What can one do in Koli National Park?
Walk on Marked Trails
The trails in Koli National Park are marked clearly and they are excellent for day trips as well as for longer treks. There are around 80 km of marked trails in the park. The 2,5 km Kasken kierros Nature Trail is excellent for school groups and families, while demanding 30-61 km Herajärvi Trail offers more of a challenge.
Go Wilderness Trekking
The 30-61-km-long Herajärvi Hiking Trail can be considered demanding. Different lodging options along the trail include a hotel, a rental cottage, a lean-to shelter and a camping site. The E10, a European long-distance hiking trail, also leads through the National Park. The national UKK Trail in turn leads north from Ukko-Koli Hill to Vuokatti. All the main trails in the park are part of the Karelian Circuit (www.vaellus.info, in Finnish).
Read more about Koli National Park trails.
Go Canoeing and Rowing
Waters in the Koli area offer a challenge for those going canoeing or rowboating. Lake Pielinen is vast and demanding, while Lake Herajärvi is narrow and long. There are private tourist services in the area, which rent out canoes and row boats. The rental huts located in the National Park near the shore have rowing boats, which visitors are welcome to use.
Go Canoe Trekking
Lake Pielinen is a great place for kayaking. Camping is not permitted on the islands in the National Park but there are several pleasant lean-tos and rental cabins only a day’s journey away from the Koli Harbour. Right outside the boundaries of the National Park there is a boating route, which is over 10-km-long. It runs from Lake Ahmolampi to Lake Savijärvi and on to Lake Ylemmäinen. Camping is allowed on the shores surrounding the boating route.
Go Sailing and Motor Boating
Lake Pielinen is Finland’s fifth largest lake and is well-suited for sailing and motorboating. It is even possible to travel all the way to the Gulf of Finland along water routes from Lake Pielinen. The new harbour at Koli has new services for boaters. Visitors can also rent row boats and kayaks at the harbour. There are campfire sites on the islands in Lake Pielinen belonging to the National Park. Its possible to land at these islands with motor boats, but there are no actual boat stages or ramps.
Go Bird Watching
There is an abundance of birds in the National Park and they populate the park considerably densely. The most interesting bird species that can be spotted in the National Park include the osprey, red-flanked bluetail, and the lesser black-backed gull. Read more about birds on the park’s natural features page.
See the Sights and Scenery
The attractions of the Koli National Park include observation points, nature destinations, cultural landscapes, and historic sites. A more detailed introduction is available under Sights.
See the Visitor Centre
Visitor Centre Ukko is located at Ukko-Koli. Visitor Centre Ukko is a great place to go to. In addition to viewing the exhibitions, visitors can watch picture shows at the auditorium and make purchases at the nature shop. Ukko also provides tourism information. Conference and rental hut reservations can be made at Visitor Centre Ukko.
Walk on Nature Trail
There a several nature trails all with different themes in Koli National Park. Some of trails have a teaching package in Finnish, which is meant for school groups. The trails can be walked alone or with a guide. Read more about Koli National Park trails.
Ski Cross-country on Maintained Trails
There are 50 km of maintained skiing trails in and around the National Park suited for both classical and free-style cross-country skiing. The lit trail which starts at Loma-Koli is 22 km long. Skiing trails crossing the hills in the park are more demanding but only 3 and 7 km long.
Go Ski Trekking
The Loma-Koli - Kopravaara skiing trail (22 km) offers the opportunity of going on a mini wilderness trek during winter. Skiers can camp along the trail or stay overnight in a lean-to shelter.
Angling and ice fishing is permitted in the Koli National Park in the part of Lake Pielinen that is administered by Metsähallitus (186 ha). Lure fishing requires that the person has paid the provincial lure fishing fee for Eastern Finland (www.mmm.fi) or has acquired a lure permit from Metsähallitus (permit area no. 1401). Trap fishing (with a net, fish trap, etc.) is permitted with a fishing permit for the Lieksa trap fishing area (permit area no. 7003) granted by Metsähallitus. Fishing permits can be bought from Metsähallitus netstore (www.eraluvat.fi, in Finnish)..
Finnish National Biking Route 6 passes through Koli Village and passes by Lakes Herajärvi and Jero. There are also roads crisscrossing the National Park, where cycling is allowed. Cycling is forbidden on hiking and nature trails.
Go Horseback Riding
Farmhouse Paimentupa (www.paimentupa.fi), a private tourist enterprise in Koli organises cross-country riding excursions on the little roads in the National Park.
Go on Guided Group Tour at the Visitor Centre
Outdoor tours, snowshoe walking excursions and wilderness treks, in and around Koli National Park, are organised by private tourist and guide services. Ukko-Kolin Ystävät ry, the National Park’s support organisation organises special group tours of Visitor Centre Ukko exhibitions for a fee. All reservations for tours can be made by e-mailing tour services at Visitor Centre Ukko.
Go Berry and Mushroom Picking
Picking berries and mushrooms for your own use is allowed in Koli National Park. It is typical of the area that blueberry, lingonberry and raspberry crops are abundant. The most common eatable mushrooms are also found in the area.
There are many peaceful sandy beaches on the shores of Lake Pielinen. The best equipped swimming spot with, amongst other things, changing rooms is at the Koli harbour. Other sandy beaches are located along the National Park’s shoreline all the way to its southern most point.
Go Snowshoe Walking
The most popular activity after skiing during winter is snowshoe walking. Showshoes enable visitors to see the hills and landscape closer and more thoroughly than hikers and skiers do. Private tourist service Koli Activ Oy (www.koliactiv.fi, in Finnish) rent out snowshoes.
Go Downhill Skiing
The slopes of Ukko-Koli Hill offer fast slides for those looking for high-speed thrills.