Koli National Park Trails

There are about 80 km of marked trails in the Koli National Park, the length of which vary from 1.4 to 61 kilometres. As some of the trails are demanding and others are less so, you can choose the trail according to your level of physical fitness and the time you have available. The customer service officers at Koli Nature Centre Ukko are more than happy to help you in planning your hike. Even so, it is advisable to take along the Koli service and trail map (koli.fi, in Finnish). Koli beckons!

Please note that Koli's peaks and many other scenic viewpoints have a rough terrain and the bare rock areas are particularly slippery when it rains. There are no handrails at the viewpoints. They are natural attractions where visitors go at their own risk.

Most Popular Trails 

 

Huippujen kierros Trail (Trail of the Tops), 1.4 km Circle Trail

The image shows two adults with an infant and a dog on the top of a high hill.

Available: In the snow-free season. The trail does not have winter maintenance, but as it is a popular trail all year round, the path is often clear also in the winter.

Travel time: 30 min–1 h.

Difficulty: The trail is intermediate due to differences in height, steep stairs and slippery bare rock. The trail also has step-free access for prams and wheelchairs to a demanding accessible lookout point, but due to large differences in altitude an assistant is needed.

Starting Point: Koli Nature Centre Ukko's courtyard (Yläpiha), Ylä-Kolintie 39, Koli.

Trail description of the Huippujen kierros Trail

 

Ukko-Koli demanding accessible Trail, 400 m each way

Demanding accessible nature trail symbol.

Two adults, a child in a buggy and a dog are sitting at a viewing point on a high hill. There is an autumnal lake landscape in the background.

Available: In the snow-free season.

Travel time: 30 min.

Difficulty: Demanding accessible trail. The gravel trail does not have any stairs but the altitude differences are significant so wheelchair users should have an assistant with them. The trail has lateral slopes, roots and rainwater ruts that can make the trail more challenging for those using mobility aids.

Starting Point: Koli Nature Centre Ukko's courtyard (Yläpiha), Ylä-Kolintie 39, Koli.

Trail description of the Ukko-Koli demanding accessible Trail

 

Kolinuuron kierros Trail, 3.1 km Circle Trail

A child is seen shouting on a cliff top. The child is surrounded by a moist and misty pine forest on a rocky outcrop.

Available: In the snow-free season.

Travel time: 2–3 h.

Difficulty: The demanding trail feature large elevation differences and steep stairs. Some parts of the trail are also very rocky and have exposed tree roots on the path. Therefore a good basic fitness level is sufficient for the trail and it is best suited for families with children over 6 years old.

Starting Point: Koli Nature Centre Ukko's courtyard (Yläpiha), Ylä-Kolintie 39, Koli.

Trail description of the Kolinuuron kierros Trail 

 

Mäkrän kierto Trail, 7.5 km Circle Trail

A hiker is sitting on a rocky outcrop beside a stunted pine tree. A landscape of hills and lakes opens out in front of the hiker.

Available: In the snow-free season.

Travel time: 3–4 h.

Difficulty: The demanding trail feature large elevation differences and steep stairs. Some parts of the trail are also very rocky and have exposed tree roots on the path. A good basic fitness level is sufficient for the trail.

Starting Point: Koli Nature Centre Ukko's courtyard (Yläpiha), Ylä-Kolintie 39, Koli.

Trail description of the Mäkrän kierto Trail

 

Nature Trails

 

Sataman polku Trail (Harbour Trail), 2.1 km each way

Two hikers are climbing up along a steep path. They are surrounded by an old-growth forest and fallen trees, with stone steps in the foreground.

Available: In the snow-free season.

Travel time: 1.5–2 h/uphill (return 1 h/downhill).

Difficulty: The trail is demanding due to the differences in elevation but for the most part, the paths are broad and easy to walk. There are also multiple steep steps on the trail, so a good basic fitness level is sufficient.

Starting Point: Koli harbour parking area, Rantatie 12, Koli.

Trail description of the Sataman polku Trail

 

Kylän polku Trail (Village Trail), 3 km each way

Two hikers are walking along a trail. An old red house can be seen in the background.

Available: In the snow-free season.

Travel time: 1.5–2 h/uphill (return 1 h/downhill).

Difficulty: The trail is demanding due to the differences in elevation but for the most part, the paths are broad and easy to walk. There are also multiple steep steps on the trail, so a good basic fitness level is sufficient.

Starting Point: Koli Church parking area, Ylä-Kolintie 4, Koli.

