As mentioned in About Routes section on main page this is part of former Visocica section of VPP (Velebit Long Distance Trail), which stretched between Jelova Ruja and Struge. After the 90’s war for independence section between Jelova Ruja and Struge was closed and after 30 years this part of VPP was diverted to seaboard terrace of South Velebit via Stap and Rujno. Later route was inspected by mountaineers who were at war on Velebit for possible land mines and in their opinion it is suitable for use again. HPS (Croatian Mountaineering Organization) still considers the route dangerous and doesn’t recommend it. I used the route many times since and know many others who did. There weren’t any incidents. Anyway using Visocica – Struge route is your own responsibility.
This 6h long section from Visocica to Struge is today very rarely visited. It is amazing area, far from civilization. On the way you pass grassy peaks, idyllic beech forests, soft meadows and huge grassy fields which lie on the bottom of inner Velebit depression. This is one of those spots on Velebit where you have a feeling like there is no one else in the world, it is just you and untouched nature.
Route is quite tough because it is long and contains several ups and downs. Other fact that adds to this is that you started at least from Stap or even Ljubotic. Before, when Gojtanov Dom hut was in use, people used to sleep over here and do this route next day. Today you are already quite tired at the trailhead of the route, Visocica peak (1619m). For any mountaineer in good shape this route will only bring joy in amazingly beautiful area.
Visocica – Oglavinovac – Javornik – Struge: 6h
First thing on the menu is steep descent over tricky terrain (slippery grass with loose rocks) to deep pass which separates Visocica and Mala Visocica (1500m, Small Visocica). Altitude of the pass is around 1330m so descent is little bit under 300m and you’ll probably need 30mins.
Behind narrow pass steep ascent immediately begins. Fortunately marks don’t go over the summit of Mala Visocica but left of it. After some 30mins you reach top of the climb. From here is beautiful view back on Visocica and all around towards Lika and Jelovac (1601m) & Kozjak (1572m) peaks which are behind soft meadows and beech groves.
From this panoramic point close to the summit of Mala Visocica path begins to descent again. Over grassy slopes or through beech forest groves it is some 30mins till Rudina, 1.30h from Visocica. Rudina is huge undulating meadow, closed by beech and spruce forested slopes of surrounding peaks. Only towards north it is open towards Lika whose plateau is deep below. This is very romantic spot.
After 10mins spent on meadows of Rudina path enters forest again and gradually ascends. In 30mins path reaches small pass in the forest and behind it begins to descent towards Janjcarica grassy undulating basin, which is reached in next 20mins, 1h from Rudina, 2.30h from Visocica.
Janjcarica (bottom is at 1278m) is very beautiful, romantic and lonely place, much more closed than Rudina. To be here feels like being alone in the world and is hard to believe that civilization is somewhere behind Pociteljski Vrh (1551m) that is behind you. Path turns right and then left, going around the bottom which is on the left. After 15mins path begins to ascent again entering the forest. At the top of the climb it shortly heads over flat terrain and then begins short descent to the edge of Oglavinovac which you reach in 20mins from edge of Janjcarica, 3.10mins from Visocica.
Oglavinovac (bottom is at 1236m) is huge grassy undulating field or depression placed in valley of inner South Velebit that is closed by seaboard and continental streaks of peaks. Oglavinovac is rounded and has diameter of almost 2km. It is surrounded with beech forested slopes while from the north it is closed by grassy peaks of Golovrhe (1584m). Once out of forest marks turn left and continue above the bottom which is on the right. After 5mins of flat you have to descent down to the left edge of the bottom. Your direction in the case you loose marks is far SE corner of the field above which, in the distance, is Viserujna (1632m). Once down marks ascend gradually towards SE corner. You are there some 30mins after entering the field, 3.40h from Visocica. From here is nice view back of Oglavinovac with wide Kozjak (1572m) and sharp Jelovac (1601m) behind.
Path enters beech forest again and ascends steeply for few minutes. Soon you pass by the edge of nice meadow Mali Javornik. Path now gradually ascents till you are suddenly out of forest and on the edge of huge Javornik, 15mins from Oglavinovac, 4h from Visocica.
Javornik (bottom at 1274m) is 3km long and 1km wide undulating grassy valley placed in inner South Velebit depression between seaboard and continental streaks of peaks. On the left is Visibaba (1640m), Badanjski Vrh (1625m) and Badanj (1638m). Straight forward in the distance is Babin Vrh (1738m), first in Vaganski Vrh – Sveto Brdo group which contains highest peaks of Velebit. On the right are forested lower slopes of Viserujna (1632m).
Path goes left above the smaller basin at NW corner of Javornik. After some 10-15mins this small basin is behind you and path gradually descends to bottom of the field where is usually grass higher than your hip. Marks go right of this rounded bottom and cross gradually to the right side of Javornik but still well below forest edge. Direction is now straight while marks are gradually ascending. It is not easy to follow them. In the case you loose them just continue straight towards the end of Javornik. Far SE corner is not your goal but small cove on the right, close to the end. Here path enters the forest again. If you lost marks or path in high grass climb right to the edge of forest and you will reach marks again in this small cove near the end of Javornik. It takes around 1h to cross Javornik, 5h from Visocica.
Once in the beech forest marks immediately pass right of small pond and turn right gradually ascending. After few minutes path turns left and continues to ascend, quite steeply now. Once on top of ridge in the forest (10mins from Javornik) path descends left going around depression in the forest. On the corner it turns right and shortly after left again, steeply ascending out of depression. Behind ascent is short relatively flat section after which path descends till small meadow in the forest (next 10mins). Behind it continues straight turning gradually towards left and in 10mins you are suddenly out of forest, at the edge of huge undulating grassy Struge plateau, 30-40mins from Javornik.
After short descent marks ascent gradually again till you reach junction with Paklenica hut – Struge – Vaganski Vrh route. From here it is 5mins left to the Struge refuge, 6h from Visocica.