Sammakkotammi information point - Pankalampi lean-to shelter, 9 km

Undemanding terrain.

A trail to Metsäkartano starts off at Sammakkotammi information point in Tiilikkajärvi National Park. At the information point there is a parking area as well as a dry toilet and recycling point. After passing Lake Pieni Sammakkojärvi the trail first leads along the side of road 5850 (Rautavaara-Valtimo) for 1,3 km. It then turns onto Pirttisuontie road at the sign for Honkakangas. Just 200 m after the intersection the trail turns left and continues east toward Pumpulikirkko.

Lehmisuo mire and cottony clouds. Photo: Katri Suhonen

The trail leads quickly through oak saplings to the edge of the vast and diverse Löytynsuo-Maamonsuo mire. There are many open mire landscapes back to back along the trail. There are short treks through forests between mires. The first mire on the trail is Sopasensuo and after this Pärnäsensuo. Hikers will also see signs of the mire restoration. Just by the trail there are filled in ditches, which helps mires return to their natural state.

After moving the benches in Pankalampi lean-to shelter there is room for a tent if needed. Photo: Katri Suhonen

After passing the filled in ditch the trail turns onto a forest road for 100 m northward, after which the trail turns east into the mires. After passing through mires it crosses berry filled young forest to Lehmisuo. At this point you should definitely stop to admire the mire landscape spreading out around you. From the edge of Lehmisuo mire it is a short walk to the spot where the trail again crosses the forest road. After this the trail mainly leads through dry forest. The trail passes Lake Repolampi, on its right, just before the trail arrives at the forest road. The trail turns right onto the forest road and follows it for 500 m eastward. Then there is a 300 m trail to Pankalampi lean-to shelter. At the shelter there is a campfire spot and a dry toilet. Camping is allowed in the vicinity of the lean-to shelter. A small tent can even fit into the lean-to, but remember to take into consideration other hikers who may want to stay there as well. The lean-to shelter is maintained by the municipality of Rautavaara.

Pankalampi lean-to shelter - Yrttilampi campfire site, 6 km

Very demanding terrain as there are changes in altitude, rocky sections and sections where there are tree roots.Lodgepole Pine. Photo: Katri Suhonen

From Pankalampi lean-to shelter there is a 300 m connecting trail to Virvatulten polku Trail. Almost immediately you will see trees from which bark has been removed. The aim is to allow the Lodgepole Pines (Pinus contorta), which were planted in the area, to decay. Lodgepole Pines are not part of the traditional North Savo landscape. This restoration site is not far from the edge of Pumpulikirkko Old-growth Forest Reserve. At the reserve's boundary is Pumpulilampi information board. It is 700 m from Pumpulilampi to Pumpulikirkko. The trail crosses rolling hills in old forest landscape.

The best known sight in the reserve is Pumpulikirkko, which is a large giant's kettle. It is located at the trail's halfway point. It is 10 km from Tiilikkajärvi National Park and 9 km from Metsäkartano. At the foot of the giant's kettle a bubbling stream, Konttipuro, flows through the fracture valley. The fracture valley formed millions before the last Ice Age as the Earth's crust shifted. The giant's kettle was formed at the end of the Ice Age about 10,000 years ago at the water from melting ice pounded against cliff walls. The flow took with it boulders which carved the giant's kettle during the next few centuries. The front wall of the giant's kettle got eroded and finally gave way and now there is a unique cross section of the kettle.

The slopes of the gorge are covered by old spruce forests. Its bottom is steep boulder covered terrain is very demanding. After Pumpulikirkko canyon the trail leads through a dense spruce forest to the edge of Silvonsuo mire, which has been restored. This a good place to see how restoration happens as there is a 200 m trail featuring the topic. This trail leads to a burnt forest.

The bubbles of Konttipuro stream. Photo: Katri Suhonen

From Silvonsuo mire the trail leads into the forest where it crosses a small bridge. The landscape gets lusher as you enter a fern jungle and follow the bank of Konttipuro stream. The quaint stream flows into a canyon, which has walls covered by moss. There are several small bridges for crossing the winding stream in the canyon. The terrain is extremely demanding but as the scenery is beautiful it is nice to move slowly so you can admire the stream flowing through the canyon. The scenery makes it worth the effort. At the end of the canyon there is a high cliff at the foot of which is a pile of boulders which have fallen off of the wall.

After the canyon the trail continues through old spruce forest to a small clearing. Pelkkakangas information board is at the edge of this clearing and Yrttilampi campfire site is 1 km on down the trail. Right after the information board the trail crosses a forest road. After the clearing the trail returns to the forest and up a road to the forest road. After the road it is 250 m to the campfire site. At the campfire site there is an information board and a dry toilet. Camping in allowed in the vicinity of the campfire site.

Yrttilampi campfire site - Metsäkartano nature tourist centre, 4 km

Undemanding terrain.

From Yrttilampi campfire site the trail continues through commercial forest, where the trees are approximately 30 to 40 years old, towards Metsäkartano nature tourist centre. Yrttisuo lean-to shelter is located halfway between Yrttilampi campfire site and Metsäkartano. The lean-to shelter is maintained by Metsäkartano. There is also a bird watching tower by the shelter and a parking area is a short distance away. The lean-to shelter is 1.5 km from Metsäkartano, which is located on the north shore of Lake Ylä-Keyrittyjärvi. There is a Natura exhibit at Metsäkartano, which features the natural forests, mires and river routes in Rautavaara and Varpaisjärvi in a versatile way as well as the history of the area. Sudenpesä ("Wolf Den") is a section of the exhibit especially for children.