Wow. Wow. Wow!! If you’re in Croatia, this is a definite must. There are plenty of bus day tours to the park from Split and Zagreb, but I highly recommend spending the night at one of the many nearby chalet-style BandBs. The valley is GORGEOUS and will give you the time to explore the park at your leisure (and also see Slunj!).

I parked and began at entrance 1, doing the entire perimeter of the lakes including the upper lakes (the upper lakes aren’t included in the AllTrails map). This added up to 10-11 miles (ignore my recording; I somehow accidentally deleted my recording mid-trail), but 85% of the path is flat so easy-peasy. Don’t worry: you still earn your beer reward at the end! It took me six hours at a pretty leisurely pace with lots of breaks to take it all in and a ton of photo stops (thank Gawd film is a thing of the past).

Some tips:

- Absolutely start when the park opens (8am spring/fall; 7am summer). Why? Because of those “plenty of bus day tours” I mentioned. The park gets crowded, quick, and you want to jet ahead of the (annoying) single-file lines of tourists taking selfies.

- Wear hiking boots if you have them. You’ll be thankful for the extra grip and carefree slogging through the mud on the legit “K” trail portions.

- Pack your own food! There are a couple places along the paths to pick up coffee and grab a bite to eat, but it’s over-priced and low quality. Besides, you’ll want to picnic here.

- I did (and most do) the path counterclockwise. I read that going in reverse can give you some extra solitude, but I have to tell you... going against the crowds seemed worse than following in line.

- Enjoy! This is one of the most pristine places on earth!