Nature and Hiking Trails

In the National Park there is a Nature Trail and are two Hiking Trails, where you can find out about the forest ecosystems of the area.

Two hikers on wooden footbridges in an autumn forest.

Starting Points for Trails

Nahkiaissalo Nature Trail and Hirviniemi Hiking Trail are in the south-east part of the Park, in Selkälahti area. The trails are on the mainland, so they are easily accessible also by car. The trails have the same starting point. Coming from Enonkoski, the trails are about 8 km after the ferry at Hanhivirta. From the sign "Kolovesi kansallispuisto Nahkiaissalo" it is a couple of kilometres to the parking area, which is the starting and ending point of the trails. Boaters can start the trails from the camping site at Lohilahti Bay.

Before "Kolovesi kansallispuisto Nahkiaissalo" sign there is a brown and white sign "Kolovesi kansallispuisto Käkövesi", about 3,5 km after the Hanhivirta ferry. If you turn there, you will end up at Käkövesi boat launching place instead of the trails.

Landscape photograph from a high cliff. A summery lake landscape can be seen behind the pine that grow on the rocky slope.

Mäntysalo Trail is in the northern end of Mäntysalo Island. The starting point of the trail, and the mooring place are on the shore of Mäntysalo Island opposite the northern end of Pitkäsaari Island. Because of its location, the Nature Trail is also accessible to motor boaters.
 

Nature Trails

Nahkiaissalo nature trail 3.3 km, loop trail

During snow-free season, hiking time 1.5 to 2 hours.
The trail is challenging. The trail has many elevation differences, and there are rocks and tree roots in places.

Wander in the shade of wild spruce forests and admire the lake landscapes. With a lot of elevation differences, the terrain on the trail varies from bright rocky areas to steep slopes and damp hollows. Take a break at the Lohilahti lean-to shelter where you can also land by canoe. 

Starting point
Address: Nahkiaissalo parking area. Nahkiaissalontie, Savonlinna.
Coordinates: WGS84 - lat: 62° 12.922' lon: 28° 55.367', ETRS-TM35FIN - P: 6899656 I: 599988
Paddlers can also start their trip from the Lohilahti camping area where you can land by canoe.
Nahkiaissalo Nature Trail Map (excursionmap.fi)

Hiking structures
The Lohilahti camping site (approximately 70 metres from the actual loop trail) is a campfire site equipped with a lean-to shelter with a chimney where it is permitted to make fires also during forest and grass fire warnings with special caution. Lohilahti also has a dry toilet and a shed.

You can find information boards along the trail that provide basic information on old-growth forests and their species. 

Sights
You can admire the beautiful lake landscapes before and after the Lohilahti camping area. On the left side of the start of trail, you can see a depression on the ground which is a remnant of an old tar pit.

Trail description
Trail markings: The trail is marked with orange circles on trees. There are wooden signs at intersections. 
Recommended direction of travel: Counterclockwise.

The trail starts from the Nahkiaissalo parking area. After a short connecting path, the actual loop trail begins. Soon you dive into an atmospheric spruce forest, and after a few uphills and downhills, you reach the shore. The trail to the Lohilahti camping area zigzags close to the water. Slightly after Lohilahti, the trail climbs steeply upwards, rising from the shade of the spruces to a bright, rocky pine forest.

Once you reach more open terrain and the trail turns sharply back towards the starting point, the forest becomes more spruce dominated again. Lichens hanging on tree branches are signs of the humid microclimate of the old-growth forest and the cleanliness of the air.

Notes
The Nahkiaissalontie road, which leads to the starting point of the trail, is often covered by snow for a long time in the spring, and due to the long uphill, the return journey from the Nahkiaissalo parking area back to the main road may be challenging.

In rainy weather, the stones and roots on the trail, as well as the duckboards may be very slippery, so you should be careful especially on uphill and downhill sections. The trail runs in damp hollows in places, but duckboards make traversing easier in the wettest points.
 

Hiking Trails

Mäntysalo Trail 3.8 km, loop trail

During snow-free season, hiking time approximately 2 hours.
Due to the large differences in elevation, the trail is challenging.

Mäntysalo trail has forests of different ages, ranging from old-growth mixed forests in their natural state to cultivated forests. 

