Walk on the marked trails
Kuusamo's famous Karhunkierros Trail leads over Valtavaara Hill all the way to Hautajärvi village. Valtavaara Nature Reserve is also an ideal destination for day trips. Read more about Valtavaara Nature Reserve Trails and other hiking trails (www.ruka.fi) in the surrounding area.
Visitors are very likely to see or hear the Red-flanked Bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus) when at Valtavaara. The best time for bird watching at Valtavaara is during early mornings at the beginning of June. Start off for example at Konttainen parking area by the road to Virkkula. From there you can follow Karhunkierros Trail to Valtavaara Nature Reserve. You can also have some luck seeing birds when hiking from the direction of Ruka. Bird watchers will need light hiking gear with them, such as sturdy shoes and binoculars, and should keep their ears open at all times. The trail is hilly and you should make sure you reserve plenty of time to walk it.
Seeing the Sights and the Views
Valtavaara Hill has always been a forest fire lookout point. From the top of the hill a view spanning tens of kilometres opens over Kuusamo and even across the Russian border. The rocky slopes of spruce covered hills and small bodies of water make for a beautifully diverse area. During winter high snowdrifts caused by the area's damp climate make the area a real life winter wonderland and clear moonlit nights intensify this fantastical effect.
The cabin at the top of Valtavaara Hill was originally built as a fire guard lookout point where forest fires could easily and quickly be spotted from. The building now functions as a day trip hut.
- Fishing: Hook and line fishing and ice fishing are permitted as Everyman's Rights (www.ymparisto.fi) in the nature reserve's waters. Fishers need to check the restrictions on fishing sites at kalastusrajoitus.fi (In Finnish).
- Cross-country skiing on Maintained Trails and off Trails: The winter landscape at Valtavaara is gorgeous. The damp climate and freezing temperatures together with mild winds form high snowdrifts. During winter visitors can ski from Ruka Ski Resort to Valtavaara Nature Reserve. Read more about the Valtavaara Nature Reserve Skiing Trails and other skiing trails (www.ruka.fi) in the surrounding area. Skiing off-trails is also permitted in the area, but visitors must be cautious to not stray too close to steep slopes as there is a possibility of avalanches.
- Picking berries and mushrooms: Berry and mushroom picking are allowed in Valtavaara Nature Reserve as long as you use traditional picking methods.