November 1, 2019
Vagabonding Day 32
Plitvice Lakes (PlitviÄka Jezera)
Read the posts about my first two days at Plitvice here:
- Day 1: Plitvice Lakes in the Off Season: A Misty Watery Paradise
- Day 2: Plitvice Lakes National Park: Lower Lakes Loop Trail
Plitvice Lakes – Trail K
18,300 meters/11.4 miles
On our third and final day at Plitvice Lakes National Park, I awoke early and ready for a good workout. During our first two days, we took it easy and explored small sections of the park. Today, however, I was ready for a new challenge. So I chose the K Trail which encircles the entire park in one continuous loop. Lucky for me, the fog wasnâ€™t as heavy today. It wasnâ€™t exactly sunny, but Iâ€™d take it. Maybe Iâ€™d even get to see some views!
The K Trail begins near the “P1” ferry dock. This section of trail hugs the eastern edge of Lake Kozjak as it proceeds in a counter-clockwise direction. The early morning felt peaceful as I strolled along the lake shore. Wisps of fog rose from the lake and leaves crunched underfoot as I walked. I didn’t encounter any other people except for the ones in the ferry boat that went by.
After about a mile, the path leaves the lake shore at a major trail junction. I stayed to the right and followed the K Trail up the limestone canyon. At the top, I found myself at the shuttle bus station. Hmmâ€¦ this looked familiar. I was here yesterday when I hiked the B Trail.
At this point, the B and K trails merge to follow the same path for the next couple of miles. As I hiked along the canyonâ€™s rim, I couldnâ€™t help but notice how different the experience was from yesterdayâ€™s hike. I could see all the way to the lakes at the bottom the the canyon. And the view! It was truly breathtaking.
I continued along the trail, framed under a canopy of trees that were losing their leaves. Soon I came to another viewpoint. This time, I had a birdâ€™s eye view of the Great Cascade waterfall (Velike Kaskade). I got an up-close view of the Great Cascade yesterday from the canyonâ€™s floor but seeing it from this angle was an entirely different experience.
Then I spotted something on the other side of the canyon wall that I hadnâ€™t been able to see yesterday. I took a closer look and caught my breath – it was The Great Waterfall (Veliki Slap). Good lord! From this angle it was like something out of a fairy tale.
After hiking down the canyon and taking a closer look at Veliki Slap, I hurried through the rest of the lower lakes loop. This section was much the same as when I walked it yesterday, but with less fog. It was gorgeous but crowded. I was looking forward to a bit more solitude.
I found solitude in spades after I finished the lower lakes section and began hiking around the western shore of Lake Kozjak. Itâ€™s a delightful section of trail that is largely ignored. Itâ€™s also quite a bit longer than the east side of the lake due to the squiggly nature of the shoreline. It took a bit longer to hike it than I anticipated. But I didn’t mind.
Upon reaching the upper lakes section, the K Trail does something interesting. Rather than joining the other trails down along the boardwalk, Trail K heads uphill into the woods. This section of trail avoids the crowds down below and provides amazing vistas of the entire upper lakes region. It’s a bit steep at times but worth the effort.
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen! This concludes my 3-part series on Plitvice National Park. If Plitvice isn’t on your bucket list yet then I’ve done something wrong.
It’s truly a magical place.