Sipoonkorpi National Park (Fi. Sipoonkorven kansallispuisto, Sw. Sibbo storskogs nationalpark) is in Uusimaa, one of two national parks reaching into the Capital Region (the other is Nuuksio National Park).
Sipoonkorpi is in the far east of the Capital Region, around the tri-point of Helsinki, Sipoo and Vantaa and north of it. In addition to Nuuksio, it's the second national park this close to Helsinki, about 25 km northeast of downtown.
The park was established in 2011 and so it's one of the newest national parks in the country.
During the spring of 2020 traveling and going to events, indoor entertainment and hospitality establishments was restricted by law due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Heading out in the nature was one of the few things safe to do away from home, and so the park became extremely popular.
Mostly coniferous forest, interspersed with meadows and barren hills.
Flora and fauna
One of the last large wildernesses this close to the capital, in Sipoonkorpi you can reportedly encounter all mammal and bird species that are common in Southern Finland. The signature animal of the park, as depicted in its logo, is the Eurasian eagle owl (bubo bubo).
The climate is basically the same as in Helsinki, though it may be a degree or two colder in the winter and warmer in the summer.
You can get in by car, but there may be limited parking. Other possible options are by bus or by bike.
Here are dedicated parking areas in and near the park. During the summer of 2020, inconsiderate visitors have parked their vehicles along roads in great numbers, much to the irritation of the people who live there, so avoid that.
- 1 Källängen. Space for 12 cars.
- 2 Byabäcken. Space for 21 cars.
- 3 Kuusijärvi. Space for 250 cars.
- 4 Helgträsk. Space for 37 cars.
- 5 Flatberget. Space for 34 cars, further down the road a smaller parking with space for 19 cars.
- 6 Hakunila Sports Park. Space for 190 cars.
- 7 Knuters. Space for 160 cars.
There are many public buses plying the roads around the park. Consult the public transportation route planner for the Helsinki area to see routes and schedules for where in the park you want to go. Starting in central Helsinki you will need either an ABC or ABCD ticket.
Fees and permits
In the park it's allowed to get around by foot, ski, non-motorized water vessels (e.g. rowing boat or canoe), horse or bike.
There's a network of hiking trails in the park, but notably there are no such trails to the northeastern "exclave" Byabäcken, so you will have to navigate through the forest of walk along country roads. There are also two dedicated nature trails.
During the winter there are skiing trails in the western part of the park from Jokivarsi to Hakunila, providing there's enough snow (for instance the winter 2019-20 was essentially snow-free in southern Finland).
- 1 Byabäcken. Byabäcken is a tributary stream to Sipoo river. A section of it was declared a Natura 2000 protection area by the EU already before the establishment of the park. The stream flows past forest, small hills and pastures with grazing cows and a multitude of flowers in the summer. The area has a nature trail, a well and overnighting facilities.
- 2 Kuusijärvi. Lake Kuusijärvi isn't in the park, but next to it, and a notable entry point to the park across the Sipoonkorpi pedestrian bridge. The lake is a popular place for swimming both summer and winter and there's a café.
- 3 Bisajärvi. A little pond halfway between Kuusijärvi and Kalkkiruukki. Interestingly it's shape is reminiscent of Finland, but turned upside down. You can swim here, and there's a picnic area.
- 4 Kalkkiruukki. One of the park's cultural highlights, this is a historical limestone mine and kiln with a trail leading you around the premises and up to Högberget hill with nice views.
- 5 Bakunkärr. A swampy pond with a picnic area nearby.
- 6 Fiskträsk. Fairly easily accessible, eventhough not next to a road. Has a picnic area.
- 7 Storträsk. Not next to a road but the trail there as well as the toilet is disabled-friendly. Fishing in the lake requires two permits (see below), but if lucky you may catch rainbow trouts that have been introduced here.
There are two dedicated nature trails in the park.
- 1 Byabäcken Nature Trail. Length: 2.1 km. The trail goes around the Byabäcken stream.
- 2 Kalkinpolttaja Trail. Length: 4.8 km. Around a the area of a historical limestone mine and lime kiln. There are great views from the hill Högberget.
Food from the nature
Foraging of berries and mushrooms is allowed (not so for flowers and other plants). Bilberries (vaccinium myrtillus) are particularly abundant, and you can also find lingonberries (vaccinium vitis-idaea), crowberries (empetrum nigrum) bog bilberries (vaccinium uliginosum). On the mushroom side, you can find for instance chanterelles (cantharellus cibarius), and somewhat more frequently funnel chanterelles (craterellus tubaeformis) but when picking mushrooms be absolutely sure to know you're picking the right species and not poisonous ones that are reminiscent of the ones you want to pick. The season for foraging is roughly July to early October.
Fishing is allowed with some restrictions, and is entirely banned in the streams Byabäcken, Ritobäcken and Hälsängsbäcken. Ice fishing and fishing with a simple rod without a reel and lure requires no permit – usage of those requires a national fishing permit that you can buy online at the Forest department's website. Lake Storträsk has another restriction; if you want to fish at all you will need both the national fishing permit and a separate permit on top of that that you can buy in Cafe Kuusijärvi or paying online (the bank receipt functions as your permit but website with instructions is in Finnish only).
In the park there are no shops. The closest grocery stores are the 1 K Supermarket in Nikinmäki, and several stores in 2 Sipoo (Nikkilä), 3 Korso, 4 Koivukylä and 5 Hakunila, and a 6 K market in Östersundom. If you need outdoor gear, the shops in the 7 Porttipuisto shopping area are the closest places.
There are two places to eat in the vicinity; other than that, bring your own food.
- 1 Café Kuusijärvi, Kuusijärventie 3 (Vantaa). Café at Lake Kuusijärvi also serving burgers and other fast food.
There's a well at the Bergström house (Bergströmin torppa) in the Byabäcken area. Drinking from ponds and streams would problably not be a good idea – roads and agriculture aren't too far away. Fortunately tap water is perfectly drinkable in Finland, just fill up some bottles before your trip to bring along.
There are no hotels or lodges in or near the park.
In Ängesböle in the Byabäcken area, as well as at Kalkkiruukki there are camping areas and lean-to shelters.
Camping is only allowed in the two places mentioned above. However outside the national park the right to access applies normally and you can pitch up a tent anywhere you like for one night provided you don't disturb anyone else.
While the right to access allows visitors to freely enjoy the nature, visitors also have the responsibility to keep the nature as it is. It's OK to collect berries and mushrooms and to some extent fishing is allowed as well. Other animals (including their homes such as birdnests) as well as farm animals, trees and plants, rocks and earth must be left alone.
Driving motorized vehicles in the park, littering, trampling fields, letting pets move around freely (ie. not keeping them on a leash), and making campfires outside designated fire sites are also prohibited.
There aren't that many dangers in the park other than perhaps slipping or tripping over. Chances of encountering a bear or wolf is theoretical at most and something that would make it to the news. Mosquitoes, while not spreading any diseases, may be a nuisance during the summer. Adapt your clothing to the weather. Cell phone coverage is generally good in the park, but if the coverage is weak, get to a higher place.
To the west there's the Capital Region with a lot of mainly urban sights. To the east there's Sipoo and Porvoo and historical places along the King's Road.