Starting Points for the Canoeing Routes

Hossa canoeing routes map

Level of Difficulty

Photo: Martin MeyenburgHossa is one of Finland's best canoeing destinations. There are suitable routes for both beginners and the more experienced, for trips from a couple of hours up to several days of canoeing. The lakes are narrow and are therefore perfect for canoeing. The rapids in the area are not very demanding.

Depending on the water level, they range from a classification of I to II+. The most demanding rapids, the Lounatkoski Rapids along the Peranka Route, are not recommended for canoeing. During dry times it is best to have plastic canoes as they are less likely to be damaged by touching the bottom. The canoeing routes pass through barren-looking pine heaths and eskers. The waters are clear and there are several maintained resting places along the routes.

The canoeing routes in Hossa are mainly easy and suitable even for beginners. The routes mostly consist of narrow rivers that occasionally expand into ponds or lakes. The biggest lakes are Iijärvi and Tormuanjärvi, which are best canoed close to the shore in windy weather. The rapids are rocky, and in low water you should be prepared to float or pull the canoe. There are portage trails to by-pass the most demanding rapids on the Peranka-Hossa route.

Beginners should first learn the basics by canoeing on shallow lakes close to the shore. For information and guidance, contact Hossa Visitor Centre and Experience KL Oy, tel. int. +358 50 384 4692. You can rent canoeing equipment at the Visitor Centre, Camping Hossan Lumo and Norwide Hossan Lomakeskus.

More information on the canoeing routes, e.g. the rapid-running routes, can be found in the Hossa Canoeing Guide. The maps in the guide indicate boat launches, resting places and other services along the routes.

Classification of Rapids

The Hossa rapids are classified in accordance with the international scale of rapids difficulty (I - VI). The rapids on the canoeing routes in Hossa range from class I to III.

Instructions and Rules along Hossa Canoeing Routes

Restrictions for Entrance and Floods

  • The Instructions and Rules of the Hossa National Park mainly apply to the water routes as well.
  • Part of the Peranka - Hossa water route between the bridge on main road no 5 and Kukkuri runs through private land, as does the section of the Hossa - Juntusranta route south of Alakoski. On private land hikers are governed by Everyman's Rights.
  • The water route passes by the yards of the rental cabins mentioned in the descriptions. Please respect the tenants' right to peace and privacy.
  • The Hossa water routes can usually be run from mid-May till the end of September. In the spring there is high water on the routes, which makes them easy to run. In the summer the water situation varies from year to year; during rainy summers all routes have enough water but during dry summers the canoeing options may be limited.
    • The Peranka - Hossa camoeing route can almost always be canoed. During dry summers you can start canoeing at the east end of the Peranganjoki river.
    • On the Hossa - Juntusranta canoeing route the rapids sections of the Hossanjoki river are rocky so it is not recommended for canoeing in low water unless you are an experienced canoer. You can start the route, for example, at the Matalajoki river.
    • The Iijärvi - Hossa canoeing route can always be run from the bridge over the Sakkojoki river.
    • The Julma-Ölkky - Somer - Hossa canoeing route is the first one to dry out; during dry times you can start canoeing from the parking area in Lihapyörre or at Lake Laukkujärvi, which can be reached by pulling the canoe from Lihapyörre or from the Julma-Ölkky road on the Kuusamo side.
    • The lake sections can always be canoed whenever the lakes are free of ice.
  • At the beginning of May melting ice raises the river water level and clear routes may not be visible. The beginning of the Hossa - Juntusranta canoeing route is the most affected by floods.
  • There is no regular traffic on the Hossa water routes.  

Equipment and SafetyPhoto: Georg Parthen

  • Always wear a life vest when canoeing and also a helmet at rapids.
  • It is also good to always have an extra paddle, life rope and repair equipment in your canoe.
  • Pack your first aid supplies, a change of clothes, matches and mobile phone in a waterproof package. Always take a map and compass with you when canoeing on strange waters.
  • Fasten all equipment securely to your canoe, preferably packed in a waterproof bag or container.
  • Plan your route in advance and acquaint yourself with it. Study difficult rapids from the shore first.
  • Remember that a flooding river is always dangerous - route descriptions and rapids classifications do not apply in the flood season.
  • Stay close to the shore on lake sections.
  • Plastic canoes are recommended for the Hossa routes.

