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Helvetinjärvi National Park (Finland)

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Helvetinjärvi National Park is a national park in the Pirkanmaa region in Finland, located in the municipality of Ruovesi.

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      28.01.2011 17:28
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      Tervetuloa luontoon suomen! Or in english: Welcome to the Finnish nature!

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      Where are we?
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      The park is located some 15 kilometers north-west of the town Ruovesi, or about 60km north of the district capital of Tampere. You can reach the park across the road 66, from which a well-marked side road leads 10km to the parking lot of the park.

      By public transportation it is not easy get there, unfortunately. The bus stops on the road at the junction 66 directly to the National Park, but from there it is about 10km to the actual park - yes, it is quite hidden in the wilderness.

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      About the National Park
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      The Helvetinjärvi National Park was established in 1982, and is managed and maintained by the state forest supervision called "Metsähallitus". The park is 49.5 km ² in size and represents nature in northern Häme with its deep dark forests, small lakes and some rugged rock formations. Since 19th Century, the area is known as a National Park and for hiking excursions.

      Helvetinjärvi translated means "Hells lake".

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      Activities, attractions & services
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      Hiking is at the forefront in Helvetin National Park, there are several routes with different skillevels, that I want to present one by one. By the way: Offside from the marked trails it is allowed to wander, this is not the case in all National Parks!

      Kankimäki - Helvetinkolu - Kankimäki approximately 4.5 km

      The shortest path, but also one of the most varied and beautiful. From the parking lot at Kankimäki we follow the path down in the very dense, dark pine forested valley. A small stream crosses the road in the valley, then it goes up slowly, and the foliage changes to a typical Finnish pine forest. On the right side you see occasionally bog and marshland. Imposing a huge stone boulder is standing in the woods. Now you approach Helvetinkolu - in english Hell Canyon / Cliff. Here the trail splits, turn left to get to the Luomajärvi, straight ahead it goes on to Haukkajärvi. Helventinkolu itself is part of a rock wall which drops vertically about 20m and directly ends in the Helvetinlake. You can enjoy the view from a secure platform, in the fall at sunset it offers impressive light and color games in the woods.

      Right hand, a path leads down the canyon to the lake. There you can find an information point, a campfire site, a day lodge and a swimming beach.

      The returnpath we follow the signs to Karhukallio - in english bears rock - the path leads past the valley landscape is not as varied and interesting as the way in, but you pass Karhukallio, where cliff climbers can enjoy their sport . The whole way is about 4.5 km long, not really demanding, the trail is wide and good, but varied and interesting. Even with young children it should not be too exhausting or too long and you do not really missed something. Helvetinkolu is my opinion the most worthy place in the park to visit.

      Kankimäki - Haukanhieta - Kankimäki 15 km

      The first part is the same as just described, shortly before the Helvetinkolu we turn away to the direction Haukanhieta. But you should definitely make the short trip to the gorge, and enjoy the view.

      Now you are on the 2nd section, which is part of the "Pirkan taival" - a hiking trail of about 300 km lenght traversing central Finland. The path is more what one is used as a hiker, a nature adapted to the slightly wider trail. On this part are already far fewer people on the move, then you meet on the track to Helvetinkolu even in the fall and spring and in bad weather, here one is often alone on the road. We let the Helvetinlake behind us, and walk about 5 km through dense, dark forests, and then reach the first campsite and a waysplit. North ahead continues the Pirkan taival, to the left or west is our path towards Haukkajärvi, which we will follow.
      The campground is located right on the shore of Ruoke lake, but for us relatively uninteresting, because after about 5km probably no one will want to pitch a tent. But also you will find a toilet there.

      We therefore continue to follow the path towards Haukanhieta, he winds now about 3km further alongside Haukkalake, and halfway we come again to a beautiful lookout point where you can look over the entire lake.

      Arriving at the campground Haukanheita, it offers extensive opportunities for a rest or overnight stay. There is a real cooker, not just a fireplace, along with a drinking fountain and restrooms. The fire station containes ready chopped fire wood, the park administration is responsible for filling the stocks, at least from spring to autumn they do. This is the turning point of the route, on the way back you follow the same route to return.

