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Vihreän kullan sorakierros 15.jpg



333 km


68 %




0.5 %


3910 m




202 m


100 %

The Green Gold Gravel Loop is a 333km and 4-to-6-day loop trail on gravel roads in the northern part of Central Finland. It combines the villages, services, nature sites, and beaches of the northwest Lakelandvia old and new forest roads as it passes by the historic salmon rapids of Huopana, the national park of Salamajärvi, and the protected areas of old forest around Lake Kuivajärvi as a contrast to the forest industry otherwise present along the way.


Tar, the first export product on the Finnish forest industry, was used as ship coating already from the 17th century on. Production and exports of paper products and sawn goods began in the 19th century and, in the first half of the 20th century, nearly all Finnish exports were wood products. In the 2020s, the role of paper industry in the Finnish economy has reduced significantly yet forest industry products still represent as much as one-fifth of the overall value of exports. As a by-product of forest industry, the number of natural forests in Finland has decreased, and virgin forests only represent around 5% of the entire forest areas in the entire Finland and only a few per mil in Southern Finland.

Forest industry is a dilemma for a bikepacker. Without the forest industry, we would not have the current gravel road network of several hundreds of thousands kilometers but, on the other hand, nature experiences are an important reason for biking. The Green Gold Loop considers both sides of the coin as it passes by the natural forests of the Salamajärvi national park and around Lake Kuivajärvi without ignoring vast clearing areas. 

maalaistalo ja retkipyörä Vihreän kullan sorakierroksella
järvimaisema ilta auringossa Vihreän kullan sorakierros
vehreä metsä Vihreän kullan sorakierros
kapea silta auringon valossa Vihreän kullan sorakierroksella

The route starts in Viitasaari where it alternates between paved and gravel roads as it heads to the Huopanankoski rapids that played a major role in the birth and development of Finnish fly-fishing culture. After the rapids, it continues into the village of Kivijärvi and toward the national park of Salamajärvi where there are not only several excellent alternatives for taking a break or for setting up camp but also a rental desert cabin that you can get very close to on the back of your bike. After the primeval forests of Salamajärvi, one arrives in the village of Kinnula and above all to the Kinnulan Parlamentti restaurant where a lonely bikepacker is more than likely to find people to chat with. Before the village of Reisjärvi, the route passes by the protected areas in the old forests and swamps of Lake Kuivajärvi with several rental cabins owned by Metsähallitus (Forestry Board). One of the cabins is easily accessible while the others are behind more demanding unrideable sections.

From Kuivajärvi, the route continues first to Reisjärvi and then to Haapajärvi on nice smallish gravel roads. Haapajärvi is the only train station along the trail and, as such, a handy alternative starting point for the Green Gold Gravel Loop. From Haapajärvi, the route continues towards its starting point in Viitasaari first on smaller and partly slow forest car roads before reaching bigger gravel lanes and then pavement straight back to the starting point. 

For more info about the route and the recommended pace, please consult the trail notes below. 

Photos: Timo Veijalainen

  • The nature and lakeshore lean-tos of the Salamajärvi national park

  • The rapids of Huopana and the exhibition on fish history

  • The long meditative gravel roads

  • The Isohiekka beach with its lean-tos and cooking shelter

  • The Härkäaho rapids and their waterfall

  • The protected areas of old forest around Lake Kuivajärvi with their bookable sauna cabins

  • 10 beaches along the route

  • Sympathetic accommodation alternatives in small inns or at old farms

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