Summer Trails

Starting Points for Trails

Koli Nature Centre Ukko (Yläpiha courtyard, Ylä-Kolintie 39, Lieksa. The nearest parking areas are P1 and P2, Ylä-Kolintie 31, Lieksa.)

Koli Church parking area (Ylä-Kolintie 4, Lieksa)

Koli harbour parking area (Rantatie 12, Lieksa)  

Ollila parking area (Ylä-Kolintie 12, Lieksa) 

Paimenenvaara parking area (Kotaniementie 10, Lieksa)

Pirunkirkko parking area (Rantatie 117, Lieksa)

Seppälä parking area (Herajärven rantatie 36, Kontiolahti)

Rykiniemi parking area (Vaaralahdentie 116, Joensuu)

 

Boating Routes

Canoeing Routes

Biking Trails

Riding Trails

Popular Trails

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


Dive into the landscape and join centuries of Koli visitors. The classic trail culminating at the top of Ukko-Koli reveals its various landscapes as it winds round the tops of Akka-Koli and Paha-Koli.

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 viewpoint, but due to large differences in altitude an assistant is needed. Read more Ukko-Koli demanding accessible Trail, 400 m / Direction.

Starting Point

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

Huippujen kierros Trail brochure (pdf 769 kt, julkaisut.metsa.fi, in Finnish).

Huippujen kierros Trail in Excursionmap.fi.

Sights

The iconic landscape opening from Ukko-Koli to the east across Pielinen, the rugged and charismatic Paha-Koli and its stories, and the western views of Akka-Koli and with its impressive sunsets.

Services

At the starting point, the services of the Yläpiha courtyard, such as the hotel restaurant and Koli Nature Centre Ukko, with stores, cafés and exhibitions.

Hiking Structures

Along the trail there are a couple of benches for resting, steep stairs and short duckboards. Please note that there is no toilet along the short route, but an indoor toilet can be found in Koli Nature Centre Ukko and Break Sokos Hotel Koli.

The Prime Minister's campfire site is located in the immediate vicinity of Koli Nature Centre Ukko. There is no firewood maintenance at this campfire site, so you can bring your own firewood or buy firewood from Koli Nature Centre Ukko or Break Sokos Hotel Koli.

Trail Description

The trail is marked with yellow circles on signposts at trail junctions. The signposts have been numbered and the numbers correspond to the numbering of the Koli service and trail map (1:20,000) (koli.fi, in Finnish). Recommended direction is counterclockwise.

The trail starts at Yläpiha courtyard, junction no. 65. The trail dives into the forest from intersection no. 11 behind the Koli Nature Centre Ukko, and heads towards Akka-Koli to the right through intersection no. 12. The landscape of Akka-Koli is already visible from the rocky plateau on the right side of the trail, but you can also continue up and to the left from crossroad no. 70 to reach the highest point of Akka-Koli. After Akka-Koli there is bare rock, short duckboards and small stairs through crossings 69 and 68 towards Paha-Koli. If you don't want to climb to Paha-Koli's steep slope, you'll find a small scenic viewpoint shaped by nature, where you can sense the atmosphere of Paha-Koli. From Paha-Koli, the trail turns back past several intersections towards Ukko-Koli. If you want to enjoy the views of Ukko-Koli without climbing the stairs to the top, you can turn right at crossroad no. 66, which takes you to a demanding accessible viewpoint. You can return to the start point of the trail by continuing forward and eventually descending steep stairs to the Yläpiha courtyard. Step-free access back to the Yläpiha courtyard is available by returning through junction no. 13.

Please Note

There are no handrails at the scenic viewpoints. They are natural attractions where visitors go at their own risk.

There is no winter maintenance on the steep stairs down to the junction 65. Read more about the Ukko-Koli winter Trail, 400 m / Direction.

Ukko-Koli demanding accessible Trail, 400 m / Direction

Demanding accessible nature trail symbol.

The Ukko-Koli demanding accessible Trail rewards travellers with spectacular views after a hard climb. At the demanding accessible viewpoint you can almost feel like you’re floating between Earth and the sky.

