Hiking Trails

The Koitajoki Area boasts some 50 km of marked trails in total. There are trails in the nature reserve as well as in the commercial forest area. Keep in mind that in Koivusuo Strict Nature Reserve visitors must stay on marked trails and that entering the border zone without a special permit is forbidden.

The area's trails are marked with orange circles. The terrain is easy to travel and there are duckboards in mire and wetland areas.

River Koitajoki Crossing Points

There are three points where hikers can cross the River Koitajoki: by a land bridge at Polvikoski or by rope pulley ferry at Koidanvaara or Asumajoki. There are no crossing points for the River Koitajoki to the south of Polvikoski. River Asumajoki can be crossed by a light structured bridge. The ferries are in use from June through September. For more information on times when the ferries are in use contact Visitor Centre Ukko in Koli.

The rope pulley ferry across the River Koitajoki. Photo: Heikki Räsänen

Starting Points for Trails

  • Good points to set off on the area's hiking trails are the Hoikantie, Pirtupolku, Polvikoski and Lakonkangas parking areas.
  • Tapion taival Trail has its southern point at Lakonkangas parking area and its northern point at Hoikantie.
  • Pirhun kierto has its starting point at Polvikoski parking area.
  • Keskiosan kierros Trail has its starting point at Polvikoski parking area.
  • Eteläosan kierros Trail has its starting point at Lakonkangas parking area.
  • Visitors can set off on canoe trips for example from Koidanvaara or Polvikoski.

Marked Trails

  • Eteläosan kierros Trail, about 4.5 km. The trail sets off from Lakonkangas parking area and leads to the edge of the River Koitajoki and Lakonkangas lean-to shelter from where it heads onward along the rivers west bank to Hanhikoski open wilderness hut. From Hanhikoski the trail returns to Lakonkangas parking area along Tapion taival Trail. The trail is marked with orange circles. The trail is ideal for example for family day-trips. The recommended time for travelling this trail is 2 to 3 hours.
    • Services: There are campfire sites and a dry toilet at the Lakonkangas lean-to shelter and Hanhikoski open wilderness hut (in Finnish). There is a parking area at Lakonkangas.
    • Connecting trail: A portion of this trail follows the same route as Tapion taival Trail.
  • Keskiosan kierros Trail, about 11 km, has its starting point at Polvikoski parking area and heads east from there via Palokangas to Kivikkosuo campfire site. From there it continues north to the bank of the River Asumajoki. Before arriving at the river hikers can turn off the trail and travel a short distance east to Leimuukämppä open wilderness hut. The actual trail continues on the south side of the River Asumajoki heading northeast towards Asumajoki lean-to shelter. The shelter is located at the point where the Rivers Koitajoki and Asumajoki meet. At the shelter hikers can cross the River Koitajoki by a rope pulley ferry. The trail then continues along the west bank of the River Koitajoki to a crossroads where this trail joins with Tapion taival Trail. Hikers turn left onto Tapion taival Trail and head back to Polvikoski Rapids. The trail is marked with orange circles. The terrain is easy to travel and is mostly made up in commercial forest. The recommended time for travelling this trail is 4 to 7 hours.
    • Services: There are campfire sites and dry toilets at Kivikkosuo, Leimuukämppä open wilderness hut (in Finnish) and Asumajoki lean-to shelter. There is a parking area at Polvikoski.
    • Connecting trails: A portion of this trail follows the same route as Tapion taival Trail. From Kivikkosuo campfire site there is a connecting trail (about 6 km long) to the EU's most eastern point.
  • Pirhun kierto Trail, 17 km, has its starting point at Polvikoski Rapids near Polvikoski parking area. The trail is marked with orange circles. The terrain is easy to travel. First the trail travels along the same route as Tapion taival Trail through Koivusuo Strict Nature Reserve and all the way to Pirhu. Within the strict nature reserve hikers may not stray from the marked trail without a special permit. Pirhun kierto Trail turns off Tapion taival Trail at Pirhu. The trail then leads through old-growth forests and tree-rich mires to Pirtupolku parking area, from where it continues towards the River Koitajoki. The river can be crossed by a rope pulley ferry after which the trail arrives at Koidanvaara lean-to shelter, which is located very near the border zone. From the lean-to shelter the trail then leads to Verkkopudas open wilderness hut at times leading directly along the river bank. From the hut the trail continues along the rivers edge to Asumajoki lean-to shelter, which is located at the point where the River Koitajoki and Asumajoki meet. Directly after leaving the lean-to shelter the trail moves across the River Koitajoki. Hikers can cross by rope pulley ferry. The trail then continues along the west bank of the River Koitajoki to a crossroads where this trail joins with Tapion taival Trail.

