Lentua Nature Reserve

The Lentua Nature Reserve (5100 ha) introduces the visitor to the largest unregulated lake in Kuhmo as well as rugged, wilderness-like nature. Water covers 75% of the reserve, and the rest is made up of islands and shore areas.

Lentua is familiar to Finns through the Finnish painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela's illustrations based on Finland's national epic, the Kalevala, and the writings of Veikko Huovinen, a popular Finnish author. The landscape of Akseli Gallen Kallela’s famous Aino Triptych is from lake Lentua.

Lake Lentua empties its waters into the largest rapids in Kuhmo, the Lentuankoski Rapids, a popular sight-seeing and fishing spot. The wide Lentuanjärvi Lake itself attracts visitors and shoreline residents to go rowing or canoeing on its waters and skiing on the pristine snow on its ice in winter. Nature in Lentua is a memorable experience at various times of the day and year.

Flowing rapids in a summery landscape.

Nature and Sights

The Lentua Nature Reserve includes the islands and shore areas of the large Lake Lentua. The core of the area is formed by the open part of the lake, which is surrounded by maze-like bays and points with various shorelines, and all round the lake you can see wooded hills and slope areas. The landscape is also characterised by esker formations, clean beaches and stark but beautiful rocky shores.

Diverse vegetation on a sandy shore. Shore on the opposite side of the lake is densely wooded.

The central parts of Lentua are peaceful and wilderness-like. The shores in the reserve are in their natural state, but most of the privately-owned shore areas contain farms, houses or holiday cottages.

Lentua is the largest unregulated lake in the basin of the Oulujoki River. The average depth of the lake is 7.6 m, but there is a 52-metre-deep depression, which is the deepest point in the lakes of Kainuu.

The forests of Lentua belong to the middle-boreal forest zone. They were first affected by slashing and burning as well as tar burning and later by large-scale cuttings and forest regeneration. An example of this are the rather young forests formed by pines and deciduous trees on most of the islands. There are very few mires in the Lentua area. Small pristine mires can be found on the area's islands.

Pine forest in a sunny weather. Lake can be seen in the background.

Lentuankoski consists of the Iso Lentuankoski (Large Lentuankoski) and Pieni Lentuankoski (Small Lentuankoski) Rapids, which are separated by a short body of still water. The Iso Lentuankoski Rapids flow wildly for about 300 metres and drops about 3,3 metres. The Pieni Lentuankoski Rapids flow more calmly towards Lake Lammasjärvi, but are slightly longer, about 400 metres. The rapids have a total drop of 5.3 metres, and rafting is rather demanding, particularly in the upper rapids.

Rapids in a summery weather. There are duckboards crossing the rapids.

The Lentuankoski Rapids are not part of the Lentua Nature Reserve, but its banks are protected under the Shore Conservation Programme, and the rapids and the waters are protected under the Act on the Protection of Rapids. Together with the west bank’s private nature reserve they form a larger unity of conserved areas.

Rapids on a sunny winter day.

Fish-rich Waters, Numerous Birds and Mammals

Lentua is an important habitat for wild forest reindeer (suomenpeura.fi), and they can be spotted here both in summer and winter. Wild forest reindeer may be followed by grey wolves, wolverines and lynxes. Other animals in the area include elks and red foxes as well as mountain hares, red squirrels and pine martens.

Wild forest reindeer in a lake landscape.

Lentua is rich in fish. The most important commercial fish in Lentua is the vendace. The natural state of the lake is reflected by the brown trout, grayling and whitefish populations. Northern pike, burbot, perch, roach and Eurasian minnow are common.

Two Wild forest reindeer walking on ice.

Lentua offers feeding and nesting sites for forest and water birds alike. On the islands, you can mainly see birds of managed forests and shores. Waterfowl include for example goldeneye, whooper swan and both black-throated and red-throated diver. Other nesters in Lentua include the common tern, common and black-headed gull as well as the lesser black-backed gull. In winter the white-throated dippers dive in the ice-cold water of the rapids.

White-throated dipper standing on a rock.

