Introducing Patvinsuo National Park
This large marshland area between Lieksa and Ilomantsi is a habitat for swans and cranes, and if you’re exceedingly lucky you might see bears. Using the pitkospuu (boardwalk) network, you can easily hike around.
It’s an easy 3.5km stroll to the southern shore of Suomunjärvi from the main road, where you’ll find a birdwatching tower at Teretinniemi. The walk weaves through forests and wetlands, with sightings of waterfowl guaranteed if you’re quiet.
There are three marked nature trails (between 3km and 4.5km long), and several challenging hiking routes (mostly half-day walks) along the boardwalk path. You can walk around Suomunjärvi or follow pitkospuu trails through the wetlands. In winter there’s cross-country skiing on the unmaintained Mäntypolku and Nämänpuro Trails, which both start from Suomu car park.
Suomu Information Hut has a summer warden who can help with advice, fishing permits and maps, and point you towards the eight camping areas. You can hire canoes and rowing boats here (per hour/day €5/20; cash only), and make bookings for accommodation; there are nine beds (per night €12) in the information hut itself and two cabins in the park. There’s also Lake Hopealampi’s loggers’ cabin, which sleeps 30; and the smaller Väärälampi cabin, which sleeps four. Facilities are basic at both cabins, but include dry toilets, cooking facilities and, of course, saunas. They can also be booked via Wild North. The Susitaival (Wolf’s Trail) and Karhunpolku (Bear’s Trail) trailheads begin here.