Winter Trails

The snowy hills and forests of Koli National Park invite you to enjoy winter excursions. The peaks of Koli offer a great setting especially for snowshoeing. To reach the most beautiful views, you can follow the marked Snowshoeing Trail of the Tops, but snowshoeing outside the marked trails is also an option in winter. If you wish, you can use the marked summer trails as snowshoeing trails.

There is only one walking trail with winter maintenance in the Koli National Park—the Kylän polku Winter Trail—but you can often also walk along the hard-trodden paths of the most popular summer trails. Please note that the shortest way to Ukko-Koli in winter differs from the summer trail.

Koli's ski trail network (koli.fi) runs through varying terrain from the hills of Koli to the ice of Lake Pielinen. You can go downhill skiing in the National Park on the Slopes of Ukko-Koli (koliski.fi). While the snowmobile trail leading past the village of Koli runs close by the National Park, snowmobiling is prohibited in Koli National Park area.

Parking in winter: All of the Koli National Park parking areas are winter maintained, excluding Seppälä-Lakkala, Rykiniemi and Eteläpää parking areas. Also lay-bys (not actual parking spaces) along the Rantatie road near Mäkränmaja rental hut and Ala-Murhi are maintained. Please note, that during the winter maintenance period, the parking areas are smaller and the Rantatie road may be in a poor condition particularly at the stretch Sikoniemi—Vesivaara. Read more instructions for arriving at Koli.

Always check the What is New page of your destination before heading out. 

 

Starting Points for Trails

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

Ukko-Koli P2 parking area (Ylä-Kolintie 31, Lieksa)

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

 

Downhill Skiing

Riding Trails

Walking Routes

Ukko-Koli, 400 m each way

Drop in on a short trail and enjoy the winter wonderland and views of Lake Pielinen with its vast open expanses.

Available: While there is no winter maintenance on this trail, walkers often trample the snow, keeping the trail open throughout the winter.

Travel time: 30 min.

Difficulty: The trail is demanding in winter due to height differences, varying snow conditions, steep steps and slippery paths. The trail also has step-free access to the Ukko-Koli demanding accessible viewpoint.

Starting Point

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

The nearest parking areas to the starting point are P1, P2 and P3 at Ylä-Koli, address Ylä-Kolintie 31, Lieksa. From the parking areas, you can access Upper Yard on foot or by the free funicular. When the funicular is closed, walk from the parking area to the Upper Yard along the road's edge. The stairs leading to the Upper Yard are not maintained in the winter, so they may be extremely icy. Their use in the winter is not recommended.

Please note that the parking areas in Ylä-Koli are easily congested.

Before starting your trip, please read the instructions for arriving at Koli.

Ukko-Koli Winter Trail map (pdf 469 kt, julkaisut.metsa.fi).

Sights

Heritage landscape opening out from Ukko-Koli to the east over the icy expanses of Lake Pielinen, snow-laden forests in mid-winter, and landscape tinted by the delicate shades of wintry light.

Services

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

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.

Hiking Structures

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.

Route Description

The trail is marked with blue ribbon in winter. The signposts at trail junctions 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 Upper Yard 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 junction 13, where you turn left and continue uphill for another short distance. You now come to steep natural stone steps, at the top of which the peak of Ukko-Koli is waiting.

If you wish to enjoy the views of Ukko-Koli without climbing the steps all the way to the peak, turn right at junction 66 before the steps to reach Ukko-Koli's demanding accessible viewpoint.

Follow the same route back.

Please Note

As there is no winter maintenance on this trail, it is often treacherously slippery, especially on slopes and in steep sections. As the winter progresses, the steps become completely covered with snow, and trampling feet turn them into a slippery slope. We recommend that you wear shoes with studs or sole grips and bring walking poles for support on this trail.

The steep steps from Ukko-Koli straight back to the Upper Yard and to junction 65 are not passable in winter.

 

Kylän polku (Koli Village) Winter Trail, 3.3 km each way

Sense the history of Koli village and the National Park as you climb from the village to the Upper Yard and the services of Nature Centre Ukko. If you wish, you can climb the highest peak of the snow-covered hills following the winter trail to Ukko-Koli.

Available: Around the year. The trail is opened with a snowmobile during weekdays if it snows (no snow ploughing). Please note that there is no maintenance during weekends.

Travel time: 1.5–2 h/uphill (return 1 h/downhill).

Difficulty: The trail is demanding in winter due to height differences, varying snow conditions, steep steps and slippery paths, so a good basic fitness level is sufficient.

