- Old-growth taiga forests
Good opportunities for watching birds
The Levävaara and Latvavaara abandoned wilderness farms
Friendship Park Nature Reserve
- Levävaara sheep farm
Located near Finland's eastern border, the reserve forms a central part of the Friendship Park. Together with the Kostomuksha Nature Reserve on the Russian side, the Friendship Park form the Finnish-Russian Friendship Nature Reserve, which was established for shared research and monitoring efforts in the field of nature conservation. Nowadays also recreation and environmental education play an important role in the cooperation.
There are several trails of varying lengths to choose from in Elimyssalo. The area has a total of 24 km of hiking trails. The rather easy-to-walk, clearly signposted trails take the hiker through a tapestry of mires and heaths.
There are two unoccupied wilderness farms along the trails, Levävaara and Latvavaara. Wetland areas along the trails have duckboards.
You can also ski in Elimyssalo, but there are no maintained tacks. However, snowmobile tracks can be used for skiing. The area provides good opportunities for showshoeing.
Own drinks and snacks are recommended since there are no cafés or shops in Elimyssalo.
In the summer, hikers should protect themselves from mosquitoes (clothing, insect repellent).
Duckboards crossing mires and wetlands may be slippery in wet weather.
Tips, hints and links
You are also allowed to walk off-trails, but please remember, that you are not allowed to enter the frontier zone without permission from the Border Guard. The zone is clearly marked on the maps of the area.
Berry and mushroom picking is allowed in Elimyssalo. There are lingonberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea), bilberries (Vaccinium myrtillus), bog bigberries (Vaccinium uliginosum) and crowberries (Empetrum nigrum) in the area. In mires, you can find cloudberries (Rubus chamaemorus) and cranberries (Vaccinium oxycoccus). There are also raspberries (Rubus idaeus) near the Levävaara and Latvavaara farms
Open flame is not permitted even at a campfire site if a forest fire warning has been issued.
Campfire Sites and Lean-to Shelters:
- Saari-Kiekki: a campfire site and a lean-to shelter
- Eastern end of Lake Elimysjärvi, Saunaniemi: a campfire site and a lean-to shelter
- The waters in the area are natural waters that have not been tested. You may use the water at your own risk.
- It is always advisable to boil surface water such as water from lakes, rivers and streams before drinking it, since water quality varies from one area to another.
- Use of the well on the grounds of Levävaara is not recommended. There is a spring outside the grounds and a signposted path leading to the same.
- It is recommended that you bring your own drinking water.
- There are no waste-bins in the nature reserve. Measures should be taken in advance to avoid taking unnecessary waste into the area.
Biodegradable waste should be placed in a toilet or composter, and small amounts of clean paper and cardboard can be used as kindling in a campfire. Read more about Hiking without littering.
- There are collection points at the Saari-Kiekki and Viiksimo parking areas for recycling plastic, metal, mixed waste and glass.
- There is a dry toilet near every campfire site and lean-to shelter.
- There are dry toilets also at the Saari-Kiekki and Viiksimo parking areas.
- Both Levävaara and Latvavaara have dry toilets behind the cowsheds.
- There is no public accommodation in Elimyssalo.
- Only in special cases, such as camps, it is possible to arrange accommodation in Levävaara. Overnight stays must be agreed with the Kuhmo Visitor Centre Petola.
- In summer there are sheep herders staying at the Levävaara farm. You may cuddle the sheep, but please remember, that the buildings are at the use of the sheep herders only.
Camping and Lean-to Shelters
You are allowed to camp temporarily near lean-to shelters and campfire sites.
- Lean-to shelters by Lake Saari-Kiekki and Lake Elimysjärvi
Campfire sites in Elimyskangas and Heinävaara
To reach the southern Saari-Kiekki starting point for the hiking trail, take the Kuhmo - Hukkajärvi road (No. 9121) from the centre of Kuhmo and drive 42 km eastwards, after which you should turn left (to the north) to Juntintie Road. Drive 13 km and turn right (to the east), following the signposts to the Elimyssalo Nature Reserve. The parking area is at the end of a 1-km long forest road.
Saari-Kiekki parking area
It is recommended to use proper hiking shoes.