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

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

The Ukko-Koli demanding accessible Trail brochure (pdf 780 kt, julkaisut.metsa.fi, in Finnish).

The Ukko-Koli demanding accessible Trail in Excursionmap.fi.

Sights

Koli’s classic landscape panorama towards Pielinen, fairytale fell forests, accessible Prime Minister's campfire site.

Services

At the starting point, the services of the Yläpiha courtyard, such as the hotel restaurant (sokoshotels.fi) and Koli Nature Centre Ukko, with stores, cafés and exhibitions.

The whole Koli Nature Centre Ukko is accessible. The building has an accessible toilet, ramps to exhibitions and a lift upstairs. The Vaarasali auditorium also has an induction loop for the hearing impaired. The lower level of the auditorium is accessible.

The P1, P2 and P3 parking areas also have access to the funicular going to Yläpiha courtyard. Yläpiha courtyard has two reserved accessible parking spaces.

Hiking Structures

The Prime Minister's campfire site is located in the immediate vicinity of Koli Nature Centre Ukko. The route to the campfire site is accessible. Please note that the table at the site is not accessible as the benches by the table are fixed. There is no firewood maintenance at this campfire site, so you can bring your own firewood or buy firewood at the Koli Nature Centre Ukko or Break Sokos Hotel Koli.

Trail Description

The trail is part of Huippujen kierros Trail. It is marked with yellow circles on signposts at trail junctions. The signposts have been numbered and the numbers correspond to the numbering of the Koli service and trail map (1:20,000) (koli.fi, in Finnish).

The trail starts in Yläpiha courtyard beside Koli Nature Centre Ukko at the junction 65. Follow the road downhill for 60 m after the junction to the back of the Koli Nature Centre Ukko to the junction 11 and into the forest. The trail starts to steeply ascend at the radio tower. Turn left at the junction 12 and go uphill through the forest towards Ukko-Koli. The climb evens out as you arrive at the junction 13 and continues left uphill for 40 metres. You’ll find a short trail leading to a demanding accessible viewpoint as you take a right at the junction 66. The demanding accessible viewpoint has a gravel floor and low tree trunks as stoppers on the cliff edge. Follow the same route back.

Kolinuuron kierros Trail, 3.1 km Circle Trail

Travel back in time to Koli’s ancient history to find the rare Koli crystal, cyanite. If you can solve all the magic checkpoints along the route, you might find cyanite and its secrets hiding in the hills!

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

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

Kolinuuron kierros Trail brochure (pdf 1,9 Mt, julkaisut.metsa.fi, in Finnish).

Kolinuuron kierros Trail in Excursionmap.fi.

Sights

Forests shaped by crown snow loads, Pieni-Koli’s echo cliffs, Kolinuuro geological border, cyanite hiding along the trail, the stunning views from the tallest hill tops.

Services

At the starting point, the services of the Yläpiha courtyard, such as the hotel restaurant (sokoshotels.fi) and Koli Nature Centre Ukko, with stores, cafés and exhibitions.

Hiking Structures

Along the trail there are a couple of benches for resting, steep stairs and short duckboards. Please note that there is no toilet along the short route, but an indoor toilet can be found in Koli Nature Centre Ukko and Break Sokos Hotel Koli.

The Prime Minister's campfire site is located in the immediate vicinity of Koli Nature Centre Ukko. There is no firewood maintenance at this campfire site, so you can bring your own firewood or buy firewood from Koli Nature Centre Ukko or Break Sokos Hotel Koli.

Trail Description

The trail is marked with red circles on signposts at trail junctions. The signposts have been numbered and the numbers correspond to the numbering of the Koli service and trail map (1:20,000) (koli.fi, in Finnish). Recommended direction is clockwise.

The trail starts on Yläpiha courtyard beside Koli Nature Centre Ukko at the junction sign 65. Pass the Prime Minister’s campfire site and the junction 10 down to the Kolinuuro Gorge. From the bottom of the gorge, the trail ascends towards Pieni-Koli through the junction 33. Make sure you turn right from the next junction 32. After the summit of Pieni-Koli, the route goes down to the bottom of the Kolinuuro Gorge again and ascends to the Mäkränaho junction 15. Take a right there towards Ukko-Koli. The trail returns to Yläpiha courtyard through the tops of Paha-Koli and Ukko-Koli.

