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Southern Konnevesi National Park in 24 Hours

Southern Konnevesi National Park is one of Finland’s 40 national parks open to everyone to explore on foot or by boat. We made a short trip to this new national park located in Konnevesi and Rautalampi in the Finnish lakeland. 

My post shows you what you can do in Southern Konnevesi and how to get there. We took a boat but you can also reach many parts of the park by car.

Southern Konnevesi National Park, Finland

 

My dream has been to stay overnight in a national park and I now I’ve done that! In this place, far away from everything! In a Finnish national park.

National Parks in Finland

Finland has in all 40 national parks open to everyone. They exist all around the country each of them representing the pure, original nature of the area. This network of national parks shows Finland’s nature at its best: nature sights and national landscapes, all open to everyone to enjoy.

National Park in Finland

 

Finland adapted the US model in creating its national parks. The parks contain a visitor center, marked hiking trails and shelters, campfire sites and huts for overnight stay. All national parks are managed by Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland.

More information on Finnish national parks on the Parks & Wildlife Finland website nationalparks.fi

Southern Konnevesi National Park

Loukkuvuori trail at Enonranta, Southern Konnevesi National Park

 

Southern Konnevesi National Park (Finnish: Etelä-Konneveden kansallispuisto) presents the typical nature of Central Finland. It is in the Finnish lakeland and includes vast inland lake areas with a maze of islands that can be explored by boat or canoe.

The park also contains an extensive stretch of mainland on lake Konnevesi’s eastern shore. This area consists of hilly forest terrain with high cliffs and unspoilt forest areas. The mainland can be explored on foot.

Location of Southern Konnevesi National Park

 

Southern Konnevesi National Park (Etelä-Konneveden kansallispuisto) is located in the municipalities of Konnevesi and Rautalampi that partly belong to Central Finland and partly to Northern Savonia.

The driving distance from Helsinki is 327 km (4 hours) and from the closest cities Jyväskylä and Kuopio 90 km (1-1,5 hours). Jyväskylä and Kuopio are the closest airports.

Map of Southern Konnevesi National Park

The official park map gives you a good overview of the national park and its services.

Southern Konnevesi National Park Map

Source: Metsähallitus

Click in the map to get it in a bigger format (PDF) on the national park website. The link will open up a Southern Konnevesi National Park Brochure and Map.

24 Hours in Southern Konnevesi National Park

Me and my husband wanted to explore Southern Konnevesi but we only had a very limited time at our disposal. Yet we wanted to do all this: explore the lake and the islands, hike in the forest and try to stay overnight in a national park since we never did that before.

Some planning was needed before we could fit it all in 24 hours.

Konnevesi lake view

Our 24 Hour Trip Schedule

This became our schedule:

  1. Water taxi on the lake and island hopping
  2. Staying in a hut on the mainland
  3. Two short hikes in the forest
  4. Water taxi back and more island hopping

So we went ahead. We booked a water taxi and searched for sites to stay overnight. And we really had good luck with us, the only hut in the park was available! There’s nothing wrong with a tent or a shelter but we took the hut.

1. Water Taxi on the Lake and Island Hopping

Boating in Southern Konnevesi National Park

 

Both Konnevesi and Rautalampi offer a choice of water transportation services that are listed on the national park website partners page. Private boat connections exist at least from Häyrylänranta and Kivisalmi on the Konnevesi side and also from the Rautalampi side in the east.

You can reach all these boat piers by a public bus from Jyväskylä and Kuopio and they all provide ample parking space if you arrive by car. All water taxis charge about the same, EUR 120/hour. Or maybe you might want to join a group tour instead as a cheaper option (EUR 30/person)?

Southern Konnevesi National Park by boat

 

The water taxi we booked happened to be in Rautalampi so our journey began there. And off we went, the Finnish flag waving in the wind! In case you want to do the same you’ll find the contact information here: Rautalaine

The boating time from Rautalampi to the national park mainland is 30 min but the more island hopping the more time you will need.

On the Rautalampi side the first attraction is an old rock painting, at the lower end of the waterway.

Toussunlinna Rock Paintings

Southern Konnevesi National Park rock paintings

 

Toussunlinna in the southeastern part of the national park has rock paintings on a deep vertical cliff. The paintings can only be seen from a boat or from the ice in winter when the lake is frozen. Notice that parts of the year the paintings are underwater.

Water taxi to Toussunlinna rock paintings

 

It’s hard to see what the painting is about but it should be a human figure and one or two elks. I think one of the elks is clearly visible (on the right):

Toussunlinna rock paintings

 

There are not many rock paintings in this part of Finland, the next one is in Laukaa some 50 km away.

