Ruostejärvi - Saari Trail
Southern Finland, Kanta-Häme Region
Ruostejärvi Recreation Area, Niinimäki Conservation Area and Folk Park of Saari
The Ruostejärvi - Saari Hiking Trail connects two popular hiking destinations in the Häme Lake Uplands; Ruostejärvi Recreation Area and Folk Park of Saari. Both have been known for decades already as a peaceful destination for nature lovers and a source of recreation. The trail leads, for the most part, through pine dominant forest landscape, but the area's ridge slopes, natural lakes, winding shoreline, as well as, its small protected wetland add variety. Hikers can admire the beauty of the area's abundant number of plant species, check out the area's berry and mushroom crop and listen to the murmur of the wind in the pines or the concert of birdsong. At the end of an excursion hikers can rest at the sandy beach or take a dip in the bright, clear lake.
The trail, which can be travelled when the ground is not frozen, is easy to setoff on from Häme Visitor Centre, the customer service point which offers information on hiking in Ruostejärvi Recreation Area, but hikers can just easily get onto the trail from the Folk Park of Saari. In order to travel the trail hikers will need a map and map-reading skills. In addition hikers should be cautious as some portions of the route lead along forest roads and side and town roads.
The trail in its entirety is 14 km long. It can be travelled in one day, but hikers can also stretch their hike to last two days by travelling the trail back and forth and staying overnight at a lean-to shelter in either Ruostejärvi Recreation Area or Folk Park of Saari depending on which starting point you choose. There is also an option of extending your hikes even further, as the trail is part of the over 200 km long Häme Ilvesreitti Hiking Trail Network (hameenvirkistysalueyhdistys.fi, in Finnish).
Ruostejärvi - Saari Trail is Located in the Häme Lake Uplands
The Häme Lake Uplands is a natural gem in the centre of Häme and conveniently close to Finland's busiest urban centres. The Häme Lake Uplands is the ideal destination for a multitude of nature activities - read more on the destinations within the Häme Lake Uplands.
- Liesjärvi National Park
- Torronsuo National Park
- Komio Nature Reserve
- Melkuttimet Nature Reserve
- Pääjärvi Recreation Area
- Ruostejärvi Recreation Area
- Folk Park of Saari
- Poronpolku Trail
- Ruostejärvi - Liesjärvi National Park Trail
- Häme Nature Centre
Ruostejärvi - Saari Trail Directions and Maps
The trail leads along the east side of main road 2 (Helsinki - Pori), in the municipality of Tammela about 100 km from Helsinki and 15 km from Forssa.
- To get to Ruostejärvi Recreation Area take main road 2 (Helsinki - Pori road). Turn off the main road according to signposts pointing to Häme Visitor Centre (Hämeen luontokeskus), drive for 1.5 km and turn left into the recreation area and visitor centre parking area. If approaching the area along road 2824 (Härkätie road) from the direction of Porras Village turn right into the parking area according to the signposts.
- To get to the Folk Park of Saari take main road 10 (Turku - Hämeenlinna road) and turn from there onto road 2821 (Myllykyläntie road) about 45 km from Hämeenlinna and about 12 km from Forssa. Drive along road 2821 for about 4 km and turn left onto road 2823 in the direction of Porras Village. From the intersection it is about 5 km to the park's parking area. When approaching from the direction of main road 2 (Helsinki - Pori road) or road 54 (Hollola - Riihimäki - Tammela road) turn onto road 2824 (Härkätie road). Follow this road up to Porras Village. From the village turn towards Forssa and drive 5 km to the park's parking area.
- To get to Eerikkilä Sports Institute turn off main road 2 according to signposts (Eerikkilän urheiluopisto) about 100 km from Helsinki and 15 km from Forssa onto road 2824 (Härkätie road). From the intersection it is a 4 km drive to the sports institute.
- Several express coaches travel daily along main road 2. On the southwest side of Häme Visitor Centre there is a coach stop at the Eerikkilä intersection, from where it is a 1.5 km walk to Häme Visitor Centre along road 2824 (Härkätie road). Coach timetables can be found on the Matkahuolto website (matkahuolto.fi).
- Local coaches travel past Folk Park of Saari at regular intervals (matkahuolto.fi). There is a bus stop for local buses near the park, a few hundred metres from the parking area. The nearest express coach stop (expressbus.com) is situated on main road 10 at the Tammela intersection 10 km from the area.
- Journey.fi provides information on public transportation (journey.fi)
- Excursionmap.fi of Metsähallitus
- Häme Lake Uplands outdoor map (Hämeen järviylängön ulkoilukartta, infogis.infokartta.fi, in Finnish)
- National Land Survey of Finland Map Service (karttapaikka.fi)
- Retkeily GT Etelä-Suomi: Outdoor GT map Southern Finland, 1:250 000. Karttakeskus 2019. The maps are sold by Karttakeskus and well-stocked bookstores.
- Häme Lake Uplands outdoor map (Hämeen järviylängön ulkoilukartta),
1:55 000, Karttakeskus 2010. The map is sold by Häme Nature Centre, Karttakeskus and well-stocked bookstores.
