trail (Little Prince) is latest masterpiece work of tireless Velebit enthusiast Slavko Tomerlin who also had great help here from Zdenko Morovic. Together they explored and created what is now most beautiful and most attractive secured trail on Velebit. It makes a circle around the Bili Kuk cliff/peak in the heart of northern chaos of Crnopac. It is like a walk through a karst wonder park. Along the way there are beautiful view points upon the karst chaos, doors, balconies, gardens, gorges, holes and similar karst exhibits. Tatek gave them picturesque names like Dvori (Courts), Konoba (Wine Cellar), Susnjevac (Rustling Place), Slipi Klanac (Blind Gorge), Tisni Klanac (Tight Gorge), Kicma (Spine) and so on. Probably most attractive is Zdenkova Jama (Zdenko’s Hole), a huge cauldron between white limestone cliffs. Descent into it is secured by fix cable, pegs and aluminum ladders. In it, on several places, water drops from the cliffs. Below the cliff from which it drops most intensively they made a water gathering place so here you can count on water (don’t know yet if it stops dropping in mid summer). Close to the end of the circle branch climbs the summit of Bili Kuk (White Cliff).
I don’t want to describe the trail because it is much more beautiful when you don’t know what is coming behind each corner. To complete a circle it takes 3-4 casual hours but how long it will last for you depends how much time you’ll spend on each spot of interest and there are many of them. When approaching from Tatekovo Skloniste refuge you’ll come to a junction at the beginning of the circle. Arrow points right for Mali Princ and left for Bili Kuk. You can do a circle both ways but it is more interesting to go right and that is also what Tatek suggests with a sign.
Crnopac is one of great viewpoints on Velebit. It is much higher than its surroundings so nothing obscures the view. But even more important is its position close to the end of Velebit and the way it stands outside of main line of the mountain, more pushed towards Lika. Because of that Crnopac is just one of few points from which you can see whole Velebit, all its 150km from the beginning to the end. What also makes it different from the rest of the mountain is that it doesn’t stand above the sea but above the land, the north Dalmatian plateau.
SE: rest of Velebit stretches in this direction. In the background is Dinara mountain with massive Dinara (1830m) peak, highest in Croatia. Behind it is Troglav (1913m), highest peak of Dinara mountain. Right of Velebit and Dinara is North Dalmatian plateau with Svilaja (1506m), Mosor (1339m) and Promina (1148m) mountains behind. On very clear days, between Svilaja and Mosor, Biokovo (1762m) is visible.
S & SW: behind huge north Dalmatian plateau & flat Ravni Kotari county is sea and islands of Sibenik & Zadar archipelagos. At the foot of Crnopac are canyons of Krupa & Zrmanja rivers.
W: accumulation lake on Zrmanja river and small Orljak (674m) mountain are placed in this direction. Just right of Orljak is Novigradsko More sea. Behind it is Ravni Kotari county and further behind islands of Zadar archipelagos. Little bit right of that are lower parts of SE Velebit while behind is S Velebit that is sticking considerably above it, led by the pyramid of Sveto Brdo (1751m). Lined up, right of Sveto Brdo, are some of the highest Velebit peaks including Vaganski vrh (1757m), highest peak of Velebit.
NW: whole Velebit till its beginning, over 100km away. Right of Velebit is enormous plateau of Lika region placed in the continent, behind Velebit. Undulating sea of Kapela (1534m) mountain is rolling behind Lika.
N: behind Lika and Licko Sredogorje (chain of mountains which splits Lika in half) is Licka Pljesivica (1657m) mountain. Just below Crnopac is Gracac town which can partly be seen.
NE & E: mountains of western Bosnia rule the view in this direction led by Osjecenica (1798m), Klekovaca (1961m) and Ilica (1654m), which is the beginning of Dinara mountain and that is where this 360° journey began.