From the rock paintings we first had to take the same route back and then turn west to Lake Hankavesi where the park gate is located. Hankavesi again is connected to Lake Konnevesi by a narrow stream.

Konnekoski Rapids

Konnekoski rapids

 

So we have to get further west, to Lake Konnevesi. The place where you can do that is the Konnekoski rapids. Here the water streams with a speed since the height difference between the lakes is 70 cm.

As you can believe this is a favorite spot for fishermen, easy to access from the national park road too.

Konnekoski view

Konnekoski rapids, Southern Konnevesi National Park

Southern Konnevesi National Park water view

Behind the trees: one of the summer cottages at Konnekoski rapids

Konnekoski by boat

 

Konnekoski waters are almost too shallow for boating. That’s why you have to pass with full speed. A bit scary but this is the way to get through the rapids.

Lake Konnevesi and Ospreys

Osprey nest on a Lake Konnevesi island

 

This is Lake Konnevesi with lots of islands. Many of the smallest islands are occupied by ospreys (in Finnish: kalasääski), large birds feeding on fish. Ospreys are typical of Southern Konnevesi National Park, they need sturdy trees and open space around their nest to keep an eye of the surroundings.

On the small island above you can see an osprey nest, on the tree in the middle of the island. And below there’s another one. And you can find many more of them, there are 17 osprey nests in all.

Southern Konnevesi National Park osprey nest

 

We tried to stay at a distance but made the huge birds worried. They were flying above us and making a noise to scare us. So we continued your journey, in a gleaming sunshine.

Southern Konnevesi National Park osprey

 Lake Konnevesi osprey

A Konnevesi osprey

Another osprey watching its nest

Lake Konnevesi

Lake Konnevesi gleaming sunshine

Pyysalo Island

Southern Konnevesi National Park Pyysalo vegetation

 

And then, the first island stop! Iso Pyysalo (the big Pyysalo, there’s also a small one). Iso Pyysalo has a wonderful nature, a pine and birch tree forest with wild rosemary that smells so good… It smells like Central Finland.

Wild rosemary

Iso Pyysalo nature

Pyysalo campsite

 

I could stay here! There’s a sandy beach and a more rocky one, a campfire site, a shelter where you could sleep and a toilet. What else do you need?

Pyysalo lake view

Iso Pyysalo lakeshore

Water taxi to Pyysalo, Southern Konnevesi National Park

Water taxi at Iso Pyysalo

Southern Konnevesi National Park Pyysalo island

Sandy beach of Iso Pyysalo 

M/S Autere cruise on Lake Konnevesi

M/S Autere, Konnevesi

But we had to rush on, we only had 24 hours and a lot to see. So we headed to the mainland, to Majaniemi jetty where we met a group of national park visitors.

2. Staying in a Hut on the Mainland

Majaniemi fishing hut Konnevesi

 

And we stayed the night in this little hut! I didn’t know the hut was this pretty, there were no photos on the website. Majaniemi Fishing Hut is a jewel. It’s so simple and so original.

Majaniemi cottage window

Majaniemi fishing hut window

Boat trip to Majaniemi, Southern Konnevesi National Park

 

So we rushed on shore and spent the rest of the day enjoying the fishing hut atmosphere. The tour group left and we were the only humans here, just having water birds as our neighbors.

Majaniemi cottage surroundings

Southern Konnevesi National Park nature

Goldeneye birdhouse

Our neighbor next door: a birdhouse 

Majaniemi lake view

Majaniemi lake view

Or, we were not totally isolated, one or two canoes came by during the evening. Southern Konnevesi is building an infrastructure for canoeing with specific canoe landing sites all marked on the park map.

Canoeing in Southern Konnevesi National Park

Canoeing in Southern Konnevesi National Park

Majaniemi lake view

Majaniemi lake view

Southern Konnevesi National Park lake view

 

If there’s some breeze during the day it usually gets calm towards the evening. Evenings and early mornings are the most beautiful times of the day.

But for us Finns evenings mean sauna time and also Majaniemi of course has its own sauna. Very old like the hut itself, and by the lake so you can take a dip afterwards.

Sauna and Dinner by the Lake

So Clas went to heat the sauna and I took a glass of wine and sat down and planned tomorrow’s walking route.

Majaniemi sauna, Southern Konnevesi National Park

Majaniemi sauna, Southern Konnevesi National Park

Preparing for a sauna evening and planning hikes

Planning our national park stay & waiting for the sauna

Majaniemi smoke sauna window

It was both a smoke sauna and a normal one, you can choose which stove you use for heating. We were advised to use the normal stove which we did. That takes a lot less time too and you will get hot water in addition.

