WESTERN UUSIMAA LOOP
The Western Uusimaa Loop is a 293-kilometre, 4-5 day gravel loop on back roads, forest roads and occasional single track in the Helsinki metropolitan region and it's western countryside. The route follows green and lush corridors from the Helsinki Central park to the highlands and lakes of the Nuuksio National Park, visits the eskers of Lohja and finally cruises down to the Gulf of Finland and follows the coast back to the capital via the towns and cities of Inkoo, Siuntio, Kirkkonummi ja Espoo. Like the other South by Cycle routes, it uses the combination of backroads, recreational hiking trails and publicly managed wilderness services as it's backbone, linking the services of the municipal centers and countryside villages.
The South by Cycle routes are comprised of five trail sections accessible by public transport; combining them offers a long list of different trail options. The Western Uusimaa tour is a 293-km, 4–5-day ring trail that uses the Kouvola–Hanko trail from Helsinki to Karjaa as its northern part, then turns back west and follows the coast via Inkoo, Siuntio, Kirkkonummi and Espoo back to Helsinki. If you are already familiar with the Kouvola–Hanko trail or are planning to ride it later in one go, the southern part of the trail between Karjaa and Helsinki is also an excellent overnight trip, for example, by staying in a tent at the Kopparnäs recreational area or in the guesthouse and hotel options in Inkoo, Siuntio or Kirkkonummi.
The trail features a diverse range of nature sites and services. Along the trail, you can find the Nuuksio National Park, ridge and lakeside trails in Lohja, Fiskars village, Billnäs and Mustio ironworks and Mustio Manor, Inkoo harbour, beaches in Kopparnäs, Siuntio Castle, Meiko recreational area, Hvitträsk national museum and the coastal trails of Espoo and Helsinki. The trail is suited for both campers and those preferring guesthouse accommodation.
The Western Uusimaa tour is a relatively easy trail, but especially during the first days, in the northern part of the trail, there is a lot of elevation gain for Finland. The steep uphills in the Nuuksio Lake Uplands are among the most challenging sections of all of South by Cycle, but the effort will be rewarded with the serenity and verdure of the recreational areas and finally the national park. In terms of technical difficulty, the trail is easy except for individual trail sections that slightly increase its difficulty. Yet, even the more inexperienced will cope with patience and suitable tyre pressures.
Read more about the trail and recommended daily legs in the Trail Notes.
Photos: Poppis Suomela, Teemu Oksanen and Taneli Roininen
Start from the capital in the verdant Helsinki Central Park
Nuuksio National Park with its rolling gravel roads and campsites next to forest lakes
Lohjanharju ridge and Lake Lohjanjärvi trails and hiking paths
Fiskars, Billnäs and Mustio ironworks villages and Mustio Manor with water landscapes and services
Fascinating Inkoo harbour area with its terraces and restaurants
Night on the Kopparnäs beach and at Korsolampi in the Meiko recreational area
Medieval Sjundby Manor and ice cream café
Visit to the Hvitträsk national museum
Magnificent coasts of Espoo and Helsinki with their villas, shores and harbours