Category Archives: canoeing

The gateway to Kolovesi national park

Nature info hut

Before entering Kolovesi national park you should drop by in Enonkoski. From Kolovesi nature hut you can get kayaking maps and info for your trip. The old warehouse now serves as a Kolovesi information center and is one of the nicest nature centers in Finland.

Old warehouse

There is a nature exhibition inside the house offering info about Saimaa Ringed Seal, only to be spotted in Saimaa lake area and also in Kolovesi national park.

Exhibition inside

The cafe is run by local 4 H Association and has a very nice terrace by the rapids. Not a bad place to have a break. Be sure to check the old bridge just a few meters away.

Terrace by the rapids

From late June there is an international sand art exhibition nearby the info hut. In Enonkoski you can get last supplies from local grocery stores for you kayaking trip.

Sand art


Canoeing in Lemmenjoki national park

Lemmenjoki national park in Lapland is the most northern national park of Finland. I made a canoe trip there a couple years ago down the river Lemmenjoki. Lemmenjoki river valley from Njurkulahti to Kultasatama is one of the most memorable places I have paddled. It is real wilderness though hiking trails follow the shores. It is about 22 km one way.

To Kultasatama you go upstream and in some places you have to pull your canoe from the shore. Even local long boats carrying hikers to Kultasatama go upstream though they unburden their load by letting hikers for a walk while passing streams. You better be prepared with good water shoes.

Along the river there are several tent and fire sites and a few wilderness hut, from these you can find best description on Quite many hikers go to Kultasatama by boats from Njurkulahti and then leave for the paths in wilderness. In July the weather was quite nice, with for some reason no mosquitos but even bigger horseflies.

At the start near Njurkulahti the river is wide as a lake
In July streams are quite small
A view to Viipustunturit fells from Härkäkoski bay
Ravadasköngäs waterfall
Lunch time at Morgamniva fire site
Across the river
Cable boat crossing for hikers
Clear water
Others were coming upstream, we were for a exciting ride down the river
Passing by

My top 10 outdoor photos of 2011

Here are my top 10 most viewed flickr outdoors photos of year 2011. All are published and taken in 2011. It seems almost all months are covered, at least all seasons. Thanks for all viewers!

1. Park gym by the sea in Lauttasaari, Helsinki, May 2011

Park gym by the sea on Lauttasaari beach, Helsinki

2. Helsinki shore in January 2011

Helsinki shore

3. Lake Bodom shore in January 2011

Lake Bodom shore

4. Flipper powered vessel in Helsinki, April 2011

Flipper powered fishing vessel in Helsinki

5. Kayaker near Lauttasaari, Helsinki, April 2011

Kayaker near Lauttasaari, Helsinki in April

6. Ruska, autumn colors of Kätkätunturi fell in Lapland, September 2011

Ruska near Kätkätunturi in Lapland

7. Skiing on sea in Helsinki, January 2011

Skiing on sea in Helsinki

8. Lake Saarijärvi near Nuuksio national park in June 2011

Lake Saarijärvi, Espoo

9. Mushroom forest in south-western Finland in October 2011

Mushroom forest in south-western Finland

10. Tour skating track in Ylläsjärvi, Lapland in March 2011

Tour skating track in Ylläsjärvi, Lapland

My top blog posts of 2011

Thanks for all readers/viewers of my blogs in 2011. Here are my the 10 most viewed blog posts published in 2011. It’s interesting that out of 10 posts 7 are about my paddling trips; kayaking or canoeing. Some of the posts are of my trips done before 2011.

1. National parks of Finland for kayaking and canoeing, Jun. 2011

Typical view when paddling in Linnansaari np

A post of how to choose a most suitable national park for paddling, based on experience on the lake areas.

2. Kayaking in Päijänne national park, Feb. 2011

Paddling along Kelvenne island

A post of kayaking trip to lake Päijänne and Kelvenne island.

3. Tour skating tracks in Finland, Jan.2011


I gathered tour skating tracks in Finland in a map and list view and made a short description of each place.

4. Cross country skiing in Pallas-Yllästunturi national park, Lapland, Mar. 2011


A post of cross country skiing in one of the most beautiful national parks of Finland.

5. Kayaking in Kolovesi national park, Jun. 2011

Kolovesi national park - near Ukonvuori hill

A post of kayaking in lake Kolovesi, one of the most popular kayaking national parks.