Kita Gacesina (1227m)44°16'14.70"N, 15°50'22.56"E
Kita Gacesina (1227m) is quite bulky limestone fortress which has many supporting pillars and guards the northern chaos of Crnopac from the north. It stands in the northern corner of Crnopac group, right above the flat fields of Lika and Gracac town. It is stand alone peak, significantly higher than surroundings so it offers great panorama! On the south is wild undulating karst plateau and Crnopac (1404m). On the north Kita Gacesina descends steeply uninterruptedly some 700m to Lika. On the east its first neighbor is Munizabin Vrh (1098m), which also closes the plateau from the north and it is in line with Kita Gacesina. Between them is deep pass. On the west are western edges of plateau which soon drop into the valley that descents from the Prezid pass towards Lika. Crest of Kita Gecesina stretches in NW-SE direction which means it is parallel with the direction of Velebit massif. Very steep northern side is forested almost to the very summit but summit is bare rocky. Southern side which descends to plateau is much wilder and consists of torn limestone cliffs. Crest is also wild and rocky but mixed with trees.
Kita Gacesina has been accessed by marks from two sides. SW approach branches from the Northern Crnopac Route, from the section which leads to the refuge. After few hundred meters on a new road it enters the forests and steeply climbs reaching SW shoulder of Kita Gacesina. It continues steeply up, over to torn cliffs, and on top of them goes behind the summit of Kita, on northern side. Eastern or Mali Princ approach branches from the eastern corner of Mali Princ trail. It goes but up and down over the undulating plateau till it reaches the pass SE of Kita Gacesina and northern edge of plateau. There it turns left and ascends steeply up the northern side of the peak, bit below its SE crest. Below the summit it meets SW approach and together they steeply climb the last summit section.
Kita Gacesina is great view point. As from Crnopac whole continental side of Velebit is also visible from here. This corner of Lika and Gracac town are right at your palm, steeply and quite deep below. The only difference from the Crnopac view is that bulky Crnopac blocks it towards SW or Northern Dalmatian Plateau and sea further behind.
Prezid pass44°15'5.99"N, 15°48'27.42"E (approximate)
Prezid (768m) is a pass between Celavac & Crnopac massifs. It has very beautiful nature with meadows, groups of beech trees and white cliffs. Till 2003 this was busiest Velebit road pass with quite heavy traffic between continental Croatia and Dalmatia. In 2003 section of new highway between Zagreb and Split was opened. Highway goes through Velebit with almost 6km long Sv.Rok tunnel, which passes just bellow Tulove Grede peak, some 10km NW of Prezid. Since then traffic almost disappeared from Prezid. Now it is again oasis of peace with very light local traffic.
Celavac (1198m)44°15'50.15"N, 15°47'4.43"E
Celavac (1198m) is closest neighbor of Crnopac and second highest peak of SE Velebit. On the summit is quite tall TV tower and few communication buildings. From Prezid very nice mountain road climbs on Celavac. It is asphalted and you can go all the way to the entrance into the wired compound. Scenery along the road is great with very nice view of Duboke Jasle (deepest and largest valley of SE Velebit) and Sveto Brdo (1751m) towering in the background. Also from the summit is most beautiful view on Crnopac and Gracac town deep in the foothills.
Krnjeza, Krupa & Zrmanja rivers
Krnjeza, Krupa & Zrmanja belong among most beautiful Croatian rivers. They flow through their canyons which were carved into the slopes of Velebit at the foot of Crnopac, Krupa & Krnjeza completely while Zrmanja partially. Find more info & photos of rivers on Velebit massif main page. If you don’t have time to go on organized rafting, which reveals hidden beauty of those rivers, there are few spots that give a nice glimpse. There is a marked path which descends into the canyon of Krupa at Kudin Most bridge location which is one of most beautiful sites on the river. Also there is path which continues all the way to the monastery of Krupa and third which follows the river through the canyon till it flows into the Zrmanja river. Locations of Krupa source and monastery can be visited by car. Same road passes by the edge of Krnjeza canyon. Over cliffs and scree you can descend into the canyon and visit very attractive source of Krnjeza.
