Nuuksio National Park (Finnish: Nuuksion kansallispuisto, Swedish: Noux nationalpark) is in Southern Finland on the outskirts of Espoo and the neighbouring municipalities of Kirkkonummi and Vihti, 35 km from Helsinki. It is one of two national parks reaching into the capital region (the other is Sipoonkorpi National Park).
The Metsähallitus web pages on Nuuksio are very good, as for most Finnish national parks.
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 travelling anywhere in Finland, that).
Flora and fauna edit
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 centre has an exhibit about the critter and even gives handy tips on how to spot its poo.
Nuuksio's climate is mostly the same as Helsinki's: lovely summers, wet spring and fall, brutal winters. Less slush and wind, though. The high season is obviously summer, although mushroom pickers continue to tramp the trails well into the fall and hardcore cross-country skiers venture there during winter.
Get in edit
By bus edit
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[dead link] 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 245A. 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 from Nummela to Tervalammen kartano and walk several km.
To get to the quiet northeastern side of the park, take a bus U375(V) from Myyrmäki to Pyyslampi. The nature park with its lakes begins right from the southern side of the road.
By taxi edit
See Uusimaa#By taxi for information about companies and fares
By car edit
Parking within the park is available only at Haukkalampi and Kattila.
Fees and permits edit
Get around edit
- Google or OpenStreetMap on a smartphone are commonly used.
- 1 Haukkalampi information cabin (Haukkalammen luontotupa). Has simple free maps, or invest €10 in a detailed topographic map of the area
- You can print your own maps from here and for trails from here.
- Motorised vehicles are prohibited in the park, so most visitors get around by hiking.
- Bicycling is allowed on 30 km (19 mi) of designated routes, including National Cycle Route 2, 14 km (8.7 mi) of which passes through the park.
Although deviating from trails is allowed, the park is small enough that the trails suffice for most of it – end visited enough that you should avoid tear of the ground off trails.
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 centre, 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 centre, passing through Mustalampi (with camping ground), Siikaranta and Siikaniemi before returning back. It is also possible to walk only half the route by taking bus 28 in and 85 out.
- Other trails. You can find other trails from this link.
Picking berries in late summer and mushrooms in the fall are popular activities. Fishing is allowed according to the general restrictions, although there isn't all that much to catch. In winter, the trails are open to cross-country skiing; there are no lit or maintained tracks.
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 and corporate retreats. 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), ☏ . Arranges guided canoeing, hiking and mountain biking tours. In wintertime the company organises also snow shoe and ski tour programs.
- BioGeo-Traveller, ☏ , email@example.com. Offers guided hikes of various duration and difficulty. from €50/person; children under age 16 free of charge.
- Finnish Friend, ☏ . Does guided hikes for 1–4 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. The companies listed have an agreement with Metsähallitus on sustainable practices.
Buy, eat and drink edit
Water is available at Haltia and Haukkalampi information centre. Making an open fire is allowed – when there is no wildfire warning – at the designated fireplaces near the camping grounds, so bring some sausages and have a picnic. Some of the fireplaces are covered and thus usable even when it rains; fireplaces with a chimney (and most camping stoves) can be used also during wildfire warnings, with due care. Open fire is forbidden during wildfire warnings (announced in most weather forecasts).
- 1 Haltia. Serves up a lunch buffet daily and fine dining dinners on weekends only. Hours are seasonal, so check ahead. Buffet €19.50/9 adult/child.
Hotel Nuuksio (see below) restaurant also 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, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. A modest lakeside cabin for 6 persons, originally a private summer cottage. Gas cooker. Kitchen utensils and tableware. Mattresses and pillows (bring linen and blankets or sleeping bags). Heat by a wood-heated stove. No running water or electricity (perhaps 12 V lights?). Includes a sauna in a separate building. Firewood included but may need chopping (axe provided). Leave the cabin as you find it, cleaned and with some ready-made firewood. Key in a locked box. €150/day, varies by season.
- 2 Tikankolo, ☏ . Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 11:00. Another lakeside wilderness cabin with a sauna. This one was originally a loggers' cabin, more suitable for groups, equipment similar. Beds for 6 persons: two bunk beds with wider lower beds. Larger groups partly in tents by agreement. €150/day, varies by season.
- 3 Hawkhill nature, Haukkamäentie 95, Vihti, ☏ , email@example.com. High standard cottages. Programme services.
For groups, Green Window (see Do) can also arrange private lodgings elsewhere in the park.
Camping is permitted only in four designated camping grounds in the park. None has any facilities, other than campfire sites (check wildfire warnings).
Stay safe edit
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.
Go next edit
|Routes through Nuuksio National Park
|Turku ← Lohja ←
|→ Espoo → Helsinki