6. Petkeljärvi national park in eastern Finland – great place for paddling, Apr. 2011

Petkeljärvi national park - view from Korkeasärkkä

A post of paddling and hiking in eastern Finland’s Petkeljärvi national park.

7. The top 5 places outdoors in 2010, Jan. 2011

Riisitunturi National Park

My top 5 places I visited in 2010 outdoors; Riisitunturi national park, Lake Pihlajavesi (Saimaa), kayaking in Helsinki, Vaarunvuori hill in central Finland and shores of Helsinki.

8. Paddling in Linnansaari national park, Aug. 2011

Leaving little islets behind near Vehkaset islands

A post of July kayaking at the lake area of Haukivesi in eastern Finland.

9. Canoeing in Oulanka national park, Apr. 2011

Sandy beaches are easy to land

A post of the canoeing trip to river Oulanka in north-eastern part of Finland.

10. Canoeing in Espoo – a day trip to the gate of Nuuksio national park, Jun. 2011

Break at the transfer point

A post of the canoeing trip to northern parts of Nuuksio and lake Saarijärvi.

Paddling in Linnansaari national park

In July I spend a couple of weeks in the lake area near Linnansaari national park. I have paddled there before and seen some of its islands. This year I stayed at the cottage on the shore of lake Haukivesi which Linnansaari national park is part of. I made day trips  to the national park area with a kayak and a canoe.

Linnansaari is home of the endangered Saimaa Ringed Seal (Phoca hispida saimensis). I’ve once seen one lying on the shore of an island in Linnansaari national park when kayaking a few years ago but this time I did not see any though looked intensively.

Linnansaari is a great place fo those who want to see protected Finnish lakeland area and explore it by a kayak. To enter the park, Oravi village is good starting point where you can rent a kayak or a canoe. From Oravi there is boat service in summer to Sammakkoniemi camping site in main island of Linnansaari. Linnansaari national park is part of lake Haukivesi which is part of greater Saimaa lake area. It means that you can start paddle south past town Savonlinna to lake Pihlajavesi, pass Puumala village and end up in town Lappeenranta in south-eastern Finland. To north you can reach town Kuopio or kayak to another national park, Kolovesi np. See my other post on Kolovesi.

To go kayaking in Linnansaari national park your have to be a fair experienced kayaker because the transfer route to the closest islands of the park is at the shortest a kilometer away and to Linnansaari island over 5 kilometers (from Oravi village). The weather and wind conditions can turn quite hard pretty quickly so be prepared with latest weather forecasts. There are long open waters where wind can form quite big waves. On good windless weather it nice for even a less experienced paddler.

If interested in other national parks in Finland for paddling see my other blog post– it is a short introduction of the best parks to paddle.

Best possible weather in Linnansaari national park in July
Oravi Outdoor Center - good place to rent a kayak and start your trip
Typical view when paddling in Linnansaari np
In July 2011 water level was quite low
Beautiful bays of Linnansaari islands
Water of lake Haukivesi is quite clear - helps you to see hiding underwater rocks
One of the sandy beaches that are not shown on maps
In July there's still long daylight - this is taken at 8 pm
Lots of cliffs on the shores..
Some are quit steep..
With a kayak you can get really close..
And see things from different perspective..
Nnature's own art..
Close-up of cliffs on the shore from a kayak - heather and lichen
Some sort of algae, Trentepohlia iolithus?
"I could not stop laughing"..
One of those of tens of islands in Linnansaari national park
Huge nest (of osprey I guess) on top of "Kermit"
This is where pike, perch and pike-perch hide
Perch is quite curious - they swim with you
Chanterelles for lunch
Organic superfood of Finland - blueberries
Some visit the park by rowing a so called "church boat" - takes 15 people
View towards a few kilometres of calm open waters of Peonselkä
There are nice routes between islands - this one Selkä-Anttonen and Väli-Anttonen islands
Leaving little islets behind near Vehkaset islands
Perfect day for kayaking again
Heavy rain, no wind - only one day of 14 it rained
Sunset at 10 pm in 29th of July
Just a moment before midnight
Really unbelievable luck with weather - thunderstorms passed by all the time

Paddling on lake Kuolimo

I made a short trip to lake Kuolimo in July. Lake Kuolimo is in the south-eastern part of Finland, in the lake area and connected to lake Saimaa, Finland’s biggest lake. On the shore of lake Kuolimo is Savitaipale village which is a good place to start paddling and exploring the lake. There a list of destinations and camp sites on the pages of southern Carelia.