Fishing

  • In addition to canoeing, you can also fish. The fishing waters in the region attract both spin and fly fishermen.
  • The Hossa angling permit 5502 (www.eraluvat.fi) entitles you to fish in the Hossa National Park at Kirkasvetinen, Umpi-Valkeainen, Iso-Valkeainen, Keski-Valkeainen, Ala-Valkeainen and at Pitkä-Hoilua‒Kokalmus as well as at rapids and flowing waters, and outside the national park at Huosiuslampi, Keihäslampi and River Hossanjoki.

  • At the other waters of the national park, everyone has the right to go hook and line fishing and ice fishing free of charge and those who have paid the fisheries management fee are entitled to go lure fishing at ponds and lakes.

  • At the lakes and ponds which are located outside the Hossa National Park and which are managed by Metsähallitus, you are allowed to go angling and ice fishing free of charge and you are allowed to fish there with one rod, under the lure fishing right that is included in the fisheries management fee. Fishing with more than one rod is possible with the North Ostrobothnia-Kainuu angling permit 5411 (eraluvat.fi).

  • Fishing in the upper parts of the Hossanjoki river is also subject to a licence (licence area no. 5502, Hossa). Fishing down from Alakoski rapids is subject to the joint licence of the Hossanjoki river.
  • You can purchase fishing licences at Hossa Visitor Centre and from local tourist service providers or at Metsähallitus web store (www.eraluvat.fi).. 

Hossanjoki Canoeing Routa: Hossa - Juntusranta, 40 km / 2 - 3 days

Canoeing Parking Tulentekopaikka Cooking shelter Lean-to shelter Dry toilet Fishing 

The route Hossa - Juntusranta offers both calm river and lake sections and flowing rapids. To begin with, the Hossanjoki river beginning at Niskakoski rapids is fast and contains a lot of rapids. Then the waters calm down into a gentle, winding river with occasional lakes and ponds. Down the river there are a few rapids to cheer up the canoer.

The total distance of the route is 40 km, of which rapids total 7 km. The estimated excursion time for the entire route is 2 - 3 days. During dry summers the first stretch of the Hossanjoki river is rocky and the canoe may touch the bottom several times. We recommend the use of plastic canoes. The latter part of the route can be run throughout the summer.

Photo: Eeva Mäkinen
 

The rapids on the route and their classification (high-water classification in brackets):

Niskakoski I
Kuusikoski I
Kaivoskoski I
Leveänkoski II (II+)
Vääräkoski I
Pystynkoski II (II+)
Kuikankoski I
Alakoski I
Raaninkoski I

Papinpetäjä - Niskakoski, 7 km

You can start at Papinpetäjä, from where the canoeing distance to the boat launch at Niskakoski is seven kilometres. Along this section you will find Hossa village with several private tourist services (www.hossa.fi) on the east side of Lake Hossanjärvi. There is a campfire site at Niskakoski.

Niskakoski - Kuikankoski, 4 km

The route starting from Niskakoski rapids (I) continues after Isokivenlaukama as three-part rapids with a lot of rocks (II). The last rapids in this section, Leveänkoski, must be run carefully in high water when its classification can be as high as II+. There is the Leveänkoski cooking shelter on the left shore before the Leveänkoski rapids. At Vääräkoski rapids (I) the route goes under the Perangantie road bridge and there is a boat launch and information board by the bridge.

