Oulanka National Park

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We have decided to start our trip with the most northern place we both have ever been. We were lucky to have a friend, who knew where to take us for the best experience. Her hobby is trekking, and she knows best routes in Finland.

Pieni Karhunkierros – 12 km trail

There are several trails in this National Park, we chose the shortest one

Since we didn’t have much time, we decided to take the shortest trail – Pieni Karhunkierros. It literally means “a Small Route of a Bear”. It is a part of a large Route of a Bear that is 82 km. We dared to trek only 12 km, and it was just enough for us.

This part of Finland is quite full of animals walking freely. We met a family of reindeers in the forest. The trail is called bear’s because there is a small chance to see a real bear.

We were a bit worried about it especially after our friend told us a story that happened recently. Some tourists left their car in the park for a night and stayed somewhere to sleep. When they came back next morning, their car was completely destroyed by a bear. Well, we had our reasons to worry after that. Luckily, we haven’t met any bears on our way.


The Oulanka National Park has a river running through it and smaller ponds on its territory. The sceneries we have seen were beautiful and inspiring.

The river turned out to be quite fast and agitated. There were several suspension bridges that we had to cross on the way. Was fun!

Only one person can cross this bridge at a time. The view was spectacular!

Trekking conditions

Here people can take a break and have a snack enjoying the view

The whole trail is well equipped with places to stop and have some rest and toilets. Safety is also granted by secured stairs in the most steep parts or where it can be dangerous in rainy weather.

There are places for barbecue equipped with everything you need to cook. The wood is accurately piled in a log store. In case you need to split some, there are axes or other instruments that you can use. The fireplace is fully instrumented and there are tables and benches to sit and have a lunch.

For those who dared to take the longest trail – 82 km – there are places to overnight. They are free and have some amenities you might need.

A hut for a weary traveler

The hut holds as many people as possible. It has a rule “First in – first out” because those who came earlier had more time to have rest and it should be enough. People can dry their clothes, cook some food and the most important – sleep.

We had our lunch next to this hut. As we were eating we saw quite many mice running around the place, so you should keep it in mind and pack your food carefully.

Having rest

Food is always tastier when you eat in the out-of-doors 🙂

We had a wonderful barbecue lunch of sausages and cheese with bread. For half a way some friendly birds were hanging around us, so we fed them with bread. They seemed to enjoy our company as long as we provided them with food.

Going up

Here we saw a family of reindeers, they were adorable

We had to ascent and descent many times. It was not easy at all, especially for such unprepared trekkers as we are. However, it was totally worth it. We have reached one of the highest points in the region and the view was breathtaking!


For awhile we were walking on a quite high level and we could see turns of the river.

Then we came back to a normal height and were enjoying peaceful sceneries finishing our trail.

Evening was close, we were tired, but absolutely happy that we’ve done it.

Sunset is soon

We are really happy to have had this beautiful experience! It has become a good start for our journey as we walked a lot afterwards. We definitely can recommend this trail to people who like active tourism and beautiful nature.

We went home to get some rest as we had a great plan for the next day. Read about it in the next post.