Rutajoki river

The clear Rutajoki river with its foaming rapids is a hidden gem of the Leivonmäki National Park. You can admire the river along the Koskikaran Kierros Trail (3.5 km), which runs mostly through privately owned land. The Rutajoki is one of the most important breeding grounds of the Brown Trout (Salmo trutta lacustris) in the northern Päijänne area.

Verdant banks of the Rutajoki. Photo: Metsähallitus

Lake Päijänne is 44 metres lower than Lake Rutajärvi. Due to its water power, the Rutajoki has a rich history as a power source for mills and sawmills. The lower reaches of the river were restored to their natural state in 1997.

A characteristic of the Rutajoki is the occurrence of frazil ice jams every winter. They cause the water level to rise and flood the trail. Frazil ice jams are an impressive natural phenomenon that should, however, be observed at a safe distance. Topical information on ice conditions and the history of the Rutajoki is available at the website of the Rutalahti village (rutalahti.fi, mainly in Finnish). 

Joutsniemi

Joutsniemi Ridge is the best-known destination in the Leivonmäki National Park. It is a 1.5-km-long winding esker headland formed during the glacial period, which projects into Lake Rutajärvi, dividing it into two lake basins. Joutsniemi Ridge is a valuable esker formation of national significance. The ridge is a very visitor-friendly destination. The path on top of the ridge is easy, and you can enjoy the lake scenery on both sides of the trail. At its widest, the ridge is just 100 metres wide. Services include a campfire site and there is also a beautiful natural sandy beach in Joutsniemi.

Big square-shaped piles of stones on the shores of Lintuniemi and Joutsniemi are related to the local history. Square-shape piles were probably built to mark boundaries on the accretion land. Their exact age is not known.

Joutsniemi Ridge in autumn. Photo: Timo Nieminen