Central Finland corresponds to the lakes region, a land created at the time when the last ice age receded, about 10,000 years ago. Covered by boreal forest and with a low population density, the traveler is presented with beautiful landscapes of lakes and forests.
This city, located in the center-south of Finland, is situated on the northern shore of Lake Päijänne. Its geographical situation makes it an important logistics and communications node; It is located about 140 km from Tampere and 270 km from Helsinki. With about 133,000 inhabitants (2013) it is the seventh largest city in the country and the largest in the Central Finland region. Jyväskylä and the nearby municipalities have about 147,000 inhabitants in total.
Sometimes called the Athens of Finland, Jyväskylä is touted as a “city of science and the arts”. Of the several centres of formation in the city, the University of Jyväskylä is today the most important, housing its campus and the botanical garden.
In Jyväskylä there are several buildings designed by the architect Alvar Aalto.
Lake Päijänne is the second largest lake in Finland, with 1,118 km² of surface. The lake extends for 119 km, from the city of Lahti in the south to Jyväskylä in the north; It flows into the Gulf of Finland through the Kymijoki River. The lake is connected to Helsinki, capital of the country, through pipes that provide it with water from this lake.
The Konnevesi National Park
Rough Cliffs and Lush Herb-rich Forests. Southern Konnevesi is a landscape of contrasts: wide open lake landscapes nestle amidst the Northern Savo hills, while green grass-rich forests can be found inland, behind the rough rocky shores. The large mainland section of the national park on the lake’s eastern shore is a genuine hill landscape, where lush herb-rich depressions alternate with steep cliffs and shield bark pines decorate the clifftops. The variable topography of the three hills in Enonniemi – Kalajanvuori, Loukkuvuori and Kituvuori – offers challenges even for experienced hikers. One of the specialties of the hilly landscape is the regionally threatened snow saxifrage (Saxifraga nivalis). The plant mainly inhabits fell areas in Lapland.
Ancient natural forests have been preserved in the shelter of the hillsides, where giant bark-stemmed aspen trees are an ideal habitat for a large number of threatened species, including the bear (Ursus arctos), the lynx (Lynx lynx), the flying squirrel (Pteromys volans), three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) and a variety of threatened insects that thrive on rotting wood. Bracket fungi, lichens and mosses decorate the steep cliffs and tree stems. The bedrock in the park also contains alkaline rocks in places, which allows herb-rich forests to thrive in Enonniemi and on a number of islands. The tree species include goat willow (Salix caprea), aspen (Populus tremula), giant lime trees and other demanding species typical of herb-rich forests.
Southern Konnevesi – the Rippling Heart of the National Park
Southern Konnevesi, the lake surrounding the national park, is the clear-watered central lake of the unregulated Rautalampi waterway. The cool lake waters of Southern Konnevesi are of excellent quality and among the key habitats of the wild brown trout (Salmo trutta lacustris) in southern Finland. The deepest known point of the lake is 57 meters. The bedrock in the Southern Konnevesi area is ancient, and over the course of time, various fractures, depressions and faults have created a ragged shoreline, with headlands and long coves being typical of the lake. The lake is dotted with hundreds of islands and islets.
Southern Konnevesi is surrounded by free-flowing rapids on both sides: Konnekoski to the east and Siikakoski to the west. The lake is a significant nesting and resting area for waterfowl.
Explore Southern Konnevesi by traveling on the lake, wildlife watching or fishing.
You can find the best known sandy beach of the lake on the Iso-Pyysalo island.
The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) – the Signature Species of the Southern Konnevesi National Park
The osprey is a large bird of prey found throughout Finland.
It spends winters in Africa and, as a sedentary species, returns to its nest in April, when the lakes are freed of ice. The bird feeds almost exclusively on fish. It plunges feet first into the water and grabs the fish in its talons.
Ospreys mate for life and build a large nest of twigs, usually on the top of a pine. The nesting site must be easily accessible and have good visibility over the surrounding area. In addition, the tree must be very sturdy, as over the years the nest may gain hundreds of kilos of weight. The scarcity of suitable nesting sites is a problem for ospreys. Therefore, the nesting tree of an osprey is always protected in Finland. Man-made nests have been installed in the Southern Konnevesi area, and breeding in such nests has been successful.
The population of the species in the Southern Konnevesi area is the densest in central Finland, with as many as 20 pairs.
History is Brought Alive all around the Park
The route of Rautalampi has been an important waterway since prehistoric times: on the banks of Lake Konnevesi can be found remains of settlements of the Stone Age and a burial mound dating from the Age of Metals. Even today it is one of the few unregulated waterways in Finland.
The route originates in the small marshes and ponds north of Savo and ends at Lake Saraavesi in Laukaa, in central Finland. In the southeastern part of the park, in Toussunlinna, is one of the rarest cave paintings of Northern Savo. The memorial trees on Pohjois-Lanstu island tell us about the belief of the 19th century in the other world.