Starting Point

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

If you would like to walk from the Koli Nature Centre Ukko's Upper Yard to Koli village, the alternative starting point is Ylä-Kolintie 39, Lieksa.

The nearest parking areas to the alternative starting point are P1, P2 and P3 at Ylä-Koli, address Ylä-Kolintie 31, Lieksa. From the parking areas, you can access Upper Yard on foot or by the free funicular.

Please note that the parking areas in Ylä-Koli are easily congested.

Before starting your trip, please read the instructions for arriving at Koli.

Kylän polku Winter Trail map (pdf 1 Mb, julkaisut.metsa.fi).

Sights

Culturally and historically valuable landscapes in Mattila and Vaarala, the versatile services of Koli village and the Upper Yard, old-growth forest on the slopes of Ipatinvaara hill, iconic landscapes of Ukko-Koli shrouded in snow.

Services

Services at the Koli village, including restaurants, tourism information (koli.fi), outdoor equipment rental (vaara.net) and a grocery store. Accommodation and café services at the Mattila farm (kolinkeidas.com).

On the route, you’ll also find the services of the Upper Yard, such as the hotel restaurant (sokoshotels.fi) and Koli Nature Centre Ukko, with stores, cafés and exhibitions.

Hiking Structures 

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 blue ribbon in winter. The signposts at trail junctions 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 in the parking area at Koli Church, which is located right in the centre of Koli village. Unlike the summer trail, the winter trail first follows the cycle path next to Ylä-Kolintie road for 400 m towards Ukko-Koli until you see junction 58 on the left-hand side of the road. From the cycle path, you turn left onto the path leading towards Mattila. Watch out as you soon reach junction 2, where the trail crosses a skiing track. The trail continues straight up a gentle hill to Mattila farmyard.

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 Upper Yard through junctions 8 and 9.

At junction 65 located on the southern edge of the Upper Yard and to the left of Nature Centre Ukko, you start following the winter trail to the peak of Ukko-Koli. The steep steps up from junction 65 to Ukko-Koli are not passable in winter.

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

Please Note

The trail can be treacherously slippery, especially on slopes and in steep sections. As the winter progresses, the steps become completely covered with snow, and trampling feet turn them into a slippery slope. We recommend that you wear shoes with studs or sole grips and bring walking poles with wide snow baskets for support on this trail. If the trail has been covered with snow, you may need snowshoes.

Snowshoeing Trails

On snowshoe, you can access the places in the national park which would otherwise be difficult or challenging to reach. Independent snowshoe excursions to the Tarhapuro Waterfall, Lakkala, Mäkrävaara Hill or Vesivaara Hill are wonderfully inspiring. There is up-to-date information on the snowshoeing trails on the What is New page.

Snowshoeing Trail of the Tops, 2 km Circle Trail

Experience the most popular landscapes of Koli shrouded in white, admire the icy expanses of Lake Pielinen stretching out below and the snow-covered trees tinted by the sunset.

Available: In winter with adequate snow depth. The information about opening the trail in What's New page.

Travel time: 1,5–2 h.

Difficulty: The trail is demanding in winter due to height differences, varying snow conditions and slippery rocks. A good basic fitness level is sufficient for the trail.

Starting Point

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

The nearest parking areas to the starting point are P1, P2 and P3 at Ylä-Koli, address Ylä-Kolintie 31, Lieksa. From the parking areas, you can access Upper Yard on foot or by the free funicular. When the funicular is closed, walk from the parking area to the Upper Yard along the road's edge. The stairs leading to the Upper Yard are not maintained in the winter, so they may be extremely icy. Their use in the winter is not recommended.

Please note that the parking areas in Ylä-Koli are easily congested.

Before starting your trip, please read the instructions for arriving at Koli.

Snowshoeing Trail of the Tops brochure (pdf 663 kt, julkaisut.metsa.fi).

Sights

Panoramic views in all directions, winter landscapes shaped by the snow load on trees, colours painted by the sun over a white landscape.

Services

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

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.

Hiking Structures

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.

Route Description

The trail is marked with blue reflectors.

The trail starts in the yard of Koli Nature Centre Ukko at junction 65. From here, you head behind the Nature Centre to junction 11, where you turn left into the forest. The snowshoeing trail leaves Huippujen kierros Trail immediately after the radio mast and heads right into the forest.

