Petkeljärvi National Park
The ridges in Petkeljärvi National Park are part of a valuable, long geological formation, extending from Lake Koitere all the way to Russia. The ridges are low but steep. Thick-barked, 150-year-old pine trees grow in the pristine forests. One peculiarity of Petkeljärvi is partially restored battle structures from the Continuation War.
There are two marked circular trails in Petkeljärvi National Park. Kuikan Kierros Trail (6.5 km) leads through varying landscape up and down the narrow ridges. The trail passes through deep forests, marshlands and a flood meadow. Harjupolku Trail (3.5 km) shows you how the ridges were formed. The oldest hiking trail in North Karelia, 31-kilometre-long Taitajan Taival Trail begins in the national park and ends in Mekrijärvi village.
Patvinsuo National Park
Patvinsuo National Park, located both in Lieksa and Ilomantsi area north of Lake Koitere, was established in 1982. Its area is 105 km², and it is the largest national park in southern part of Finland.
Right in the wilderness, Patvinsuo National Park’s location is one of the most exceptional in Finland. Its pearl is large Lake Suomunjärvi with beautiful, mesmerizing shores.
Taitajan Taival Trail
Taitajan Taival Trail in Ilomantsi, 31 km, is the oldest marked hiking trail in North Karelia. It runs most of its way along the ridgeline between Petkeljärvi and Putkelanharju that is known to have been a thoroughfare for a long time. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery of surrounding lakes and ponds.
Wolf Trail (Susitaival Trail)
Running along the ridges, Wolf Trail is perfect for those who love the silence of nature. It is almost 100 kilometres in length and in places, you will need to haul yourself over watercourses on pulley-operated rafts.
Pogostan Kierros Trail and Kulkijan Polku Trail
Pogostan Kierros is a circular trail with a length of 91 kilometres, going around the old pogosta hiking trails – the ones in the Ilomantsi centre – and along the new Kulkijan Polku Trail. Besides the centre of Ilomantsi, the word ‘pogosta’ also refers to a parish or an old taxation area.
Pogostan Kierros is a loop of several trails. Wolf Trail leads from Möhkö village to the Särkkäjärvi wilderness hut. Kulkijan Polku Trail links up Wolf Trail and Taitajan Taival Trail from Särkkäjärvi to Kallioniemi. Taitajan Taival Trail runs to Petkeljärvi National Park and continues to Möhkö village along Rajan Polku Trail.
The old trails Wolf Trail, Taitajan Taival Trail and Rajan Polku Trail are primarily meant for hiking. Kulkijan Polku Trail, built in 2015, is also suitable for mountain biking.
Tapion Taival Trail
The 20-kilometre-long Tapion Taival Trail in the wilds of Hattuvaara village follows the eastern border in the Koitajoki area. It’s easy to start Tapion Taival either from the Lakonkangas or Hoikantie parking area.
Trails in Petkeljärvi National Park
Kuikan Kierros Trail, 6.5 km, passes through changing landscape up and down the ridges in an almost fairy tale like atmosphere.
Harjupolku Trail, 3.5 km, circles Lake Savulampi and partly follows Kuikan Kierros Trail in varied terrain.
Korkeasärkän Polku Trail, 2 km, begins at the crossroads of Kokkolahti and Lake Savulampi. The trail takes you to the end of the narrow Korkeasärkkä where Lohissalmi is situated. To return, follow the same 2-kilometre trail back.
"Adventure on the Border of Russia" – Southern Ala-Koitajoki Trail
The River Koitajoki flows on both sides of the border for approximately 200 kilometres, eventually falling to Lake Pielinen. There are several hiking trails along the Koitajoki, and I headed right next to the Russian border near the easternmost point of Finland.”