The new Korpitaival hiking trail allows for a longer hike in Kuhmo. Along the way you will see a variety of natural forests. Beavers and birds are the most common wildlife sightings, but larger animals such as deer, bears and wolves are also found in the area. There are no big differences in altitude on the route, but in some spots the narrow paths add a little challenge.

The route passes through three different nature reserves and depending on your choice of route, you will hike 55-80 kilometres. Along the way you will find many campsites, unfortunately there are no wilderness huts.

Korpitaival on the Excursion Map service

Duckboards on the shore of Lake Elimysjärvi, on the Korpitaival route

I have not walked the whole route in one go, but I have visited all three protected areas, so I consider myself competent enough to write at least some kind of description of the route.

1. Kokkamo-Kylmänjärvi – easy access over the ridge

The starting (or ending) point of the hike is located at Ryönänkangas in Kuhmo Niemiskylä, from where you start to the Kokkamo-Kylmänjärvi Nature Reserve. Map/Google maps

At first you walk between lakes, until you reach the top of a high ridge. At the start, the path runs partly through a commercial forest, but as you approach Rapalampi, the area becomes a nature reserve and you start to encounter old pine trees.

People walking on a path on top of a ridge

The first break point is Rapalampi lean-to shelter, which is built in a fun way in an old tar pit. After the shelter, the path is easy and the highlight of the route is an incredibly clear lake called Iso-Valkeainen.

Campfire and campfire site
Woman taking a photo of a clear-water lake on the Korpitaival route

After this protected area, follow the dirt road for about six kilometres until you reach Elimyssalo. Saari-Kiekki hut is encountered at the very beginning of the Elimyssalo section and is a good option as a first overnight stop.

2. Elimyssalo – land of mossy trees and beavers

Elimyssalo is part of the Friendship Park and is particularly known for its two wilderness farmhouses, Levävaara and Latvavaara. The route alternates between magnificent forests of mossy spruce trees, sometimes crossing bogs along duckboards.

Beaver dam at sunset in Elimyssalo

You can increase your hiking mileage by hiking around Lake Elimysjärvi, where you will also find a lean-to shelter. On the lake you can spot beavers and their dams. Along this trail you will also find a giant ant colony. Note! Due to beaver activity, the duckboards on this route are sometimes under water. You can ask about the situation of the duckboards at the customer service of the Petola Nature Centre.

Woman looking at a large anthill
Coffee pot and sandwiches on a campfire, with a sparkling lake in the background

From Elimyssalo, the route continues north through Juntinsalo towards Iso-Palonen hiking area. This stretch of the Juntinsalo is the only one I have not walked myself. However, the assumption is that the paths there are certainly no wider than in Elimyssalo and hiking boots will certainly be handy. After the Teerinen lean-to shelter you will walk on a gravel road to reach Iso-Palonen.

For more information on Elimyssalo, see also this article

3. Iso-Palonen – interesting history and beautiful wilderness scenery

The last stretch of the route is at Iso-Palonen, known for its beautiful scenery with lakes and ridges. After Juntinsalo, you reach an area in the eastern part of Iso-Palonen, called Kylmänsärkät.

The trails in Iso-Palonen are mostly easy sandy paths through pine forests, but there are also muddy spots on the way down from the ridges. Sometimes there is tall scrub along the edges of the paths, which can get your trouser legs wet.

Path on the Korpitaival route

Photo: Metsähallitus/Harri Tarvainen

In Iso-Palonen there are slightly more rest stops than in other areas of the route. Also here you can find A shelter called Saunaniemi and it is the most popular rest stop on the route. If you want to avoid other people, the Tahkonen hut is a safer choice. Also Papinsalmi rest stop is especially suitable for hammock campers, and I believe also tent campers can find a flat spot there.

The Saunaniemi hut
Papinsalmi campfire site along the Korpitaival route

The last stretch of the route is worth taking the northern side of Lake Iso-Palonen, as there is more to see than the southern side; old trenches from WW2 and the beautiful Tammapuro stream. Finally, 100 metres before the car park, you come across a ruggedly beautiful pond framed by dead pine trees.

Pond and trees in autumn moonlight

The trip ends at the Matokangas parking lot. You’ll also find an trash bins here, so you don’t have to take your rubbish all the way home. Unfortunately, Korpitaival is not a round route, so you have to return to the starting point either by taxi or alternatively you can order the KoeKainuu car transfer service, more about which below.

For more information on Iso-Palonen, see this article

Accommodation for travellers in Korpitaipale

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Arriving from afar and wanting to spend a good night in bed either before or after your hike? Kuhmo has accommodation at both ends of Korpitaipale. Next to Kokkamo-Kylmänjärvi is Niemiskylä, where you can stay on a farm*. At the end, near Iso-Palonen you will find Lentiira holiday village*, where it is also possible to get to the smoke sauna to wash away the dust of the journey!

Car transfer on the Korpitaival route

KoeKainuu offers a car transfer service to the Korpitaival route. The price of the transfer is 159 €/car incl. VAT, in either direction. Enquire at WhatsApp or email.

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