Going past cliff faces, you reach Akka-Koli, after which the trail continues south and again leaves Huippujen kierros Trail. Roughly half way, there is a sharp left turn and, taking in magnificent lake views to the east, the trail reaches Paha-Koli.

After Paha-Koli peak, you continue to follow the path along the eastern cliff faces of the peaks. You go past the demanding accessible viewpoint all the way to the highest peak of Ukko-Koli.

From here, the trail continues for a short distance to the north, until you take a sharp left downhill and return to the starting point through junction 12.

Please Note

Please note that this trail is only intended for snowshoeing.

The peaks and many other lookout points of Koli are difficult to reach and slippery. There are no handrails at the viewpoints. They are natural attractions where visitors go at their own risk. In winter, snow may form treacherous overhangs on the edges of cliff faces, which is why you should avoid going too close to the edge. Please also note that in open rocky areas revealed as the snow melts in spring, the spikes of snowshoes cannot get a proper grip. Poles with large snow baskets may also be very helpful when snowshoeing.

Cross-country Skiing Trails

Check all of the Koli's up-to-date ski trail info (koli.fi).

Please Note

For safety reasons, skiers are requested to keep to the maintained ski trails particularly in the area of the Koli peaks.

A skiing trail in a wintry deciduous forest.

The Hillyskiing trails of the Koli National Park, 3 and 7 km Circle Trails

The hillyskiing trails of the National Park offer tranquil forest landscapes and exhilarating speed to beginners as well as more experienced skiers. 

Available: In winter with adequate snow depth. Check the up-to-date ski trail info (infogis.fi) before heading out.

Difficulty: The 3 km ski trail is medium difficulty and the 7 km ski trail is demanding because of the steep ascents and descents. Please note that the ski trails are unlit.

Starting Point

Ukko-Koli P2 parking area, Ylä-Kolintie 31, Lieksa.

Sights

Both ski trails run by the Mäkränaho clearing, resting in the wintry silence, and the snowy boulder fields of Paimenenvaara Hill. On the 7-km ski trail, you can admire the views opening out from Mäkrävaara Hill and the idyllic red hut of Ikolanaho. 

Service

Just a funicular ride away from the starting point, the services of the Upper Yard, 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 ski direction is marked on the ski map. 

The 3 km ski trail loosely follows, until Mäkränaho, the corresponding summer trail and returns to P2 by the side of Paimenenvaara Hill, passing Paimenenlampi. This 7 km ski trail branches off from the 3 km ski trail at Mäkränaho, where it then ascends to Mäkrävaara Hill. Returning via Ikolanaho, the 7 km ski trail joins the 3 km ski trail again by the side of Paimenenvaara Hill.

Connection

From the hill ski trail, there is a connecting ski trail to the lit Loma-Koli —  Kopravaara ski trail.

Cross-country skiing Events

At Koli, there are two major cross-country skiing events: Maisemahiihto (maisemahiihto.fi, in Finnish) and Ahmanhiihto (ahmanhiihto.fi, in Finnish), for which additional ski trails are opened. After these events, some of the extra ski trails are used until the end of the ski season. 

Downhill Skiing

A snowboarder on a slope on a sunny day.

The Ukko-Koli Ski Slopes

The Ukko-Koli ski slopes (koliski.fi) are located in Koli National Park in the vicinity of the Koli peaks.

Starting Point

Address: Ukko-Koli slopes parking area, Rantatie 27, Lieksa. 

Services

Services of Rinnetupa (koliski.fi) such as restaurant, equipment rental and ticket sales.

At Ylä-Koli, the services of the Upper Yard, such as the hotel restaurant (sokoshotels.fi) and Koli Nature Centre Ukko, with stores, cafés and exhibitions.

Hiking Structures

Rinnetupa campfire sites.

Please Note

For safety reasons, downhill skiing is prohibited outside the Ukko-Koli slope areas on the Koli peaks. 

Riding Trails

A group of horseback riders in the snow with leafless birch trees in the background.

You can visit the national park's cultural landscape on horseback in winter as well. Further information is available at the Paimentupa farmhouse (paimentupa.fi).

Snowmobile Routes

In Koli National Park, snowmobiling is prohibited, including the islands. The snowmobile route runs outside Koli National Park from Ahmovaara (via the village of Koli) onto Lake Pielinen, passing by Koli Harbour and Hiekkasaaret Islands. By Koli Harbour and the Rinnetupa hut, snowmobiles can be parked on the ice. From Koli, the snowmobile route further continues to Juuka and Nurmes, Lieksa and finally to Eno and Joensuu.