Mäkrän kierto Trail, 7.5 km Circle Trail

Experience the most beautiful landscapes of Koli and its diverse fell nature with its forests and meadows on a demanding half-day hike. The idyllic Ikolanaho meadow is a great place to stop for lunch.

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

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

Mäkrän kierto Trail brochure (pdf 2 Mt, julkaisut.metsa.fi).

Mäkrän kierto Trail in Excursionmap.fi.

Sights

Views from the peaks of Koli, Järnefelt’s painting view and the iconic pine tree on the top of Mäkrävaara, meadows blooming in the midsummer, fells dressed in autumn colours, diverse flora and fauna.

Services

At the starting point, the services of the Yläpiha courtyard, such as the hotel restaurant (sokoshotels.fi) and Koli Nature Centre Ukko, with stores, cafés and exhibitions.

Hiking Structures

Ikolanaho rental hut, campfire site and dry toilet. Please bring your own toilet paper.

Trail Description

The trail is marked with black circles on signposts at trail junctions. The signposts have been numbered and the numbers correspond to the numbering of the Koli service and trail map (1:20,000) (koli.fi, in Finnish). Recommended direction is clockwise.

The trail starts at Yläpiha courtyard, junction no. 65. First, take the steep stairs up to the top of Ukko-Koli. The trail continues past Paha-Koli straight ahead up to Mäkränaho. On the other side of the meadow continue left from the junction 16 towards Mäkrä and right after, go straight towards Tarhapuro at the junction 17. From Purolanaho, the trail ascends steeply to the top of Mäkrävaara. Turn left at the junction 77 on the top of Mäkrä and continue down from the junction 78 towards Havukanaho. Right after that, you’ll come to the junction 24 where you take a sharp right towards Ikolanaho. The junction 80 is at the corner of the Ikolanaho hut from where you should head towards Ryläys. On the western edge of the meadow, you can already see the junction 23, from where you start returning towards Mäkränaho and to its other side. Continue towards the Ukko-Koli parking area from the junction 15 and 73. The trail ends at the P2 parking area.

Nature Trails

Two persons walking a trail upwards through an old forest.

Sataman polku Trail (Harbour Trail), 2.1 km / Direction

The trail, presumed to be the oldest signposted trail in Finland, leads you through the footprints of artists inspired by Karelianism and the first visitors to enjoy the most iconic landscapes of Koli.

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

Address: Koli harbour parking area, Rantatie 12, Koli.

Sataman polku Trail in Excursionmap.fi.

Sights

The Koli harbour and its services at the Pielinen lake, old-growth forests and slope groves at Ipatinvaara, Uhrihalkeama sacrificial crevice, versatile services of Yläpiha courtyard, iconic landscapes of Ukko-Koli.

Services 

Services, such as the restaurant and outdoor equipment rental (koliactive.com), at the Koli Harbour. 

At the trail, you’ll find the services of Yläpiha courtyard such as the hotel restaurant (sokoshotels.fi) and the Koli Nature Centre Ukko with a shop, café and exhibitions. Please note that there is no toilet along the trail, but you can find an indoor toilet in the Koli Nature Centre Ukko and Break Sokos Hotel Koli.

Hiking Structures

There are benches set at scenic viewpoints and along the trail for resting. If you take the alternative route up otherside of Ipatti hill, you find a campfire site and dry toilet at Vaaralanaho meadow. Please bring your own toilet paper.

The Prime Minister's campfire site is located in the immediate vicinity of Koli Nature Centre Ukko. There is no firewood maintenance at this campfire site, so you can bring your own firewood or buy firewood from Koli Nature Centre Ukko or Break Sokos Hotel Koli.

