Nuuksio National Park (Nuuksion kansallispuisto in Finnish, Noux nationalpark in Swedish) is in Southern Finland, 35 km from Helsinki on the outskirts of Espoo and the neighboring counties of Kirkkonummi and Vihti.
The park has very good English web pages.
Covering an area of 45 km², Nuuksio is a pint-sized marvel.
Established only in 1994, Nuuksio is one of Finland's newest national parks, set up to ensure that a piece of pristine wilderness is kept within striking distance of the capital. Its location so close to a major city is unusual, and due mostly to the fact that the rocky and wet terrain was unsuitable for farming or other development.
Nuuksio's landscape is archetypically Finnish: conifer and birch forests, forty-three lakes, small swamps between them and gentle rolling hills, sometimes covered in moss, sometimes with the granite bedrock exposed where the vast ice sheets of the last ice age scraped them clean. There are plenty of quiet spots of beauty, but don't expect jaw-dropping gorges or soaring mountains (good advice for traveling anywhere in Finland, that).
Flora and faunaEdit
The Siberian Flying Squirrel (Liito-orava) is official park emblem, but being nocturnal and living high up in the treetops, it's very difficult to spot. The Haukkalampi info center has an exhibit about the critter and even gives handy tips on how to spot its poo.
Nuuksio's climate is the same as Helsinki's: lovely summers, wet spring and fall, brutal winters. The high season is obviously summer, although mushroom pickers continue to tramp the trails well into the fall and hardcore cross-country skiers venture within in the winter.
- Parks instructions. See the instructions on the parks web pages
As the area is quite large when walking, read instructions on the section "Get around" as well.
There are two public bus services to Nuuksio, and both of them require a transfer if coming from Helsinki. Check schedules before setting off, as services are quite limited.
Use HSL's route planner to find routes from any address in Helsinki region to Nuuksio National Park.
To get to the eastern side of the park, take the commuter train U, E or L from the Central Railway Station to Espoo station, then transfer to bus 85/85A. Get off at Nuuksionpää (245A) if going to the main visitor centre at Haukkalampi, it's a two-kilometer stroll along the paved road to the park entrance. If going to the northern side of the park, take 245A to the terminus at Kattila (May-October only).
To get to the southern side of the park, take the trains A, E, U, S, L or Y to Leppävaara and transfer to bus 244, which goes to Siikaniemi on the eastern side of Lake Siikajärvi.
To get the southwestern side of the park, take a bus 280 Helsinki City Bus Terminal (Kamppi Center) or bus 243 from Espoo station to Veikkola koulu and take a taxi to last few kilometers north to the park. You can also walk or cycle those quiet village roads.
To get to the rarely visited western side of the park, take a bus 280 from Helsinki City Bus Terminal (Kamppi Center) to Tervalammen kartano and walk several km.
To get to the quiet northeastern side of the park, take a bus 346 from Helsinki City Bus Terminal (Kamppi Center) to Pyyslampi. The nature park with its lakes begins right from the southern side of the road.
See Uusimaa#By_taxi for information about companies and fares
Fees and permitsEdit
- Google or Openstreetmap on a smart phone are commonly used.
- The Haukkalampi information cabin (Haukkalammen luontotupa) near the main entrance has simple free maps, or invest €10 in a detailed topographic map of the area. You can also pick up the map at Helsinki tourist info offices.
- You can print your own maps from here and for trails from here.
- Motorized vehicles are prohibited in the park, so most visitors get around is by hiking.
- Bicycling is allowed on 30 km of designated routes, including National Cycle Route 2, 14 km of which passes through the park.
A number of well-signposted trails are available, while hardcore hikers can head out into the bush and stay at one of the many campsites. For the first time visitor, doing the Haukankierros loop and half of Korpinkierros will provide a good representative look.
- Haukankierros (blue route). The "Hawk's Tour" is a 4-km loop starting and ending at the Haukanpesä information center, looping around Lake Haukkalampi. Lake views, cliffs, mossy boulders. This is also the most popular route, and it can get almost crowded on weekends if the weather is good.
- Korpinkierros (yellow route). The "Raven's Tour" is an 8-km loop starting at the Haukanpesä information center, passing through Mustalampi (with campground), Siikaranta and Siikaniemi before returning back. It's also possible to walk only half the route by taking bus 28 in and 85 out.
- Other trails route. You can find other trails from this link.
Picking berries in late summer and mushrooms in the fall are popular activities. Fishing is allowed, although there isn't all that much to catch. In winter, the trails are open to cross-country skiing, although they are not lit or maintained.
Rock climbing is allowed only at Pitkäjärvi and the eastern Kolmoislammet. Ice climbing is permitted throughout the park.
Several tour operators specialize in Nuuksio:
- Green Window, ☏ . Arranges guided hikes, group tours, corporate retreatd, in Nuuksio. Has access to several cottages and even a Lappish hut for group accommodation, with saunas for charter as well.
- Feel The Nature Treks (Feel The Nature Treks), ☏ . Feel The Nature Treks arranges guided canoeing, hiking and mountain biking tours in Nuuksio National Park. Wintertime company organizes also snow shoe and ski tour programs.
- BioGeo-Traveller, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Offers guided hikes of various duration and difficulty in Nuuksio National Park. from €50/person; children under age 16 free of charge.
- Finnish Friend, ☏ . Does guided hikes for 1 to 4 people. Has outdoor clothing and other equipment such as snowshoes for customers.
- Full list. See the list of companies offering guided excursions and nature and outdoor activities, equipment rental, food and catering services, transportation services and lodging and conference space services.
Eat, drink or buyEdit
- Haltia serves high class meals. You can find the pricing info from here: http://www.nationalparks.fi/nuuksionp/services
- Water is available at Haltia and Haukkalampi information center. Making an open fire is allowed at the designated fireplaces near the campgrounds, so bring some sausages and have a picnic. Some of the fireplaces are covered and thus usable even when it rains.
Hotel Siikaranta (see below) restaurant offers Finnish-style buffets for hungry hikers, but opening hours are limited.
- Hotel Nuuksio, Naruportintie 68 (Bus 244 from Espoo stn), ☏ . Conference hotel mostly popular with companies arranging corporate retreats. Restaurant (buffet only, limited hours), bar, pool, sauna. €85/100 single/double, including breakfast.
- Hotelli Lepolampi, Kivilammentie 1 (Bus 243 from Espoo stn), ☏ .
Several wilderness lodges can be rented cheaply, but they're popular so advance bookings are essential. You will also need to bring your own sleeping bags.
- 1 Oravankolo, ☏ . A modest cabin for 5 persons. Includes a sauna in a separate building. €60/day.
- 2 Tikankolo, ☏ . Another wilderness cabin with a sauna. Room for 6 persons. €60/day.
- Hawkhill nature. High standard cottages in Nuuksio.
For groups, Green Window (see Do) can also arrange private lodgings elsewhere in the park.
Camping is permitted only in four designated campgrounds in the park. None have any facilities, but open fires are allowed.
Apart from vipers and the very remote chance of meeting a bear, there is little dangerous fauna in the park. Thanks to the swampy terrain, mosquitoes can be a nuisance, so stock up on the bug spray. Stay on the main trails if you don't have a compass and orienteering experience.