History

Lentua was one of the first inhabited areas in Kuhmo. Settlers arrived here as early as the 17th century. Traces of prehistoric settlements are found on some of the islands. Nowadays, there are still about 200 permanent dwellings and a lot of summer cottages on shores outside the nature reserve.

Boater on a calm lake.

Lentua has been an important route for travel and trade for as long as there have been people in the area. In the heyday of tar burning, countless tar boats went down the Lentuankoski Rapids when it was time to row barrels of tar to the City of Oulu. Later, in the days of large logging sites, logs were floated in Lentua and the rapids were cleared for this purpose. When traffic and the transport of wood moved to roads, this important route was left for recreational use.

A boat filled with tar barrels.

Lentua's importance for power production was brought up in the 1960s, and there were plans to harness the Lentuankoski Rapids. The idea about the conservation of the Lentua area came up around the same time as the water-power plans. There were even suggestions to establish a national park in Lentua. The plan did not become a reality, but the Lentua Landscape Forest was established in 1970. The nature reserve was founded in 1990 as part of the Friendship Park.

Whitecaps in the flowing rapids.

Instructions and Rules

In Lentua Nature Reserve, the following are

allowed:

  • Walking, skiing, rowing and canoeing
  • Please remember to let birds nest in peace.
  • Motor boating as well as snowmobiling on frozen waters in the winter
  • Picking berries and edible mushrooms
  • Hook and line fishing and ice fishing.

Boater in the sunset.

restricted:

  • Lighting campfires and camping are only allowed at sites marked for this purpose.
  • Fishing, except for hook and line fishing and ice-fishing
    • Everyman's right (environment.fi) entitles everyone to angle and go ice-fishing in the area.
    • Paying the fisheries management fee (eraluvat.fi), grants the right to fish with one rod in state-owned waters.
    • Trap fishing, fishing with more than one rod or crayfishing in state-owned waters also requires a separate fishing permit no. 5411 (eraluvat.fi) issued by Metsähallitus. This licence covers the state-owned waters of Lentua but not the Lentuankoski Rapids.
    • Permits can be purchased at Metsähallitus web store (eraluvat.fi).
    • Fishing licences for the Lentuankoski Rapids are available from the local fishery association, Korpisalmen I kalastuskunta (for more information, contact Lentuankoski Camping, tel. +358 40 773 0050) and Pääkkönen & Piirainen, a dealer of sports and fishing equipment in town Kuhmo.
    • Fishers need to check the restrictions on fishing sites at kalastusrajoitus.fi (in Finnish).
  • Hunting
    • The islands in the nature reserve are protected from hunting.
    • In other areas of the Lentua Nature Reserve, hunting is allowed for local residents on state-owned lands in accordance with the hunting regulations and the valid rules and regulations of the area.

forbidden:

  • Lighting campfires if the forest fire warning is in effect
  • Pets running at large
  • Taking or damaging trees, bushes, other plants or their parts, or mushrooms other than edible ones
  • Damaging soil or rock, and extraction of earth material or minerals
  • Killing, catching or disturbing wild vertebrates, or damaging their nests
  • Catching or collecting invertebrates
  • Hunting on the islands included in the nature reserve
  • Driving motor vehicles, except on roads designated for motor vehicles and motorboating on lake
  • Leaving waste in the area, or damaging constructions.

Heather growing on a rocky shore.

Trails and Services

Please, check the map of the area in Excursionmap.fi.

The principal starting point to Lentua area is the Lentua Rental Lapp Hut, which can be found at the head of the Lentuankoski Rapids at the southern end of the lake.

Lapp hut in autumn.

The Lentua area provides excellent opportunities for short trips and longer treks on the waters. Ski trekking is also popular.

Skier watching Wild forest reindeer on lake ice.

Lentua boasts attractive sandy and rocky shores that provide excellent opportunities for swimming.

Shadows of two hikers on a sandy beach.

Some of the islands have maintained campfire sites and lean-to shelters. In the Lehtosaari island there is also an open wilderness hut with a sauna.

Open wilderness hut surrounded by pine forest. Hiker and a boat can be seen on the reedy shore.

