Explore the rivers

The River Oulujoki Valley

The Oulujoki river is one of the largest rivers in Finland. Starting at Lake Oulujärvi, it continues through Muhos on a journey of more than 100 km to Oulu and the Gulf of Bothnia. The Oulujoki river has been an important trade and transport route for the people of the area for thousands of years. It was also the most well-known route in Finland and in Europe for transporting tar. Today the river produces large amounts of hydroelectric power even in national level and enough fish to meet the needs of recreational fishing. The river valley is also an important agricultural area thanks to its nutrient-rich soil and favourable micro-climate. Several tributaries join the Oulujoki river, the biggest of which being Kutujoki, Utosjoki, Muhosjoki and Sanginjoki.


A river valley running through beautiful countryside with plenty to see

The wide Oulujoki river runs through an idyllic rural landscape, edged with steep rock faces and lush foliage, with plenty of places to stop off when exploring off the beaten track. The river valley area offers several nature trails, camping centres, hotels and farm accommodation as well as businesses running nature activities of various kinds. The area also features historic and cultural sights, including art exhibitions, old wooden churches, historic farms and other historic buildings, some dating back to the seventeenth century. The river bank is an archeologically valuable area as a wealth of ancient monuments are found along it, some, such as depressions in the ground denoting settlement and pits to trap game dating to the Stone Age.


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Lemmenpolku

About two kilometres long, Lemmenpolku, whose name means “lovers’ path”, runs along the northern bank of the Oulujoki river on top of the granite rock. The path showcases the natural and cultural history of the Oulujoki river from the ancient landmass to its use in transporting tar and the advent of hydroelectric power. One of the most amazing sights along the way is the conglomerate rock in Kieksi. It is the oldest part of the Muhos formation, petrified gravel only visible at this precise point. The exposed rock is a protected site. Walkers can start the Lemmenpolku trail either from Pyhäkoski power station or Montta Active Camping.

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Isterinkoski rapids

Isterinkoski rapids are in the Poikajoki river, which falls from metamorphic greywacke two billion years old to a hollow almost equally old, filled with shale. The drop is approximately 30 metres.


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Liimanninkoski nature trail

The Liimanninkoski nature trail takes you from the light-filled sloping meadows of the Muhosjoki river through dense spruce groves and lush broad-leaved woodland to Liimanninkoski rapids foaming at the bottom of the valley. Over thousands of years, the river has carved its way deeper and deeper into the sandy soil. In places the river has created a rocky river bed and beautiful granite stone steps, over which the rush of water bubbles and falls. Soft soils have caused the river’s drastic curves, or meanders, which make the river valley such a varied walk. The favourable conditions it provides make the river valley home to a wide variety of flourishing plant life and plenty of wildlife too. Liimanninkoski is a nationally protected area of broadleaf woodland. 

The Liimanninkoski nature trail starts at the car park by Suonkyläntie, which is signposted from the main road Valtatie 22. There is a shelter next to the nature trail right by the rapids, an ideal spot to stop for a breather, gaze at the foaming water and even make a campfire. The parking area nearby also has groups of tables undercover for a sit down and a picnic.


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Utajärvi geological time trail

Geological time trail in Utajärvi takes you on a journey through time through the history of Finland’s bedrock. The first rock in the park’s time trail is Siurua gneiss 3.5 million years old. It is also the oldest known rock in the European Union.

Next to the Geological time trail there is an information point located in a woodshed. It shares information about nature, culture and tourism services as well as about interesting attractions and hiking trails in River Oulujoki Valley, Rokua and Lake Oulujärvi areas. A restaurant, cafeteria, gas station and market are located in vicinity.

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