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Repovesi National Park

Repovesi National Park is one of Finland’s 41 national parks. Together with neighboring Aarnikotka Forest Nature Reserve, with which they form the largest protected forest area in south-eastern Finland, the park is consistently among the 10 most visited in the country. The main feature of Repovesi National Park is some of the best lake scenery in Finland, which can be seen from all three of its named mountains. In the reserve, there are 7 more (a dozen in total), including “Finnish El Capitan”, Olhavanvuori (142 m / 465 ft), with rock paintings of ancient people. The highest and most prominent mountain of both areas is Tolosenvuori (153 m / 502 ft).

Repovesi National Park, Finland


The name of the park comes from the relatively small Repovesi Lake, located on the western borders of its territory, or rather Aarnikotka Forest Nature Reserve, surrounding it almost entirely. In this guide, however, I will focus on the national park, but given that it is a single area, be sure to read the guide to the reserve, too, to get every single detail and the most complete picture.

The word Repovesi itself means "fox" in Finnish or rather Karelian language, so it came from the east of the country. For this reason, a red fox is depicted on the park's emblem. It also stands out from the one-size-fits-all names of local lakes ending in "järvi", which means "lake".

Repovesi National Park, Finland

The full name of the park in Finnish is Repoveden kansallispuisto.

Geography and Landscape

Repovesi National Park is located between the Kymenlaakso and South Savo regions in the northeast of Southern Finland, one of the six former large provinces into which the country was divided from 1997 to 2009. Despite the fact that it is no longer on the administrative map of Finland, this name continues to be actively used, because it simultaneously describes the entire southern part of the country.

At the same time, this area is one of the extreme southernmost points of the Finnish Lakeland, one of the four major natural and tourist regions of the country—hence the lakes as the main attraction of the park. In addition to Repovesi Lake, there are at least three other large lakes around the park, or rather the Aarnikotka reserve that surrounds it from the north, west, and south, that is almost entirely (so the park is the heart of this area): Ruskiasalmi, Tihvetjärvi, and Luujarvi lakes, connected to each other and to the other more than 100,000 lakes in a single system by natural and sometimes artificial water canals made for transportation, which now serve also for tourism.

Warning: to the east of this large natural area is a shooting range—entry is prohibited. You will see signs about it on the trails.

Within the park are many smaller lakes and ponds, the largest and most important of which are Tervajärvi, Hauklampi, Valkjärvi, Saarijärvi, Koskijarvi, and Matala. The lakes are surrounded by dense pine and spruce forests, with tall granite rocks scattered here and there, which are considered ideal viewing platforms for the local scenery. Together they form probably the most magnificent landscape of the whole Finnish Lakeland after Koli National Park in North Karelia, which is very similar to it but differs by the higher altitude of mountains (300 m / 984 ft instead of 150 m / 492 ft) and even larger Pielinen Lake. I also don’t count more visited Nuuksio National Park, given that almost everyone who comes to Helsinki goes to it. The city in turn is impossible not to get if you go to Finland by air from Europe and the world. So in fact, everyone who goes to Finland, in one way or another, visits Nuuksio. Plus it has no large lakes, only ponds, and has no high cliffs.

Repovesi National Park, Finland

For this reason, Repovesi consistently ranks among the top 10 most visited national parks in Finland out of 41 in total, ranking sixth to seventh in the last three years (2021–2020–2019) according to Metsähallitus. This is also confirmed by a selection of the top six national parks according to the official website of the National Parks of Finland itself. The complete list for 2021 looks like this:

Repovesi National Park, Finland

The only other national park with more than a hundred thousand visitors is Teijo National Park (104,700), and the least visited national park in the country in the same year 2021 is Bothnian Bay National Park (6,300).

Getting to Repovesi National Park

The center of the park is about 10 km (mi) from the nearest small settlement Sikoniemi, which can be reached by car or bus from Kouvola, one of the two capitals of Kymenlaakso on the same level as Kotka on the Baltic Sea. In turn, in Kouvola, the easiest and fastest way to get from Helsinki. The total journey is 230 km (142 mi) or 3:30 hours.

Repovesi National Park, Finland

Flora and Fauna

The park’s forests, as the foundation of its flora, are home to the red fox, its main animal, painted on its emblem, which all major natural areas in Finland have. Consequently, red foxes inhabit Repovesi in large numbers. As you know, foxes are not as fearful of people as other animals, and often come out to humans themselves in search of food. So on a hike through the park, or rather an overnight stay in a tent by the fire, you can theoretically see them.

Repovesi National Park, Finland

But, of course, it is not the only one. The park’s forests are also home to flying squirrels, red and black-throated divers and many other birds, and some large predators, including even some bears.

Repovesi National Park, Finland

Mountains of Repovesi

Repovesi National Park has three main and only mountains that form a kind of triangle: Tolosenvuori, Hauklamminvuori, and Mustalamminvuori.