      Kankimäki - Luomajärvi - Kankimäki 14 km

      Again, the first part is identical with the road to Helvetinkolu, just until the road goes left towards Luomajärvi. Here one should also take the small trip up to the gorge. This track is perhaps the most boring of all 3 trails, you walk through pine forests, and often abstract and rock formations - besides this, the trail doesnt offer many diversities. The entire route up to the campground at lake Luoma is part of the Pirkan taival as already mentioned, and it may happen that you meet a few long-distance hikers. Otherwise, the track is very deserted, one is often alone on the road. After 7 km walk, you arrive at the campground, which is located directly at the lakeshore. This is the turning point in our hike, but the trail will continue an estimated 15 km further south-east through the National Park ward.

      Berries and mushrooms

      The collection is allowed in the park all year, except between 15.4.-31.7. in the vicinity of the Haukka lake, as rare birds nest here.

      Swimming

      Swimming is allowed in all lakes, especially good places are the Helvetinkolu, and at the campsites Haukanhieta and Ruokejärvi.

      Fishing

      In all the lakes and parks, ice fishing and fishing with live bait without a role is allowed without a license. Spin fishing is strictly prohibited.

      Kiosk Kankimäki

      At the parking lot Kankimäki there is a kiosk that is opened only in the summer. I only have the opening times for the year 2009, but the principle should hardly change.

      * 30.4 .- 31.5. Mon - Sun: 12 - 18
      * 1.6. - 12.8. Mon - Sun: 12 - 20
      * 13.8. - 31.8. Mon - Sun: 12 - 18
      * 1.9. - 30.9. Sat-Sun: 12 - 18

      The range includes coffee, snacks, sweets, ice cream as well as maps of the park.

      Phone (mobile) +358 50 528 6606

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      Accommodation
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      I have already written about the possibility to pack your tent and cross the park this way, but for those, who wanted it a little bit more comfortable, can also rent a log cabin near Haukahieta! The hut is available for rent in the period from 01.04. to 31.10., and accomodates up to 14 people - a typical finnish sauna is of course included. However electricity and running water are luxuries, that you will not find inside the house! Lamps are oil-fired furnace and the oven very old-fashioned with wood. Water is supplied by a fountain, and there is also a barbecue area outside the cabin. The toilet is also located outdoors. The cottage is situated on a river, the Haukkajoki, and about 2km south-west of the Info Point / campground Haukanhieta. Say if one starts his walks from here, you go upside down the roads as I have described, and Helvetinkolu is about 10km away.

      You can reserve the cabin directly over the Internet and book, the price per night is 140 Euro, the week will cost 840 Euro. The costs for Finns to important Juhannus weekend of June 20 manipulates Donenrstag to Sunday Euro 560. In http://www.villipohjola.fi/default.asp?Section=59 you can see the movement of such data or rent the cottage.

      You can also make a direct call and obtain information or make a reservation, the number of the park headquarters is: 0205 64 5270

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      The park in the seasons
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      The trail to Helvetinkolu is accessible all year round, even if they do not explicitly maintain it in the winter. After heavy snowfalls, we should perhaps move the tour or pack snowshoes. From spring to autumn all tracks are maintained regularly. All other roads in winter are not easily accessible and should be avoided.

      Between 15.04. to 31.07. it is prohibited to set foot of the islands and shorelines on Haukkalake, protected birds are hatching during that time.

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      Conclusion
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      So I hope I have all the activities described in detail and could raise some interest to the nature of Finland in one or the other reader. Finally, you can say, the National Park Helvetinjärvi is beautiful, it offers many activities and is anything but overflown. Families with young children can be close to nature, the real hiking fans will probably be disappointed by the short distance to anything. If you have the opportunity to visit the park in different seasons, you will not regrest it, since the nature present itself very different always - I personally like it best in the fall!

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