Category Archives: national parks

Mountain biking in Syöte trails

End of July is excellent time for mountain biking in Finland. We did
two day tours in Syöte trails. First on Syötteen kierros (Syöte
circular trail) around fell Iso-Syöte followed by Pitämävaaran lenkki
(Pitämävaara trail) around fell Pikku-Syöte. The trails are clearly
marked with pink color and additional sign posts at crossroads.

We recommend starting the Syöte trail at Syöte Visitor Centre and
cycling direction counterclockwise. The trail is 17 km long and
suitable for bikers with some mountain biking experience – most of the
trail is smooth single trail with only a few rocky spots, steep
descends/ascends and duckboards across wetland areas. Start of the
route and end of the route is gravel hiking trail. Select this route
should you only have one day to spend biking.

Flowing single trail on Syöte trail

Flowing single trail on Syöte trail

Scenic views from Pytkynharju ridge at sunset

Scenic views from Pytkynharju ridge at sunset

Duckboards along the route

Duckboards along the route

We recommend starting the Pitämävaara trail at Iso-Syöte Booking
Centre near Safari house and definitely cycling the route clockwise.
Pay attention where the trail starts towards Pikku-Syöte. Be advised
that route requires moderate mountain biking skills due to more
difficult terrain and longer climbs. The start of the route might not
be that gratifying but it gets substantially better near Lake
Kovalampi. After that it’s mostly single trail with extended climb to
top of the fell Pitämävaara. This year the wetland areas were really
wet but mostly covered with duckboards. Your feet might get wet
anyway.

Routes were clearly marked with signposts

Routes were clearly marked with signposts

Broader trail before fell Pitämävaara

Broader trail before fell Pitämävaara

Winding trail to top

Winding trail to top

Without duckboards you would be in trouble

Without duckboards you would be in trouble

Biking is well supported in local hotel with guided tours and bike
rentals (even fat bikes).

Guest post by Team ankle, https://twitter.com/_ankle

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Two ski routes to fells in Ylläs – Lapland

Kukas and Haavepalo ski routes

Want to reach two fell tops by maintained cross-country ski tracks in Ylläs area? There are two wonderful points you ought to visit if visiting the area in the winter season.

First, Kukastunturi fell which is close to village of Äkäslompolo, offers very beautiful views from the top to surrounding fells of Lainio, Pyhä and Kesänki. All of them, as Kukastunturi fell, are in the national park of Pallas-Yllästunturi.

Kukastunturi

Although the route near the top of Kukastunturi is marked as black (difficult), it is worth a visit if you are an more experienced skier. The suggested route is to go to Kotamaja ski hut first (and have a coffee break) and then reach the top from there. The first part of the route down can get pretty fast and has a challenging curve at the track after about 600 m from the top.

The other fell top is Iso Totovaara fell, the point called Haavepalo. It offers a view to the same fells as Kukastunturi, this time to their eastern side. Haavepalo is located a bit farther away from the villages of Ylläsjärvi and Äkäslompolo, the easiest way to reach the track of 22 kilometers is to drive to the parking place near Lainio River. From the villages the route can get to about 40 kilometers long.

Haavepalo

Along the route there are two ski huts with outside fire places and shelter for breaks.

There is almost all time some wind at fell tops, the conditions can be very different what they are down at the village. That means also that signs of tracks might be swept away, so at least some orienteering skills might be needed if the area is not familiar. Both routes can be reached by skating style skis also.

Get your printed ski map from local stores and check the maintenance of tracks before going. Both fell tops are among the most special places in Ylläs area by x-country skis. The maintained ski tracks to fell tops are a luxury, thanks to those who keep them available and in good condition.

Autumn kayaking in Linnansaari national park

Kayaking in Linnansaari national park in lake Haukivesi in autumn is very peaceful. The boating season is definitely over, at least for visitors. Days are still very nice for kayaking.

September trip around Linnansaari island

On a fine September day I made a trip around Linnansaari island which is the main island of many Linnansaari national park’s islands. Only a 15 kilometers tour from my starting point, it was a relaxing trip in very fine weather.

I passed the Linnavuori viewpoint, up on the silhouette against the sun.

Linnavuori

There were hardly no wind on the western side of Linnansaari which faces the big open waters of lake Haukivesi. When winds blow from other direction this side of the island can get pretty rough for kayaking.