  • Tolosenvuori (153 m / 501 ft) is the highest peak of the park, but also the Aarnikotka Forest Nature Reserve. It is located in the north of the park on the border with the latter. You can climb the mountain, but you have to take the park’s main and longest trail, Kaakkurinkierros. Note again: this is also the boundary between the park and the shooting range—do not cross it.
  • Hauklamminvuori (152 m / 498 ft) is the second highest peak, which is only one meter (feet) behind the first. It is located on the eastern borders of the park and the reserve also on its main trail at a small pond compared to other bodies of water in the area with the same name Hauklampi (don’t confuse its name with Haukkalampi, the main pond in Nuuksio). It can also be climbed for beautiful views of the pond surrounded by pine and spruce forests.
  • Mustalamminvuori (134 m / 439 ft) is the third highest peak, which is located in the west of the park, and can be reached by a secondary trail, turning from the same main one. Despite its lower height, it is the most famous of the three mountains in the park because it is the most massive. In addition, there is an observation tower on its top, from which in good weather you can see almost the entire park.

Hauklamminvuori, Repovesi National Park, Finland


In addition, in Aarnikotka you will find another 7 named peaks, worthy of no less attention. So there are 10 in total, which is enough for climbing for a one or even two-day hike, after which your feet will ask for rest for at least the same period—until the next hike.

Best Hikes in Repovesi

The main and longest trail in Repovesi National Park, covering both natural areas, including all the main mountains, lakes, and other attractions, is Kaakkurinkierros of 26 km (16 mi) long. I recommend splitting it into two days to spend the night in the park and not rushing anywhere. Otherwise, you'll have to hike intensely all day and climb the cliffs for the most beautiful views that you definitely don't want to walk away from. The name of the trail means "The Loon Ring" ("kaakku" is red or black-throated diver in Finnish, and the "rinkierros" is the ring, loop or circle).

For those who only want to walk through the park, there are several additional side-trains between its three main mountains.

Repovesi National Park, Finland

Part of the park is also covered by the Koppelonkierros trail (8.6 km / 5.3 mi) around Tervajärvi Lake, the largest on the eastern borders of the park.

In addition, you will find several separate marked trails around individual natural landmarks in the nature reserve, starting with Olhavanvuori Rock.

In total there are over 40 km (24.8 mi) of trails of various difficulty in the combined Repovesi and Aarnikotka natural area.

Repovesi National Park, Finland

Ski Resorts Near Repovesi

There are two small ski resorts in Kymenlaakso with several slopes of no more than 3 km (1.8 mi) in total and several ski lifts. In addition to Mielakka (Mielakan Rinnekeskus) near Kouvola in the center of the region, this is Uuperi (Uuperin rinteet) to the northeast of Kotka. Of course, they are too small for Alpine skiing but if you like cross-country skiing you wouldn't be disappointed, because they offer tens of km (mi) of marked trail around them.

The nearest larger ski resort in Southern Finland is Messilä near the city of Lahti with 5.7 km (3.5 mi) of slopes with 111 m (364 ft) of vertical drop and 9 ski lifts—enough for a day of skiing.

Check the Finland ski resorts map in the World Mountain Lifts section of the site. It includes information about open ski lifts / slopes in Finland in real-time with opening dates and hours. There are also year-round cable cars, funiculars, cog railways, aerial tramways, and all other types of mountain lifts.

Repovesi National Park, Finland

Tourist Information

There is no Visitor Center in Repovesi National Park (the nearest one is in Koli National Park), but there are some informational stands with park’s maps for sure. Anyway, before or after the hike, visit the region's official tourist office, which can be found in Kotka. It also gives information about Hamina, the third largest city of the region.

Visit Kotka-Hamina Tourist Information

Kyminlinnantie 6, 48600, Kotka, Finland


VisitKouvola Tourist Information

Only online services


Repovesi National Park, Finland


Seven rented huts are available for overnight stays in Repovesi National Park and Aarnikotka Forest Nature Reserve: Karhulahti, Lojukoski, Mustavuori, and Määkijä can be booked at and Kuutinkämppä, Pihkapirtti and Saarijärvi at

In addition, there are 12 camping and campfire sites. The latter includes the campfire place, firewood with an ax in a shelter, and a dry toile—in other words, everything you need for overnight stays away from home except for the food you have to take with you.

In my experience travelers often leave uneaten food at such places to lighten their backpacks for the next hike or on the way back. It even helped me out once when I decided to stay at the lake for another day because of the beautiful views, but I ran out of food supplies.

Yes, of course, I'm talking about canned food.

Besides that, you will also find two lean-to shelters, where you can sleep overnight in summer without a tent but I don't recommend doing it from May to late July, because there will be a lot of mosquitoes, which you will have to chase away constantly.

Repovesi National Park, Finland

Cities and Resorts

Kouvola is the nearest city to Repovesi National Park and Aarnikotka Forest Nature Reserve.

The city’s main natural attraction is Kymijoki, the 7th–9th longest river in Finland, depending on the data source, of 180–204 km (111–127 mi). If you take only Southern Finland, then Kymijoki is the longest.

In turn the main man-made attraction on the river is Verla Mills of the UPM company, which I mentioned before. This is a well-preserved 19th-century mill village in 30 km (18.6 mi) from the city center, which is now a namesake museum, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the full name Verla Groundwood and Board Mill—one of only seven in Finland. According to UNESCO itself, "only a handful of such settlements in northern Europe and North America survive to the present day."

In the center of Kouvola itself there are also many architectural and cultural attractions such as Kouvola's City Hall, Kasarminmäki Historic Area, several churches, and others.

Kouvola, Finland

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