Trail Description

The trail starts in the Koli harbour next to the Alamaja harbour restaurant and ascends steeply up the Ipatinvaara slope. Turn left at the junction 44 through the herb-rich forests on the slope and cross a small rivulet. The trail gradually climbs through birch-dominated forest – the oldest in the Koli National park – and old slash-and-burn sites until the seating area and downhill skiing slopes of Ipatti. The trail runs through the ski slope, after which it turns right at the junction 37. Soon you will arrive at the steepest ascend of the trail which leads to Yläpiha courtyard, passing the Uhrihalkeama sacrificial crevice. The trail crosses Yläpiha courtyard to the junction 65 on the south side of the yard, left of the Koli Nature Centre Ukko, where you start the last, steep ascend to the iconic viewing spot of Ukko-Koli. 

This is a one-way trail. If you want to return to the trailhead, you must backtrack. 

Alternative trail: There is a slightly less steep route up to Ukko-Koli on the other side of Ipatti hill via Vaaralanaho.

Please Note

During the summer season, there is possibly a bus connection between Koli Harbour — Koli village — Ylä-Koli, and a water bus connection between Koli Harbour and Vuonislahti village in Lieksa. Read more about bus connections and cruises in Pielinen (koli.fi).

Kylän polku Trail (Village Trail), 3 km / Direction

Koli is quite a character. It has never been easy on its travellers, but it rewards fearless visitors generously. The Kylän polku Trail (Village Trail) leads you to the heart of Koli through whispers of the past.

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

Address: Koli Church parking area, Ylä-Kolintie 4, Koli.

Kylän polku Trail brochure (pdf 2,1 Mt, julkaisut.metsa.fi, in Finnish).

Kylän polku Trail in Excursionmap.fi.

Sights

Culturally and historically valuable landscapes in Mattila and Vaarala, versatile services in the Koli village and Yläpiha courtyard, old-growth forest on the Ipatinvaara slope, iconic views in Ukko-Koli.

Services

Services at the Koli village, including restaurants, tourism information, local history museum and grocery store. Accommodation and café services at the Mattila farm (kolinkeidas.com).

On the route, you’ll also find the services of the Yläpiha courtyard, such as the hotel restaurant and Koli Nature Centre Ukko, with stores, cafés and exhibitions.

Hiking Structures 

On the trail, you can take a rest at the Vaaralanaho campfire site which also has a dry toilet. Please bring your own toilet paper.

The Prime Minister's campfire site is located in the immediate vicinity of Koli Nature Centre Ukko. There is no firewood maintenance at this campfire site, so you can bring your own firewood or buy firewood from Koli Nature Centre Ukko or Break Sokos Hotel Koli.

Trail Description

The trail is marked with petrol blue colour on the map. The crossroad signs have been numbered and the numbers correspond to the numbering of the Koli service and trail map (1:20,000) (koli.fi, in Finnish).

The trail begins at the parking area at the Koli Church which is located right in the centre of the Koli village. First, hike through a birch forest before going down steps to the bridge and then right. The trail continues as a ski track to the junction 2 where you turn left up a gentle slope to the yard area of the Mattila farm. At the junction 4 on the edge of the Mattila yard, take a narrower path up towards the cultural environment of Vaaralanaho. After the Vaaralanaho campfire site, go right at the junction 6 and up to Ukko-Koli. A steep hill leads to the Uhrihalkeama sacrificial crevice and Yläpiha courtyard through junctions 8 and 9. On the southern edge of Yläpiha courtyard, left of the Koli Nature Centre Ukko, you’ll find the junction 65 and the steep stairs that lead you towards the rewarding views of Ukko-Koli. 

This is a one-way trail. If you want to return to the trailhead, you must backtrack.

Please Note 

During the summer season, there is also possibly a bus connection between Koli Harbour — Koli village — Ylä-Koli. Read more about the bus connections (koli.fi).

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

The Kasken kierros Trail takes you through many traditional landscapes in the idyllic Koli where farmyard animals welcome you in the summer. If you’re lucky, you might see farmers at work on the slash-and-burn sites.

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

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

Kasken kierros Trail brochure (pdf 2 Mt, julkaisut.metsa.fi, in Finnish).

