Activities in Patvinsuo National Park
Hike in bear country, slow down and observe marshland scenery and birdlife, go canoeing or take a cooling dip by a sandy shore, even though there is no official swimming spot in the national park.
Parts of Patvinsuo National Park are closed to the public during certain times of the year. Please respect the signs!
Patvinsuo is the ideal destination for a one or two-day hike and for observing the natural environment of the wilderness. The park includes around 80 km of marked trails and nature trails (3–25 km), mainly on easy terrain. Mire and wetland areas are provided with around 20 km of boardwalks.
The park has two circular trails: Suomunkierto trail (16 km), the most popular trail, which circles Lake Suomunjärvi; and the Patvinkierto trail (25 km), along which hikers can pause at the birdwatching tower at Teretinniemi or the birdwatching platform at Lahnasuo to observe the birdlife. In addition, Patvinsuo features three nature trails. The Kuusipolku Trail (3 km) runs through mixed forest, the Lakkapolku Trail (3.3 km) through mires and the Mäntypolku Trail (4.5 km) through dry heaths, each habitat having its own, specific vegetation and birdlife.
During bird migration periods, waders swarm around the open mires in Patvinsuo. Spring and autumn are the best seasons for a birdwatching trip to the Teretinniemi birdwatching tower or the Surkansuo and Lahnasuo birdwatching platforms. Patvinsuo is the ideal place for spotting swans, cranes, geese and many species of mire and water birds, gamefowl and birds of prey.
With its sandy shores, Lake Suomunjärvi is a great canoeing destination. You can start a canoeing trip at the Suomu Nature Information Hut and paddle from one shoreline campsite to another. Lake Suomunjärvi is also ideal for rowing. The guide at the Nature Information Hut has canoes and boats for rent.
In early summer, when the waters are high, canoeing is possible on the River Suomunjoki which meanders along the border of the park, running from Lake Suomunjärvi to Lake Koitere. Since you may have to carry your canoe when crossing dozens of beaver dams and fallen tree trunks, this river is for people who are seeking adventure. You should reserve at least one full day to canoe down the entire length of the river.
- Geocaching: Take a new approach to the national park by searching for geocaches in the wild.
- Skiing: The Patvinsuo mires are ideal for skiers who wish to ski cross country off trail. There are no actual ski trails, but two circle ski trails created for maintenance purposes are usually suitable for skiing from the end of January to March.
- Fishing: Lake Suomunjärvi is full of fish: vendace, whitefish and large perch.
- Hook and line fishing and ice fishing are allowed under everyman's rights, except where specific restrictions apply.
- Persons aged 18-64 years must pay the fisheries management fee (eräluvat.fi). If you fish with more than one rod, you also need Metsähallitus' angling permit no 7413 for Southern Finland (eräluvat.fi). Fishing permits are available from Metsähallitus online shop for permits (eraluvat.fi).
- For trap fishing, in addition to paying the fisheries management fee, you will need Metsähallitus' trap fishing permit no 7003 for Lieksa (eräluvat.fi, in Finnish). Permits can also be purchased by phone at +358 (0)20 69 2424.
- All types of fishing are prohibited in the research area of Iso Hietajärvi Lake.
- Fishers need to check the restrictions on fishing sites at kalastusrajoitus.fi (in Finnish).
- Nature Information Hut: The Suomu Nature Information Hut presents facts on Patvinsuo; on the life of the park's emblem animal, the bear; on mire vegetation and on beaver dams.
- Pick berries and mushrooms: Patvinsuo offers bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus), lingonberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), cloudberries (Rubus chamaemorus), cranberries (Vaccinium oxycoccos) and edible mushrooms for visitors to enjoy.
- Sights and scenery: Close to the Suomu Nature Information Hut, visitors can examine the cross-section of an old charcoal pit, built based on a design dating back to the days of the Winter War, and ancient memorial pine trees at Suomu featuring carvings of memorable dates. The Kuikkaniemi fishing sauna is a memento of the local fishing culture.
- Cycling: Mountain biking is allowed according to everyman's rights. Always stay on clearly visible tracks and pay attention to other hikers.
- Guided group tours: Partners organise guided tours for groups subject to a reservation.
- Swimming: The fine, sandy shorelines of Lake Suomunjärvi are ideal for a swim, even though there is no official swimming spot in the national park. For instance, the Kurkilahti beach is well worth a try.
- Hiking: As the trails in the park are connected to the extensive Carelian Circuit network of hiking trails (vaellus.info.fi, in Finnish), they are ideal for a trek lasting a couple of days. Within the park, you can spend the night in a tent, a lean-to shelter, or rooms at the Suomu Nature Hut or Suomu House rental hut.