Imatra–Ruokolahti–Rautjärvi Hiking Trail 89km
The trail starts from Imatra Spa in the south, makes a detour to Ruokolahti sports centre and ends at Simpele, the centre of Rautjärvi municipality. There are often many route options to make the hike longer or shorter. The trail often crosses small roads, so you can leave the trail at any point.
Imatra was marked as the starting point of the older Ruokolahti – Rautjärvi Hiking Trail in the summer of 2004. This combined the trails in Joutseno, the Ruokolahti – Rautjärvi Hiking Trail and the trails in Parikkala, and made them a part of European long-distance paths, route E10.
Starting from Imatra Spa, the route first passes urban industrial area. The Vuoksi river is crossed at Tainionkoski. There you can take the Vuoksi nature trail following the river. The trail passes the Kaukopää mill right next to the main road. Then, the trail runs in a forest and follows a power line, then continues on a pedestrian path to Ruokolahti.
Only after Ruokolahti village and crossing the Puumalantie road (62), the trail reaches less habited areas. From here on to Simpele, the route runs on small roads and trails in a variable terrain. around lakes and over some sizeable hills. The trail branches off in many places and comes together again. There are lean-tos from time to time by the trail. The trail is marked in orange paint and wooden signs.
After the big Venäitlampi lean-to, the trail branches at Saarilamminmäki, south of lake Koantaus. If you continue to Simpele (Rautjärvi church village), the distance is a bit more than 10km, and there will be no resting spots on the way. The trail enters the village by a ski jump hill, and ends near the bus station.
If you’re not in a rush, you should take the trail to south-east at Saarilamminmäki, towards Parikkala. Soon you’ll arrive to Haukkavuori, a great vantage point and the highest spot in South Karelia: 172 metres from the sea level and 79 metres from the level of lake Sarajärvi nearby. The hill has old border structures. A Nature Trail of a kilometre or so meanders around the top. You can find more information in the page about the Haukkavuori Nature Reserve. In Loitumajärvi, the trail connects with the hiking trails on Parikkala.
Driving Instructions: Imatra Spa has signs on main road 6, so has the Simpele bus station.