Finnish border hiking tour
Escape to the unspoilt nature of the Finnish ‘Taiga’ forest and join our guided hut-to-hut hiking tour along Finnish-Russian border and in Hossa national park. This is a region steeped in culture, wildlife and wilderness experiences, many of which you will enjoy on this tour. The route we will take passes through the untouched wilderness and pristine nature, through primordial forests and mires, along ridges and shores of crystal clear lakes. You even get the chance to canoe on the same lakes and nearby rivers. Accommodation varies from log cabins to guest houses. The trail is mostly flat and easy to walk, therefore suitable for anyone of average fitness level.
* Pristine wilderness
* Glistening clear lakes
* Picnics around an open fire
* Lake-side saunas
* Hossa National Park
* Optional bear watching excursion
Day 1. Arrival
Arrival at OULU airport where you’ll meet your local guide. Transfer (approx. 3,5 hours) to Martinselkonen Wilds Centre for dinner and overnight accommodation.
Day 2. Martinselkonen Wilds Centre–Arola 16 km and optional bear safari
After a hearty breakfast we begin the tour by hiking through the Martinselkonen nature reserve towards Arola farm where we will be welcomed by our friendly hosts. The reserve has been set up to protect the Finnish wilderness, especially the swamp areas with its many birds and insects, from any encroachment of forest industry. Martinselkonen has watery mires, ponds and lakes, ancient forests and spruce trees draped in beard lichen. In the afternoon it is possible to join a 6 hour bear watching excursion which gives you the possibility to observe and photograph these majestic animals from the purpose-built log cabins. At the end of the day you will enjoy a special dinner made with the fruits of the forest and freshest local ingredients.
In the afternoon it's possible to join an optional 6-hour bear watching excursion (Note: The excursion is not available on 23 Aug 2020 departure).
Finnish eastern border area is one of the best areas in Europe for seeing and photographing European brown bears in their natural habitat. A special hide is a safe place to watch the wildlife up close while they eat and play by carcasses which have been laid out for them. Large windows give clear viewing and there are specially adapted camera holes in the walls for photographing. Hides are equipped with seats, beds and a toilet.
Departure to the hides at 3 pm (a short car transfer and 0,5 km on foot) and return to the accommodation at 9-10 pm.
If you don't book this activity you have free time at the accommodation, possibility to have sauna etc.
Day 3. Arola–Kovavaara 19 km
Today we head north along the Russian border. We follow the yellow pointers and there are several viewing points across to the other side. There is a picnic stop, (in front of an open fire with freshly brewed coffee) at one wilderness huts operated by the Finnish Forest and Park Service. Overnight accommodation will be in a rural cabin on the top of Kovavaara hill. Although there are none of the modern comforts, you get to experience 1950’s lifestyle in this living “museum”.
Day 4. Kovavaara–Hossa 18 km
After a short car transfer we set off on today’s hike. This wild landscape is home to a healthy wolverine population, and although these secretive predators are seldom seen, we may come across their tracks. Swans and cranes can be spotted on the lakes and mires as we pass by. There are many swamp areas, but they are easily crossed on sturdy wooden platforms. The surrounding forest has an abundance of vegetation such as blueberries, lingonberries and mushrooms. The blueberry season is at its best in August and can provide ready snacks for hikers.
Day 5. Hossa national park 13 km
The trek continues along the paths of the new Hossa National Park - the commemorative national park for Finland's 100th year of independence in 2017. Hossa is known for its crystal-clear lakes and pine heathlands. Trails, most of them easy to walk on, run through the handsome esker and lake scenery. We eat lunch at the Hossa Visitor Centre, and it’s also possible to visit a small souvenir shop. Accommodation for the remaining three nights is at Jatkonsalmi cabin, where the lakeside sauna will be heated every night.
Day 6. Canoeing
For a change from walking, we take canoes onto the lakes and rivers close to our accommodation. We will use open Indian canoes. All necessary equipment, such as paddles and life vests will be provided. The tour will be on still calm waters. Reindeer are a common sight in Hossa as well as the occasional elk. For those ones who prefer to stay on dry land, there are plenty of well-marked hiking trails for you explore.
Day 7. Värikallio rock paintings 16 km
Today we set on a mystical trip back in time! We will hike to see the Värikallio Cliffs with ancient, shamanistic rock paintings dating back 4000 years. The rock paintings are the largest prehistoric paintings in Finland and portray the life of people at a time when spirits and natural forces were present everywhere. A picnic lunch will be enjoyed around an open fire and after that we will hike through the beautiful pine and spruce forest back to our accommodation. Sauna and farewell dinner at the Jatkonsalmi cabin.
Day 8. Return
After breakfast transfer to OULU airport (approx. 3,5 hours).
Included in this programme
- 7 nights accommodation in rooms for 2–4 persons with shared facilities. On day 3 no showers, only sauna and outhouse.
- 7 x breakfast, 5 x picnic lunch, 1 x lunch, 7 x dinner, 6 x afternoon coffee / tea with snack
- Single-timed group airport transfers on arrival and departure (see 'Good to know' for further details.)
- Luggage transportation between accommodations
- English-speaking guide
- 6 x sauna
- Canoe rental on day 6
- Bedlinen and bath towels
- Sleeping bag with mummy liner (one night)
You will need
- trekking boots (recommended waterproof and with leg)
- walking trousers and jacket
- rain clothes
- leisure time clothing
- rucksack of 15–20 litres (to carry lunch, rain clothes etc. during the hiking)
The full gear list will be sent after booking.
Good to know
8 days / 7 nights
Other departures for groups on request. Season 20 May - 30 September.
The tour is guaranteed to run without minimum number of participants. Max.13 persons.
Flights are not included in the tour price.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
The path goes mostly in the forests and through the swamps. The terrain is fairly easy to walk and there are no big climbs on the route. The path is mostly quite narrow and there are roots and stones on the path so one must be careful and concentrate to not stumble.
We walk 13–19 kilometres daily, 3–4 km per hour. The longest days take about 6-7 hours including a lunch break and other shorter breaks. To participate in this tour a fair physical condition is required and participants shouldn't have any illnesses or injuries that affect walking. During the walking day you will only need to carry your usual daypack as your main baggage is transported by vehicle.
Accommodation is in comfortable wilderness cabins and guest houses mostly with shared facilities. Accommodation is mostly on twin and triple rooms but in some (few) cases quadruple rooms may be used too. Single rooms are not available. Sauna is available daily except on arrival night. All the accommodations except Kovavaara have electricity.
Flights are not included in the tour price. If you have anything unclear regarding flights or transfers, please do check with us before booking flights!
Important notes for arrival
The joining point for this trip is Kajaani/Kuusamo or Oulu airport.
Note: If you miss the scheduled group transfer on arrival and an extra transfer must be arranged to the starting point of the trip, the costs must be covered by you. To avoid this unpleasant situation it’s not recommended to book flights with short connection time (less than 1 hour).
Important notes for return
Single-timed group transfer from the last accommodation will be organized to Kajaani / Kuusamo or Oulu airport.
Travel by bus/train
Arrival by bus or train from Helsinki is possible.
The schedule must coincide with above mentioned transfer schedule.
Deposit: 15 % of total amount will be charged at the time of booking.
Full payment: Due 14 days before the departure. The invoice for full payment will be sent by email.
It is essential that a passenger is covered by adequate travel insurance.
The tour is not suitable for persons with reduced mobility.
We reserve all the rights to change the itinerary (route, accommodation) if the group size is 3 persons or less.
Ask for more information