Route is highlight of the Rujno – Viserujna area, which you get to see in its entirety. As said in Overview section ascent and Viserujna ridge are not marked but orientation is easy and that is what makes this route even better. Feeling is more beautiful when you are on your own, not just blindly following the marks. From Zavrata refuge and back it is day long route which can last up to 12 hours. If you want to break it in two days you can sleep over in Struge refuge and even extend the trip. More about that in Hike Advices. This, 11h long monster route, is only for those in good shape.
Zavrata – Malo Rujno – Viserujna (Korovilje 1500m): 3.30-4h
From Zavrata refuge you head in Rujno direction. After 5mins there is a junction where writings on the rock say it is right towards Rujno and left towards Stap. If you started on time so not in the hurry left variation via Pricatrnja Polje field is much nicer and is around 20mins longer. Right variation ascends and over the shoulder of Zvirjak descends back on Malo Rujno.
Marks now disappear but path is clearly visible. Follow the path which is on bottom of the valley or in the bed of dry Kozjaca creek. Left above is Podgrizen cliff. Some 5-10mins from junction turn right from the bottom onto grass. You pass right by meadow which has rocky fence. Just after passing is you are again in the dry bed of Kozjaca creek. Continue straight, climbing out of bed. Suddenly large Pricatrnja Polje field opens in front of you. On the right is lonely oak tree, 15mins from Zavrata refuge.
Continue across the field, left of Kozjaca creek bed. In front are Bobicki Kuk (1425) & Vilinski Kuk (1401m) peaks. Soon you’ll notice a house on the other end of field. Just right of it is a path which will take you on Malo Rujno field, another 15mins. Huge space now opens. Just above is Vilinski Kuk (1401m) while on the right is our goal, Viserujna. Ridge descending from its first summit, Korovilje (1500m), towards Rujno is where you are going to climb. Bellow it is large hill, which is strewn with pines. That is Rujanska Kosa, former moraine of Ribnicka Vrata pass glacier. Over it you will access the ridge of Viserujna. From left approaches VPP or Velebit Long Distance Trail on its way from Stap to Rujno. Path is hard to follow on grass of Malo Rujno but they head towards the low pass right of Rujanska Kosa, over which path crosses to Veliko Rujno. Don’t bother looking for marks, just head straight towards Rujanska Kosa hill. Soon you cross dry bed of Kozjaca creek, which is some 3-4 meters deep. It used to take waters of melting glaciers towards the sea. As you gain altitude up the Rujanska Kosa view back expands on Malo Rujno and further towards Stapina cliff (1125m) and Debeli Kuk (1268m) behind it. Both are in Stap area. On the left is valley bellow Ribnicka Vrata pass that is squezzed between Celopek (1414m) on the left and Viserujna (Korovilje (1500m) on the right. On the right, over Aptovac section of Veliko Rujno, you can see sea and islands in front of Zadar (50km away). From edge of Malo Rujno to the summit of Rujanska Kosa you need 1 hour.
There is not much philosophy now, it is straight uphill, using quite sharp western ridge of Viserujna. There are two rocky sections where there is little bit of easy climbing. View expands dramatically with every step you make! Whole of Rujno is placed bellow your feet and it is soon that you are looking at it like from an helicopter. Also view towards sea expands towards more and more islands. Above 2nd rocky section angle of the slope lessens a bit and over grass you reach 1st summit of Viserujna, Korovilje (1500m). From the top of Rujanska Kosa you needed around 2 hours, 3.30-4h from Zavrata refuge. Rest here and enjoy fantastic panorama, at least 30mins, which now also includes inner Velebit.
Korovilje – Viserujna (1632m) – Buljma pass (Summit ridge section): 3h
Journey towards central Viserujna continues along the grassy balcony, right of stunted edge of beech forest. On the right balcony falls with cliffs towards lower grassy terrace. After a rocky descent continue uphill right of the stunted forest. Once you reach colony of dwarf pine go around its right side, sticking to the edge of steep slope which falls towards depths of Veliko Rujno bellow. On the other side of this obstacle you find yourself in grassy amphitheater with beech grove inside it. Climb left than right around it. Main summit is right of three heads in front of you. Ascent on these steep grassy slopes is quite tiring, especially last section to the summit which is very steep. Once on top of Viserujna (1632m) amazing view expands on all sides. From Korovilje you probably needed 1.30h.