Motor boating is allowed in the area. Sailing is also an option, but jet skiing is not allowed in the nature reserve. There is also a boat launch at the Lentua parking area near the Lentua Rental Lapp Hut. The shores to the resting places can be reached by a smaller boat even when the water level is quite low in late summer. Bigger boats are advised to be left a little further.

Metsähallitus does not have any boats for hire in lake Lentua. Rowing boats and canoes can be asked for hire from the entrepreneurs of Wild Taiga (wildtaiga.fi).

Lentuankoski Trail, 1 km

  • Lentuankoski Trail is a short but popular trail, which is easy to reach. An approximately 300-m-long duckboard trail, accessible also by wheelchair and with a pram or pushchair, leads to the Iso Lentuankoski Rapids. A little further, there is a lean-to shelter with a campfire site and a dry toilet by the still water between the Iso and Pieni Lentuankoski Rapids. You can reach it by walking along the path following the shoreline or by taking the forest path parting from the duckboards a little earlier.

Wide duckboards leading through dense forest.

Boating and Canoeing Routes

A depth profile has been created for Lake Lentua. For information on lake charts, contact the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency (vayla.fi).

Canoeist photographed from the back of the boat.

  • Lake Lentua is part of the main Tervareitti Route between Lake Änättijärvi and Kajaani.
  • The Kalliojoki Route coming from the east ends in Lentua, from where you can continue along the Tervareitti Route.
  • If you come to Lentua from the direction of Iivantiira and Niva, the Kaarneenkoski Rapids are found before the lake. These are difficult due to the log-floating dam, low bridge and rocks in the area. It is best to walk past the rapids using the Kaarne boat trail that starts by the southernmost bay of Lake Niskajärvi.
  • From the north, you can also come to Lentua via Lake Juttuajärvi. There is a track in Huuhkajanlahti Bay for crossing the strip of land between the two lakes.
  • Lentuankoski consists of the Iso Lentuankoski (Large Lentuankoski) and Pieni Lentuankoski (Small Lentuankoski) Rapids, separated by a short body of stagnant water. The Iso Lentuankoski Rapids flow wildly for about 300 metres and drops about 3,3 metres. The Pieni Lentuankoski Rapids flow more calmly towards Lake Lammasjärvi, but are slightly longer, about 400 metres with a drop of about 1,8 metres. The total length of the rapids with the body of still water is 1,200 metres and the total drop 5.3 metres.
  • Rafting is rather demanding particularly in the upper rapids (difficulty class IV). You can walk past the Iso Lentuankoski Rapids using a boat trail that is about 350 metres long.

Canoeist on the lake in a sunny weather. Shore in the background is filled with pine forest.

Services

  • Lentua Lapp-Hut (preorders needed)
  • Lehtosaari open wilderness hut and a campfire site on island Lehtosaari
  • lean-to shelters and campfire sites in Välisuvanto below the Iso Lentuankoski Rapids, Selkäsaari and Kotasaari
  • a sheltered campfire site and camping table on the eastern shore in Kallioniemi
  • campfire sites on islands Multisaari (Vetotaival) and Salonsaari (Lehonnenä)

Grill oven made from stone in the middle of the Lapp Hut. There are wooden benches around the oven.

Note

Please, follow the outdoor etiquette

Remember to take your rubbish back to an appropriate waste disposal point.

Don’t forget to take drinking water with you.

Directions and Maps

The Lentua Nature Reserve is located some 15 km from Kuhmo.

  • You can best access the area by turning from the Kuhmo - Suomussalmi road (No. 912) to road Lentuankoskentie (No. 91283). Drive for about 3 km and turn right to road Niska-ahontie. After 2 km you'll reach the Lentua parking area and the Lentua Rental Lapp Hut.
  • If you use a navigator, please, write an address Niska-ahontie 200, 88900 Kuhmo.
  • There is a parking area on the northern side of the Lentuankoski Rapids and an information board as well as a boat launch.
  • Lake Lentua can also be accessed from several points along the Kuhmo - Suomussalmi road (No. 912) where the road runs close to the lake. The same applies to the Kuhmo - Moisiovaara road (No. 907) and the village of Timoniemi.
  • Lentua Nature Reserve cannot be reached by public transportation.

Maps