The tourist area of Kuhmo and Suomussalmi, Wild Taiga, offers a wide range of experiences even in winter. The snowy, rugged wilderness nature invites you to its amazing routes for hiking, skiing, snowshoeing or winter biking. In Hossa National Park, you can go hiking on your own or take part in guided tours. Fascinating predator photography tours are also organized. The untamed nature of Wild Taiga combined with its rich cultural offerings, the history of the Winter War, the Kalevala, the rich food culture of Kainuu and the warm hospitality guarantee an exciting and unforgettable winter holiday.
Skiing, fat biking and snowshoeing
In the rugged wilderness of Taiga, there is plenty of snowy nature as well as well-maintained trails for skiing, hiking, biking and snowshoeing. Along the routes, there are rest stops where you can eat snacks, enjoy the winter scenery, rest for a while by the fire and continue your journey again in the wonderland of winter. If you wish, you can also take part in guided ski, fatbike and snowshoe hikes and tours. You do not need your own equipment, as skis, snowshoes, fatbikes and other camping equipment can be conveniently rented from local tourism businesses.
Winter hiking in Hossa National Park
In Hossa National Park, winter hikers experience the beauty of snow-covered spruce trees in relaxing silence. Hossa is suitable for the whole family’s winter adventures. You can also explore the footprints of wilderness animals in the snow. You can go on an excursion to Julma-Ölkky canyon lake, to see the Värikallio prehistoric rock paintings, or visit Hossa Reindeer Park. Along the well-maintained winter trails there are huts and resting places for enjoying snacks, making a fire, frying sausages or otherwise just enjoying the peace of the wilderness. In addition to hiking, the multi-purpose trails are also great for snowshoeing and winter cycling. For cross-country skiers, there are about 40 kilometers of trails in Hossa. For longer ski hikes you can head towards the Eastern Border’ winter trails. More routes for independent hikers can be found at: https://wildtaiga.fi/wild-taiga-info/reittiopas/
See a wolf in the wild or a float in the rapids.
In winter, while the bears are sleeping, you can watch and photograph the wolves, wolverines, and birds of prey, such as eagles, that have gathered to eat, from the safety and comfort of heated hideouts. Seeing wildlife in the winter wilderness is an unforgettable experience. There are several companies in the Wild Taiga area that offer wildlife viewing and photography trips, even snowshoeing treks to wolverine hides, or longer trips to the Finnish-Russian border zone, to the territories of wild wolf packs.
Wild Taiga’s most popular winter activities also include reindeer rides and visits to reindeer farms. With the Lumi Töltti Icelandic Horse trekking, you can experience the silence of the snowy wilderness nature on placid Icelandic horses. Snowmobile and fatbike safaris that last from a few hours to several days are also available. Rafting down the flowing rapids right in the center of Kuhmo is suitable for thrill seekers and is an unforgettable experience in the winter frost.
Wild Taiga’s rich culture does not sleep in the winter.
Along Highway 5, in a snowy field, stands an art installation of the nearly a thousand Silent People in their winter clothes, a fascinating discovery for all visitors. In the Silent People’s Niittykahvila café, you can enjoy the view from the window, where you can watch, listen and experience what the peat-headed people have to say, while enjoying the best soot-pot coffee and pancakes.
Those interested in history can get acquainted with the authentic, renovated battlefields of the Winter War. At the Kuhmo Winter War Museum, you can experience the events of the Winter War itself in the daily lives of both Finnish and Soviet soldiers. This interesting museum with its scale models and photographs appeals to people of all ages.
The Kalevala Cultural Center in Juminkeko, located in the center of Kuhmo, features one of the world’s largest Kalevala collections, in both its permanent and temporary exhibitions. The Kalevala’s heritage is strong in the region, as the Kalevala’s compiler, Elias Lönnrot, worked in Kainuu for twenty years. The Kalevala is the most translated Finnish work, with more than 60 translations, and has been the inspiration for Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s art, the music of Sibelius, and many others. Kuhmo was selected as UNESCO City of Literature 2019 based on its rich Kalevala heritage.
Experiential accommodation and food culture
At Wild Taiga, there are no large hotel chains – instead, you can stay in charming small hotels or wilderness cottages. Hotel Kainuu offers a homely stay in the centre of Kuhmo, while the stylish Hotel Kalevala is situated in the middle of nature on the shores of Lake Lammasjärvi. At the Arctic Giant Bird House Hotel, you can admire sunsets, Northern Lights and the starry sky from the top of a scenic fell. Accommodation in cottages or cabins in the peace and seclusion of the winter wilderness is an experience not to be forgotten, with plenty of options available in the region. What’s more convenient than leaving your own cottage to directly access the snowy winter trails. An active outdoor day can be culminated with the warm steam of the cottage’s sauna and an evening sitting at home by the fireplace. Read more here >>
At Wild Taiga you will encounter warm Kainuu hospitality as well as the rich food culture of the area. The area is the southernmost reindeer husbandry area in Finland, and reindeer menus are available in several restaurants. The ingredients are from local producers – local vegetables, wild herbs, mushrooms, berries, fish and game. Tradition also includes tar in food products. Kuhmo tar is used to flavour schnapps, ice cream and dessert products. Be sure to taste the delicacies of local bakeries, such as the local EU-protected round pies, stuffed with rye, potatoes and lingonberries.
How to get there?
Wild Taiga is convenient to travel to by car. The distance from Helsinki to Kuhmo is 587 km, a journey of just over seven hours. The distance from Kuhmo to Suomussalmi is 131 km. You can drive from Tampere to Kuhmo in just over six hours, and from Oulu and Kuopio in just over three hours.
Or you can travel by train to Kajaani and continue the journey by bus. The travel centre is located in Kajaani railway station. Routes can be conveniently checked from the perille.fi website. Wild Taiga is located about 400 kilometers closer than the nearest Lapland resorts, and offers the winter travellers a snowy winter adventure, untouched nature and authentic experiences in the rugged wilderness.