One interesting place just a short distance away from Savitaipale is Suomensalo island, which has fine long sandy beach and looked like a great terrain for camping. Known among paddlers Suomensalo in early July was empty, no boats or paddlers at all. I did just a day trip to the island with a canoe but hope someday to go back and go kayaking around lake Kuolimo for a few days.

Lake Kuolimo at night on the Lepänkanto shore
Clear water and sandy bottom of lake Kuolimo
Suomensalo island beach - no other visitors
Suomensalo island lean-to
Trail on Suomensalo island
Heather likes dry pine forests
There's a small pond called Salolampi on Suomensalo island
What's the story of this pine tree?
Suomensalo beach is very shallow and sandy
Another fire site on Suomensalo beach
Remains of ancient shoreline in protected area near Lepänkanto
Trail map of Savitaipale area - good starting point to paddling trips

National parks of Finland for kayaking and canoeing

A friend of mine asked what national park would be good for paddling. Good question, what would be the best and most suitable national park of Finland for paddling. When choosing one you should ask some questions from yourself first.

  1. Are you going to paddle with a kayak or canoe?
  2. How far from your home can you travel?
  3. Are you familiar with streams and whitewater paddling at all?
  4. How long a trip are you planning? How many kilometres a day are planning and are used to paddle?
  5. Do you want to paddle a circle route, starting from and ending to same place?
  6. Do you have your own kayaks/canoes or do you need to rent them?
  7. Do you want to combine paddling and hiking?
  8. Do you want to make day trips or are you going to go camping?
  9. When are you planning to go?

Knowing answers to these I was ready to suggest some places I have visited myself. In fact there are a lot of places I would recommend. These are not listed in any particular order. Just two of them includes streams of some short, others are all on lake areas, big and small.

1. Päijänne national park

  • Suggested boat: Kayak
  • Location: In central Finland, 120 km from Jyväskylä, 160 from Helsinki
  • Experience needed: Moderate/good, have to be able to cope with strong headwind and big waves on open waters
  • Suggested stay: 3-5 days
  • Circle route: Can be done, one starting point Padasjoki village
  • Rental services: In Padasjoki
  • Paddling and hiking: 8 km long hiking trail on Kelvenne island (16 km back and forth)
  • Day trips: Can be done but it takes time to reach the park and the area is quite big
  • Best time to visit: June or August, July is the busiest time though probably the warmest
  • Extra: Nice sandy beaches. See my blog post on Päijänne np
Päijänne national park – Isohieta beach

2. Kolovesi

  • Suggested boat: Kayak or canoe
  • Location: In Eastern Finland, 210 km from Jyväskylä, 380 km from Helsinki
  • Experience needed: Moderate, have to be able to cope with occasionally headwind on lake area
  • Suggested stay: 2-4 days
  • Circle route: Can be done from Käkövesi or Kirkkoranta starting places
  • Rental services: available at both starting places (booking needed in advance)
  • Paddling and hiking: not really, two short (3,3 km and 3,5 km long) nature trails
  • Day trips: not suggested, the area is large and has so many bays to paddle
  • Best time to visit: June or late August, in July and August quite popular
  • Extra: Possibility to see Saimaa ringed seal if lucky. See my blog post on Kolovesi np
Kolovesi national park – near Ukonvuori hill

3. Linnansaari

  • Suggested boat: Kayak
  • Location: In Eastern Finland, 190 km from Jyväskylä, 370 km from Helsinki
  • Experience needed: Moderate/good experience, have to be able to cope with strong headwind and big waves on open waters. I would not recommend it to inexperienced paddlers unless you really know the weather and wind forecasts.
  • Suggested stay: 4-7 days
  • Circle route: Can be done from Oravi or Rantasalmi
  • Rental services: Available at Oravi or Rantasalmi (Porosalmi)
  • Paddling and hiking: not really, a 7 km nature trail in Linnansaari island
  • Day trips: If only want to visit Linnansaari island
  • Best time to visit: June to August
  • Extra: The other park where you can spot Saimaa ringed seal. Lots of interesting islands. See my blog posts of Linnansaari np
Linnansaari national park – from Linnavuori hill

