Without question one of the most attractive sites within Učka Nature Park is the canyon of Vela draga. This natural phenomenon, which the forces of nature – earthquakes, wind, sun and water – first began shaping as early as the Tertiary period (140 million years ago), has been protected since 1963 as a natural reserve, and since 1998 as a geomorphological nature monument.
The Vela draga educational trail passes along the edge of this impressive canyon. Interpretation boards inform visitors in four languages about this nature monument of extraordinary geomorphological value. The text on the boards is written in easy-to-understand popular scientific language to explain geological phenomena such as the origins of the Učka massif and this canyon. Above the canyon is a well-tended vantage point where walkers can rest for a while and admire the magnificent view of the limestone towers, which will certainly remain etched in the memory and arose admiration for the greatest architect of them all – Mother Nature. The more demanding part of the trail descends from this vantage point to the feet of the stone towers and the bottom of the canyon.
Apart from geological phenomena, this trail also informs visitors about alpinism and free climbing – sports that have been pursued in Vela draga since 1931, when the legendary alpinist Emilio Comici first climbed the Large Tower in the canyon. Over time, Vela draga became a famous climbing area where many Croatian and European alpinists and free-climbers gained valuable experience.