This is toughest but without doubt most beautiful and most attractive ascent from Paklenica hut. It is called Lipa Staza. After 2h it splits. One branch leads towards Vaganski Vrh (1757m) (description here). The other takes you to Liburnija (1710m), highest peak directly above Paklenica valley, its queen of panorama, from which you have almost 'airplane' view upon valley which is 1200m lower and further towards the sea. Lower 2/3 of the route lead through nice, but steep, beech and maple forest. Upper third has Alpine character as you climb narrow and steep ridge with smooth cliffs sections at steep angle of 45° (on one section there is fixed steel rope) with fantastic views. This part is very tricky, not to say dangerous, in winter when steep plate cliffs are under snow which doesn’t hold well onto them. Another attraction of this route is Babin Kuk (1431m) cliff, which stands isolated, 100-200 meters above the steep slope and also has beautiful views all around. If you like rock climbing don't miss this sweetie, this is great, 30 minutes long, de tour from the route. Highly recommended for experienced mountaineers! If you are starting from parking in Velika Paklenica canyon add another 1.30h to the route or 2.30h from the Starigrad Paklenica on the coast.
Paklenica hut – Liburnija: 4h
Behind the hut, by the pool, path enters the beech forest and ascent begins. After few minutes and several bends view towards peaks above and back down on Paklenica valley opens. After further short ascent path turns left and heads horizontally till Ramici hamlet and passes right of house of Jole and Maria, last inhabitants of Paklenica, 15mins from the hut. Here is important junction of paths. Left is Struge route, straight up Bukova Staza, while little bit to the right Lipa Staza leads and that is where we are heading.
Dozen meters to the right wooden plate shows the direction. At first ascent is gradual; path leads over predominantly rocky slope with some grass, between rare pines or junipers. Little bit above it goes by the rocky fence then turns right around its corner and dozen meters behind left into the more serious forest. Some 15mins from the junction below you enter into high beech forest to the right but soon path turns left, winding uphill. After 15mins you are on the junction where towards left path leads to Bukova Staza route. Our path goes right.
5mins lasts flat section before path turns left going straight uphill through shallow rising canal. There aren’t many bends in this section which lasts around 30mins when path turns sharply right, exiting the canal. Behind the exit ‘third’ section before next junction begins. Nothing is changed as ascent continues to be steep and it gets steeper. Path winds through beech and maple forest. After 40mins you are on the junction where Lipa Staza splits, 2h from the hut. Straight up it continues towards Vaganski Vrh, while you are going right.
In the next 10mins path traverses slope through nice beech forest, going almost flat, till it crosses over descending torrent. Behind it turns sharply to the left. 300m of vertical gain through the beech forest awaits you. Gradient of a slope is 40-45°. Path is mostly going straight up, without many bends. After 50mins you reach the junction below Babin Kuk (1435m), 3h from the hut.
If you want to climb Babin Kuk it is best to leave your backpack here and head up. Immediately path reaches the cliffs and gets out of the forest. Beautiful view opens towards peaks and cliffs above, Velika Paklenica and sea. Path climbs steeply; some spots are secured with fixed steel ropes, which are currently in pretty bad condition. Grade is around II. In some 15mins you are on the top. This is only for experienced mountaineers and is pure joy for those that like rock climbing.
From the junction there are two variations. You can continue to follow the marks and path or climb over pathless panoramic rocky ridge. Both variations join again after some 20mins.
Marks turns left and over a panoramic shoulder descend a bit before steeply ascending towards Tiha Pecina, over a 45° slope which is quite slippery and covered with fallen beech leafs. In some 15mins you are out of the forest, on the steep ridge which descends from Liburnija. Exit out of forest is so steep that you have to use your hands and hold onto beeches. It is better to use this variation for descent. Walking poles are great help here.
Panoramic ridge is much better and much more attractive option for ascent. It includes some easy climbing over furrowed cliffs at moderate angle, which have plenty of holding places. From the junction, below Babin Kuk go right, sign on the rock says Babino Sedlo, a pass just behind the cliffs of Babin Kuk, which is dozen meters away. On the pass beautiful view towards Sveto Brdo (1751m) opens. Turn left and climb straight up towards a lonely pine and behind it, till you reach marked path, 20mins from the junction.
Path continues straight up steeply, shortly through highest layer of stunted beeches, then over the grass, rock, scree and through dwarf pine bushes. Further up, after some 30mins, you reach the steep rocky ridge which path follows. Little bit above you are on the furrowed cliffs which are at 45-50° angle. On one section there is fixed steel rope, which is more useful on the way down. This section has amazing views. Some 15mins above steel rope and around 1h from Babin Kuk you are on the ridge, just left of Liburnija. Here is junction where left is 30mins to VPP trail (Vaganski Vrh – Sveto Brdo section).
From junction it is 5mins through dense dwarf pine, till the summit of Liburnija, towards right, 4h from the hut.