Starting point
The Mäntysalo trail is located on the island of Mäntysalo, so it is not possible to get there overland. The starting point of the trail is located at the boat mooring point on the northern shore of the island. Coordinates: WGS84 - lat: 62° 18.423' lon: 28° 44.515', ETRS-TM35FIN - P: 6909602 I: 590310

The nearest parking area to Mäntysalo is Kirkkoranta where you can also find a launching site for boats.
Address: Kirkkoranta parking area. Kirkkorannantie 200, Enonkoski.
Coordinates: WGS84 - lat: 62° 14.207' lon: 28° 53.641', ETRS-TM35FIN - P: 6901999 I: 598423

Mäntysalo Trail Map (excursionmap.fi)

Hiking structures
There are two benches along the trail with beautiful lake views.  

Sights
Lake views at scenic sites.

Trail description
Trail markings: The trail is marked with orange circles on trees. 
Recommended direction of travel: Clockwise.

When leaving from the boat mooring point, the trail starts with a challenging climb. After this, the trail gets easier, although there are uphills and downhills along the trail. The forest nature around the trail varies. In places, the terrain is open, lichen covered and rocky; in places, the trail sometimes runs in a denser forest.
There is an offshoot to the Mäntysalo rental hut from the eastern section of the trail about one kilometre from the starting point.

After the intersection, the Mäntysalo trail comes closer to the shoreline again. Stop and admire beautiful lake views in several places before the trail returns to the starting point at the boat mooring point.

Notes
Going to the Mäntysalo island is completely prohibited between 1 January and 30 April. You can find more detailed information on the restricted areas and restriction periods on the Kolovesi map.

There is no campfire site or dry toilet along the trail. The nearest services are located in the nearby Pitkäsaari. Please note that the yard around the Mäntysalo rental hut and its campfire sites and canoe docks are reserved only for those staying at the Mäntysalo rental hut. The hut can be rented from the end of May to the beginning of October through the Eräluvat online store (verkkokauppa.eraluvat.fi).

Hirviniemi Trail, 1,5 km, is a one-way trail, which runs mainly on forest and tractor roads. The beginning part of the trail is marked with orange circles.

  • Services: At Hirviniemi camping site there are two campfire sites and a dry toilet. It is possible to swim there but there is no official swimming site in the area.
  • A canoe pier
  • Sights: Varied forests in many ages.

 

Waterways and paddling routes

Kolovesi does not have official marked water routes but as the park is characterised by islands and peninsula, you have excellent opportunities to create your own routes. The national park also offers plenty of routes for beginner paddlers. Please take account of the weather forecast, wind direction and possible waves when planning paddling or rowing routes. Before going out to the water, read the safety instructions. The Kolovesi area also has plenty of services, such as camping and campfire sites for paddlers.

Route suggestions

Good starting points for canoeing excursions include the launching sites at Kirkkoranta and Käkövesi. Especially during the busiest camping season in July, Kirkkoranta may be busy, whereas Käkövesi is usually calmer.

  • Some recommended routes from Kirkkoranta include the campfire sites in Lohilahti or Vaajasalo and back to Kirkkoranta. The route is well suited for day trips, and the length of the route is approximately 5 km one-way.
  • When leaving Kirkkoranta, you can paddle around the whole Vaajasalo (Kirkkoranta-Ukonvuori-Kotaselas-Syväniemi-Vaajasalo-Kirkkoranta). Land at Ukonvuori to take a look at the rock paintings. There are several camping and campfire sites along the trail. The route length is approximately 25 km.
  • It is also possible to paddle around half of Vaajasalo by only going around the southern section, which means that the length of the trail is approximately 15 km. There is a connection from Ukonlahti to Metsoselkä. Check the water level to see if it is possible to paddle through the narrows. However, it is possible to carry the canoe over the narrows (distance approximately 100 m).
  • If you plan to paddle around the entire park, it is best to reserve multiple days for the trip. The route around the largest islands of the national park, Mäntysalo and Vaajasalo, is about 35-40 km long. 
  • You can also find suggested paddling routes here (oravivillage.com).

Kolovesi also has good connections to waterways outside the national park for those who are planning for a longer paddling trip. There is a connection to Joutenvesi in the northern part of the park. Through the channels of Pilppa and Kerma, there is also access to Lake Kermajärvi.

Notes

Using motorboats is prohibited in most parts of the Kolovesi National Park. However, motorised traffic is permitted in the waters in the northern parts of the national park, so pay attention to other traffic. Please also note the restrictions on the movement in the national park, which are marked on the map