Kuhasalo Nature Trails 1 and 2km
Close to Joensuu centre, two short round-trip trails run in the terrain of an old Orthodox monastery, and a forested island, on the waterfront of open Pyhäselkä. The trails are quite easy, apart from the Pyhäselkä shoreline, where there’s rocky.
The Kuhasalo nature trails start from the Saarela house. The shorter trail on the town side runs across grand and interesting cliffs to Kalmoniemi, and visits the former site of a monastery.
In the 16th century, Kuhasalo was the location of a small monastery, made of timber and operating under the Valamo main monastery, and their cemetery was in Kalmoniemi. It has been used as an Orthodox burial ground until the 18th century.
The longer trail runs trough an old forest, across Kukkosaari island (Kuhasalo), following the shoreline of Pyhäselkä. There’s an old quarry, slightly off the route.
Vegetation on the island is surprisingly lush and rich, ranging from grove-like areas to harsh shores beaten by surging waves, and dimly lit spruce forests with common alders and Dryopteris wood ferns. The estate is surrounded by pine forests, whereas birch, poplar, hybrid aspen and shore pine have been planted on the now unfarmed fields. As for naturally growing plants, prickly lettuce, Lactuca sibirica, is uncommonly prevailing.
Further info: www.joensuu.fi
Hiking guide in Finnish: Pohjois-Karjalan vaellusreittiopas, Edita 2004
Driving directions: In the crossing of main road 6 to Imatra ja road 74 to Ilomantsi, turn towards the deep-water harbour (syväsatama) on the Hukanhaudantie road. Drive to the end of the road. The road name changes to Kuhasalontie. Drive to the end of the road. Then, turn left to Luostarintie road. The road branches off, and the parking area for the nature trail is on the left branch. You can see the first signs to the trail on the Kuhasalontie road.
Kukkosensaari parking area