A day trip to the Oulanka national park is a fantastic bucket list item for your Finland holiday! Luckily, this is no secret to many foreign visitors.
Getting out of our car in the parking lot of Oulanka national park makes a blogger like me smile happily. First I spot a French family adjusting their gear and in few minutes an American couple parks next to us. I love the international flair!
Oulanka national park has the most legendary trail of Finnish national parks. It is called the Bear’s Trail. The long version stretches out 50 miles (82 km) into the rich forest land of North-Eastern Finland. The day trip trail, the Little Bear’s Trail, seems to be the choice of the day for the majority of us.
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The Most Popular Trail of Finnish National Parks
The weather is sunny and warm – a perfect day to spend in the forest. For us this 7 mile (12 km) trail is easy. There is only one steep climb, and it is with wooden stairs. Plenty of boardwalks provide easy steps along the route, and three hanging bridges offer great views to the many-sided Kitkajoki river which connects to Oulankajoki river. Campsites and dry toilets are available, just like in other national parks in Finland. After four hours and completing the circle route, I have to say I am impressed.
The route is a summary of almost all possible Finnish nature types.
It captures rocky lake views, lush groves, several types of swamps, lazy rivers, crazy rapids, thundering waterfalls, old spruce forest and hilly woodland landscape. In this national park, there is even a possibility to do white water rafting. We see two rubber boats speeding down the rapids. It looks like great fun, and I will surely return to do it myself one day.
How to Get to Oulanka National Park?
The park is situated a 40-minutes drive away from the city of Kuusamo. From Rovaniemi, it takes 2,5 hours to reach the park’s gate. There are daily airplane connections to Kuusamo and Rovaniemi from Helsinki. The easiest option is then to rent a car and drive to the starting point in Juuma (Address: Juumantie 134, Kuusamo).
A Packing List for a Day Trip in Oulanka National Park
You should take these things with you for a day trip. Some things are not a must, but a good idea to bring if you have space. If you are planning a longer hike, check a multi-day gear and food list for hikes in Finland!
- Water. 1 liter/person.
- Snacks: For example, bananas, dried fruits, nuts & seeds. 2 sandwiches/person. (There’s also a cafe at the starting & finish point of the route.)
- Proper trainers (hiking boots not a must on this hike)
- Comfortable underwear, socks, shirt and pants
- Depending on the weather: a waterproof jacket and pants, a beanie & gloves
- Map/trail guides
- Charged phone
- Charged camera
- Toilet paper
- Hand sanitizer
- Insect repellant
- Car keys
Things to consider
- Sun lotion if sunny (or put on earlier already!)
- Foldable foam seat pad (so lovely during breaks)
- Pack rain cover
- First aid kit
- Tiny plastic garbage bag (there are no bins on route)
- Electrolyte replacement powder to mix with drinking water to avoid dehydration, muscle cramps, dizziness, and tiredness.