66° 10’ 3.11” N – 29° 8’ 26.01” E
Oulanka National Park
Hiking towards Russia
Bear's Ring (Karhunkierros) takes you on an exciting and adventuresome hike among wooded mountains in the deserted areas bordering Russia. The tour takes you over suspension bridges, footbridges, bridges and steps. The terrain is beautifully canopied with lichen-covered forests, deep canyons, rapids, waterfalls and vast bogs. There is also exceptionally rich flora due to meadowlands that are flooded every year. One particularly interesting flower is the Calypso orchid. This pink orchid is plentiful and become the symbol of the national park. Other sights worth seeing are Oulanka deep canyon, the red cliffs of the Kiutakönga waterfall and the notable Rupakiviklippan.
Bear's Ring stretches 80 km and takes four to six days to hike. The trail is not actually a ring. It instead runs north/south, with the main part situated in the national park. Smarter hikers choose a northern direction. This goes with the sun and enhances the nature experience via a more beautifully lit landscape. In addition, the national park is situated at the Arctic circle. This means that the summer nights are so bright that you can hike any time of the day or night. Bear's Ring has several rest and open wilderness huts as well as campgrounds. Since we are in Finland, you will also find public saunas. The trail is extremely popular. We therefore recommend that you bring your own tent during the peak summer period.
If you want to hike the entire Bear's Rind, start from the ski lifts in Ruka. If you only want to hike through the national park, start from the village of Juuma (-23 km). The hike ends either at the Ristikallio parking lot (-12 km) or at Hautajärvi Nature Centre. A cafe and grocery store are located at the Oulanka naturum information centre situated halfway along the trail. This significantly lightens your load. To return to your parked car, take Karhunkierros Trail Bus (Karhunkierrosbussin). But, be aware that the schedule is almost as sparse as the surrounding countryside.
Follow RV63 north from Kuusamo to Ruka (25 km) or continue to the turnoff east (8 km) towards Juuma (13 km).
No 43 HIKING / OULANKA NATIONAL PARK
GOOD TO KNOW
- Activity: Hike along the Russian border
- Location: Oulanka National Park, Finland
- Season: Summer
- Degree of difficulty: Everyone is welcome.
- Other facts: The area around Oulanka National Park is also rich with other activities, such as whitewater racing and Ruka's summer sled track. Kuusamo Predator Centre has long been a summer attraction. In the centre, you can study the large predators living in Finland close-up.
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