Hiking is the big drawcard in Kuhmo – the eastern ‘branch line’ of the UKK route passes through here – but there are plenty of other ways to get active.
The website www.wildtaiga.fi has details of activities offered in the region, including operators with hides for viewing bears, elk, flying squirrels, beavers, wolverines and wild reindeer.
Hiking the UKK
Pockets of pristine Finnish wilderness exist along the eastern border, best experienced along the UKK route. Named for Finland's president from 1956 to 1981, Urho Kaleva Kekkonen, this 400km trail is the nation’s longest and greatest trekking route, starting at Koli in Karelia, and ending in Syöte.
There are numerous possible access points, and alternative branches of the route, but the Kuhmo area offers some excellent portions of it: the Kuhmo to Hiidenportti leg and the Kuhmo to Lentiira leg. The superbly scenic trek east from Kuhmo to Lentiira via Iso-Palonen park takes at least four days. It’s well marked and has simple laavu shelters at regular intervals, with campfires, firewood and pit toilets. Carry a sleeping bag and plenty of insect repellent. Pick up route maps at Petola in Kuhmo.