Cerovacke Pecine caves
Cerovacke Pecine caves are natures jewel hidden in the bowels of Crnopac, below its northern slopes and wild karts chaos. Among hundreds of objects in Croatia they belong among largest. It terms of decoration they are probably most beautiful and amazingly rich in color because of various types of stone. They were channels of former underground rivers whose purpose was to take waters from Lika, through Velebit towards rivers of Krupa and Zrmanja and finally to the sea. One might wonder how is that possible when their openings are above the Lika field. It shows how with time Velebit went up and field down. They were discovered in 1923, during the construction of Zagreb-Split railway and electrified in 1976.
From Gracac go in Knin direction. After 4km signs will show you that Cerovacke Pecine caves are to the right. After 1km you reach the foot of Velebit where is a small motel which has to be renewed. Path ascends in many zigzags through the forest till the entrance into the lower cave which is just below the railway. Path towards upper cave continues to ascent and shortly reaches the railway near a small tunnel. Along the railway go right around 100m where path continues to ascent, taking left direction.
Donja Cerovacka Pecina (lower cave) is around 2385m long but exploration is not done so new channels could be found. Near the entrance large quantities of prehistoric ceramics were found. First 670m are mostly shaped as corridor. At the end of corridor cave falls steeply some 23m so ladders were fixed there. Behind few halls and canals cave splits in two parts. Near the end of left section there are amazing stone pots and small pools filled with crystal clear water, lined up with water spilling from higher to lower pots. Right part begins with narrow canal which is accessed by climbing with help of fixed pegs. After 60m there is a hall where bones of cave bear were found. At the end is quite large hall with few small lakes.
Gornja Cerovacka Pecina (upper cave) in 1252m long and is 10-15mins above the lower cave. On 300m there is larger hall with very nice decorations. At 400m there is small lake and hall with 10m high crystal pillars. At 620m is another hall with small lake. On 720m is chasm which connects both caves. At the end is large white crystal hall with most beautiful decorations.
Hike AdvicesThe best way to visit Crnopac is to climb via northern route. When you reach the refuge leave unnecessary things and do Mali Princ trail which will take through some amazing details of northern chaos of Crnopac. Trip lasts 4 hours. When you return to the refuge you can sleep over or immediately continue towards the summit of Crnopac. From the summit descent back to Prezid pass via southern route. This is quite an undertaking for one day but can be done when longer day. Circle can be done on shorter day if you don’t do Mali Princ trail.
After visiting Crnopac don’t miss to visit at least Kudin Most bridge location on Krupa river, which is amazing. It is 40mins in one way from Prezid – Krupa road. When you continue towards Krupa monastery view into Krnjeza canyon is just by the way. After visiting monastery continue to the source of Krupa. You need half a day to do all this.
Also quite close and short is to drive to Celevac peak from Prezid pass. Views along are rewarding.
Getting ThereTrailheads of both Crnopac routes is on Prezid pass, some 500m apart. Here’s how to get there.
Closest airport is in Zadar, 66km away. There are no international flights to Zadar (except charter flights during summer season) so you have to go over Zagreb international airport. There are everyday flights from Zagreb to Zadar except on sunday. More info about flights find on official site of Croatia Airlines. From Zadar you must take a bus towards Zagreb that does not go via highway.
There are numerous bus lines from Zagreb to Zadar each day, almost every half hour. But no every goes via Prezid pass, some go via highway. Detailed bus timetables from Zagreb find on Zagreb bus station site.
From Zagreb take train towards Split and get off in Gracac. From Gracac wait a bus towards Obrovac or Zadar or hitch hike. I guess that on foot from train to Prezid pass takes around 2h. Train timetables are on Croatian railways site.
This is always best possible option which gives you freedom to do and go wherever you want. There are three main directions to come to Prezid, from Zadar, Rijeka or Zagreb.
From Rijeka, along the coast.
This route is suitable if you are coming from western Europe, via Trieste (Italy).
Trieste - Rijeka 70 km
Rijeka (Zadar, Split direction) – Starigrad Paklenica – Maslenica (here follow Gracac direction) – Prezid 221km
This road is suitable if you are coming from eastern or central Europe via Ljubljana (Slovenia), Maribor (Slovenia) or Budapest (Hungary).