- Terrain maps 2024 09, 2113 07 and 2113 10, 1:20 000. Maps are sold by Karttakeskus and well-stocked bookstores.
- Terrain maps L422 and L421, 1:50 000. Maps are sold by Karttakeskus and well-stocked bookstores.
Map Sales Points
- Häme Nature Centre
- Karttakeskus Mapshop (karttakauppa.fi, in Finnish)
- Hämeenlinna Tourism Information (visithameenlinna.fi)
- National Land Survey of Finland: Customer Service (maanmittauslaitos.fi)
Instructions and Rules along Ruostejärvi - Saari Trail
Instructions on Exploring Ruostejärvi - Saari Trail
- Instructions and rules: Ruostejärvi Recreation Area and Folk Park of Saari
- The trail is a summer hiking trail, along which Everyman's Rights apply.
- Please remember to be conscientious when using campfire sites. Lighting campfires is completely forbidden when there is a forest fire warning in effect.
Mobile Phone Coverage
- Although Finland has a broad network for mobile phones, there are some areas in the trail without signal. There may also be some smaller spots where there is interference. If this happens try to climb to a higher place or go into an open area. It may be worth removing the SIM card from your phone and then trying again to make emergency call. Different phones also differ in their coverage.
- We recommend that you keep your mobile phone warm at all times and take along food and drink. Certain phone models do not work when the temperature falls below zero. You should therefore let someone know your planned route. To keep your mobile phone charged, bring along a spare power source, a spare battery or an old phone with a working battery.
- Hikers should have a map and be skilled in reading it in order to travel the trail. The trail is difficult to follow if you only follow the markings in the terrain. The area's 1:50,000 outdoor map is a good map for this purpose.
- If you face an emergency on your hike, e.g. get lost, get injured or observe wildfire, call 112 and report an emergency. More information on how to act in an emergency.
- Make sure you pack a first-aid kit.
- Read more about Safety.
- Hikers can travel the trail with basic hiking equipment taking into consideration the season during which you visit.
- Read more about Hiking in Finland.
- At midsummer there are traditional midsummer festivities in the Folk Park of Saari and at that time a fee of charged for entrance to the area.
Ruostejärvi - Saari Trail Level of Difficulty
The trail's level of demand is of medium difficulty. The trail is level and easy to travel, but despite there being trail markings in the terrain hikers must have a map at their disposal and be skilled in reading it.
There are duckboards, natural trails, built hiking trails, borderlines, forest roads and town roads, as well as, one heavy climb and a steep descent at Kaukola ridge in the Folk Park of Saari along the route. The trail is not suited for the disabled.
Hikers should reserve about 4 hours to travel this trail and should attempt to do so only when the ground is not frozen.
Services along Ruostejärvi - Saari Trail
Customer Service and Guidance
- Häme Nature Centre offers information on the hiking trail and sells a of map of the trail.
- Drinking water is available at Häme Nature Centre, Eerikkilä Sports Institute and Lounais-Hämeen Pirtti Estate.
- Read tips on drinking water on the Outdoor Guide pages.
- There are no waste-bins in the trail. Measures should be taken in advance to avoid taking unnecessary waste into the area. Biodegradable waste should be placed in a toilet and small amounts of clean paper and cardboard can be used as kindling in a campfire.
- There are bins for mixed waste in Ruostejärvi Recreation Area at the lake shore by the visitor centre and in Folk Park of Saari at the parking area, as well as, at the beach.
- There are bins for mixed waste and energy waste at Eerikkilä Sports Institute.
- Read more about Hiking Without Littering.
- Campfire sites in Ruostejärvi Recreation Area:
- There is a campfire site and a lean-to shelter on the east shore of Myllylahti Bay.
- The Meidän Metsä (our forest) lean-to shelter is situated at Toralahti Bay in the western part of the area.
- Additionally there is a company lean-to shelter in the vicinity of the visitor centre, which can only be used by reservation. Reservations can be made at the visitor centre.
- Campfire sites in Folk Park of Saari:
- There are campfire sites near the beaches at Lake Kuivajärvi and Lake Suujärvi.
- There is a campfire site as well as a lean-to shelter on the nature trail at the tip of a cape.
- Lighting campfires is forbidden also at the constructed campfire sites if the forest fire warning is in effect.
- More information about lighting campfires can be found at Hiking in Finland.
- Lean-to shelters are supplied with firewood as well as tools to cut it with.
Maintenance and Management
- The municipality of Tammela (tammela.fi, in Finnish), tel. int. +358 3 412 01, maintains the trail as well as Folk Park of Saari, while the Ruostejärvi Area Management Committee, tel. int. +358 3 414 11, maintains Ruostejärvi Recreation Area.
- There are dry toilets in the same building as the dressing rooms at Lake Ruostejärvi beach. The dry toilets are open during the summer 9 am to 8 pm every day. During the rest of the year visitors can ask for a key to the dry toilets at Häme Visitor Centre.
- In Ruostejärvi Recreation Area there are dry toilets near both the Myllylahti and Toralahti lean-to shelters.
