Top 5 locations for nature photographers in Oulanka

Autumn evening on Konttainen Rocks. Photo: Minna Koramo.

Oulanka National Park is a treasure trove for nature photographers, both in summer and winter. At some scenic locations, a thick layer of snow may be challenging, and some of the destinations are extremely difficult to access. The most popular winter photography locations, due to their easy accessibility, are Myllykoski and Kiutaköngäs, and outside the park, Konttaisenvaara and Käylänkoski.

Kuusamo was already known among nature photographers in the late 19th century, when I.K. Inha visited Lake Paanajärvi in Kuusamo. The books by Hannu Hautala have acquainted today’s nature photographers with Kuusamo. Oulanka National Park offers inspiration for photographers all year round. The scenery features river valleys, great altitude differences, and photography locations with panoramic views situated above tree tops.

1. Oulanka Canyon (Oulangan kanjoni), Salla

Kanjonin kurkkaus. Photo: Susanna Kolehmainen.

To see: A magnificent gorge valley. There are excellent spots for landscape photography on both sides of the canyon. Around noon on a clear summer day, there is a big contrast in lighting between the shady and the sunny side.

Accessibility: Easily available when the ground is unfrozen. Difficult to reach in winter.

How to get there: A two kilometre walk from the Savilampi parking area.

Location on Google Maps

2. Pähkänäkallio / Kitkajoki river, Kuusamo

Photo: Jari Hindström / Vastavalo.

To see: The Kitkajoki river meanders in the valley below. According to Hannu Hautala, a well-known Finnish nature photographer, this is the most magnificent scenery in Europe. On crisp and clear summer mornings, the valley is shrouded in mist.

Accessibility: Available when the ground is unfrozen. Difficult to reach in winter.

How to get there: You can visit Pähkänä from the Karhunkierros ( Kitkajoki) or by car (road partly in bad condition) take the Juuma road, and after crossing the Kitkajoki river, turn to the left towards Kiutaköngäs. After two kilometres, turn to the right and drive to the end of the road from where there is a one kilometre walk to Pähkänäkallio. When on the path, turn to the right before the path descends to the shores of the Kitkajoki river.

Location on Google Maps

3. Konttainen parking area, bird feeding place in winter, Kuusamo

To see: In winter, the trees on the top of the hill may be heavily snow-loaded. From the top of the hill, there is a great view towards the lakes Purnujärvi and Kantojärvi in the west in summer. The ascent to the top of the Konttainen hill is fairly demanding.

Accessibility: Available mostly when ground is unfrozen. The slope is slippery in winter. The ascent to the top takes between 20 and 30 minutes.

How to get there: Starting point is on Virkkulantie road Konttainen parking area.

Location on Google Maps

4. Jäkälämutka / Oulankajoki river, Kuusamo

Photo: Jari Hindström / Vastavalo.

To see: A fine sandy beach in the Oulankajoki river. Catchfly and fringed pink grow at the site in late July. Jäkälämutka is at its best during the summer.

Accessibility: Easily available. No road maintenance in winter.

How to get there: To reach the site, turn from Liikasenvaara road to Jäkälämutka road from the end of which there is a walk of 500 metres to the beach.

Location on Google Maps

5. Kiutaköngäs rapids / Oulankajoki river, Kuusamo

Kiutaköngäs, Oulanka. Photo: Markku Pirttimaa.

To see: Perhaps the best-known waterfall in Finland. The site is easily accessible all year round. On crisp and clear mornings in August and September, there can also be mist above the waterfall.

Accessibility: Easily available all year round. Please, do dot enter ice covered river!

How to get there: Kiutaköngäs is about 1 kilometre from the Oulanka Visitor Centre.

Location on Google Maps

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