Kasken kierros Trail in Excursionmap.fi.

Sights

Culturally and historically valuable landscapes in Mattila, Ollila and Turula, slash-and-burn cultivated lands in different stages and their diverse species, farm animals grazing in traditional landscapes in the summer, Ipatinvaara’s old-growth forest, Koli's harbour with it's services.

Services

Accommodation and café services at the Mattila farm (kolinkeidas.com).

If you start the hike in the Koli harbour, you’ll also have access to the services at the harbour (koliactive.com), such as the restaurant and outdoor equipment rental.

Hiking Structures

Vaaralanaho campfire site and dry toilet, Turula campfire site, camping site and dry toilet, Ollila well. Please bring your own toilet paper.

Trail Description

The trail is marked with green circles on signposts at trail junctions. The signposts have been numbered and the numbers correspond to the numbering of the Koli service and trail map (1:20,000) (koli.fi, in Finnish). Recommended direction is clockwise.

If you start at the Ollila parking area, first take the steep uphill path past Ollila’s yard and towards the Mattila farm. From Mattila, you’ll find the junction 3 where the trail leads up into a spruce forest and towards the harbour, via junction 45. From the harbour, ascend to the junction 44, from which turn left. From the junction 43 take a sharp right. Take a left from the junction 46 up towards Vaaralanaho. Continue straight through stunning old forest past the Vaarala yard and to the Vaaralanaho campfire site. From the junction 6, continue straight towards Ukko-Koli and from the junction 7, right to Turula, crossing the path leading to Vaarala. In Turula, you will find a campfire site and a dry toilet. On the left, you’ll see the Turula farmhouse. After the pasture lane, you’ll arrive back in Ollila at the junction 61 and turn left, back towards the parking area.

Please Note

The trail can also be done in shorter version by taking a shortcut from Mattila farm junction 4 towards Ukko-Koli, which leads straight to Vaaralanaho and to junction 6. This route avoids the steeper climbs on the section from the harbour to Vaaralanaho.

During the summer season, there is possibly a bus connection between Koli Harbour — Koli village — Ylä-Koli, and a water bus connection between Koli Harbour and Vuonislahti village in Lieksa. Read more about bus connections and cruises in Pielinen (koli.fi).

Other Circle Trails

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

Feel the forest through all your senses in the embrace of the peaceful greenery. Paimenen polku Trail welcomes you to stay present on a journey through diverse groves, hilly spruce forests and majestic cliffs.

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

Address: Paimenenvaara parking area, Kotaniementie 10, Lieksa.

Paimenen polku Trail brochure (pdf 1,5 Mt, julkaisut.metsa.fi, in Finnish).

Paimenen polku Trail in Excursionmap.fi.

Sights

West-side views towards Jerojärvi from the moss-covered Paskovaara cliffs, the greenery of different grove types, elevation differences of the trail and natural diversity, peace and quiet.

Hiking Structures

Paimenenvaara campfire site and dry toilet. Please bring your own toilet paper.

Trail Description

The trail is marked with orange circles on signposts at trail junctions. The signposts have been numbered and the numbers correspond to the numbering of the Koli service and trail map (1:20,000) (koli.fi, in Finnish). Recommended direction is clockwise.

The trail starts at the Paimenenvaara parking area at the junction sign 75. First the trail goes up the Paimenenvaara slope and through grey alder and spruce forests. Here you come to steep stairs, after which a more even section of the trail continues right towards the Paimenenvaara campfire site to the junction 20. The trail continues towards Paskovaara and eventually goes down steep stairs to a bedrock recess and back to the parking area.

Koli Summer Café Tour, 6.8 km Circle Trail

Set aside a day and spend it on Koli's trails, hiking from one café to the next. You can conveniently eat breakfast, lunch, afternoon coffee and dinner on the same trail!

The counter of the cafe at Kolin Ryynänen.

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.

Sights

Kolin RyynänenMattila heritage farm, the yards of the Ollila and Turula heritage farmsKoli Nature Centre UkkoKoli harbour and Alamaja.