Past western side of Linnansaari island

The view to the north-west was pretty amazing.

A view to Peonselkä

Passing Eteläniemi of the island I heard strange voices from the shore. The flock of sheep that are kept on the island is summer were on the shore and quickly returned to the forest when I went by.

Sheep in Linnansaari island

The end of the kayaking season in October

In early October the water is getting colder pretty fast. It is time to close the exceptionally long kayaking season. The colors have gotten really beautiful. Such a priviledge to go kayaking with all these views around me.

Big sky

I was hoping to see a Saimaa Ringed Seal on my last kayaking trip of the season and luckily it did show up. Such a nice way to end the season.

Saimaa ringed seal and autumn colors

Colorful islands

I did not see a single boat on my trip, having at least this part of the national park to myself, wow! The evening is getting closer, it’s time to return.

Time to go back

Evening light at this time of the year is very hard and the sun goes down quickly. In an hour from this point it got dark.

Evening light

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

Skating in the national park of Linnansaari

One of the best maintained skating routes of Finland is in Linnansaari national park on lake Haukivesi. Crossing the lake from eastern side of the lake from Oravi village to the western side to Porosalmi is 18 kilometers long.

In late February the weather was varying a lot during the weekend, from windy snowfall to rain and water on the track. The track was in great condition after snow was plowed. The ice at the start in Oravi looked very good on the first day of the trip.

Oravi start

From Oravi it’s about 5 km to Linnansaari island where a fire site, a small cafe and this old house is located.

Old house in Linnansaari island

After you leave the shelter of Linnansaari island, the route start to cross the vast lake of Haukivesi to the other side.

Across lake Haukivesi

The ice is thick and even though all sorts of formations and cracks are shown on the top of it.

Thick ice

There are benches along the route with a pretty beautiful scenery.

Bench on the lake

The route is well marked with new maps.

Map along the route

Skating in the national park. Not bad at all. Awesome skating on the peaceful lake. Nice to see same place as from the kayak in summer.

Skating in the national park

The next day it rained and there was a bit water on ice but the track was even smoother to skate.

Great track

Biking was an interesting option, spike tires were very much in demand.

Biking on ice

On the middle of the lake 9 km from Oravi there were this ice wall..

Ice castle on the lake

.. which turned out to be a wind shelter for skaters. The cubes were a bit melted due to the rain earlier in the morning. The wind at this place can be very rough.

Ice cube wind shelter

On weekends the small cafe on Linnansaari island is open during the season. Time for the coffee and munkki.

Skaters' cafe in Sammakkoniemi is open

Sammakkoniemi on Linnansaari island

Sammakkoniemi cafe

Coffee break

Last kilometers in the national park of Linnansaari. Hope to be back next year.

Back to Oravi

September kayaking in Linnansaari national park

September kayaking is great. Linnansaari national park on lake Saimaa is quite empty. During the days I was kayaking there I spotted only a few boats and two fellow kayakers. At least it was not because of the weather, which was quite warm for the season, still some summer left in it. Not much “ruska” colors yet, some birch trees had already started to turn golden.

Did some nice day trips to the park with barely no wind at all. On some days felt like I had the national park all to myself. I called it real luxury.

Linnansaari island in the distance.

Passing Linnansaari island

Past cliff shores

Water level on lake Haukivesi is quite low at the moment.

Water level in September

Closeup

Fine sunny September day

Great view to the park from the fire site on Kirvessaari island.

Great view to the national park

Plenty of wood available for campers.

Plenty of fire wood at the fire site

Tent site art.

Tent site art

No wind at all

September evening moisture.

September evening moisture

Still moment

Breathtaking colors

See my other blog posts on Linnansaari national park.

Late evening kayaking in Linnansaari national park

Summer nights are getting shorter but the days are still quite long in mid-July, over 19 hours. I went for a short late evening kayaking, just around the sunset. From the summer cottage it was a short trip to Linnansaari national park.

This is taken at 22:20. Spotted only two boats.

At 22:20 in the evening

At 22:50 there was no one at sight on the other side of the island.

At 22:50

At 23:00 tried to spot a Saimaa Ringed Seal – Saimaannorppa, but this time no luck.

At 23:00

Linnansaari island on the right. At 23:08 it was still quite much of light. Over 4,5 hours to the sunrise at 3:39.

Linnansaari island

See my other blog posts on Linnansaari national park.