Approximately one kilometre after the bridge there is the Pystynkoski rapids (II, II+ in high water) with two branches, of which you should take the right-side one. Pystynkoski rapids must be run carefully, especially in high water, and, when necessary, first check the route from the shore. Under the Pystykoski rapids, on the south shore of an islet, there is the Pystykoski lean-to shelter. After the lean-to shelter the route continues as a river route for a couple of kilometres, including the Hippavirta and Kuikankoski rapids (I). There is a lean-to shelter at Kuikankoski with a boat launch on its south side.

Kuikankoski - Tormunjärvi, 18 km

South of Kuikankoski the route includes one kilometre of flowing waters followed by the four-part Alakoski rapids (I). There is a Lapp tent and a campfire site at Alakoski. After Alakoski the route continues along a gently flowing, winding, branching and occasionally expanding river to Lake Tormuanjärvi. The distance from Alakoski to Lake Tormuanjärvi is approximately 17 kilometres. There is a boat launch on the east shore of Lake Tormuanjärvi, in Muosalmi. The route continues from the western side of Lake Tormuanjärvi, where there is a lean-to shelter.

Lean-to Shelter at Lake Tormuanjärvi - Juntusranta, 11 km

From Lake Tormuanjärvi the route continues as a gently flowing, winding river with occasional stretches of faster flow. After five kilometres, on the south side of Saarivirta, the Saarijoki river branches to the right side of the route. There is a boat launch at the other end of this river. After Saarivirta you canoe 1.5 km to the Raaninkoski rapids (I). There is a campfire site before the rapids. From Raaninkoski rapids the canoeing route continues 1.5 km to the bridge of the Juntusranta road, i.e. Heinäkivi, where there is a boat launch.

You can continue canoeing from Heinäkivi along Lake Kokkojärvi to Juntusranta village, where there is a marina. This route is approximately four kilometres. On the south side of Juntusranta there is the historical habitat called Kalmosärkkä with campfire sites and information boards.

Iijärvi Canoeing Route: Iijärvi - Hossa, 14 km / 8 hrs

Canoeing Parking Campfire place Cooking shelter Dry toilet Fishing

The Iijärvi - Hossa canoeing route mainly consists of lakes with only a few rapids. Iijärvi is a large lake located partly in the area of Kuusamo municipality. In windy weather the lake is challenging to cross and it is best to go around it close to the shore. The route stretches 14 km, starting at the bridge over the Sakkojoki river along road 843 to Kuusamo and ending at Papinpetäjä, and the estimated canoeing time is 8 hours. In low water canoeing is not possible on the Iikoski rapids, but the remaining route is accessible even in low water.  

Photo: Hannu Huttu

Sakkojoki - Iikoski, 10 km

The route begins by the bridge over the Sakkojoki river with about 2 km of easily flowing narrow river. The river connects to Sakkolahti Bay in Lake Iijärvi. Continue south a little over 2 km on the lake and turn southwest after Teeriniemi cape towards Niskanniemi. The river section leading to Lake Hypäsjärvi begins on the south side of Niskanniemi.

You can also start the route on the western shore of Iso Ahvenlahti Bay, which makes the route 3 km shorter. The lake section from Iso-Ahvenlampi continues a couple of kilometres east, then turn south after Paloniemi. The river section leading to Lake Hypäsjärvi begins after Niskanniemi.

The river section comprises a couple of kilometres of calm, winding waters. At some points the river extends to bays and a pond. The route goes below the bridge of the road to Kuusamo and passes through Saarilampi to Lake Hypäsjärvi. You can stop at the southwest corner of Lake Hypäsjärvi (approx. 1 km) before the Iikoski Rapids. There is the Iikoski day parking area with a cooking shelter by the rapids.

Iikoski - Hossa, 4 km

The Iikoski rapids cannot be run in low water. Even in high water you should study the first section of the route from the shore because of the numerous surface rocks. Iikoski rapids comprise three parts stretching about half a kilometre. The rapids section ends at Lake Huosiusjärvi. On the shore of this lake you can find the Iikoski and Huosiusjärvi rental cabins.