Services

Koli Nature Centre Ukko and services provided by the Koli partnership businesses: Kolin Ryynänen, Mattila heritage farm, Break Sokos Hotel Koli and Alamaja.

Trail Description

You can start the Café Tour from any café, from Kolin Ryynänen, for example, which is located in the village of Koli. 

From Ryynänen, cross the road by the pedestrian crossing and walk past the right-hand end of the Koli tourist information building and then continue onto the route following the signpost to Mattila. In a stretch of one kilometre, the route runs from behind the church, across the bridge and then up the gentle slope to the yard of the Mattila heritage farm.

Mattila is an old log house in which fresh pastries and coffee as well as tasty soup lunches are served in the summer high-season.

From Mattila, continue towards Ukko-Koli Hill. Trek the 2-km-long ascent either by following the first Ukko-Koli signpost from the corner of the Mattila heritage farm or by taking a small detour along the dirt road via the yards of the Ollila and Turula heritage farms. Having arrived at the Ukko Nature Centre's courtyard Yläpiha, you can relax at the nature centre's café Eväsretket, or sit down and admire Lake Pielinen at Break Sokos Hotel Koli's restaurant.

The journey from the hill summits to Alamaja in the harbour runs along the oldest marked trail in Finland. From the hotel, trek first towards Mattila. After the first steep downhill section, turn onto the route leading to the harbour. First the route will take you across the slopes of Ipatti Hill and then to the ancient spruce forests.

Alamaja is located on the shore of Lake Pielinen and serves coffee, pastries, soups and sturdier lunch dishes. The restaurant is licensed to serve alcohol. On the glass terrace, you can enjoy the views over Lake Pielinen even in poor weather.

The 2-km-long return route from the harbour to the village of Koli follows the signposts to Mattila; it runs up the slope, passes the former slash-and-burn lands, arrives at the yard of the Mattila heritage farm and finally follows the familiar route to the starting point.

Hiking Trails

Kiehisen kierros Trail, 3 to 19 km partly Circle Trail

This trail in the lesser-known southern part of Koli National Park gathers together some of the rarer treasures of the park. On your hike, you can learn more about the values of the national park and operating in the wilderness.

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

There are three possible starting points available:

Rykiniemi parking area, Vaaralahdentie 116, Joensuu,

Seppälä parking area, Herajärven rantatie 36, Kontiolahti and

Pirunkirkko parking area, Rantatie 118, Lieksa.

Kiehisen kierros Trail brochure (pdf 1,7 Mt, julkaisut.metsa.fi, in Finnish).

Kiehisen kierros Trail in Excursionmap.fi.

Sights

Stunning views from Jauholanvaara and Vesivaara to Herajärvi, traditional farmyards with grazing animals and meadows, Pirunkirkko Cave, Rykiniemi beach on Lake Pielinen, diverse hiking terrain in beautiful fells.

Services

Please note that there is no drinking water or cafés, restaurants or grocery stores near the trail. All water sources along the trail are either natural sources or wells, and you must boil the water before use. 

Hiking Structures

Ylä-Murhi rental hut, campfire site, camping area and dry toilet. 

Pitkälampi picnic shelter and dry toilet.  

Lakkala rental hut, campfire site, camping area and a toilet emptied with suction. 

A little ways off the route, visitors can get water at the well in Seppälä (the water must be boiled first). Other services in Seppälä are only for those renting the hut. 

Herajoki wading cable for river crossing. 

Rykiniemi campfire site, camping area and a toilet emptied with suction.

Please bring your own toilet paper.

Trail Description

The trail is marked with colour white. The crossroad signs have been numbered and the numbers correspond to the numbering of the Koli service and trail map (1:50,000) (koli.fi, in Finnish).

As this is a circle trail, you can choose a distance that suits your level of fitness and hiking experience. The shortest trail is 3 kilometres and the longest one up to 19 kilometres long. This distance also includes trail sections that you walk in both directions. If you want to avoid the longest backtracked section of the trail and the wading cable at Herajoki, you can go around the river crossing through Herajoentie road or completely skip the section of the trail that runs between Rykiniemi and Vesivaara.

