The White and Samarske Rocks
The White and Samarske Rocks
Small secrets of Velika Kapela
Looking at the geographical map of Croatia, not many will observe that in the heart of Croatia, between Vinodol, Fužine, Mrkopalj, Ogulin, Jasenak and Žuta Lokva, there is a vast woodland area with no larger settlements. This area is known as Velika Kapela.
Velika Kapela shelters one of the most impressive landscapes in Croatia, the White and Samarske Rocks. This is where nature truly played an incredible game by creating amazing shapes of rocks, which by far surpass all that was made by human hand. At many locations in White and Samarske Rocks there are sharp and vertical forms, rising steeply to 50 meters and more. All these rocky tops are mutually separated by various faults, grooves, joints and precipices. It is because of the relief that the White and Samarske Rocks are an extremely inaccessible area.
Except for the peaks that are bare and rocky, the remaining area of the White and Samarske Rocks, and even beyond it, is covered with vast woods representing a picturesque contrast with their dark shades to the limestone rocks. In order for this unique mountain area to be permanently safeguarded, the White and Samarske Rocks have been named a strict nature reserve. This is the strictest form of nature protection, even stricter that the national park.
The main starting point for the ascent to Velika Kapela are settlements Mrkopalj, which can be reached from Delnice on the northern side, and Jasenak, reached from Ogulin by road. The access macadam road, from which mountain markers begin and lead towards the White and Samarske Rocks and Bjelolasica, is known as Begova trail. From there, the White Rocks can be reached by a marked and easily crossable mountain trail, which ascends for an hour steeply through the woods. Right underneath the top of the White Rocks, there are two mountain lodges. The trail goes further through the rocks towards the summit, opening impressive views of the surrounding area. The very top of the White Rocks is 1335 meters high and offers a beautiful view of Bjelolasica, Klek and numerous towers of the most unusual forms.
The most famous symbol of the White Rocks are stone Fingers. This is a series of five natural stone sculptures arising from the peak rock, like a hand towards the skies. This scene is a witness of the creativity and imagination of nature and remains deeply engraved upon the hearts of all visitors of the White Rocks.
Besides the Fingers, one of the most impressive sites in the White Rocks is a sinkhole with a “chapel”, enclosed on all sides amphitheatrically by vertical 50-meter-high rocks. This sinkhole can be entered through a narrow entrance below a rock known as the Elephant’s Chin. From this entrance, Vihoraški trail continues onward: this is one of the most difficult mountain trails in Croatia because it leads across a particularly difficult terrain. The trail is partially secured with steel ropes and wedges and the tour is recommended only to experienced mountaineers.
The most suitable access to the Samarske Rocks is along the Beg trail from Mrkopalj and Tuk. However, access from the southern side is also possible, from Jasenak. The mountain trail towards the Samarske Rocks begins at the 13th kilometre of the road leading from village Tuk. The base is Ratkovo Shelter, a wooden cottage hidden in a semi-cave underneath a vertical rock, which provides its natural roofing.
The White and Samarske Rocks are a unique geomorphological phenomenon of karst covered with woods. This rocky, yet warm heart of Velika Kapela is a unique corner of peace and quiet in which the loudest sound is that of wind blowing through the branches and birds humming and flying above the impressive rocks.