Oulanka National Park and Karhunkierros

In the rugged landscape of the Karhunkierros Trail, you will observe the power of water. The many trail options and hanging bridges will take you to the most impressive waterfalls in Finland. The jumps of wild brown trout, the dives of European dippers, the unlimited beauty of the aapa mires and the lovely calypso will challenge even the experienced nature photographer. Nature doesn’t recognise any state boundaries: the vast wilderness of the Paanajärvi National Park is to be found on the Russian side of the border.

Metaphorically speaking, Oulanka has risen from turbulence to the status of national park. The park is intersected by two free-flowing rivers, whose most famous rapids, Kiutaköngäs in the Oulankajoki River and Jyrävä in the Kitkajoki River, form a part of unique Finnish nature. The most turbulent times in Oulanka were the early 1950s, when a controversy broke out over the ownership and harnessing of Kuusamo’s rapids. Around the same time, the general parcelling out of land drew a clear line between state and private land ownership. After this, Oulanka was on its way to becoming one of the most widely known national parks in Finland and the Oulanka National Park was established in 1956.