    The recommended time for travelling this trail is 1 to 2 days. NOTE! The rope pulley ferries along Pirhun kierto Trail are in use at least from June 1st to September 30th. If the weather conditions permits, the ferries may be in place earlier/later in the season.
    • Services: Koidanvaara and Asumajoki lean-to shelters and Verkkopudas open wilderness hut (in Finnish), which has its own campfire site and a dry toilet, Pirtupolku parking area.
    • Sights: Pirhunvaara forest ranger estate which has for example and old, restored drying barn. Today the main building is used for security, maintenance and research.
    • Connecting trails: A portion of this trail follows the same route as Tapion taival Trail.
  • Tapion taival Trail, about 20 km, has its starting point at Lakonkangas. The trail is marked with orange circles. The terrain is quite level and at some points the trail leads along forest roads. The start of the trail leads via Lakonkangas to Hanhikoski open wilderness hut, from where it continues along the river bank to Niemipuro open wilderness hut. From this hut the trail moves further from the river and leads to Sammalpuro cmpfire site through bogs and forests. After the campfire site the trail leads back to following the route of the river. From the River Alajoki to Polvikoski Rapids the trail follows the Koitajoki river bank. From Polvikoski Rapids the trail turns into Koivusuo Strict Nature Reserve. In the strict nature reserve hikers may not wander off of the marked trail. There is a long stretch of duckboards at Koivusuo. After passing through Koivusuo Mire the landscape changes to old farm fields at Pirhunvaara forest ranger estate. The grounds are equipped with, for example, an old drying barn, which has been restored. Today the main building is used for security, maintenance and research. Some distance after leaving the grounds the trail joins Pirhuntie Road and hikers should turn left onto the road. After passing a beam the trail ends at Hoikantie Road. The recommended time for travelling this trail is 1 to 2 days.
    • Services: Campfire sites and dry toilets are at the Hanhikoski (in Finnish) and Niemipuro (in Finnish) open wilderness huts, at Sammalpuro and at Lakonkangas lean-to shelter.
    • Map: Tapion Taival Hiking Trail Map (www.vaellus.info, in Finnish)
    • Connecting Trail: Hikers can get onto all the area's other trails from this one.

Canoeing Routes

The River Koitajoki is a well known canoeing river, which is also suited for beginners. The rapids along the River Koitajoki are classified as I-level. The classification has been made according to the Finnish Canoe Federation's rapid classification criteria (www.melontajasoutuliitto.fi, in Finnish). Polvikoski Rapid, which is quite strong, is easy to pass over land.

During spring floods the River Koitajoki is swift flowing and is ideal for canoeing. The floods last two to three weeks are most in May. After this the current slows. In the more shallow rapid areas rocks are the biggest problem as canoes can get caught in them. The flow of the river eats away at it embankments and from time to time the place of the river bed shifts. Trees which have fallen over the river may hinder your journey.

The Koitajoki water route map is a good guide for those travelling along the areas water ways.

Visitors can set off on canoe trips for example from Koidanvaara or Polvikoski. There is a trail from Koidanvaara lean-to shelter to the river bank, where there is a canoe launching point. You can end your canoe trip at Lakonkangas lean-to shelter from where there is a 700 metre trail to what will be Lakonkangas parking area. Canoes can be moved along this track from the river to the parking area.

  • The services for the nature reserve are shown on the map. Especially the Koidanvaara, Asumajoki and Lakonkangas lean-to shelters are ideal spots for canoeists to rest or spend the night.
  • Also read the equipment rental section.