Access to Nature for All
Search on Map
In Search on Map, choose Desination’s features > Accessible Destinations, and you will easily find the Metsähallitus destinations that have hiking services that meet the needs of all kinds of hikers and nature lovers, including families with young children, the elderly and the physically challenged.
It's a spring evening by the pond. The air is filled with birdsong. A diverse group of people has gathered on the shore and they are chatting quietly while gazing into the fire. Smoke hovers above the surface of the pond.
Metsähallitus maintains tens of accessible and easy nature destinations that are suitable for those moving with aid or for those who are seeking easy trails. Different sorts of illnesses, injuries, traveling with small children or, for example, challenges that come along with old age don't need to be obstacles for enjoying outdoors and gaining unique nature experiences.
What Is a Typical Accessible Trail like?
Terrain and weather conditions set natural limits for the planning and maintenance of hiking services, which means that each accessible or easy nature trail is different. The same route can be very different at different times of the year in Finland’s varying weather and road conditions.
Accessible trails typically have an accessible dry toilet or WC and campfire site, and many places also have an accessible bird tower or viewing platform for observing nature. If you use a mobility aid to get around, you will need an assistant for most trails. Visitors may also use the services of partner companies, such as nature tourism operators, at many nature sites. Almost all visitor centres and other customer service points are accessible buildings.
On accessible nature trails, visitors may use a wheelchair or other standard mobility aid. An accessible nature trail is usually built, hard-surfaced and has no obstructions that limit mobility, such as roots, pits or soft spots. The maximum grade of accessible trails is 8% and maximum lateral slope is 3%. The trail width is at least 1.2 m.
On demanding accessible nature trails, visitors with disabilities usually require an assistant and a mobility aid designed for use in nature. Demanding accessible nature trails may be built, but in most cases they are not - they are natural and physically more demanding than an accessible nature trail. The trail surface may be soft and have roots and rocks. In some places, the longitudinal grade of the trail may exceed 8% and the lateral slope may exceed 3%. The trail width may be less than 1.2 m.
- The sign indicating an accessible or demanding accessible nature trail alone does not guarantee that the route is suitable for everyone.
- Always carefully read the route description before visit.
- In nature, weather and road conditions have a significant impact on the accessibility of the route.
- Never hike a trail alone during your first visit, particularly on demanding accessible nature trails.
How to Find Accessible and Easy Hiking Trails?
Search the Destinations
Accessible and easy hiking trails can be found at Search on Map by choosing Desination’s features > Accessible Destinations.
Good to Know
Before traveling outdoors, we recommend you to carefully explore information about the chosen nature destination and, if needed, contact customer service for any questions.
The accessibility of different destinations is distinctive and therefore we recommend reading carefully about available services and trails at the destination of your selection. Getting to know different options will help you find nature destinations that are most suitable for your requirements.
Ask for more Information at the Customer Service!
Can't find a suitable destination? Would you like more information on services or, for example, trail conditions?
We encourage you to contact nature centers or customer service points if you have any questions about nature destinations, trails, services or about planning a suitable trip. Nature centers with their exhibitions and different events are also worth visiting.
Our personnel will be happy to answer all of your questions and help with the planning of new outdoor activities!
Further information on the criteria for accessible nature trails
The Finnish Paralympic Committee, the Finnish Association of People with Physical. Disabilities (FPD) Accessibility Centre ESKE and Metsähallitus' Parks & Wildlife Finland drafted criteria for longer nature trails as well as the instructions for mapping and describing the trails in the Esteetön eräpolku (Accessible Wilderness Trail) project, which ended in 2020. In the future, Metsähallitus will map and describe accessible and demanding accessible nature trails using these guidelines.
Physically disabled persons operating motor vehicles off-road
In accordance with section 4 of the Off-Road Traffic Act, any person with severe physical disabilities and their accompanying escort operating a motor vehicle off-road does not require the permission of the land owner.
The right afforded to severely disabled persons by the Off-Road Traffic Act to operate a motor vehicle off-road is primarily indicated by a licence issued by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi) or the regional Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre) in question.
We wish you enjoyable moments in the most beautiful places of the Finnish nature!