the possible exception of New York City's Central
Park, and a few others, you can bet fairly safely that most major cities cannot offer a natural,
forested park as a tourist attraction. Nuuksio National Park
in Helsinki is another great exception to that fact. Full of astounding
plant and animal life, it is just one more thing that makes Finland's
Brimming with lakes and ponds tucked inside of thickets, Nukksio is a great
look into Finland's ancient past. The country, after all, is made of up
of thousands of islands that arose as the land mass broke up a
geological era ago.
Nuuksio is one of the finer results of that upheaval.
The park is about 40km northwest of the city center. Located near
several of Helsinki's suburbs, Espoo,
the park is a wonderland of flora and fauna. There are Hollywood
movie-like meadows and pastures. There are equally dramatic ravines,
cliffs and trails that will keep the most avid nature buff blissfully
active for days.
It is open year round. Dduring the summer one can go hiking or
cycling. Canoing is a popular pastime, as well. In winter, skiing
through the park is a common practice. You must realize that Finns
strap on cross-country skis as readily as those in Southern California
lace up roller skates.
Along the many trails and around the water areas you are as likely to
see a wild lynx as a Siberian flying squirrel. If you happen to see one
of the wild cats take a sip from a pond, just keep a safe distance.
These shy creatures avoid contact with humans, but can be fierce and
dangerous when cornered.
One of the larger ponds is Haukkalampi,
situated in the eastern part of the park. There's a nature cabin and
lots of brochures available there. Stop in and ask one of the friendly
staff for information about all the things to see and do in the area.
Just in that area alone there is a 8km nature trail called Korpinkierros
that makes for an outstanding walk. For another all-day excursion try
the 4km-long Haukankierros
that winds its way around the pond. There are four campsites that
provide cooking facilities and toilets, as well.
In the northern section try Kattila,
along the shores of another large pond called Kaitlampi.
On the shores of Lake
one can enjoy a 2.6km hiking trail in summer or join in the skiing in
the winter. Here you can rent a canoe in summer or enjoy some mountain
biking. There's a downhill skiing resort called Swing Hill
nearby that is open during the winter. The facilities don't offer any
ski equipment rental, however. You'll need to bring your own.
On the southern shore there's a cabin that offers something to eat and
drink before you set off on a 5km hike along the nearby trail.