Risnjak is a popular destination year-round. In winter you'll find a healthy contingent of snow aficionados desperately trying to avoid a trip up to Austria to sample the real thing. In summer, however, as the sun and the tourists beat down upon the coast, this is perhaps the best place to be. The cooling mountain air—the average temperature in these heights in July is around 12°C (53°F)—is a bonus to Risnjak's virtually deserted landscape.
You'll be free to
commune with the locals, which include deer, bear, wildcat, and lynx (ris), from which the park takes its name. Geologic and botanical features are occasionally explained by English-language information points over which you may stumble on one of the more popular walking routes. Marked trails can occupy you for an hour's evening stroll to a full seven-day trek on the monstrous Rijeka Mountain Transversal from one side of Gorski kotar to the other. Hiking huts are strung across the peaks to accommodate such ambitious expeditions. More information regarding these multiday hiking trips is available from the Croatian Mountaineering Association.
The park information office is in the village of Crni lug, at the eastern entrance to the park; in the off-season, from October through April, you can pick up information at the reception desk of the Motel Risnjak. You can easily explore the gentler trails on day trips from either Rijeka or Delnice. Paths from the villages of Razloge and Kupari lead up to the source of the wild Kupa River, which can then be followed down the slopes through the "Valley of the Butterflies."