Trail description of the Kylän polku Trail

 

Kasken kierros Trail (Slash-and-burn Trail), 4.1 km Circle Trail

Two adults and an infant are walking through a meadow in summer.

Available: In the snow-free season.

Travel time: 2–3 h.

Difficulty: Intermediate. The trail is moderately demanding due to the differences in elevation but for the most part, the paths are broad and easy to walk. The trail is suitable for prams and buggies from the Ollila parking area until Mattila and Turula.

Starting Points: Ollila parking area, Ylä-Kolintie 12, Lieksa.
Alternatively you can start from Koli Harbour parking area, Rantatie 12, Lieksa.

Trail description of the Kasken kierros Trail 

 

Other Circle Trails

 

Paimenen polku Trail (Shepherd's Trail), 2.5 km Circle Trail

A hiker is looking at an autumnal view in a pine heath on a hill slope. There is a lake in the background.

Available: In the snow-free season.

Travel time: 1.5–2 h.

Difficulty: The demanding trail feature large elevation differences and steep stairs. Some parts of the trail are also very rocky and have exposed tree roots on the path. A good basic fitness level is sufficient for the trail.

Starting Point: Paimenenvaara parking area, Kotaniementie 10, Lieksa.

Trail description of the Paimenen polku Trail
 

Koli Summer Café Tour, 6.8 km Circle Trail

The counter of the cafe.

Available: In the snow-free season.

Travel time: One day.

Difficulty: The trail is demanding due to the differences in elevation but for the most part, the paths are broad and easy to walk. There are also multiple steep steps on the trail, so a good basic fitness level is sufficient.

Starting Points: You can start the Summer Café Tour from any café.

Trail description of the Koli Summer Café Tour

 

Hiking Trails

 

Kiehisen kierros Trail, 3 to 19 km partly Circle Trail

Three hikers and a dog are having a break against the backdrop of a hill landscape in autumn.

Available: In the snow-free season.

Travel time: At least 2 days to complete the whole trail.

Difficulty: The demanding trail feature large elevation differences and steep stairs. Some parts of the trail are also very rocky and have exposed tree roots on the path. One section of the trail also features a river crossing with a wading cable which you can skip if you want. A good basic fitness level is sufficient for the trail.

Starting Points

Rykiniemi parking area, Vaaralahdentie 116, Joensuu,
Seppälä parking area, Herajärven rantatie 36, Kontiolahti and
Pirunkirkko parking area, Rantatie 118, Lieksa.

Trail description of the Kiehisen kierros Trail

 

Herajärvi Trail (30 to 61 km)

A view of forests and lakes from the Herajärven kierros trail.

Available: When there is no snow on the ground.

Travel time: Visitors are recommended to reserve three days (of which the first and last are not full hiking days) for the trail around the northern end of Lake Herajärvi, and four days for the entire 60 km trail.

Difficulty: The Herajärvi trail is a demanding hiking trail, as it is slow to walk and there are variations in elevation. 

Starting Points: Several starting points.

Trail description of the Herajärvi Trail

 

Boating Routes

A pier at the harbor.

A boating fairway leads to Koli Harbour across Lake Pielinen from Lieksa, from Juuka and Nurmes in the north as well as through Ahveninen from the Pielisjoki River and Joensuu in the south.  Lake Pielinen is linked with Lake Saimaa by fairways.

Read more about boating routes.

 

Canoeing Routes    

A paddler in a kayak.

Paddling on Lake Pielinen can be challenge due to the long, open expanses of the lake, but the experience of paddling across wilderness-like waters is unforgettable.

Read more on canoeing routes.

 

Biking Trails
 

Finnish National Biking Route 6

A road in an autumnal forest.

Starting Point: You can get onto it from main road 6, which runs between Joensuu and Kajaani. From main road 6 turn onto road 515 in the direction of Ahveninen and then turn left onto the biking route.

Read more about biking routes.

 

Riding Trails

Two riders on horseback, with roundpole fence and a wooden building at the edge of the forest in the background.

Farmhouse Paimentupa (paimentupa.fi) arranges cross-country riding excursions along small roads in Koli National Park.

 

Winter Trails

The winter trails in the Koli National Park invite you to a wide range of winter sports such as walking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and downhill skiing.

More information on the Winter Hiking page's trail description. Also check the What's New page before heading out.

 

Walking Routes

 

Ukko-Koli, 400 m each way

A view of wintry forests and frozen lake Pielinen seen from Ukko-Koli.