4. Tiilikkajärvi

  • Suggested boat: Canoe
  • Location: In Eastern Finland, 270 km from Jyväskylä, 510 km from Helsinki
  • Experience needed: Very modest experience, lake is quite small, for easy paddling
  • Suggested stay: 2-3 days
  • Circle route: Can be done, return partly same route, either from southern or northern access
  • Rental services: Not easily found, check the list of
  • Paddling and hiking: Can be combined easily, moderate 20 km of trails
  • Day trips: Can be done if you are passing by the area
  • Best time to visit: June to August
  • Extra: Fine sandy beaches to camping. See my blog post on Tiilikkajärvi np
Tiilikkajärvi national park – the tip on the peninsula

5. Petkeljärvi

  • Suggested boat: Kayak or canoe
  • Location: In Eastern Finland, 335 km from Jyväskylä, 500 km from Helsinki
  • Experience needed: Modest/moderate, small quite sheltered lake routes if staying in the park
  • Suggested stay: 2-3 days (longer if leaving the park)
  • Circle route: From Petraniemi camp site
  • Rental services: At Petraniemi camp site
  • Paddling and hiking: A couple of trails of in the park, total 10 km) and one longer leaving the park (Taitajantaival).
  • Day trips: Most suitable for day trips, for longer trips also if leaving the park either south or north.
  • Best time to visit: June to August
  • Extra: Very peaceful place by the Russian border. See my blog post on Petkeljärvi np
Petkeljärvi national park – view from Korkeasärkkä

6. Patvinsuo

  • Suggested boat: Kayak or canoe
  • Location: In Eastern Finland, 335 km from Jyväskylä, 520 km from Helsinki
  • Experience needed: Very modest, lake area is quite small, only a few kilometers long
  • Suggested stay: 2-4 days
  • Circle route: From Suomu Nature
  • Rental services: At Suomu Nature Information Hut
  • Paddling and hiking: Very good, 80 km of trail in the park and several trail leadin out of the park
  • Day trips: If passing by it can be done but camping is suggested
  • Best time to visit: July, no rush. Should be interesting also from June to September.
  • Extra: Great camping sites on sandy beaches. Strong bear population in the park and surrounding area, avoiding people though. See my blog post on Patvinsuo np
Patvinsuo national park – Pokkaniemi camp site

7. Lemmenjoki

  • Suggested boat: Kayak or canoe
  • Location: In Lapland, 910 km from Jyväskylä, 1180 km from Helsinki
  • Experience needed: Moderate, knowing how to handle streams both up and down. River at some places as wide as a lake.
  • Suggested stay: 4-6 days
  • Circle route: From Njurkulahti to Kultasatama and back, not really a circle route
  • Rental services: At Njurkulahti
  • Paddling and hiking: Very good with 60 km of trails in the park.
  • Day trips: Not really
  • Best time to visit: June to August, July depending of the mosquitos
  • Extra: If you don’t mind pulling your canoe upstream on a few spots. Great wilderness area. See my blog post on Lemmenjoki np.
Lemmenjoki national park

8. Oulanka

  • Suggested boat: Kayak or canoe
  • Location: In Norteastern Finland, 600 km from Jyväskylä, 860 km from Helsinki
  • Experience needed: Very modest, more experience needed earlier in summer when the river is wilder
  • Suggested stay: 1-2 days
  • Circle route: No
  • Rental services: Several companies offer rental and pick-up services
  • Paddling and hiking: Very good with 80 km of trails in the park and along the canoe route
  • Day trips: Can be done easily by day trip
  • Best time to visit: June-August, amount of mosquitos vary
  • Extra: Reindeer by the river. See my blog post on Oulanka np
Oulanka national park

In southern Finland there is also Repovesi national park of which I have no paddling experience but seems to have nice and interesting waters. In parks Liesjärvi and Leivonmäki you can go for a couple days of paddling trip. In Isojärvi national park you can also paddle on 20 km long lake Isojärvi which has two camping sites on its shore.

If you are an experienced sea kayaker you can of course visit Finland’s national parks by the sea; Archipelago np (see seakayakingetc’s blog post on that), Botnia Bay np, Ekenäs Archipelago np and Gulf of Finland np.

These are the best national parks to paddle. Totally my own ranking. Combination of proven peace, good camping sites and protected nature is something that attracts me to visit these parks again and again.