The water route continues with a lake section across Lake Huosiusjärvi (1.5 kilometres). You can stop at the boat launch place before Huosivirta or continue via Huosivirta (I) to Lake Kenttäjärvi and on to Papinpetäjä, an isthmus between Lakes Hossanjärvi and Keihäslampi, via Mykränsalmi. The distance from Huosivirta to Papinpetäjä is approximately 2 kilometres.

Somero Canoeing Route: Julma-Ölkky - Somer - Hossa, 16 km / 14 hours

Canoeing Parking Campfire place Lean-to shelter Open wilderness hut Dry toilet Fishing 

The Julma-Ölkky - Somer - Hossa route is a relatively easy, winding lake route spiced by a few small rapids and straits. You can add historical elements to your canoe excursion by visiting the Värikallio Cliffs. The route is at its best in early summer and during rainy summers even later. In low water it is recommended to start the excursion at the Lihapyörre parking area and float the canoe from there to Lake Laukkujärvi; this route is usually very dry after midsummer.

Julma-Ölkky is a rugged canyon lake of over 3 kilometres in length. You can start your excursion by visiting the Ölkky end, which adds some 6 kilometres to the canoeing distance. In the summertime there is boat transport available for a fee at Ölkky.

Photo: Elina Odé

Julma-Ölkky - Ala-Ölkky - Värikallio - Ala-Ölkky, 4 km

From the Julma-Ölkky boat launch place, canoe a couple of kilometres south on Ala-Ölkky. At the branching point of Ala-Ölkky you can find the Ala-Ölkky lean-to shelter. If you want to go to Värikallio Cliffs, take the right-hand side route and canoe upstream about 500 metres. Beach on the western bank and float the canoe about 500 metres along a channel dug out for this purpose to Lake Somerjärvi. There is a Lapp tent and a marked hiking trail past it to Värikallio Cliffs. When returning in high water, you can run the fast and narrow rapids from Lake Somerjärvi to Ala-Ölkky. A visit to Värikallio Cliffs adds 2 kilometres to the excursion distance.

Ala-Ölkky - Somer - Suottavirta, 7 km

From Ala-Ölkky the route continues along the Somerjoki river, which has class I rapids. After some 2 km the river expands to Lihapyörre and before this there is a lean-to shelter with the same name. There is a boat launch on the south side of Lihapyörre. The river section between Lihapyörre and Lake Laukkujärvi is winding and fast during high water. The one-kilometre rapids section is classified I in low water and II in high water. In low water be prepared to float or pull the canoe at the end of the section.

River Somerjoki joins Lake Laukkujärvi. The Laukkujärvi open wilderness hut is on the southern shore of the lake. The water route goes past the wilderness hut and on to Lake Talasjärvi via the Laukkusalmi strait (I). On the north side of the Talassalmi strait there are old meadows and a barn worth seeing. After the Talassalmi strait you arrive at Lake Puukkojärvi and there is a lean-to shelter and Puukkojärvi open wilderness hut on its eastern shore. Lake Puukkojärvi is followed by the Puukkosalmi strait (trail bridge). After the strait, turn right and you arrive at Suottavirta (I), where there is a campfire site after the trail bridge.

Suottavirta - Hossa, 5 km

There is a boat launch at the south end of Saarihoilua following Suottavirta. At the east end of Saarihoilua is the start of the Louhikoski rapids (I) leading to Hakokoski rapids (I) via Hakolampi Pond. After Hakokoski rapids there is the Hakokoski lean-to shelter. After the lean-to shelter, run the long and narrow Syvä-Hoilua, at the south end of which is the Torkonluikea rapids (I) and a campfire site.

You can stop at the boat launch place on the western shore of Lake Huosiusjärvi or continue and run Huosivirta (I) and onto Papinpetäjä, an isthmus between Lakes Hossanjärvi and Keihäslampi, via Lake Kenttäjärvi and the Mykränsalmi strait. The total distance of this route is 16 km and the estimated excursion time is 14 hours.

