One of the best things about visiting Finland is getting in touch with nature. If you love hiking, Finland should definitely be on your bucket list! The most famous Finnish hiking trails might be located a bit further away from Finland’s capital Helsinki than just a one-day excursion will permit. But fret not: even if you’re visiting just the capital region there are plenty of trail adventures practically at your doorstep. Luukki recreational area offers a network of easy trails, suitable even for those without any previous hiking experience and those travelling with children. Hiking is free and there are several great picnic spots along the way.
Luukki Recreational Area – Hiking Made Easy
Photo: If you’re hiking along Seitsemän lammen reitti, The Trail of the Seven Ponds, follow the bright yellow markers like the one in the picture on the pine (right side of the picture).
Most people near the capital region head to Nuuksio in Espoo for hiking, but the area is so extremely popular that it can get very crowded, especially during sunny weekends. Located fairly close to Nuuksio lies another great hiking area: Luukki recreational area. Luukki is located in Espoo, but it’s owned by the city of Helsinki (kind of confusing, but who cares since everyone is welcome to use it).
There’s a network of different trails, the shortest being 2,5 kilometres and the longest 8,6 kilometres. However, you can always adjust lengths by backtracking. In short, there’s definitely something for every level of fitness here.
As my boyfriend put it, this is perfect for noob hikers (noob is computer lingo for inexperienced) – no map-reading skills required, no hiking equipment needed and there’s even outhouses and cooking shelters along the way.
The trails are all very easy. Except for the odd steep hill, there are no major height differences, so the amount of climbing is minimal. The trails are wide gravel paths, allowing plenty of space for groups of people to pass each other.
Photo: The traditional hiking snack in Finland is grilled sausages. Views over Halkolampi in the background. We stopped at this cooking shelter for our snack, but the one by Kaitalampi had an even better view, so I’d probably stop at that one next time.
The Trail of Seven Ponds – 8,6 kilometres of Hiking Fun
Photo: Views over Hauklampi, one of the seven “ponds” along the trail.
The name of the trail – The Trail of Seven Ponds – comes from the fact that you pass seven “ponds”. The names of these waters include the word pond, therefore the name of the trail. However, most of these are more like lakes than ponds, for example Kaitalampi (Kaita Pond) is huge and it’s roughly the same size as nearby Luukinjärvi (Luukki Lake). And some are more swamps than ponds. So the usage of the words pond and lake in the names of waters in Finland can sometimes be a bit confusing and misleading.
But The Trail of the Seven Ponds (or lakes), that sounds like a three-day trek doesn’t it? Names can be deceiving. Since the ponds and lakes are located close to each other the length of this hike is just 8,6 kilometres. A rough estimate is that you should be able to complete it in two hours, depending on level of fitness.
What to Expect
Photo: There’s something so calming about the sound of flowing water in the middle of a forest.
If you’ve been reading from the beginning, at this point it comes as no surprise that you’ll see some lakes and ponds along the way. For me personally, this was the highlight of the hike. It’s always exciting catching a glimpse of water through the trees then walking closer and seeing the view over the lake. During autumn there’s the added bonus of admiring the reflection of the fall foliage in the surface of the water.
There’s something almost fairytale-like about the ambience of a dense pine primeval pine forest with its moss-covered stones, so this was another highlight for me.
If you’re hiking during summer, there’s a great spot for a swim in Kaitalampi, so bring you’re swimwear if this is something you’d be up for.
Photo: Most of the trail we got to enjoy pretty much by ourselves (although the rainy weather probably scared off most hikers). Kaitalampi was a bit busier, with several families.
When To Go
Photo: Occasionally paths can get pretty wet and muddy. Consider putting on your wellies if you’re hiking a particularly rainy autumn for example.
The easiest time to go hiking is definitely summer since the trail will probably be dry, but autumn and spring are great alternatives. Just make sure you wear smart footwear in case you’re hiking during spring or autumn as melting snow and ice or autumn rains can make the path both muddy as well as flooded on the odd occasion.
The paths are not lit so hit the trail during daytime.
Photo: Amazing autumn colours reflected in the water. Kaitalampi is a great spot for a swim during summer.
How To Get There
Photo: Luukki Manor, far away in the distance (the yellow building barely visible).
Luukki Manor acts as kind of a hiking hub, connecting all trails and providing a nice café as well as an enormous parking area (parking is not free). The manor is located at Luukintie 33 in Espoo.
You can also arrive by public transportation. Bus 345 stops nearby.
Photo: There’s a map with the different routes next to the parking area by Luukki manor. For a pdf of the map, click here.
How To Explore
Photo: Along the way there are information boards with lots of fun facts (only in Finnish and Swedish though). For example did you know that ancient Finnish people thought the forest was a sacred place and even the forest creatures, like bears, were believed to be half-gods?
You can hike independently. If you’re not an experienced hiker, don’t worry! There are plenty of signs at regular intervals guiding you along the way, letting you know how many kilometres you have left and pointing you in the right direction.
In addition to large signs at different crossroads there are small colour markers all along the route. If you’re doing the Seven Ponds Trail, you follow the yellow markers.
Along the trail there’s also several information boards with lots of fun facts about the area.
There are two cooking shelters, where you can get a fire going for example to heat up food. They’re indicated on the map with the fire symbol. Wood is provided. However, make sure to check for forest fire warnings during the summer months, you’ll find them here.
Sitting down by one of these fires, perhaps interacting with other hikers or just enjoying a great snack is definitely a highlight so I’d pack a snack even if you’ll probably be able to complete the 8,6 kilometres without feeling starved.
Photo: Kaitalampi cooking shelter and swimming area. Please note that the cooking shelters are the only spots along the trail where you’re allowed to make a fire.
Here are the most important facts in a nutshell:
- Luukki recreational area is located in Espoo, but owned by the city of Helsinki.
- The area offers a network of different trails ranging from 2,5 kilometres to 8, 6 kilometres.
- The trails are very easy and suitable for all kinds of hikers no matter what your level of fitness is or how experienced you are.
- The Trail of the Seven Ponds is 8,6 kilometres long and the estimated time to complete this route is around 2 hours depending on your level of fitness.
- The trails are gravel paths and don’t require any special hiking equipment.
- On the odd occasion paths can get flooded and muddy, consider boots if you’re planning on hiking during a particularly rainy autumn.
- Starting point for the different trails is at Luukki Manor at Luukintie 33 in Espoo.
- There’s plenty of parking (it costs a few euros per hour).
- You can also arrive by bus, bus number 345 stops nearby.
- Don’t litter: whatever you bring with you into the area you should also bring with you when you leave.