Nuuksio National Park offers a wide range of different hiking trails. With its beautiful scenery including views over lakes, valleys and ravines Haukankierros Trail is one of the most popular trails.
At just 4 kilometres it might sound like a walk in the park. But thanks to its challenging climbs this trail will allow even a fit hiker to work up a sweat. Here’s a short guide to hiking this trail!
Disclaimer for the Coronavirus Spring of 2020
During this bizarre spring of 2020 there are some important things to bear in mind even in the middle of the woods.
Already popular hiking areas are even more crowded than before, which means you need to be extra attentive towards fellow hikers. Minimise contact by trying to avoid rush hours, waiting for your turn on narrow paths or allowing faster hikers to pass. For the safety of everyone, please stay at home if you have any symptoms.
More coronavirus guidelines for when visiting Finland’s national parks here.
If you ask me, there’s nothing better than nature. And the best way to enjoy nature is to head out for a good hike.
Nonetheless, it’s not always that simple knowing where or how to go hiking, at least not if you’re new to the country. Covering over 50 square kilometres, Nuuksio National Park is enormous. As the risk of getting lost is real and potentially dangerous, I don’t recommend heading out into the woods aimlessly.
Luckily you don’t have to. Nuuksio National Park offers plenty of hiking trails of various lengths so there’s guaranteed to be something for everyone. These trail are clearly marked so it’s practically impossible to get lost, even if it’s your first time hiking.
To make things even more convenient there are even cooking shelters and outhouses along the way. Many of the trails are circular routes, so they’ll take you back to the same point you started from. Combine two or more trails for a full days hike.
Haukankierros – The Hawk’s Trail
One of the circular routes is Haukankierros, meaning the Hawk’s Tour – or the Hawk’s Trail more freely translated. This is one of Nuuksio National Park’s most popular hikes and it’s not hard to see why.
At just 4 kilometres this hike is short. But the height differences make it challenging and as usual: with steep climbs come great views. Haukankierros Trail offers some fantastic views over lakes, valleys and ravines!
But it’s not all about the views either. Haukankierros Trail takes hikers through peaceful forest, along babbling streams and gives you a taste of Finnish wilderness at its best.
What to Expect When Hiking Haukankierros Trail
As previously stated, you’ll get some fabulous views and a taste of Finnish wilderness. But in addition to looking at the views, at some points you’ll need to concentrate on where you’re stepping. This trail is no easy gravel road you can stroll along absent-mindedly.
The terrain is challenging, leading hikers over rocks and roots as well as the already mentioned steep climbs and descents. The trail can get pretty wet in some areas, but thankfully there are duckboards to help you avoid getting your feet wet.
Look out for steep stairs and uneven terrain
Around halfway along the trail there’s a fantastic viewpoint over Lake Haukkalampi. Depending on if you’re hiking clockwise or anticlockwise you’ll either have to descend or climb some steep, steel stairs by the viewpoint. These might be tricky with a pet, but most dogs should be able to walk along the side of the stairs.
Because it’s a short hike, you should be able to hike this trail even if you’re not super fit. Still, the challenging climbs and uneven terrain mean that this trail might not be suitable for everyone.
Are There Wild Animals?
In addition to providing excellent hiking, Nuuksio National Park is home to many different creatures.
The area is rich in biodiversity since it provides a lot of different natural habitats. You’ll find secluded valleys, dense forest as well as lakes and marshes. As a consequence, there’s a great variety of species living here including the lynx, otters and the endangered flying squirrel – the park’s mascot. From time to time even bears have been spotted in Nuuksio.
However, don’t worry – it’s highly unlikely you’ll meet any of these shy creatures. The most exotic thing you’ll see will probably be a fellow hiker.
Important Rules to Remember in a National Park Like Nuuksio
To avoid disturbing nature or others visitors there are some important rules to bear in mind when hiking in Nuuksio National Park.
- No littering! There are no garbage bins in the park so remember to bring whatever you brought into the park out from it as well.
- You aren’t allowed to light a campfire wherever you want to. There are special campfire sites clearly marked along the route for this purpose. If there’s a forest fire warning, campfires are allowed only in Haukanholma and Mustalampi cooking shelters (or just avoid lighting a fire altogether). You’ll find information about forest fire warnings here.
- Don’t disturb animals or plants. However, you are allowed to pick berries and mushrooms (just make sure they’re the edible kind).
- Hiking with a dog is my favourite kind of hiking. Just remember to always keep your dog on a leash. A national park is a sanctuary for many animals. A pet roaming around freely could easily disrupt the protected wildlife.
- No motorised vehicles are allowed within the park. If you’re riding a bike or a horse, make sure to stay on the marked routes.
- For more important rules check out the website for the national park here.
What’s the Best Time To Hike Haukankierros Trail?
Nothing beats an autumn hike in Finland, admiring the fall foliage and breathing in the crisp autumn air. Although Nuuksio does have a lot of pine trees that look pretty much the same no matter the season, there are plenty of birch trees and other deciduous trees to make sure you’ll see some amazing autumn colours.
Summer and spring are also pretty.
Because Nuuksio National Park is so popular, time your visit wisely if you want to avoid crowds.
Weekends and holidays are extremely popular, so if possible avoid these days. Or just get here early. Start your hike at 9 am and you’ll most likely have the trail pretty much to yourself. Head here at noon on a Saturday and you’ll probably find the parking lot jam-packed.
How to Get To Nuuksio and Haukankierros Trail
Haukankierros and several other trails start from Haukkalampi in Nuuksio National Park. The address for the parking lot is Haukkalammentie 32.
If it’s your first time hiking here, it can be a bit difficult figuring out where the trail starts once you’ve arrived at the parking spot. Just continue towards the information hut by Haukkalampi (some 300 metres from the parking lot) and from there follow the sign “Ympyräreitit” and the blue markers for Haukankierros.
You can also get here by public transportation. Bus number 245 goes to Nuuksio.
Fast Facts For Hiking Haukankierros Trail
Here are the most important facts in a nutshell:
- Nuuksio National Park is one of Finland’s 40 national parks. It’s located mainly in Espoo, but also stretches on into both Kirkkonummi and Vihti.
- There’s a wide range of different trails to hike within the national park.
- Remember to follow the rules of the national park – you’ll find them here.
- Nuuksio National Park is located close to Helsinki and easily accessible even by public transportation. Spend half a day or several days – it’s up to you.
- Visiting the park and hiking is free.
- Dogs are allowed but must be kept on a leash.
- Haukankierros is 4 kilometres long and takes around 2 hours to finish depending on your level of fitness.
- Best scenic snack spots are located either at the beginning or end of the trail by Lake Mustalampi (depending on in which direction you’re hiking) as well as around halfway along the trail overlooking Lake Haukkalampi.
- Although short, the trail is fairly challenging. You’ll still do just fine without special hiking equipment. I hiked with normal trainers for instance.
- The starting spot is by Haukkalampi and follow the blue markers for this particular trail.
- Head here early in the morning to avoid crowds.
- Combine Haukankierros with Korpinkierros for a longer hike if you’re up for it!