Peranka Canoeing Route: Peranka - Hossa, 37 km

Canoeing Parking Campfire place Lean-to shelter Open wilderness hut Dry toilet Sightseeing Fishing 

The River Perankajoki is a versatile canoieng route including both narrow river sections and wider lake sections. The route passes through varying landscapes: young forests, meadows, verdant mixed woodland and the national landscape most typical of the national park, dry pine heaths.

The route can be run throughout the summer but in low water it is common to touch the bottom and sharp rocks, especially in the first section of the route. Running the Lounatkoski rapids at the bridge is not recommended (classification II+, even III). There is a warning sign on the left bank before the dangerous section, and portage starts approximately 50 metres after the sign.

Photo: Paula Aspholm

The rapids on the route and their classification:

Niskakoski I
Harrikoski I
Vääräkoski I
Telakoski I
Karjalankoski I
Särkikoski I
Multikoski I
Laukkukoski II+ ! (in low water the lowest section cannot be run, the canoe must be pulled)
Kuusikoski I
Sujaus I
Hevonperseenkoski I
Pitkäkoski II
Saukkovirta I
Peurokoski I
Tuirankoski I
Nimettömänkoski I-, II-
Joukovirta I
Tolosenvirta I
Lounatkoski II+ !!
Lounatkoski at the bridge II+ - III.

Peranka - Iso-Kukkuri, 15 km

The beginning of the route is winding and includes a lot of rapids. The 6-kilometre section between Peranka and main road no 5 has seven class I rapids, as well as still and calmly flowing waters. There is a boat launch at the bridge on road 5. After the bridge, at about one kilometre of canoeing distance, are the fast and rocky Laukkukoski rapids (II+!). The lowest section of Laukkukoski cannot be run in low water, so be prepared to pull your canoe. After Laukkukoski rapids there are two class I rapids within a short distance. The route continues as a calm river route for two kilometres and then there is the Hevonperseenmutka bend and a lean-to shelter with the same name.

After the lean-to shelter there is the Hevonperseenkoski rapids (I) and after two bends the Pitkäkoski rapids (II), where the canoe may touch the bottom several times in low water. These rapids are followed by 1.5 kilometres of river without rapids and then Saukkovirta rapids (I). There is a beaver nesting area in the upper part of the stream, so be prepared to pass a beaver dam. After Saukkovirta the next one-kilometre section includes a few fast-flowing places, after which you arrive at the Perankajoki river, total length 15 km, which joins Lake Iso-Kukkuri. The next section is a lake section with fast-flowing places and rapids between the chains of lakes.

Iso-Kukkuri - Lavajärvi, 5 km

Lake Iso-Kukkuri is approximately three kilometres long, open at the beginning and branching in the middle. The route continues along the north side of the cape and at the end there is the Kukkuri open wilderness hut. At the hut there is the Peuronkoski rapids (I) with current-controlling elements under the bridge over the rapids. When going to the hut, land on the right-hand bank before the current controllers. When running the rapids, be careful not to get turned sideways.

Iso-Kukkuri is followed by Pikku-Kukkuri, a small, one-kilometre lake with two islands. At the isthmus between Pikku-Kukkuri and Lake Lavajärvi there are the Tuirankoski rapids (I). Lavajärvi is approximately three kilometres long. The Lavajärvi open wilderness hut is situated approximately at the middle of the lake on the northern shore.

Lavajärvi - Iso-Nimetön, 2 km

The three-part Nimettömänkoski rapids (I - II-) between Lake Lavajärvi and Lake Iso-Nimetön can be run or bypassed via a portage trail. The rapids start in the southern part of Lake Lavajärvi, before the Syrjäharju isthmus. The last, third rapid section is the most difficult one. In low water it is best to canoe along Lake Lavajärvi to Lake Iso-Syväjärvi and carry the canoe to Lake Iso-Nimetön.

On the isthmus between Lakes Lavajärvi and Iso-Syväjärvi there is the Syrjäsalmi lean-to shelter and on the left-hand side after the Nimettömänkoski rapids there is a campfire site. There is a boat launch after the first of the Nimettömänkoski rapids.

