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The most popular hiking route in Kuusamo is the 80-kilometre Karhunkierros Trail (Bear's Trail). The ravines, Arctic fells and primeval forests provide unforgettable experiences along the route.
You should reserve 3 - 7 days for hiking the whole Karhunkierros Trail. The trail (80 km) starts at the Karhunkierros visitor centre . Walking only parts of the trail is also possible. The shorter routes such as Pieni Karhunkierros and the Ristikallio route can easily be hiked in a day.
Start from Karhunkierros visitor centre (80 km)
The Karhunkierros Trail starts from the Karhunkierros visitor centre (80 km route). This means you also start your trail in Lapland! (Kuusamo belongs to the Province of Oulu) Karhunkierros visitor centre is open until the end of October. You can access the starting point by using Karhunkierros Bus or local taxis.
Oulanka Visitor Centre, along the route and Oulankajoki River, makes another starting point. It is open round the year. You can buy coffee, food, maps and fishing permits from both Hautajärvi and Oulanka Visitor Centres. Oulanka Camping near Oulanka Nature Centre has a kiosk and cafe. You can stay overnight in your tent or rent a cabin. There is a sauna by the river, available for hikers.
The route traverses the most magnificent sceneries in Kuusamo: canyons, whitewater, fells and ancient forests. There are marked trees and rocks, so there is no danger of getting lost. However, it is advisable to look at the map at every junction.
There are some suspension bridges (hanging bridges) on the way. Parts of the trail also have wooden pathways called duckboards ("pitkospuu" in Finnish) to make it easier to walk the rough terrain, as well as preserving the vulnerable nature. You can stay overnight in any of the cabins and lean-to shelters along the route - they are located a day's hike from one another. We recommend taking a tent along during the busiest summer season (June-August), just in case.
Campfire spots are clearly marked.
During the fishing season (1.6.-31.8.) you can join hikes and fish on Oulankajoki and Kitkajoki rivers. Fishing permits at several places around Kuusamo. Further information available from Ruka and Kuusamo Info