Please Note

Familiarise yourself with the Outdoor Etiquette and also read the Koli National Park Instructions and Rules before starting your journey.

Outdoor Guide to Finland’s National Parks and Overnight Backpacking Trip Packing list are useful when planning your hike.

Also, always check for any weather warnings (en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi) beforehand. 

Herajärven kierros Trail (30 to 61 km)

The Herajärven kierros Trail (30 to 61 km) passing through the national park offers you the chance to set off on a hike that will take several days. You will see herb-rich forests, rippling brooks, rocky lookout points and forested hills. 

Available: When there is no snow on the ground (no winter maintenance).

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 Herajärven kierros Trail is a demanding hiking trail, as it is slow to walk and there are variations in elevation.  

The Herajärven kierros Trail's pages

A view of forests and lake.

Starting Points

Several starting points. The following are found in the national park: Koli Nature Centre Ukko yard (Ylä-Kolintie 39), P2, Peiponpelto, Seppälä and Rykiniemi parking areas.

The following are found outside the national park: Ryläys parking area off of Jerontie Road, Kiviniemi (Mustalahdentie 27, Kontiolahti) and Eteläpää parking area (Eteläpääntie 113, Kontiolahti) at the south end of Lake Herajärvi.

Koli Nature Centre Ukko yard coordinates: WGS84 - lat: 63° 05.5292' lon: 29° 47.9326', ETRS-TM35FIN - P: 6998935 I: 641290

Ukko-Koli parking area 2 (P2) coordinates: WGS84 - lat: 63° 05.6697' lon: 29° 48.2411', ETRS-TM35FIN - P: 6999207 I: 64153 

Kiviniemi Farm coordinates: WGS84 - lat: 62° 59.3404' lon: 29° 55.2907', ETRS-TM35FIN - P: 6987727 I: 648000 

Eteläpää parking area coordinates: WGS84 - lat: 62° 56.9939' lon: 29° 58.2849', ETRS-TM35FIN - P: 6983489 I: 650728

Herajärven pohjoispään kierros (The Northern Herajärven Kierros Trail, 35 km) in Excursionmap.fi.

Herajärven eteläpään kierros (The Southern Herajärven Kierros Trail, 30 km) in Excursionmap.fi.

Services 
Herajärven kierros Trail services and trail route description.

Route Description
The hiking trail takes you through varied terrain ranging from herb-rich forests, rippling brooks, rocky lookout points and forested hills. The Herajärven kierros Trail was the Trekking Destination for 2007. 

A pier at the Koli harbor.

Boating Routes

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.

Services
Alamaja and services of the Koli harbour.

Hiking Structures
Campfire sites on the Hiekkasaari Islands, Pieni-Korppi Island, Iso-Korppi Island and Laitosaari Island as well as on the mainland at Likolahti and Rykiniemi. There are dry toilets adjacent to campfire sites. Camping is permitted at Rykiniemi, on the larger Hiekkasaari Island and on Iso-Korppi Island.

Moorings for Boats
Moorings for boats are located at the mouth of the Herajoki River on the shore of Lake Pielinen. Permit enquiries: Koli Nature Centre Ukko. Moorings at Koli Harbour are maintained by the City of Lieksa. 
The moorings on Lake Herajärvi are located at Lähtevänsärkkä up the Herajoki River. Permit enquiries: Koli Nature Centre Ukko.

A paddler in a red and yellow kayak.

Canoeing Routes

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.

