Hiking Croatia: Kamacnik Canyon (Vrbovsko)

by gigigriffis
Kamačnik Canyon

Another short and easy hike in Croatia, this very pretty canyon is full of wooden bridges and narrow paths alongside clear waters. It’s hidden away in Croatia’s hills an hour or two away from Zagreb (depending how you’re traveling) and takes about two hours round-trip.

If you’re daydreaming, scroll down for photos. If you’re thinking of hiking it, scroll all the way down for directions and hiking info.

 


(Psst, this post may contain affiliate links, which means if you purchase something through one of my links, I get a commission at no extra cost to you.)


Want to experience the hike for yourself? Here are some relevant details: 

Directions

The hike starts at a waterside restaurant and follows the river to its source (a deeper blue pool that goes at least 118 meters deep). From the train station, facing away from the rails, take a right and follow the road to the restaurant. Walk through the restaurant grounds and you will find yourself at the start of the trail.

To get to Vrbovsko, you can take a bus or a train from Zagreb (or, obviously, you can drive). At the time of my visit, the train was running several times a day and took about 2.5 – 3 hours (not an express). Bus is about 1 – 1.5, according to bus schedules (but it’s Croatia, so expect it to be late). Transportation in the local area is pretty minimal, so plan ahead (if you’re trying to catch a bus on a whim, you could end up waiting six hours since there aren’t many each day).

Hiking times 

This is a short, relatively easy hike with a little up and downhill (but not a ton). It should take you about two hours round-trip. Plan for longer if you want to picnic along the way or stop often to take photos. Plan for shorter if you’re fast and fit and not carrying a camera.

Dogs on trails

There is a no-dogs sign at the head of this trail, but I saw a ton of people with dogs at the restaurant (presumably there after hiking the trail) and no one was at the entry booth when I did the hike.

Is the trail crowded?

It can be! When I arrived on Thursday, it was a Croatian holiday and the restaurant was packed. In theory, that day the trail was too. I hiked the canyon the next morning very early (starting between 6 and 7) and didn’t see a single soul on the trail.

Now, one caveat: even though there were no people on the trail, there is (sadly) a big highway/road of some sort with a bridge that crosses above the canyon about halfway through the hike, so there is some traffic noise the closer you get to the road. 

What to bring

As always with hiking, wear good shoes (these are the ones I use) and weather-appropriate clothing. Bring your own water (there are no fountains on the trail). For the dog, I always carry a small carrier backpack just in case she needs a ride. And because I love taking photos, you won’t find me on a trail without my camera. (All the photos above were taken with my Sony a6000.)

Other notes

There are water snakes in the area. I was told if you don’t mess with them, they won’t mess with you. We saw one crossing the trail during our hike, but no big deal. You may also encounter lizards and we saw quite a few different types of birds. I doubt if you’d see them on this well-trodden trail, but signs in Vrbovsko also note that this is brown bear territory, so good bear etiquette (knowing to make noise, calmly back away if you see a bear, not go near a cub, not climb into a cave that could be a bear den, etc.) is important.

Happy hiking!

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