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As the summer was coming to an end, we decided to visit Repovesi National Park. The park's location was convenient and the weather forecast looked good. In this article, we'll give you some basic information about Repovesi National Park and share our own experiences. Repovesi gave us a fresh nature experience. Read more from the article.
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Repovesi - a National Park in Finland
There are 41 national parks in Finland maintained by the Finnish state. Repovesi is one of them, located in the Kouvola and Mäntyharju regions of southeastern Finland. The park was established in 2003, so it is still relatively young. The location of Repovesi National Park makes it easily accessible, especially for people from southern and eastern Finland. For example, it takes less than 3 hours to drive from Helsinki to Repovesi and the journey by public transport is not long either.
National parks in Finland are large nature reserves. Their composition is mainly forest, where visitors can relax amid Finnish nature. However, the parks are not untouched, with marked hiking trails, nature trails and campfires. Camping is allowed in national parks, like in Repovesi, but for practical reasons, it is best to camp only in designated areas.
Information about Repovesi National Park
Repovesi National Park is located 50 kilometres north of Kouvola. It is easy to reach this national park by car, rental car or taxi, as the roads from Kouvola to Repovesi National Park are in good condition. Only the last few hundred metres to the parking area of the national park are unpaved and bumpy.
Repovesi National Park can also be reached by public transport. The most convenient way is to get to Kouvola by train, and in the summer there is a bus service from the Kouvola station to the Lapinsalmi car park. You can also take a long-distance bus to Kouvola and then a bus to Repovesi National Park. The most active visitors take a train to the Mäntyharju station and continue their journey by bicycle.
Parking in Repovesi National Park is free and there is plenty of space. There are three parking areas at different corners of the park. Coming from Kouvola, the closest parking area is the Lapinsalmi parking area, which we used when we visited the park. The other two options for parking are Saarijärvi and Tervajärvi car parks.
Repovesi National Park is a forested area with lakes, ponds and marshes. Trees over 100 years old are thriving in its forest, but there is also obvious evidence of previous forest use. In contrast to the forest, you might come across impressive granite rock walls when walking along the lake, but the park also hides fragile limestone.
In Repovesi National Park you can see deer, foxes, Siberian flying squirrels and many other animals which are typical in Finnish nature.
Red-throated loon is a bird that thrives well even in Repovesi National Park.
Repovesi National Park has several services, most of which are free of charge. Even if the use of these services is free, visitors are expected to abide by instructions.
Making fire is allowed only at fireplaces. If there is a forest fire or grass fire hazard, one can only make a fire in grill shelters. The park provides free firewood which you can take from the store.
Repovesi National Park has five wells from which visitors can pump clean groundwater. Although the water is not completely clear and may have a side taste, it is still drinkable and refreshingly cold. On a hot summer's day, visitors cannot fail to appreciate the freshness of the water.
The park has dry toilets located near the fireplaces. Visitors are advised to bring their toilet paper and water to wash their hands. On the other hand, the park has numerous lakes and ponds from which washing water can be conveniently fetched.
As in other national parks, camping is allowed at Repovesi National Park for short periods. Camping is recommended only in designated areas with toilets and fireplaces nearby. For example, next to the Lapinsalmi camping area is Lake Kapia (Kapiavesi), so swimming is also possible.
If you plan to go camping at Repovesi National Park, we strongly recommend doing so in the Lapinsalmi area.
It is the visitor's responsibility to take their rubbish with them to keep the park tidy.
There are several entrepreneurs in the Repovesi region. This is great, as it provides visitors with a better visiting experience at the park in exchange for a small amount of money. For entrepreneurs, providing services is a livelihood. For example, a visitor can rent a cabin if camping is not comfortable enough. You don't need to bring your camping equipment either, as canoes, boats and SUPs are available for hire. You can also book organized tours and excursions in the park. You can buy food or drinks from the kiosks or cafés.
In the Lapinsalmi parking area, there is a Repotassu kiosk, where we had a great lunch. Their salmon soup was appetizing.
The best thing about Repovesi National Park is the hiking trails. Repovesi has many of them, ranging from short and easy trails to long and demanding hikes. The routes pass through forests and are well-marked. The trails are mainly in a natural state, but in the most difficult areas, there are longitudinal poles. The landscape along the routes varies: sometimes you are in a fresh deciduous forest, which can quickly turn into a coniferous forest. At the edges of the forests, there are lakes and ponds. The highest points of Repovesi are regarded as mountains, often with cliffs at their edges. With a wide variety of hiking trails, visitors can choose the one that suits them best. For example, those with children should choose a short route, while adults can hike dozens of kilometres a day.
Fox ring trail is perhaps the most popular in Repovesi. It is also interesting because it includes the national park's spectacular 50-metre suspension bridge and hand-powered Fox Ferry over Lake Kapia. Children, and why not adults, will be particularly enthusiastic about both of these. Fox Trail can be combined with a tour of Mount Kataja (Katajavuori), where the views are spectacular. Because of its length and easy terrain, Fox Trail is best suited to the occasional visitors to Repovesi.
Besides Fox Trail, there are many other trails in Repovesi, such as Korpinkierros Trail and Kaakkurinlenkki Trail. You can also combine the routes on your own. Some map reading skills are needed, as Google Maps is pretty useless in the forest without information about the exact locations and terrain of the trails.
