The national parks of Oulanka, Riisitunturi and Hossa as well as many wonderful destinations with stellar scenery in the Kuusamo region are calling you to hike all year round.
Kuusamo – the land of national parks
Paanajärvi National Park, located on the Russian side of the border, offers wonderful wilderness scenery, the amazing biking trails of Syöte National park are only a short drive away, and the plans to open Sallatunturi National Park have already come a long way.
The majestic forests, free-flowing waterfalls and clear lakes of national parks guarantee you will enjoy nature at its magnificent best. Gorges, ravines, valleys and river basins created by the thawing waters of the Ice Age are impressive proof of nature’s power.
When moving around a national park, follow all instructions carefully to protect the delicate nature.
Running through Oulanka National Park, Karhunkierros Trail is Finland’s best known hiking trail. The park also has plenty of other paths and trails, including the Könkään keino Day Trip Trail and Kanjonin kurkkaus Day Trip Trail.
The majority of Kuusamo’s most valuable nature attractions are located in the national park. Countless bird species and rare plants, such as the fairy slipper (Calypso bulbosa) and lady's-slipper orchid (Cypripedium calceolus), can be found in the area.
Located in the borderland of Kuusamo and Salla, Oulanka National Park was established in 1965. Covering a total area of 290 square kilometres, the park welcomes approximately 200,000 visitors every year. Oulanka’s sister park is Paanajärvi National Park, on the other side of the border in Russia. Oulanka Visitor Centre is happy to help with all questions you might have about hiking and nature.
Riisitunturi provides over 40 kilometres of marked trails. On the circular Riisin rääpäsy Trail (4.3 km), you can explore the peak of Riisitunturi fell and the open wilderness hut on top. The Riisin rietas Trail (10.7 km) runs along Uudensuonlampi pond and Soilua lean-to shelters as well as the Riisisuo barn, where you can learn about the meadow culture of the past.
The trails are demanding due to the great differences in altitude. The distance to Riisitunturi from Ruka is 30 km and from Kuusamo centre 60 km.
Located in Suomussalmi, Hossa is a historical wilderness area known for its clear fishing waters and rock paintings. Part of Hossa National Park is also Julma-Ölkky in southern Kuusamo, one of Finland’s largest and most unique canyon lakes. Ölkky is an old word from Lapland that means “a ravine”. The canyon spans 3 kilometres and the canyon cliffs are up to 50 metres high in places, while the lake is also almost 50 metres deep.
Close to the northern end of Julma-Ölkky, on the eastern shore, is a vault-like rock fracture called Pirunkirkko (Devil’s Church). The story goes that the devil once lived there. There are several streams on the eastern cliff of the lake, one of which is called Sateenkaarilähde (Rainbow Fountain) due to the colours that play in the water. On the rock of the eastern shore, you can see the Ölkky rock painting from the Stone Age. It’s the northernmost rock painting found in Finland. You can admire Julma-Ölkky canyon lake on a lake cruise in June–August and on the Ölökyn ähkäsy Trail.
The distance to Hossa from Ruka is 100 km and from Kuusamo 80 km.
Salla National Park and its surrounding areas offer its visitors wonderful wilderness landscapes. Hikers will find interesting natural formations in the terrain, such as Kaunisharju or Pahaojankuru. The atmosphere of old-growth forests and small ponds with clear water delight visitors.
The Salla war and reconstruction period museum is located in the old station area of Salla. In addition to the exhibition spaces, the museum has a museum shop and a cafe. The museum area also has an outdoor exhibition area.