Koli National Park

Trip Start Feb 05, 2006
Trip End Jun 30, 2006

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Koli National Park, Finland

Koli National Park is located in northern Karelia on the western shore of Lake Pielinen. The park is managed by the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Metla), and it covers almost 3000 hectares. In addition to its own research in Koli National Park, Metla conducts joint research to a great extent with other research institutes. The park's purpose is to protect the national landscape of Koli and old growth forests on the foot hills, as well as to maintain plant communities created by slash-and-burn agriculture.

Getting there

Road connections are shown on the map. There is a coach service to Koli from Joensuu and Kajaani. In summer there are boat connections from Joensuu, Lieksa, Nurmrs and Vuonislahti. The ferry to Lieksa is a car ferry.

Geology and landscape

Koli's hills are the remnants of the ancient Karelidic mountain chain formed almost 2000 million years ago as continental plates collided, causing thick sandstone strata to become metamorphosed and folded. The hard quartzites have withstood Ice Age erosion and frost shattering better than their surroundings to survive today as the Koli hills.
Ukko-Koli. the highest point in the chain, and also in South Finland, rises to 347 m a.s.l. and 253 m above Lake Pielinen. The scenery around Koli is considered to be some of the most beautiful in Finland.

Hiking and guidance

Heritage Centre Ukko, next to the Hotel Kofi, is the main visitor centre in national park. Visitor sen'ices can also be found in the Koli village (Art Cafe Kolin Ryynänen) and in the Koli Harbour (Alamaja lodge). The best way to explore the park is by hiking. There are several marked and thematic hiking trails to choose from, starting from the three visitor centres. Maps of trails can be purchased from visitor centres. There are several camp fire places in the park. In winter there are cross-country ski trails in the park varying in length from three to eight kilometres.

(picture taken from Wikipedia)


Wood grouse, greenish warbler, wren and the three-toed woodpecker, which is a threatened species, all thrive in old forest. Mammals regularly sighted in the park are elk. beaver, pine marten and lynx. Bears also occasionally move through the area. The endangered flying squirrel inhabits old mixed woods.
The most important, extremely threatened invertebrate species in the Koli area are Bulgarian carta, which is only known in Finland from Koli. and Solva interrupta which has only been found in one other place in Finland.


At the turn of the 20th century the rise of national romanticism resulted in a strong Karelian movement, and the Koli landscape provided many famous writers, artists and composers with inspiration for their work. At the same time Koli also became a well known tourist attraction.

Further Information

Finnish Forest Research Institute: koli.metla.fi

Wikipedia (English): Koli National Park

Wikipedia (Deutsch): Koli Nationalpark
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