Available: While there is no winter maintenance on this trail, walkers often trample the snow, keeping the trail open throughout the winter.

Travel time: 30 min.

Difficulty: The trail is demanding in winter due to height differences, varying snow conditions, steep steps and slippery paths. The trail also has step-free access to the Ukko-Koli demanding accessible viewpoint.

Starting Point: Koli Nature Centre Ukko's Upper Yard (Yläpiha), Ylä-Kolintie 39, Lieksa.

Trail description of the Ukko-Koli Winter Trail

 

Kylän polku (Koli Village) Winter Trail, 3.3 km each way

Available: Around the year. The trail is opened with a snowmobile during weekdays if it snows (no snow ploughing). Please note that there is no maintenance during weekends.

Travel time: 1.5–2 h/uphill (return 1 h/downhill).

Difficulty: The trail is demanding in winter due to height differences, varying snow conditions, steep steps and slippery paths, so a good basic fitness level is sufficient.

Starting Point: Koli Church parking area, Ylä-Kolintie 4, Lieksa.

Trail description of the Kylän polku Winter Trail

 

Snowshoeing Trails

 

Snowshoeing Trail of the Tops, 2 km Circle Trail

Available: In winter with adequate snow depth. The information about opening the trail in What's New page.

Travel time: 1,5–2 h.

Difficulty: The trail is demanding in winter due to height differences, varying snow conditions and slippery rocks. A good basic fitness level is sufficient for the trail.

Starting Point: Koli Nature Centre Ukko's Upper Yard (Yläpiha), Ylä-Kolintie 39, Lieksa.

Trail description of the Snowshoeing Trail of the Tops

 

Cross-country Skiing Trails

 

The Hillyskiing trails of the Koli National Park, 3 and 7 km Circle Trails

A skiing trail in a wintry deciduous forest.

Available: In winter with adequate snow depth. Check the up-to-date ski trail info (infogis.fi) before heading out.

Difficulty: The 3 km ski trail is medium difficulty and the 7 km ski trail is demanding because of the steep ascents and descents. Please note that the ski trails are unlit.

Starting Point: Ukko-Koli P2 parking area, Ylä-Kolintie 31, Lieksa.

Check all of the Koli's up-to-date ski trail info (koli.fi).

Trail description of the Hillyskiing Trails of the Koli National Park

 

Downhill Skiing

 

The Ukko-Koli Ski Slopes

A snowboarder on a slope on a sunny day.

Starting Point: Ukko-Koli slopes parking area, Rantatie 27, Lieksa. 

More information about the slopes and services on The Ukko-Koli ski slopes (koliski.fi).

Activity description of the Ukko-Koli Ski Slopes

 

Riding Trails

A group of horseback riders in the snow with leafless birch trees in the background.

You can visit the national park's cultural landscape on horseback in winter as well.

Further information is available at the Paimentupa farmhouse (paimentupa.fi).

 

Snowmobile Routes

 

In Koli National Park, snowmobiling is prohibited, including the islands. The snowmobile route runs outside Koli National Park from Ahmovaara (via the village of Koli) onto Lake Pielinen, passing by Koli Harbour and Hiekkasaaret Islands. By Koli Harbour and the Rinnetupa hut, snowmobiles can be parked on the ice. From Koli, the snowmobile route further continues to Juuka and Nurmes, Lieksa and finally to Eno and Joensuu.

Parking

When setting off from Nature Centre Ukko's Yläpiha courtyard, park your car in the Ylä-Koli's parking area P1 (for short-term parking) or P2 (for long-term parking). In the village of Koli, you can park your car in the Koli Church parking area. There are also parking areas at Koli Harbour and at Ollila. When hiking in the southern parts of the national park, you can park your car at the Likolahti, Paimenenvaara, Peiponpelto, Pirunkirkko, Seppälä parking areas and Rykiniemi and the Rantatie Road lay-bys.

Summer Trails

There are several alternative starting points for the summer trails which you will find in each trail's description.

Starting from Nature Centre Ukko's Yläpiha courtyard, there are trails that continue across the Koli peaks to the national park's southernmost areas. In addition to these, there are also trails beginning from the Yläpiha courtyard that run via the Kolinuuro gorge to the shore of Lake Pielinen and to the north to Koli Harbour and the village of Koli.

Koli Harbour and the village of Koli are also popular starting points.

In addition, there are starting points by the Rantatie Road and all the national park's parking areas.