Before You Go
Before you go, we have one important piece of advice for you. Check active weather-related warnings. Even though Finland does not have extreme storms, it is important to prepare with the right equipment. Be sure you have a valid travel medical insurance.
Our Visit to Repovesi
We visited Repovesi in August 2022, during the last moments of summer. The evenings were already dark, but the days were still warm. Late spring and early autumn are good times to visit, as the park is quieter.
We had arrived at Repovesi a night before and stayed in a tent near the Lapinsalmi fireplace. So we were ready to go hiking in the morning.
First we hiked Fox Trail without visiting Mount Kataja. On the way, we met several groups of foreign tourists and their guides, all of whom greeted us cheerfully. Unfortunately, there were no wells along Fox Trail, so we had to make a little extra turn to visit the well at the Kapiavesi fireplace.
Fox Trail was an easy starter route and the suspension bridge and Fox Ferry were the highlights. Fox Ferry required some strength, but it was not particularly difficult. The hike took us a few hours, as we stopped several times to take photos. We also had lunch at Repotassu in the Lapinlahti car park, which was conveniently located on the route.
Fox Ferry, also called Ketunlossi in Finnish, is a fascinating attraction of Repovesi National Park. It is an environmentally friendly mode of transport to get across the other side of the lake by pulling the upper cable attached to the ferry. It can carry a maximum of 10 people at a time. This is a must-try to be included in your itinerary when visiting Repovesi National Park. Fox Ferry is part of the 3.5 km Fox Trail. Below is a short video showing Fox Ferry in Repovesi National Park.
After Fox Trail, we decided to take on a bigger challenge. We wanted to see Mount Olhava, which is quite far away, and also Mount Kataja, which is nearby. There was no ready-made route, so we combined routes using a paper map.
We first joined the Kaakkurinkierros Trail tour towards the Kuutinkanava canal. After crossing the canal, we continued along the Kuutinlahti Bay to Pihkapirtti.
Soon we changed our route from the Kaakkurinkierros to the Korpinkierros to reach Mount Olhava. After a light ascent, we arrived at Mount Olhava, from where the view of Lake Olhava (Olhavanjärvi) was spectacular.
Mount Olhava (Olhavanvuori) offered a wonderful sunny rock to rest on after the walk and the climb. Although thunderclouds could be seen in the distance, they did not reach Mount Olhava.
The main wall of Mount Olhava also attracts climbers. It has been said that the 50-metre-high cliff is the best climbing spot in Finland. To the casual hiker, Olhavanvuori does not look like a beginner's climbing destination, but you should have enough experience.
Back to Lapinsalmi, we hiked almost the same route, but we combined our return trip with another round on Mount Kataja. The total distance was up to 25 kilometres, so you could feel the impact of the hike on your feet. We can't stress enough the importance of drinking water and wearing good shoes.
After the long hike, we were naturally very hungry. We had eaten only a light breakfast, a soup lunch and snacks. Fortunately, the Lapinsalmi campfire site had excellent facilities for preparing our food.
Shoud I Visit Repovesi National Park?
Repovesi is one of several national parks in Finland. Each park offers beautiful scenery, although there are nuanced differences in landscape types. Repovesi's strengths are the cliffs and the viewpoints offered by the mountains. Thus, it is possible to experience things in Repovesi that you would not experience in, for example, Espoo's Nuuksio National Park.
Repovesi National Park is easily accessible by car and public transport. We recommend visiting the park to anyone travelling domestically in Finland, although the park is also ideal for foreign tourists. Fox Trail crossing over Lake Kapiavesi is particularly interesting for children, and the National Park's magnificent suspension bridge is well worth seeing. The park offers several commercial facilities to make your visit more diverse.
If you are visiting Finland only for a few days, we recommend staying only in the Helsinki area. There are plenty of nature attractions too. Read more from Guide to Helsinki.
- Where is Repovesi National Park?
- Repovesi National Park is about 50 km north of Kouvola.
- Can you get to Repovesi National Park by car?
- Yes, it is very easy.
- Is there a parking area in Repovesi National Park?.
- Yes, there are three free parking areas.
- Can you get to Repovesi National Park by public transport?
- Yes, you can. It is worth making a trip to Kouvola and from there to Repovesi by bus.
- Are there any commercial services in Repovesi National Park?.
- Yes. There are paid services you can avail of at the park such as excursions, accommodation and food.
- Is it possible to camp in Repovesi?
- Yes, it is.
- Where is Fox Ferry?
- It crosses Lake Kapivesi on Fox Trail.
- What destinations in Repovesi National Park do we recommend?.
- We recommend visits to Mount Kataja and Olhava, as they offer the best views in the park.
We have visited more national parks abroad than in Finland. So Repovesi National Park was a refreshingly different experience. Compared to its foreign counterparts, Repovesi's nature is more varied and the trail marks are very clear. You feel part of nature once you are in the park.
No special wilderness skills are needed, as the park offers basic services and also more services can be availed for a small fee. All you need to do is bring good hiking shoes, casual clothes, some food and drinks. It is vital to follow the different rules of Repovesi National Park. Because there are some risks involved while you're in the forest, it's wise to have a working phone and a hiking companion. That way, you can call easily for help if something unexpected happens.
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