Leivonmäki National Park
Most characteristic to the National Park is the diversity of the landscape and the natural features. The park consists of two parts separated by Lake Rutajärvi, which is a barren lake with scarce aquatic vegetation. At some places, the shores grow water horsetails (Equisetum fluviatile) and common reeds (Phragmites australis). There are many different types of landscape on the shores: mires, flood meadows, stone fields, and eskers. Especially on Syysniemiside, the shores are very rocky.
In the northern part of the park, there is a large continuous forest area, Syysniemi. The area is dominated by dry pine forests. At some places there are old spruce forests, and forests with abundance of old deciduous trees.
In the hilly terrain, there are many spring-fed small lakes and look at hollows. In the western part of this area, the landscape rises to form an esker which continues along Joutsniemi Ridge (about 1.5 km long) to the southern part of the park. From Joutsniemi Ridge you can get a great view over Lake Rutajärvi.
Open Mires and Eskers
The southern part is dominated by Haapasuo Mire, which in its natural state is one of the most important open sights in Central Finland. Haapasuonharju Ridge, an esker formation west of Haapasuo Look, runs through the southern part of the park like a scenic road. From the trail on the esker, you can admire the large open bog below. Haapasuonharju Ridge is also famous for its good Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) harvest.
|Starting Point /Finishing Point:||Helsinki Airport|
|Departing time:||Not available|
- A week full of adventure, from fatbike routes, to hiking trips through forests, hills and lakes, to learning some survival skills, which will be an added value to personal skills in future adventures.
- At the end of each day, upon arrival at the accommodation, there will be free time to relax in the traditional Finnish sauna or to go down to the city and enjoy the local gastronomy and customs.
- Whenever the weather conditions allow it and there is possibility of happening, we will go in search of the famous Aurora Borealis.
Pick up at the Helsinki airport and transportation to the local
accommodation where we will do the briefing of the next days, the Outdoor Hostel Laajis, in Jyväskylä.
Fatbike tour, departing from Laajavuori in the direction of Ladun Maja or Palokka, surrounding the entire city of Jyvaskyla through forests, trails and the odd bike path.
We will stop to eat making a firewood during the route (depends on the direction of departure) Total travel is very variable and depends on the level of the group, from 30km to 50km
This route starts in the Vuori-Kalaja parking area and follows in the first place by a suitable path also for people in wheelchairs (1 km).
From Lake Vuori-Kalaja we will follow the “Route of the 3 Mountains“, through small paths contouring crystalline lakes and rugged hills rich in natural value, to the banks of Lake Konnevesi.
After a well-deserved campfire lunch in the shelter of Enonranta we will continue our way to some of the highest points of the park where we can observe the vastness of the Konnevesi lake and the surrounding forests.
At the end of the day we will return to the parking area, from where we will return to Jyväskylä.
Without snow or ice this route is around 5 hours of walking in a total of 16km.
We will drive from Jyvaskyla to Rutalahti on the park’s edge. From there we will take our fatbikes and continue through the “Rutalahti Connecting Trail” to the Soimalampi refuge. We will continue our way along the path of “Mäyränkierros” towards the peninsula of Joutsniemi where we can observe the beautiful landscape of the formation of an Esker (a long range of gravel and other sediments, deposited by the meltwater of a retreating glacier ), which continue through the long and narrow mountain range of Joutsniemi where we will stop to rest and make our campfire lunch.
From there we will go to the Syysniemi area to observe the wild forests and their fauna / flora, maybe we can even glimpse the steps of the otter.
We will return to the car along the forest track of Syysniemi up to highway 6131, which will take us back to Rutalahti.
Total route approx 30km.
We will start our trekking activity along the path that connects two old logger cabins, Heretty to Lortikka, from there we will follow the path to Kalalahti Bay, where we will make our campfire lunch.
After lunch, we will start our journey back to Heretty along the path that will take us to one of the most valuable areas in the Park, which is the old forest of Latokuusikko rich in fir trees. In the middle of the spruce forest, grow the giant poplars and some small small-leaved lime trees, very typical of Central Finland.
Around 15km total travel.
We will leave Laajavuori with our fatbike by bike path towards the Kanavuori mountain range. From there we will follow a forest trail and trails that will take us to the natural area of Jääskelä, where there is a farm dating back to the 18th century and where supposedly the oldest pine in Finland exists!
Then we will go to the kota (typical Finnish refuge) of Sammanlistonkallio to make our bonfire lunch and perform some basic survival activities, such as making fire, processing water to drink and how to get oriented in the forest.
The return to Laajavuori we will do it either by the same route, or entirely by bicycle path.
Approximately 50 km total traveled.
Return to Helsinki airport
End of program.