Descent back the same way and go left around the summit, bellow the cliffs. Slope steep mix of rock and grass. Be careful here, just by the cliffs is gaping hole!! Now you are descending into depression that divides Viserujna main summit from Debelo Brdo (1605m) section. Between them is very nice rocky door. Go left as much as you can to avoid altitude loss. Once on bottom of depression turn right and ascend over steep grassy slopes to the summit of Debelo Brdo, 30mins from main summit. Panorama gradually changes as focus shifts towards Paklenica valley which is over 1km bellow.
Next section is probably the most beautiful as you walk along sharp edge which falls almost perpendicularly towards Paklenica, with beautiful sea views. Soon you begin to loose altitude as ridge begins to descend towards pass between Debelo brdo and Tadina Glavica (1500m), last summit in the long Viserujna ridge. But first between Debelo Brdo and Tadina Glavica there is a small head over which you cross. Once down on the next pass, bellow Tadina Glavica, it is better not to climb up again because terrain on the other side is steep mix of rock and scree. If that doesn’t bother you this is yet another panoramic section. If you had enough of panoramas for the day, you can avoid it by going left, around Tadina Glavica, through the beech forest, slightly descending. Once out of forest you are just above Buljma pass (1400m), 1.30h from main Viserujna summit, 3h from Korovilje, 7h from Zavrata.
Here is important spot where you get to Paklenica hut – Struge refuge route. This is half way point of the route and you are going 7h already! Those that are doing extended trip or wish to sleep over at Struge refuge will go left (20mins). Those that are returning to Zavrata refuge and doing full loop in one day will turn right.
Buljma pass – Strazbenica pass – Rujno – Zavrata: 3.30h
From Buljma pass path descends steeply, in many sharp bends, over steep rocky terrain with beautiful view down on Paklenica valley. After 30mins you reach junction where is left towards Paklenica hut while we head right, sign says towards Veliki Golic peak and Rujno. Hundred meters behind the junction, in your direction, is nice water source, which dries during summer.
Narrow path cuts steep slopes bellow Viserujna, slightly ascending, with beautiful view down on Velika Paklenica valley, with Sveto Brdo (1751m) so 10km away on the opposite side. After 20mins you reach Strazbenica pass (1120m), where is, in beautiful beech forest, another junction. Towards left marks lead to Paklenica hut via Mozak ridge while we continue straight. Before continuing it is worth noting that there is water source 100 meters before junction, few dozen meters right of the path. Wooden plate point ‘Voda’ which means water.
Few minutes behind junction you reach panoramic head from which is beautiful view down on Rujno and Viserujna on the right. Path descends a bit before reaching next junction in 5 minutes. Here is straight towards Veliki Golic peak while you go right towards Rujno.
Path descends through mixed beech and black pine forest. Once you reach flat surface of Veliko Rujno path goes through very dense pine forest, almost like going through the tunnel. After some 20-30mins from junction you reach open spaces of Veliko Rujno where is right another 20mins till the Virgin Mary church in the middle of Veliko Rujno, 1.45h from Buljma pass. Here you can refresh yourself with good water from well which is left of church and rest a bit before going further.
Continue in the direction of Malo Rujno. Path goes mostly over open grassy spaces but also through pine groves which are slowly eating up more and more of Veliko Rujno. In some 30-40mins from the church you reach a small pass left of Rujanska Kosa over which you cross to Malo Rujno.
Path holds near the slopes of Zvirjak group. After 20-30mins you get to junction where is left towards Zavrata (remember first junction of the loop?) while straight towards Stap area. Now it is better to go left than via Pricatrnja Polje.
Path ascends some 10-15mins till it gets over the shoulder of Zvirjak group. On the other side it is 20mins to Zavrata refuge, 30mins from Malo Rujno, 1.30-1.45h from church on Veliko Rujno.
One must feel tired just after reading this description. Imagine how you would feel after doing this loop. It is worth every atom you’ll spend, believe me. Now, throw away your back pack, refresh with water from the well near the refuge, have a dinner and go to well deserved sleep.