The Dubovac Hiking Trail
This Trail was opened by PD ‘Dubovac’, a mountaineering association, on October 21, 1983. It connects the Karlovac-Ozalj foothills, from Ozalj, to Vodenica (elevation: 538 m), Sv. Križ (318 m), the Kalvarija mountain lodge and, finally, Karlovac. It also connects the two castles: Karlovac’s Dubovac and Ozalj Castle. The trail is 28 km long (a 7 hour walk) and has seven checkpoints (CPs).
The trail’s administrator: Ferdinand Kovačić, phone: +385 91 553 8387, e-mail: [email protected]
A guide (diary) has been printed and is available. Hikers who complete the trail get a badge. You can buy the diaries at the PD ‘Dubovac’ headquarters or at one of its other facilities.
Hikers will thoroughly enjoy this day-trip taking them through a number of old villages with preserved traditional architecture. As there are more options for a return trip from Karlovac (bus, train), we recommend Ozalj as a starting point.
The Dubovac Hiking Trail Description
Ozalj–Vodenica (538 m) = 2 h
The town of Ozalj is situated 15 km from Karlovac and is famous for its Castle and the hydroelectric power plant built in 1908. The most famous Croatian water-colour painter, Slava Raškaj (1877-1906) was born there. The whole area is rich in vineyards (the Vivodina cellars), and there’s also the Vrlovka cave 6.5 km form Ozalj, in Kamanje.
The first stamp is to be found at the Ozalj Castle restaurant. From there, we pass a bus stop, turn left and climb the stairs to the St. Vitus Church. For the next 12 minutes, we walk through a small village and continue along the meadows and fields. Reaching the woods, we turn to the ascending trail (10 min) to the village of Goršćaki. Now we’re in for some real pleasure of a 20 minute walk, slightly ascending, through beautiful woods. Occasionally, the trail follows the edge of the woods, passing the vineyards and orchards. To the left, we can see the Svetice Pauline shrine, and in front of us the Vodenice ridge. We reach the crossroads where the trail takes us straight on, but the paved road to the left can take us to an optional destination, Svetice. It is recommendable for those walking in stages. From the crossroads, we walk another 10 minutes to Breznik, and after the last house in the village, climb the narrow dirt road through the woods for about 30 min, in the end reaching a plateau. Another 100 m and we reach the Vodenice peak (538 m).
There’s the second checkpoint (CP2) on the peak, and the stamp can be found in a metal cone. The peak itself is a spacious undulating plain surrounded by vegetation that obstructs most of the scenic views. From its northern side, we can see the highest part of Žumberačka gora, Sveta gera (1181 m), and a little to the left Mirna gora and Kočevski Rog. Vodenica (538 m)–Hrašće = 1 h. From the top, we go back the same way around 70 m and then turn right along a dirt road, descending to a somewhat wider road (muddy and slippery when raining). It takes us through the coniferous woods, and after 15 min (be careful, as we have to turn to the right immediately) there’s a picket fence across a meadow, so we pass a vineyard and reach the paved road. We continue along that road until the first curve, then turn left, walk for 10 minutes, pass a school, an old castle, and reach Hrašće, with a crossroads and a bus stop. The stamp is not currently available.
Hrašće–Grdun = 1 h 10 min. From Hrašće, the road passes a memorial and a hunting lodge. Before the first house in Birička Gorica, we turn right and descend for some 70 m, then leave it and follow the trail passing a vineyard. We continue to descend over a meadow to the bottom and enter Vrbanska Draga, after 30 min from Hrašće. The trail goes through the village and continues to descend for another 10 min, to the bottom of the valley, where we cross a small creek, and start to climb a wood trail to the ridge, passing a meadow and an orchard in the hamlets of Vrbani and Ćolovići. On the opposite hill, we see the village of Grdun, that we reach after another 15 min, passing some orchards, a vineyard and a wood. In the end, we take the road to the house at no. 60, owned by Drago Blažun. That is the 4th checkpoint with its stamp.
Grdun–Završje = 40 min. From Grdun, we follow a dirt road through an orchard, and then take the road near a number of holiday houses and cottages, and reach the first houses in Basarsko selo in 12 minutes. We then turn off the road, take the village road, beneath the village and its fields, and behind the first curve, to the left, we see the beautiful St. Cross area, the dominant hill with the surrounding hamlets. The trail takes us down through some brush and birches, steeply down to Pasji potok, the creek that disappears during dry periods. We need some 15 min to climb down, and another 12 minutes to cross the bridge, climb the forest path to the road, turn left and reach the school, with the 5th stamp in a box.
From the bridge, we take the paved road and after 50-60 m turn to the right, descending to a meadow. We continue along the left edge of the woods, for some 10 min, to the place where the meadow branches to the left. Walking along the middle part of the meadow, after 25 min we climb through the wood and reach a road and, a little bit further on, a mountain lodge. Završje–Kalvarija mountain lodge = 1 h 45 min. From the school, we reach a little chapel and take the right dirt road, up the hill, pass a few houses, and after 10 min reach a meadow and the St. Cross peak (318 m), with its church and cemetery. It is known as the best lookout on the trail, since from that spot we can see both the previous and the next stages of our trail, and it also offers great views of Kočevski Rog, Žumberačko gorje, Petrova gora, Lička Plešivica, Klek… From its top, we pass the cemetery and cross a meadow to the left, then reach a dirt road taking us to the village of Belavić. After descending for another 5 min along a stony path, we reach the bottom of the slope with potable spring water. The trail further takes us over a small bridge, crossing the creek, then up a hill for 10 min, to a pass, and then left to the village of Ljubenko. We continue above the village, over a ridge, for around 25 min, and climb down through the village of Prašini, and still further down pass a school, reaching the historic Lujzijana (‘Louise’s Road’) that will take us, over the Kupa River bridge, to an inn, ‘Kod Franca’, and also to a community centre with a store. There, you’ll also find the Kalvarija bus stop, with CHECKPOINT (CP) 6 and a stamp.
Kalvarija Mountain Lodge–Dubovac Castle = 50 min. The last stage of our trail takes us mostly through shaded areas, through beautiful chestnut, oak and beech woods. We could divide this stage into three smaller walks , each of some 15-20 min. The first part takes us from the lodge to the ridge, then descends to the paved road in Tičarnica. We then turn to the right, pass a military facility, and enter the woods. After some 200 m, we take a steep slope up, to the ridge, and after a few bends start descending towards a small plastic products factory. We have another 15 min to climb through the woods to Zagrad and reach the Dubovac Castle by road. It is the last, 7th CP, with the Dubovac Hiking Trail stamp. There, we can get some rest in relaxed and pleasant atmosphere and find refreshments in the restaurant. From the Castle, we go down, pass a church and reach Dubovac Street, with buses that come along every hour, or go to Karlovac’s centre on foot (20 min).
The ‘Zvonimir Plevnik’ mountain lodge in Kalvarija, or simply ‘Kalvarija’, is located on the outskirts of Karlovac and has long been a favourite hikers’ meeting point. It is located 5.1 km from Karlovac’s centre (by road).
The house has a pleasant den, a kitchenette, a roofed patio and spacious gardens. The paved road takes you to the parking lot near the house itself. It has electricity and running water. It is one of the checkpoints on the Dubovac Hiking Trail.
It is open over the weekends, while on weekdays one has to phone in advance. Food and drinks can also be supplied, but that, too, has to be arranged in advance.
In case of an emergency, it is possible to sleep there on one’s own mat and in a sleeping bag. There’s also a space for a tent near the house.
Contact: Miro Palajsa, phone: +385 91 583 3779, e-mail: [email protected]