Routes and trails in the Geopark

Explore the attractions of the area by car, take a detour to the village roads by bicycle, hike to the center of the bog along a duckboard trail. There are many ways to explore the geopark.

Diversity of routes

The Geopark area offers a diverse range of routes from hiking trails to canoeing routes. In winter, there is a comprehensive network of skiing tracks in the area, and in summer there are mountain bike trails.

Tourist roads and bicycle routes between the destinations are being actively developed. Some of the routes date back to prehistoric times, while others are the result of determined development work. Explore also the area’s accessible nature trails or wellness-themed routes.

Tourist roads

The arts route from Kamm to Skantz takes the tourist from the gut to the heart of ITE art and the stars of the striking sky. The tourist road from Nummijärvi in Kauhajoki to Karvia Skantz includes attractions, like Kammi-kylä bog sauna village, Alpon savanni Outsider art exhibition and Annen Taidekahvila Art Cafe. In Karvia, the Skantz cultural center is a testament to the strength of the local talent tradition and an architectural attraction.

More information about the route and its development: https://willikarvia.fi/kohde/taiteiden-reitti/ 

Metsähallitus has compiled a car tourism route connecting the cultural and natural sites of Southwest Finland, which also takes tourists through the Geopark area.

https://julkaisut.metsa.fi/assets/pdf/lp/Esitteet/cultural-landscapes-touring-route.pdf

 

The paths lead you the the heart of nature

Cycling routes

The geopark area is a treasure trove for cyclists. Rural cycling and mountain biking trails can be found in the area, connecting the Geopark’s attractions and driving through the area’s fascinating landscapes. The connection to the PyhäNäsi bicycle touring route, which starts in Tampere, is being developed in the summer of 2021.

Mountain bikers will find their wonderland in Hämeenkangas, where, in addition to Pirkan Ura route from Kankaanpää Niinisalo to Tampere, there are kilometers of trails suitable for mountain biking. For excursion-oriented mountain bikers, comfortable terrains can be found e.g. From Lauhanvuori. The National Parks’ rural cycling route in Kauhajoki can be ridden on a mountain bike or on a touring bike. A vacationer looking for wilderness should head to the Pyhäniemi – Käskyvuori route in Kihniö.

Hiking trails

The hiking trail takes you to the heart of nature attractions. Hiking trails in the Geopark include both easy family trails and demanding nature trails. The easiest routes are suitable for sneakers, while the longest are suitable for multi-day hikes with overnight stays.

Routes suitable for the whole family include the Uhrilähde and Kylmänmyllynlähde route in Jämijärvi and the Kauhalamminkierros duckboard trail in the Kauhaneva – Pohjankangas National Park. The most challenging day hiking routes are e.g. Alkkianvuori nature trail in Parkano and Katikankierros in Kauhaneva – Pohjankangas National Park. Routes suitable for multi-day trips can be found e.g. From Lauhanvuori National Park.

Accessible routes

Accessible pathways also guarantee a nature experience for those who are unable to navigate the terrain on their own or who have mobility restrictions. In the Geopark area, there are accessible routes, e.g. Lauhanvuori and Kauhaneva – Pohjankangas national parks, Hämeenkangas multi-use area and Mustansaarenkeidas, where the only barrier – free nature tower in the area can be found.

On accessible routes, efforts have also been made to take into account the needs of people with reduced mobility at rest areas.

Read more about accessibility on nature routes at www.nationalparks.fi.

Skiing tracks

The winter Geopark is a snowman’s dream. The area, which is one of the highest regions in Western Finland, gets more snow than its surroundings, and is well suited for winter sports.

For cross-country skiers, Geopark’s top destinations are Hämeenkangas and Lauhanvuori, both of which have extensive trail networks maintained by municipalities. The Kihniö Pyhäniemi – Käskyvuori charging route offers great cross-country skiing experiences. Roads to all of these destinations are kept open throughout the winter.

The sites in the area are also ideal for off-track skiing. For more demanding terrains, such as Alkkianvuori or Susivuori, it is worth snowshoeing. You can check the road maintenance situation from Metsähallitus’ customer service at sisa-suomi@metsa.fi.

Paddling routes

The geopark area is the realm of small waterways and rivers. There are both easy and demanding routes for paddling enthusiasts. There are two long canoeing routes in the area: the Parkano canoeing route from Kihniö’s Pyhäniemi via Parkano to Kyrösjärvi and the Karvianjoki canoeing route. The easiest way to get acquainted with paddling is to take part in a guided canoeing trip, for example in Jämijärvi.

The Parkano canoeing route runs mainly along the lakes. From the stream sections of the route, the Viinikanjoki rapids have to be bypadded by land. One of the most fascinating sections of the Geopark waterways, the Vääräjoki river in Parkano is located along this route. In Vääräjoki the river meanders between forested sand banks.

In the western part of the geopark, the Karvianjoki river offers even demanding sections for paddlers. The route is canoeing mainly during high water, and is only suitable for experienced paddlers, as the route has several rapids.

Well-being from the trails

Go to the woods – you feel better! Time spent in nature increases physical activity, lowers stress levels, and increases social well-being. The positive health effects of physical activity have been studied especially in Japan, and on the basis of these lessons, a special well-being path has been developed in the Geopark area, the Rantareitti in Parkano. The trail has been built in a research project of the Finnish Forest Research Institute. The path guidance material includes exercises to improve the well-being of body and mind.

Local entrepreneurs have also built their own well-being trails, for instance Kuntokeskus and Kurkikorven mummola in Kankaanpää have their own well-being trails. 

More information on the positive health effects of nature at nationalparks.fi.