Ljubljana - Zagreb 138km, Maribor - Zagreb 113km, Budapest - Zagreb 347km
Zagreb – Karlovac (Plitvice direction) – Plitvice (Split direction) – Gracac (Zadar direction) – Prezid 230km
Zadar – Obrovac – Prezid 66km
Look for current road conditions in Croatia on the page of Croatian Automobile Club (HAK)
When To ClimbFind out more about climate on Velebit main page.
As any mountain Crnopac can be visited year round. In winter crampons are always necessary. Then it is much safer to climb Crnopac via southern route. Northern route is quite dangerous in winter because of many holes and chasms by the way, which can be hidden by snow. If you go have some rope and ice ax. Even in mid winter southern slopes can be free of snow while northern side is under deep layer till spring. Usually expect hard packed snow.
In summer you don’t need anything except walking poles if you like them. Upper 2/3 of southern route are completely exposed to sun so start early if you want to go this way. Northern route is mostly in shade so much better for summer. Summer is definitely least attractive season to visit Crnopac but the only one when you can combine it with rafting or swimming in Krupa or Zrmanja rivers. Till mid June and by the mid September water is already to cold.
Autumn & spring or October & May are most beautiful months to visit Crnopac. In May everything is fresh green with lot of flowers while in October fall colors are beautiful.
Mountain ConditionsConditions on Velebit are very well known thanks to Zavizan meteo station, which is observing weather since 1953. There is no weather forecast for Velebit on the net, only current data. Since Zavizan is 200m higher than Crnopac temperature would be around 2°C warmer. For the forecast look at places which lie close to this area of Velebit like Gospic, Gracac & Zadar.
Here are the links where you can find out about the current weather on Velebit (Zavizan) and forecast for Croatia:
WeatherOnline home page
Croatia at WeatherOnline,
Zavizan at WeatherOnline
Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Association (DHMZ):
DHMZ home page
DHMZ Forecast page
DHMZ 7 Day Forecast for Croatian cities and places World wide, including Zadar, Gospic & Gracac
Current Weather Conditions in Croatia including Zavizan, Gospic and Zadar
Snow Depth's in Croatia
ObjectsCrnopac refuge (1137m)
is sweet little cottage made of wood. It was build by Slavko Tomerlin – Tatek, deserving Velebit explorer & enthusiast. Refuge was opened in 2002. It can accommodate up to 10 people and is equipped with everything one needs to prepare food. Inside it is completely covered with wood which gives very warm atmosphere. Water is 10m from refuge in the reservoir that is buried in soil. It is pumped out by a small hand pump.
Camping & AccommodationCamping is not forbidden but there are very few placed on the mountain where you can place a tent because of mostly rocky terrain. On Prezid pass there is enough soft places to erect tent.
In Gracac, 8km from Prezid pass, there is a motel.
Red TapeCrnopac as whole Velebit is inside Velebit Nature Park but there are no limitations.
Other Velebit pages on SummitPost~ Velebit massif, main page
~ Zavizan area, North Velebit (Mali Rajinac (1699m) highest peak on the page)
~ Rozanski Kukovi group, North Velebit (Gromovaca (1676m) & Vratarski Kuk (1676m) highest peaks on the page)
~ Veliki Kozjak (1629m), North Velebit
~ Satorina (1624m), Mid Velebit (including whole area between it and Alan pass)
~ Stap area, South Velebit, (Debeli Kuk (1269m) highest peak on the page)
~ Visocica (1619m), South Velebit
~ Bojin Kuk (1110m), South Velebit
~ Viserujna (1632m) & Rujno, South Velebit
~ Paklenica area, South Velebit
~ Vaganski vrh (1757m), South Velebit (highest peak of Velebit)
~ Liburnija (1710m), South Velebit
~ Sveto Brdo (1751m), South Velebit
~ Tulove Grede (1120m), SE Velebit
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