Punkaharju Snowshoe Park in Lakeland Finland
Punkaharju Snowshoe Park offers unique experiences in the heart of the Savonlinna holiday resort area – eight marked trails in the beautiful landscapes of the nature reserve and the waterways of Lake Saimaa. Punkaharju is an iconic and historic landscape in Finland, where the nature reserve was founded as early as 1803 by Tsar Nicholas I when he visited the area. The landscape, formed by the Ice Age, with the waterways of Lake Saimaa and extensive array of services for visitors, have cemented its position as one of the top holiday destinations in Finland.
The first snowshoe park in Finland will open in Punkaharju with trails offering new ways to enjoy nature. Snowshoeing is an eco-friendly sport, and even the trails are created in a sustainable way, so it is therefore well suited to highly-valued scenery and nature reserves. Walking on snow leaves no traces on the ground and there is no need to cut down trees, as the trails follow routes formed by nature itself. Punkaharju Snowshoe Park features eight trails ranging from one to six kilometres in length, which are marked with ribbons. There is a map for each trail with a description written as a story related to the location’s nature, history or culture, and this information will also be available on visitpunkaharju.fi once the trails have opened. The material is published in Finnish, English and Russian.
The range of trails is very varied in terms of both in the themes and terrain, and no previous snowshoeing experience is required for most of the trails. There are trails on the ridges of Punkaharju, in old growth forest in the Kokonharju area, in the research forest and arboretum area, as well as close to the holiday resorts. Every trail has stunning lake views over Pihlajavesi or Puruvesi in the Saimaa lake system and the majority of trails are directly accessible from at least one resort. Most resort companies hire out snowshoes and other equipment.
The snowshoe trails in the nature reserve have been created in collaboration between the Punkaharju holiday resort entrepreneurs and Metsähallitus (state enterprise administering state-owned land and water areas), while the research forest and arboretum trail was designed together with the Finnish Forest Research Institute. In addition to the largest snowshoe park in Finland, the Punkaharju area offers other winter pastimes such as tracks for tour skating and a 30-kilometre network of tracks for cross-country skiing. The tour skating track will become a really versatile route this winter: there are about 15 kilometres of maintained tracks on lake ice for skating and skidsledding, and tracks for skiing and hiking will be opened alongside them. The trails for snowshoeing, as well as the skiing and skating tracks, will open as soon as there is enough snow on the ground.
Up-to-date information about the opening is available at visitpunkaharju.fi.
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