Iso-Nimetön - Lounajajärvi, 7 km

Iso-Nimetön is a narrow lake approximately two kilometres long, followed by Lake Pikku-Nimetön, which is a little less than one kilometre long. There is a boat launch on the southern shore of Pikku-Nimetön. At the end of the lake there is the Joukovirta lean-to shelter. There are old hunting pits near the lean-to shelter.

After River Joukovirta the canoeing route continues as a calm lake route for some 5 km via lakes Joukojärvi, Virtajärvi and Pahkulampi to Lounaja. The old Honkavaara reindeer fence can be seen on the western side of Lake Virtajärvi. There is a trail leading to the fence from the western bank of Virtasalmi strait. There are campfire sites on the west and northeast shores of Lounaja. In the northern part of Lounaja, on the Lipposensalmi isthmus, there is the Lipposensalmi lean-to shelter. If you want to, you can canoe north from Lipposensalmi to Pitkä-Hoilua or via Kokalmus, Ala-Valkeinen and Keski-Valkeinen to Iso-Valkeinen, where there are boat launches. On the isthmus between Ala-Valkeinen and Keski-Valkeinen there is the Ala-Valkeinen open wilderness hut, approximately 3.5 km from Lipposensalmi.

Lounajajärvi - Lounatkoski, 4 km

When heading west, Lake Lounajajärvi narrows into the Iso-Tolosenvirta river, and by this river there is the Tolosenvirta rental cabin. After a long lake section, the first rapids are Tolosenvirta (I). The canoeing route continues along the north shore of Lake Tolosenlampi and there is also a launching site in the narrow section. Before the Lounatkoski rapids there is an island, which you can pass on the northern or southern side. The two main streams come back together before the bridge and the worst fall. There is a warning sign on the left bank. Portage starts here. Running the rapids at the bridge is not recommended!

The portage passes by the Lounatkoski rental cabin and the Lounatkoski mill. You can end your excursion at the Lounatkoski portage, in which case the route will total 33 km. The estimated excursion time is 2 days.

Lounatkoski - Hossa, 4 km

The water route continues along the river running to Lake Jatkonjärvi. There is a camping site on the western shore of Lake Jatkonjärvi, and the Jatkonsalmen Pääpirtti and Teräväpää rental cabins are on the isthmus before Lake Kenttäjärvi. You can continue canoeing the lake route across Lake Kenttäjärvi and the Mykränsalmi strait to the Papinpetäjä isthmus on the northeast shore of Nurmiselkä in Lake Hossanjärvi. There is a landing place there. The water route continues south as the Hossa - Juntusranta canoeing route.

Customer Service

Hossa Visitor Centre 
Tel.int. +358 (0)206 39 6041
+358 (0)40 751 7221
hossa(at)metsa.fi

Parking Areas for Canoeing Routes

Iijärvi - Hossa Route Section
  • Western Ahvenlahti bay launching site on Lake Iijärvi
Julma-Ölkky - Somer - Hossa Route Section
  • Julma-Ölkky parking area
  • Nortern Lake Laukkujärvi launching site during low water
  • Lihapyörre parking area during low water
Peranka - Hossa Route Section
  • The starting point of this route is Lake Iso-Perankajärvi; approximately 200 metres north of the Peranka crossing on main road 5, turn onto a forest road leading to the shore of Lake Iso-Perankajärvi.
Hossa - Juntusranta Route Section
  • Papinpetäjä launching site
  • The Niskakoski boat haven South from Hossa village  
  • Bridge over River Hossanjoki, parking area along road Selkoskyläntie 
  • Kuikankoski parking area

Emergency number 112

In case of an emergency along the way, for example if you get lost or injured or see a forest fire, dial 112. Detailed instructions.

Dogs must be kept on a leash! Photo: Seppo Leinonen.

Dogs must be kept on a leash!

(chapter 8 -  Keeping a dog)