Majaniemi smoke sauna

 

The sauna was very basic and there was no floor, just the bare ground under you feet. But the löyly was excellent, and nothing can beat the smell of smoke sauna…

Campfire, Southern Konnevesi National Park

 

After the sauna all you need is a dinner which we prepared on campfire, from delicious ingredients (half-made portions which we heated on fire).

Potatoes and vegetables in sour cream, pike sausage, bread rolls, blueberry pie in rye dough with vanilla….  Where did we get all this? The small lunch restaurant Hetki in Rautalampi provides you with a meal box according to your wishes, from picnic ingredients to a full menu. Here’s their contact information in case you got interested: Ravintola Hetki

Southern Konnevesi National Park summer night

Southern Konnevesi National Park midnight

If you liked Majaniemi here is the website of the organization taking care of the hut: Kalaja Retkeily

3. Two Short Hikes in the Forest

Three Mountains Hike (Kolmen vuoren vaellus)

Southern Konnevesi National Park forest

 

In the morning we had already spent more than half of the 24 hours in Southern Konnevesi National Park and it was hiking time!  We took the path from Majaniemi to the Three Mountains Hike (Kolmen vuoren vaellus) and made a part of it, just a part.

The whole Three Mountains hike is 14 km and starts by the campfire shelter of Vuori-Kalaja but if you arrive from the lake you can join the route at different points.

Blueberry hill in Southern Konnevesi National Park

Blueberry hill, Three Mountains Hiking Trail

Marked walk in Southern Konnevesi National Park

The trail is marked in the terrain with painted yellow marks.

Blueberries in Southern Konnevesi National Park

Blueberries cover most of the ground

Three Mountains hiking trail, Southern Konnevesi National Park

Three Mountains Hiking Trail, Southern Konnevesi National Park

The Three Mountains Hiking Trail is like a forest path, winding and soft under your feet. I love this! And I love the forest! Wherever we go in the world I’m trying to find a forest. It can be a rainforest, a jungle or an ancient kauri forest, or a swamp. But this is a Finnish forest with pine, spruce and birch trees. And wild flowers:

Konnevesi twinflowers

Forest twinflowers 

Three Mountains hiking trail lake view

 

The Three Mountains Hike runs all round the rugged Enonniemi peninsula and you can enjoy fantastic lake views from Enonranta boat jetty on. Look at these views! Walking is slow, partly for the winding path and partly for stopping all the time for the scenery.

Three Mountains hiking trail, Southern Konnevesi National Park

 

Sometimes it’s more like a wetland, small pines and wild rosemary below the trees. In this kind of places you might be bothered by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes tend to avoid lake shores that have some breeze from the lake.

Three Mountains hiking trail swamp view, Southern Konnevesi National Park

 

The shoreline looks very special in places. The rocky shore looks yellow below the water, here seen from the walking path high above on the cliff.

Three Mountains hiking trail, Southern Konnevesi National Park

Lake Konnevesi shore seen from the Three Mountains Hiking Trail

Loukkuvuori Hike (Loukkuvuoren lenkki)

Southern Konnevesi National Park hiking trails

 

We walked along the Three Mountains Hike until there was a turn-off to Loukkuvuori. The Loukkuvuori hiking trail (Loukkuvuoren lenkki) is a 2.8 km loop track from Enonranta boat jetty to the top of Loukkuvuori mountain and back. So there is a climb but not a too demanding one provided you’re wearing walking shoes. This is before the climb starts:

Loukkuvuori hiking trail, Konnevesi

Loukkuvuori Hiking Trail, Southern Konnevesi National Park

Southern Konnevesi National Park vegetation

Vegetation along Loukkuvuori Hike 

Hiking in Southern Konnevesi National Park

Walking in Southern Konnevesi National Park

Southern Konnevesi National Park hikes

Trail crossing, Southern Konnevesi National Park

But higher up on the hill the nature looks different. There are lichens and mosses and more fallen tree stems across the path.

Southern Konnevesi National Park, Loukkuvuori lichen

Grey lichen on Loukkuvuori Hike

Loukkuvuori, Southern Konnevesi National Park

The top of Loukkuvuori

Loukkuvuori hike, Southern Konnevesi National Park

 

Loukkuvuori offers the best panorama of Southern Konnevesi, splendid views of the national park and the lakeland. It all looks fantastic on a warm summer day and it must be that at all times of the year. Wish to be back in autumn!

Loukkuvuori trail, Southern Konnevesi National Park

National park scenery from Loukkuvuori

Southern Konnevesi National Park, Loukkuvuori view

 

From the Loukkuvuori summit the path continues down to Enonranta, a moderate descent and very good to walk, at least in dry weather.