  • Paddlers will have to look for campsites and lean-to shelters outside the national park, using Lake Pielinen charts and general maps of the area. A wide variety of cottage and farm accommodations, campgrounds and hotels, all located within an easy day trip of each other, can be found all around Lake Pielinen.
  • Shorter paddling destinations recommended from Koli Harbour are Likolahti, the Korppi Islands and Hiekkasaari Islands. Paddling around Sikosaari Island is also a lovely excursion, taking just a few hours. Start and end point at Koli Harbour.
  • Koli National Park can be experienced in a whole new way by paddling along its shoreline from north to south. Start point at  Koli Harbour and take-out at Rykiniemi, at the mouth of the Herajoki River. The trip is approximately 16 km in length, but a whole day should be set aside. Suitable rest stops along the way include the campfire site at Likolahti and either of the campfire sites on Laitosaari Island. Valkeahiekka is also worth a stop before reaching the mouth of the Herajoki River. Visitors can also camp at Rykiniemi.
    • Services: There are private tourist services in the area, which rent out canoes and row boats.
    • Campfires are only permitted at designated sites on Hiekkasaari Island, Korppi Islands and Laitosaari Island. Camping overnight is permitted at campfire sites on Iso-Korppi Island and Hiekkasaari Island. 
    • Landing is prohibited on islands less than a hectare in area during bird nesting season. This landing restriction applies to, among others, Kaupunginniemi and the islands and islets off of it.
  • Lake Herajärvi is safer to paddle than Lake Pielinen. Lähtevänsärkkä and Kiviniemi are excellent fishing spots. Visitors may enquire about rental equipment at Kiviniemi. Lakkala is a suitable rest spot.
    • Please note: Myllypuro Brook, which runs from Jero to Lake Herajärvi, and Herajoki River, which runs from Lake Herajärvi to Lake Pielinen are very narrow, shallow and have a number of submerged weirs. Neither river is suitable for paddling.
  • The Ahmolampi-Savijärvi-Ylemmäinen paddling route is close to the national park. Paddlers are welcome to camp overnight at tent.

A road in an autumnal forest.

Biking Trails

Finnish National Biking Route 6

Finnish National Biking Route 6 is unpaved and passes the National Park near Koli Village.

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.

Services
Many of Koli tourist services are along the biking route (lodging, shop, café). Area entrepreneurs renting bicycles.

Sights
The scenery is versatile and typical of North Karelia - hills, fields and vast bodies of water.

Map
Koli Biking Trails (vaellus.info, in Finnish).

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

Riding Trails

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

Parking Areas

Ukko-Koli P1 and P2

  • Ylä-Kolintie 31, Lieksa

Other parking areas

Check for Warnings

When forest and grass fire warnings (en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi) are in effect, fire is only allowed at covered campfire sites that have a flue. A fire can be also lit in fireplaces at wilderness and other huts. Always use extreme caution when handling fire. The one who lights a fire is always responsible for its safe use. Please note, that making fire at these campfire sites can be banned locally. 

Gathering at the campfire sites increases the risk of coronavirus infection. Guidelines concerning coronavirus COVID-19

A hand holding a mobile phone showing Excursionmap.fi. Open the map of Koli National Park in Excursionmap.fi.

Accessible Destinations

Accessible trails: Ukko-Koli demanding accessible Trail, 400 m / Direction.

Ukko-Koli accessible viewpoint: There is an accessible viewpoint near the Ukko-Koli scenic viewpoint which can be reached from Koli Nature Centre Ukko's Yläpiha courtyard by following the Ukko-Koli demanding accessible Trail. The gravel trail is step-free and accessible by prams and wheelchairs, but due to large differences in altitude an assistant is needed. The accessible viewpoint has a gravel floor and low tree trunks as stoppers on the cliff edge.

Koli Nature Centre Ukko: accessible to all. The railcar operating between the parking areas and Koli Nature Centre Ukko's Yläpiha courtyard is accessible to all. Break Sokos Hotel Koli's accessible entrance is located opposite the railcar's upper station. 

Accessible parking: There are two accessible parking spaces (one 310 cm and the other 370 cm wide) near the accessible entrance of Break Sokos Hotel Koli. You can only use accessible parking spaces with a suitable permit. Otherwise parking in the Yläpiha courtyard is prohibited.

Campfire sites: Likolahti and the so-called Prime minister's campfire site in the vicinity of Nature Centre Ukko's Yläpiha courtyard, are accessible. The campfire sites by Koli Harbour's Alamaja, Kolin Ryynänen Café, Vaaralanaho and Turula are also partly accessible.

Accessible toilet: The only accessible toilet in the Koli National Park is located at the Koli Nature Centre Ukko.