In the north-western part of the Plitvice Lakes National Park stands Medveđak, a wooded mountain hill covered with mountain beech forest. Medveđak has three peaks: Oštri Medveđak (889 m above sea level), Tupi Medveđak (868 m above sea level) and Turčić (801 m above sea level).
From the peak Oštri Medveđak, one can clearly see the mountain Lička Plješivica, the villages Drežnik Grad and Ličko Petrovo Selo, as well as the valley of the river Una and the area around Bihać in the neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The peak Tupi Medveđak is especially interesting in the spring, before the budding of the trees in the forest, or in the autumn, when the leaves have already fallen, because that is when the visitors can make the most of the impressive panoramic view it offers of the 6 Upper Lakes (Prošćansko, Ciginovac, Okrugljak, Gradinsko and Kozjak).
The lowest peak of Medveđak, Turčić, offers a view of the largest lake in the National Park, Lake Kozjak, and the surroundings of the Veliki Slap waterfall.
An interesting piece of information is that one of the oldest hiking trails in the Park leads to Medveđak. Back in 1894, a trail was built that led to the peak Tupi Medveđak, and in 1900, during the stay of the Austrian princess Blanka, the Treasury of the Royal Forestry built a trail that led from the hotel to the peak Oštri Medveđak, which was named Blanka’s Trail in her honour. (Blanka was a Spanish princess married to Archduke Leopold Salvator, with whom she had 10 children.)More about hiking trails
The common beech trees, which reign over the forests of Plitvice, shade the trail with their crowns, so the climb is pleasant and relatively easy even on the hottest of days. Medveđak was mentioned as early as the Middle Ages as the place that represented the border between the parishes of Gacka and Drežnik. Old records state that these two old Croatian parishes bordered at a place called the Bear’s Foot (“Ad lapidem qui vocatur Pes Ursi”).
From a biogeographic point of view, Medveđak is located in the belt of mountain beech forest (Lamio orvale-Fagetum sylvaticae Ht. 1938), the most widespread of all forest communities in the Plitvice area. Apart from the beech, the maple, the Bosnian maple and the sweet cherry also grow here, and somewhat less often we find the fir, the spruce and the wych elm. The shrub layer is made up of the hazel, the alder buckthorn and the fly honeysuckle.
Keep in mind that when walking along this hiking trail, you are sharing the space with the bear, the largest animal of our forests, after which Medveđak got its name (“bear” = “medvjed” in Croatian), as well as with the roe deer, the fox, the pine marten, the wild boar, the European fat dormouse, and many more representatives of fauna.