Hike in Leivonmäki National Park, Finland

August 17, 2017

The sky is grey and it seems like it's just about to rain. Just my luck. We've been sitting in a car for hours and I swear to God I'll never listen to the radio again if they're gonna play Despacito one more time. I've typed the address of the parking lot wrong so we end up driving kilometers past the place on sandy roads that got more potholes than Genghis Khan got children. Despite turning around we still somehow manage to park on the wrong parking lot and miss the first half a kilometer of our hike without even noticing.

This is gonna be a good day, right?



Hiking Harjunkierros Trail

Ascents and descents seem to be the theme of the day.

It's my first time in Leivonmäki National Park and I've spend a good amount of time comparing different hikes online. We only got half a day so I ended up choosing an intermediate circular route called Harjunkierros Trail - also known as Esker Trail - that would cover some esker forests, lakes and marshes. Just 10 minutes into the hike I feel like a human roller coaster. Up and down we go! We're surrounded by thousands of pine trees and the forest seems just endless. I can't help wishing that the sky would clear up and I could see the forest in it's full glory. I got no complaints though - the tree branches are filled with beard moss and there's nothing but silence around us.



The person who described the hike as intermediate was wrong. Surely the first kilometer could be a bit of a challenge for non-hikers but after crossing the sandy road (ironically the same one we were accidentally driving along earlier) the landscape changes and the eskers are gone. We hit some lakes and wetland areas and it keeps hard for me to keep up with the others because I keep picking up blueberries growing right along the path. Better keep yourself fed in case you get lost in the forest, right?

We only run into few other people the whole day. There are several campers that have pitched their tents near the lake and there's a smell of BBQ in the air. The sky is turning darker and darker but we get lucky with the rain. Not so lucky with photography but you can't get everything, right?

When we hit the parking lot we feel slightly confused. It's been a good day but I'm not sure the hike was anything I thought it would be. To be honest I had found it slightly boring. My opinion of the hike may be slightly biased cause I had explored both Valkmusa National Park and Repovesi National Park just few weeks earlier and had an absolute blast but there was nothing in Leivonmäki that stood out for me. The landscape surely was beautiful but let's be honest; most of Finland is covered in forests and lakes just like this.

Who knows, I may have been just unlucky with my route choice but unfortunately I just wasn't impressed by Leivonmäki. Did I have good time in there? Yes. Would I travel all the way to Central Finland just to visit this national park? No.



How to get to Leivonmäki National Park

Leivonmäki National Park is located less than an hour ride away from Jyväskylä and the easiest accessed by car.

There is no public transportation to Leivonmäki National Park. The closest bus stop is located in Kivisuo, Joutsa which is located just few kilometers away from the national park. Most of the trails start around 7km walk away from the bus stop though and the buses don't operate to Kivisuo during summer time.



Tips for Leivonmäki National Park

  • There are toilets available in Leivonmäki National Park but they aren't equipped with toilet paper so bring your own
  • There are multiple camping spots available in the national park so it's possible to stay there overnight. There are also quite few campfire spots so bring some snacks for nightless night barbecue!
  • There are no trash cans available in the park so prepare to carry back everything you bring to the park
  • To find more information about visiting Leivonmäki and different trail options visit nationalparks.fi

Have you been hiking in Finland? What has been your favorite spot?



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10 kommenttia

  1. It looks like a beautiful hike. Maybe if you had hiked it before your other hikes it would have been more enjoyable. On the plus side, it didn't rain on you. :-)

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    1. Yeah I think so as well! My expectations definitely were too high but you're right, at least I didn't get wet :D

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  2. Well, you never know unless you try. I haven't done many hiking trails, but in my opinion, hiking would work for me only in a fabulously rich landscape. But then there are those who hike for hiking sake, landscape or no landscape.

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    1. I enjoy hiking but for me it's also a lot about the landscape. I definitely prefer hiking in the mountains and picturesque places but there just aren't any mountains anywhere near by the city where I've been based the whole summer :(

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  3. Olen käynyt Seitsemisessä ja Lauhavuorella. Pientä karhunkierrosta kävelin jonkin verran, mutta aion ehdottomasti kävellä sen vielä joskus loppuun asti!

    Mitä vikaa muuten on Despacitossa? :D

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    1. Mä en oo kävellyt mitään noista sun mainitsemista lenkeistä D: Ajattelin että nyt kun oon kesän Suomessa niin ehdin vaikka minne, mutta ei sit näköjään!

      Haha ei siinä biisinä kai mitään vikaa ole mut se soi radiossa noi 1000 kertaa työpäivän aikana ja alkaa tulla korvista ulos :D

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  4. Hahaha. First of all, I love your writing style. Your descriptions of the day made this blog post so perfect! Second of all, I can't believe how lush and green Leivonmäki National Park is. Looks like such a fairy tale, like something out of a book. Though I'm sorry the hike didn't stand out to you, this is the sort of surroundings I love for a hike. I'll definitely put this on my list for when we visit Finland. :) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Awww thanks Anna! I feel like the whole Finland looks like this so that's probably the reason it wasn't my cup of tea but if you haven't been around this country a lot it's probably a really cool experience :) You're welcome x

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  5. Lol you had me feeling all miserable with you on the first paragraph. And you'll be glad to know my neighbour was playing Despacito on repeat all afternoon... Anyway I've never been to Finland so i totally found the pictures of the pine tree forest captivating. I agree and found it refreshing that you shared about your disappointment about the hike. Its like feeling "templed" out in Japan or when all the churches start to seem the same when in Rome. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Haha I'm not sure I could cope with that! You poor thing! Glad to hear that someone found the pictures refreshing though :D I think I've just been spending too much time outside in this country and the temple effect has reached me haha. Happens for everyone with everything when travelling I guess cause I can totally relate to getting overload of temples, churches and such when backpacking!

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