- There is a toilet and a toilet for the disabled at Häme Visitor Centre.
- There are toilets at both Eerikkilä Sports Institute and Lounais-Hämeen Pirtti Estate.
- There is a dry toilet near the lean-to shelter in Folk Park of Saari. There is a toilet as well as a toilet for the disabled in the kiosk building (on the shore of Lake Kuivajärvi near road 2823), which are open during summertime.
Camping and Lean-to Shelters
- There are no official camping spots by the trail, but Everyman's Rights ensure that hikers may campout in tents for short periods.
- There are two lean-to shelters in Ruostejärvi Recreation Area, which each have a campfire site and may be used by the public. One of the lean-to shelters is situated next to the trail on the eastern shore of Myllylahti Bay. The other lean-to shelter is in the western part of the area on the shore of Toralahti Bay on same cape as the Forssa town (forssa.fi) camping centre. Lapiniemi lean-to shelter is a reservable lean-to, which can be reserved for a fee at Häme Nature Centre.
- There is a lean-to shelter in Folk Park of Saari, near Lake Kuivajärvi, in the Raanpää area.
- Häme Nature Centre is located in Ruostejärvi Recreation Area, and offers visitors information on hiking destinations in the surrounding area. There is a café/restaurant at the visitor centre.
- Eerikkilä Sports Institute (eerikkila.fi), in addition to lodging, restaurant and cafe services, offers versatile sports services. Eerikkilä includes a swimming hall and the option of renting sauna.
- Kaukolaharju scenic lookout tower, from which a spectacular view of the area's ridge and lake landscape opens, is situated in the Folk Park of Saari. The tower is open to the public during the summer for a small entrance fee.
- Lounais-Hämeen pirtti Estate in the Folk Park of Saari houses a cafe and restaurant. It is open during summer.
- Venesilta Camping Ground is situated near the Folk Park of Saari.
- More services can be found in Forssa (forssa.fi) and Tammela (tammela.fi, in Finnish).
Ruostejärvi - Saari Trail Route Description
Starting Points for Excursions
Hikers can setoff on this trail either from its south end at the Ruostejärvi Recreation Area and Häme Nature Centre parking area, or from its north end at Folk Park of Saari parking area. Hikers can also travel a shorter section of the trail, by beginning or ending their hike at Eerikkilä Sports Institute. The trail can be travelled when the ground is not frozen.
The trail is marked in the terrain with yellow lynx symbols on tree trunks. Additionally, at crossroads there are 1.2 metre high poles with a green Hämeen ilvesreitti sign on them.
The trail is not a circle trail, but it can be divided into two separate sections. Hikers can just as easily start hiking from Häme Visitor Centre in Ruostejärvi Recreation Area, Folk Park of Saari or Eerikkilä Sports Institute.
Ruostejärvi Recreation Area - Eerikkilä Sports Institute, 2 km
- The trail sets off from Häme Nature Centre in Ruostejärvi Recreation Area.
- The trail heads from the visitor centre and recreation area parking area gate building along duckboards via natural and built trails to Eerikkilä Sports Institute.
- The trail leads, for the most part, through ridge landscape along the shores of Lake Ruostejärvi and Lake Leppilampi.
Eerikkilä Sports Institute - Folk Park of Saari, 12 km
- The trail crosses the grounds of Eerikkilä Sports Institute; leading between the area's hotel and the football hall.
- After passing Eerikkilä the trail leads northwest into a long forested portion of the trail following boundary lines to Niinimäki passing the Niinimäki ponds and the Niinimäki cliff wall.
- At Niinimäki the trail turns northeast and leads through the small protected Niinimäki wetland in Torronsuo National Park.
- The trail to Folk Park of Saari continues through forest areas towards Kaukola Village. At first the trail leads along forest paths then changes into a forestry machine track and forest road and at the end of the route into a local road and then a village road in Kaukola.
- From Kaukola Village the trail climbs a private road onto Kaukola ridge, from where there is a spectacular view of ridge and lake landscape.
- The trail passes Kaukola scenic lookout tower and descends into Folk Park of Saari, where hikers can find both a sandy beach and a swimming spot. There is a lean-to shelter, as well as, a campfire site and swimming spot in the southern portion of Folk Park of Saari near the River Kuivajärvi in the Raanpää area. Swimming spots are managed by municipality of Tammela.
The trail is part of the over 200 km long Häme Ilvesreitti Trail Network (hameenvirkistysalueyhdistys.fi, in Finnish) and so there are ample possibilities for longer treks as well. There are connecting trails, for example, from Ruostejärvi to Liesjärvi National Park, to Lake Onkimaanjärvi and on from there to the Karkkila trails, Räyskälä in Loppi and from there along the Härkätie Trail to Hämeenlinna.
The River Loimijoki canoe route passes through the Folk Park of Saari.
National cycling routes lead through both Ruostejärvi Recreation Area and Folk Park of Saari. For more information on cycling routes see the Häme Lake Uplands outdoor map (hameenvirkistysalueyhdistys.fi, in Finnish).