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Outdoor Activities, See and experience

Paalijärvi Hiking Trail

The Paalijärvi Hiking Trail is a 22.3-km circle trail, which passes through fields and well-managed forests in the village of Paalijärvi, Alajärvi, South Ostrobothnia. The impressive gate at its starting point guides the hiker to the bosom of Mother Nature. On the diversified trail, you can stop to listen to the murmur of the Myllypuro brook or to study places of interest related to the local history. The Paalijärvi trail features several rocks of great natural beauty and well-managed rest stops. You can also view the South Ostrobothnian fieldscape from the 18.5-metre-high belvedere.

To the starting point of the trail

Starting point 1

Back of Paalijärvi Dance Pavilion.
Paalijärventie, 62950 Alajärvi
63°03’04.8″N 23°54’55.2″E

Other information

You need not walk the entire trail in one go.
Thanks to its several starting points, you can choose between different legs of the trail.

Examples of short day trips:

  • From the starting point at the dance pavilion to the lean-to of Kivenpesäkallio 2.8 km
  • From the starting point by the running track to the belvedere 3.8 km
  • From the parking area at the grain dryer (Puntosenmäki) to the Myllypuro brook 3.8 km.

Trail description

The Paalijärvi Hiking Trail goes through a great variety of terrains. The trail boasts rocks, swamps, and heath forest. Along the trail, there are three campfire sites and two lean-tos. In addition, there is an 18.5-metre-high belvedere located at some 16.6 km from the starting point. The lean-to located by the belvedere is equipped with firewood. The official hiking direction of the Paalijärvi Hiking Trail is clockwise, and the orange signposts in the terrain always show this direction.

Level of difficulty

The Paalijärvi Hiking Trail is characterized by great environmental variation. At some places, there are steep ascents along the route, but also even heath terrain. Because of its length, the trail is the most suitable for hikers accustomed to walking in nature who are in good shape. The trail is easy to follow, because there are signposts at short intervals.

Good to know

Stout shoes suit the trail best, even though, at a dry season, you also get on wearing lighter shoes. Otherwise, dressing for weather will do. The trail is equipped with good rest stops. The trail has no outhouse. The Leave No Trace policy is followed in the area, which means everyone takes their own rubbish away. You need not walk the entire trail in one go. Thanks to its several starting points, you can choose between different legs of the trail.


At the beginning of the trail, there is a steep ascent to the Eteläpää rock. The rock provides a view of the lake. When arriving at the lean-to of the Kivenpesänkallio rock, the trail continues as a circle trail of 20 km. From Kivenpesänkallio, the trail heads towards the Pirkkalanneva swamp, with the longest leg of duckboards of the trail. After the duckboards, the trail climbs on the Ryssänmäki hill, the starting point of a heath-forest-dominated leg towards the belvedere of the Paalivuori hill. Along this leg, the hiker passes by a crossing with a path leading to Hoisko, and signboards. When continuing the hike towards Paalivuori, the trail crosses a small swamp area along duckboards. A dirt road of about 1 km leads to the belvedere of Paalivuori. At its beginning, there is a chain installed as an obstruction to motor vehicles. On the crest of Paalivuori, there is a blast stone bed moulded by the Ice Age, through which the road passes. Along the steep slope of Paalivuori, the trail descends to Rimmi. When approaching the parking area of a jogging track, there is another steep slope in a place called Kapernaumi. After the jogging track, the trail continues about half a kilometre along a forest road, until it turns towards the Hattukallio hill. After the ascent to Hattukallio and the rocky landscape, the trail descends again. The second lengthy duckboards of the trail are on the Pietarsaarenneva swamp. After this, the heath forest landscape continues up to Kankaanpäänkytö. After Kytötie and a field, there is a turn into a dirt road. After the crossing of a ridge called Männistön kangas, there is another dirt road, and the trail turns left into it, towards the Myllypuro brook. Myllypuro features a place for a campfire. There is a bridge across the rapids, where you can view the water passage. From Myllypuro, the trail continues towards the Puntosenmäki hill. The leg consists of heath forest easy to walk through. At Puntosenmäki, there is a grain dryer owned by the farmers’ association and a tourist information point. From there, the trail continues for a few hundred metres as a dirt road, after which it enters a forest again. Before the Huosionmaanharju ridge, there is a short leg on duckboards. From the crest of the ridge, the trail continues in a heath forest, and, after a short leg on a dirt road, you arrive at the starting point of the circle route at the Kivenpesäkallio rock.

Interesting information about the trail

The name Ryssänmäki derives from the gloomy event of 1841, when two laukkuryssäs (East-Karelian pedlars) were attacked in that place. One of them died of his injuries. In the Myllykoski rapids, there was a grain mill in the late 19th century, and a shingle mill in the early 20th century. It is still possible to see rests of them in the river bed. According to tradition, the names Puntosenmäki and Huosionmaanharju derive from the names of tar burners, who used to work in that area.

Download and print the route description and map here!

Contact information