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Seitseminen National Park
The Seitseminen National Park with its well-signposted trails is an excellent choice for hikers, wilderness lovers and groups. It is suitable for daytrips and hikes lasting a few days in both the summer and winter. The park features eskers, old-growth forests, mires, ponds and streams – the essential wilderness of Häme and Satakunta regions at its wildest.
The wilderness and attractions in Seitseminen are easy to reach and are even suitable for less experienced hikers. The park has approximately 60 kilometres of marked trails and approximately 20 kilometres of ski trails in the winter. The park is also connected to the Pirkan Taival hiking route network along which it is possible to hike in the direction of Ikaalinen, Kuru and Parkano, Riuttaskorpi Recreational Forest and all the way to the Helvetinjärvi National Park. Along the trail, it is possible to sleep in a tent, lean-to shelter or rented cottage. It is also possible to move around on snow shoes, bikes, eat at most of the lakes and ponds and enjoy nature by picking mushrooms and berries.
On the nature trails of the National Park it is possible to get better acquainted with the special characteristics of the area, including old-growth forests, esker landscape, signs of the ice age and mire ecosystems. Small scale variation between forest and mires as well as the numerous lakes and ponds form a valuable conservation area. The location at the watershed is evident in snowy winters and the wealth of northern species.
The heart of the National Park is the old-growth forest of Multiharju, which has been protected since 1910 and is one of the oldest forest areas in southern Finland: some of the trees are over 400 years old. The darkness of the old-growth forest is accessible on a two kilometre nature trail.
Seitseminen used to be a remote and sparsely populated area, which was settled only in the 19th century when the first crown tenant farms were established. The Kovero Crown Tenant Farm located in the southern part of Seitseminen is nationally valuable. On the grounds grow many plants which in old times were used as spices, medication or decoration. Native breeds of cattle and sheep graze on the meadows nearby, and chickens peck at the grounds of the house. The farm is open during the summer when the farmer and his wife present the house to visitors and talk about life in the old times and traditional methods of farming.
Seitseminen Visitor Centre
Seitseminen Visitor Centre is a treasure trove of information about nature. The customer service provides information on the nature of the Seitseminen and Helvetinjärvi area as well as hiking opportunities and all the services of Metsähallitus.
Opening hours 2012:
11 Jan – 19 Feb, Wed-Sun 10am – 4pm
20 Feb– 30 Apr, daily 9am – 4pm
1 May – 31 May, daily 10am – 5pm
1 Jun- 31 Aug, daily 10am-6pm
1 Sep – 28 Oct, daily 9am – 5pm
29 Oct - 14 Dec, Wed- Sun 10am- 4pm
Seitseminen offers varied guided tours and events to both children and adults all year round. It is also possible to reserve themed guided tours for groups from the visitor centre.
The Visitor Centre hosts changing exhibitions. Individual visitors and groups can view various free AV performances in the 55-seater auditorium. The auditorium may also be rented for meetings.
The Visitor Centre also rents gearless bicycles for a leisurely ride, snowshoes and slings for babies. Maps of nearby regions, books, posters and other products are also available.
Moreover, you can make your reservation and retrieve your keys for the nearby rental cabins of Wild North and the Kortesalo camp school farm as well as receive more information on accommodation opportunities nearby.
Seitseminen National Park has five free camping sites for tents and two parking areas, in which it is possible to spend the night in a camper van or caravan.
Entrepreneurs who have signed a cooperation agreement on sustainable nature travel with Metsähallitus offer café, accommodation and programme services in the Seitseminen National Park.
Helvetinjärvi National Park
The deep gorges of Helvetinjärvi National Park were formed millions of years ago by faults in the bedrock running right through the area. The National Park is well-suited for day trips and camping. The park is connected by paths to Riuttaskorpi recreational forest and Seitseminen National Park.
Old-growth forests, rocks and gorge lakes
Helvetinjärvi National Park is representative of the varied and rugged wild forest landscape of Pirkanmaa. The main attractions are deep gorges, lakes with steep shores, small forest ponds and wild forest landscapes.
The special features of the park include two rift valleys which were formed 150-200 million years ago. One of the gorges, Helvetinkolu Gorge, has been a popular tourist attraction since the 1800s, and continues to be the most popular destination in the park. The most popular views in Helvetinjärvi National Park can be seen from the top of Helvetinkolu Gorge, where you can look down into the gorge and admire the rugged landscape of Lake Iso Helvetinjärvi.
The Helvetinjärvi area is also the location of a chain of steeply sided gorge lakes: the lakes Iso Helvetinjärvi, Pitkä Helvetinjärvi, Luomajärvi and Kovero. At their highest points, the fault-line scarps reach a height of 180-210 metres above sea level. In some places the sheer cliff faces of the lakeshores rise up to tens of metres from the lake water level.
Camping, hiking and skiing
Helvetinjärvi National Park is good for day trips or short hiking trips lasting a couple of days. There are about 40 km of marked trails in the park. Camping opportunities are extended further by the Pirkan Taival hiking routes maintained by surrounding municipalities, which lead in the directions of Ruovesi, Kuru and Virrat, and all the way to Seitseminen National Park. Visitors can stay overnight in tents, a lean-to shelter or a rental cabin.
In the winter, you can go cross-country skiing in the quiet National Park if you make your own trails. South of the National Park, depending on snow conditions, runs the Kuru-Ruovesi ski trail which is maintained by the town of Ylöjärvi and the municipality of Ruovesi.
Rock climbing is allowed in the National Park in a designated place in the northern part of the park, near Helvetinkolu Gorge, east of Sammakkolammi pond. Ice climbing is allowed only in the northern part of the park, on the ice fall which forms on the western shore of Lake Iso Helvetinjärvi’s northern end. On the other rocks in the National Park, climbing is forbidden in order to protect the rock ecosystems.
Fishing, picking berries and mushrooms
On the lakes and ponds of the National Park, angling and ice fishing is allowed without licence under the everyman´s right. Lure fishing licences have not been sold for Lake Haukkajärvi since 2000, to prevent erosion and to protect nesting birds. Picking berries and mushrooms is allowed in the park, except in the restricted area of Lake Haukkajärvi, where landing and moving around is prohibited during the bird nesting season from 15 April to 31 July.
There are six free camping sites in the Helvetinjärvi National Park. There are no lean-to shelters in the park. Staying overnight in a caravan or camper van is allowed at Haukanhieta parking area. There are no special services for visitors with caravans.
Customer services and guidance
Seitseminen Visitor Centre answers questions about Helvetinjärvi National Park all year round. Kankimäki summer kiosk (Helvetinkoluntie 775, tel. +358 3 476 6104) sells coffee, snacks, ice-cream and maps.