The greatest natural jewel of the Zadar area is Paklenica National Park, which covers the most attractive parts of the southern Velebit, concentrated in a mere 100 km2. Its most striking features are two forbidding gorges – Velika and Mala Paklenica. The park abounds with peculiar karstic forms, caves and other natural features, while due to its climate conditions, lush variety of flora and fauna has been preserved. Despite its wild nature, Paklenica is easily accessible due to its proximity to the Adriatic highway and the motorway. The vistas of Velebit rising above the resort of Starigrad-Paklenica, which are at once intimidating and alluring, beckon those seeking light-hearted adventure. Movement through the park is aided by numerous signs in several foreign languages. Through the wild ruggedness of Velika Paklenica, where highland women once carried salt on their backs from the coast and brought wheat from the fertile hinterland of Lika, today runs a comfortable hiking trail.
The most attractive parts of South Velebit are surely the impressive canyons of Big Paklenica and Small Paklenica. Big Paklenica canyon is 15 km long and 550 to 790 m wide. In its narrowest part around the Bunkers, the canyon is only 60 m wide. Vertical cliffs rise above both sides of the canyon up to a height of over 700 m. The most attractive part is the area around the steep drop of the stream downstream from Anića luka, where steep cliffs rise directly above the stream, forming the narrowest part of the canyon between Anića luka and the parking lot. Small Paklenica Canyon is of lesser dimension, and the torrent running through it is much less powerful. It is 13 km long and 500 wide. In its narrowest part, it is only 9 m wide, while the surrounding cliffs rise up to a height of over 640 m.
The central part of the Park is distinctive for the relief complex of Borovnik and Crni vrh, with the valley of Mala Močila and Velika Močila nearby.
The highest area of Paklenica National Park is the narrow ridge of Velebit, 1.2 to 2.9 km wide. The highest peak of Velebit is Vaganski vrh (1 757 m asl) is also here. The area of Paklenica National Park is one of the most completely explored areas in Croatia in terms of speleology. Over 70 speleological objects are known and have been explored in the Park, namely 38 pits and 38 caves. Vodarica Pit is the longest cave in Velebit at three hundred meters, Precipice on Bunovac (535 m) is the deepest object in South Velebit.