Bucket list to Ruka-Kuusamo
The best parts of Ruka and Kuusamo
Kuusamo is a paradise for outdoor lovers and nature photographers. It's full of beautiful places in the national parks, on the Lappish fells and at the banks of the wildly roaring rivers. Here is your bucket list to the prettiest spots!
Valtavaara is located near Ruka Ski Resort and it is one of the highest fells in Kuusamo. The most spectacular views can be experienced at the old fire guard’s hut on top of Valtavaara. One can see Ruka and Konttainen fells as well as Riisitunturi fell in on glance.
One can access the top of Valtavaara by a 6 km long Valtavaaran huiputus trail. One may spot rare birds such as the Red-flanked Bluetail along the trail. The starting and ending point of the trail is located at the parking area of Saarua slopes. There’s also a 5 km snowshoe trail to the top of Valtavaara during winter.
Konttainen is part of the fell range formed by Pyhävaara, Rukatunturi, Valtavaara, Konttainen and Kumpuvaara. One can admire views to almost all directions from the top of Konttainen. Especially the view towards Riisitunturi over Kitka lakes and the scenery to Ruka and Valtavaara are worth checking.
There's a 2 km long Konttaisen kuhaus trail from Virkkulantie parking spot to the top of Konttainen. The parking spot itself is a popular visiting place since it is one of the most popular place to meet the Siberian Jay. Top of Konttainen is also a popular site for photographing sunrises and sunsets due to the short and relative easy hike.
Also known as Päähkänäkallio, Päähkänänkallio, Pähkänäkallio and Pähkänänkallio. The view from the cliff towards Kitka river is one of the most instagrammable places in Finland. The winding river with its lush, green banks and untouched forests charms during summer. The changing colors of the trees along the river create a great mosaic in autumn. Winter scenery along the river is a harmonic mix of the different shades of white and grey. All in all, many people say Oulanka National Park and Karhunkierros hiking trail offer the most spectacular views and the most photogenic spots.
Päähkänä cliff can be accessed along Karhunkierros hiking trail by climbing up the steps that fishermen use from Kitka river. Or you can drive by car along small road to the parking area higher above Kitka river (there are no signposts). No services at the parking area, but there are lean-to shelters and a Lappish at the bank of Kitka river.
"Pyhä" means sacred or holy, and it is known that Pyhävaara has been a sacred place for Sami people, the indigenous people of the north. Until year 1830, a sacred stone called "seita" was located in the top of Pyhävaara. One can admire great sceneries from Pyhävaara towards Ruka, but also Pyhävaara itself is very impressive when watching it along the road number 5 from Kuusamo to Ruka.
Due to the short distance from Ruka, the 6 km long Pyhän jyssäys trail is one of the most popular day trip trails in Ruka area for both hikers and snowshoe trekkers. Services on top of Pyhävaara include a lookout stand, an open fireplace and a Lappish style wooden kota shelter.
Myllykoski whitewaters are located along one of the most popular hiking trails in Kuusamo, Pieni Karhunkierros (Small Bear Trail). The old mill now serves as a shelter for hikers.
The starting and ending point of the 12 km long Pieni Karhunkierros Trail is located in Juuma village. The route can be accessed year round, although during winter one may need showshoes and some extra time to hike past Myllykoski towards the far end of the circle trail.
During June-August the hanging bridges of Pieni Karhunkierros Trail are rather busy, so we recommend to take a look at other daytrip trails in Ruka-Kuusamo area.
Värikallio rock paintings at Hossa
Hossa National Park is a bit over one hour drive away from Ruka. 60 different rock paintings at Värikallio are the biggest collection of prehistoric rock paintings in Finland. Värikallio cliff is vertical wall rising from Somerjärvi lake, so the paintings must have been made either from a boat or by walking on ice during winter. They age back to appr. 3500-4500 years.
One can access Varikallio paintings from Lihapyörre parking area along 8 km long Värikallion kaarros trail during summer and along 6 km route by fatbike, snowshoes or skis during winter.
Ikkunalampi pond at Riisitunturi fell
One of the most enchanting summer views at Riisitunturi is Ikkunalampi pond that seems to be hanging on the edge of the hill with Kitka lake and several majestetic fells on the backround. And the excoticly shaped snow crowned trees are the true charmers at Riisitunturi during winter.
One can access Ikkunalampi pond along a 4 km Riisin rääpäsy trail. There's a nice hut with a large sheltered fireplace along the trail. The trail is open throughout the year, but please take snowshoes with you after a snowfall. Also note that the parking are at Riisitunturi tends to get crowded during the busiest seasons (September and school holiday times such as Christmas, New Year, Easter and winter holiday weeks 8-10).
Kuntivaara is located in Eastern Kuusamo close to the Russian boarder and during winter there's a spectacular view with snow crowned trees. Kuntivaara can be accessed by snowmobile along a 100 km circle route from Ruka.
A hike to the top of Kuntivaara follows a 1,7 km long Kuntivaara path from the Eastern side of the fell. Driving instructions: From Kuusamo along Vuotungintie (8690) following the signs to Kuntivaara.
This rugged cliff is located in Ruka and it is named according to the Midsummer festivals that used to be celebrated on top of the cliff until 1950's ("juhannus" means Midsummer in Finnish). During winter Juhannuskallio is a popular location for admiring snow covered trees along the marked snowshoeing trail. During summer hikers are adviced to stay on the marked Juhannuskallio trail due to security and for protecting the endangered species of the area.
When admiring Juhannuskallio down below (crossroads of Rukatunturintie and Rukajärventie) one can see the Pirunkirkko caves. The biggest cave used to be a popular site for daredevils, but nowadays access to the caves is not recommended due to the crumbling rock wall structure.
Kiutaköngäs is one of the most famous whitewaters in Finland. Marked trail leads all the way to the roaring stream and the spring flooding of Oulanka river is a remarkable sight. During winter freezing temperatures create an incredible ice bridge on top of the rapid (extreme caution is needed when moving near the river in snow cover). Take a look at Kiutaköngäs live!
Kiutaköngäs is located in Oulanka National Park, appr. 1 km hike from Oulanka Visitor Centre. One can follow the 2 km Kiutaköngäs trail, 5 km Hiiden hurmos trail or 8 km Könkään keino trail from the Visitor Centre. There's also a 200 m long Könkään kuohu accessible trail leading wheelchair users and families with strollers to admire the lower part of the whiterwaters on the Northern side of the river.
Unfortunately named places around Kuusamo
Kuusamo is famous for its natural beauty – and for some unfortunately named places. We have the biggest amount of places that have been named in a hilarious and even a bit dirty way, like Dick Pond, Pee Creek, Testicle Rapid and Fart Hill. Quite often these places are somewhat difficult to access or in some other way dissappointing, so instead of visiting these funny places we have set up a pole of unfortunately named places on top of Ruka for our guests to visit and take photos of. The pole is located near the top station of Village Express chair lift and you can access it by lift, by foot or by bike.