Loukkuvuori hike, Southern Konnevesi National Park

 

And then, we reached Enonranta and the lake! Hard to decide which is more beautiful of the two, the forest or the lake. Maybe the lake?

Loukkuvuori trail at Enonranta, Southern Konnevesi National Park

 

This is the Enonranta boating jetty that on one side has a landing platform for canoes. The south facing Enonranta is an ideal spot for an overnight stay, there is a good spacious shelter with an indoor campfire and a toilet.

Enonranta, Southern Konnevesi National Park

Enonranta jetty

Enonranta camping site

Enonranta shelter seen from the jetty

Enonranta Southern Konnevesi National Park

Hiking in Enonranta, Southern Konnevesi National Park

Three Mountains trail at Enonranta, Southern Konnevesi National Park

 

After Enonranta we still had a few hundreds of meters to go, to Majaniemi where the water taxi was going to meet us in an hour. 24 hours almost done! Nothing wrong with this scenery either…

Loukkuvuori trail at Enonranta, Southern Konnevesi National Park

Walk from Enonranta to Majaniemi, Southern Konnevesi National Park

Loukkuvuori and Three Mountains Hikes on the Map

Maybe you want to see the hikes on the map? All Southern Konnevesi National Park hiking trails are marked on this official hiking map.

Click on the map to open it up in a bigger format (PDF) on the national park website:

Southern Konnevesi National Park Hiking Map

Source: Metsähallitus

4. Water Taxi Back and More Island Hopping

And then the last two hours of our 24 hour Southern Konnevesi trip: a boat trip back to the mainland. Our water taxi came and wanted to show us two more islands, Lapinsalo and Lanstu.

Lapinsalo Island

Lapinsalo by boat, Konnevesi

 

This is Lapinsalo island almost in the middle point of Lake Konnevesi. Lapinsalo is said to be the place where Santa Claus and his little helpers spend their summer vacation. That must be true since I’ve seen a video where they all were paddling to the island.

We however didn’t meet Santa. Instead we met a group of visitors, maybe looking for him. They had brought their cakes and biscuits which they enjoyed outside the newly built Lapinsalo shelter.

Lapinsalo island, Southern Konnevesi National Park

 

And someone was camping on the island, maybe Santa Claus? Lapinsalo with its sheltered bay must be a great spot for camping, and it’s one of the camping sites we had in mind before finding the hut.

Camping in Southern Konnevesi National Park

 

Lapinsalo has a brand new pier, opened in 2017. The national park was established in 2014 and they are investing in new facilities.

Lapinsalo jetty, Konnevesi

Lapinsalo jetty, Konnevesi

Cruising to Lapinsalo island, Southern Konnevesi National Park

M/S Myllykoski, Konnevesi

Lapinsalo island, Southern Konnevesi National Park

Lapinsalo shoreline, Southern Konnevesi National Park

Lapinsalo island, Southern Konnevesi National Park

 

But our boat was waiting for us and we still had one island to go, the Lanstu with a somewhat special history.

Lanstu Island

Lanstu, Southern Konnevesi National Park

 

We went on land and climbed the rock, and saw fallen trees. These trees had marks on them, and crosses. How come?

Lanstu, Southern Konnevesi National Park

Initials on Lanstu tree trunk

Lanstu, Southern Konnevesi National Park

Cross on Lanstu tree 

Walking on Lanstu island, Konnevesi

 

Here’s the story: in the 1800’s bodies of deceased were transported by boat from Konnevesi to the main graveyard of the area located in Rautalampi. All boats made a half way stop in this narrow strait and the initials of the deceased were carved on the trees. The idea was to prevent the bodies from floating back to life along this magic strait. They believed this strait was the border between the world and the afterworld!

Lanstu island, Konnevesi

 

Most of the trees have since fallen in storms but the few of them we saw still remain. Lanstu also has a canoe landing site from where you can get to the rocks.

But now our 24 hours have gone and Lanstu ends our boat trip to Southern Konnevesi National Park. Hope to be back in this beautiful place one day!

 

You will find covering information on Southern Konnevesi and its services on the national park’s website and the Nationalparks.fi website again is the official portal of all national parks in Finland.

 

Water taxi, Southern Konnevesi National Park

Boating in Southern Konnevesi National Park, Finland

Southern Konnevesi National Park

Southern Konnevesi National Park / Etelä-Konneveden kansallispuisto, summer 2017

More on Finland Travel

If you enjoyed my post you can find my other posts on Finland on my Finland category page:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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