Punkaharju's naturally gorgeous landscape offers excellent opportunities for hikes of different lengths. There are two marked trails in Laukansaari Research Park and the Kokonharju Esker area and two trails on the Esker area . Additionally there are numerous unmarked but clearly visible trails through the terrain.
Starting Points for Trails
- The Kokonharju Trail, Puulajireitti Tree Species Trail and The Hakki (Nutcracker) Trail all have their starting point in Laukansaari Research Park's parking area at the place called the old school at Punkaharju, on the north side of main road 14. To get to the starting point turn off main road 14 in the direction indicated by the signpost for "Tutkimuspuisto" (Research Park). There is a parking area as well as an information boards at the starting point on the grounds of the old school building.
- Visitors can set off on the esker area's trails from Tuunaansaari, Lusto or the rest spot on the ridge.
Kokonharju Esker Trail, 3 km
Kokonharju Trail is 3 km long and leads through the Kokonharju Esker old-growth forest. Some of Finland's tallest trees grow along this trail. The trail leads across varying terrain and the ascents on the ridge and descents from there can be steep. Wet spots have duckboards laid across them. The trail is marked with orange paint symbols. There is no winter maintenance on the trail.
Puulajireitti Tree Species Trail, 5.3 km
Puulajireitti Tree Species Trail is 5.3 km long and features 30 different tree species. Along the trail there is the area's oldest forest, Montelli larch forest, which was planted already in 1877. The trail is easy to travel and follows the gravel roads which zigzag through the arboretum area. The trail is marked with red paint symbols and signposts.
The Hakki (Nutcracker) Trail, 7.7 km
The Hakki Trail is 7.7 km long and is situated in Laukansaari Research Park. Along the trail you can see different tree species. If you are fortunate you might spot the bird after which the trail has been named, i.e. Eurasian nutcracker (“pähkinähakki”) in the forest of Siberian pines. The trail is predominantly easy to walk. There are few steep slopes and it is also suitable for mountain bikers. The route is mostly a path but at some places it follows a grit road. The trail is marked with blue paint symbols and signposts.
The Harjureitti Trail, 4 km
The Harjureitti Trail is 4 km long and easily accessible for most of the way. Running through beautiful lakeside scenery, the trail will occasionally crest a high esker and offer stunning views of the Punkaharju national landscape. Sturdy stone steps will aid your climb to the top. The route is marked with orange paint symbols. There is no winter maintenance on the trail.
- Topeliuksen luontopolku Nature Trail (2,5 km) is part of Harjureitti Trail. The lit trail is surrounded by old pines and lake landscapes.
The accessible trail, 0.3 km
The accessible trail runs for 0.3 km and is suitable for wheelchairs over its entire length, from the parking area at Kruunupuisto to the scenic Valkealampi pond. The route is marked with orange paint symbols. There is no winter maintenance on the trail.
The Kuikon Salpa trail, 0.7 km
The Kuikon Salpa trail is 0.7 km long. As you pass through the airy pine stands, take time to explore the dugouts and trenches beside the trail. The trail is fully accessible and marked with orange paint symbols. There is no winter maintenance on the trail.
Cross-country Skiing Trails
The Länsi-Punkaharju (western Punkaharju) village association maintains a 7,5-km-long circular ski trail known as Metlan lenkki Trail in Laukansaari area as well as several other ski trails in the Punkaharju area. Karjalankallio lean-to shelter, where visitors can enjoy a packed meal beside a campfire, is situated on Metlan lenkki ski trail. The trail is suited for either classical or free-style cross-country skiing.
Cycling is permitted on the area's roads and trails separately marked with bike symbols.