Kainuu Trail 38 km Kokalmus - enjoy the most finest needle paths of Hossa

Published: 08.03.2022

On the Kainuu Trail 38 k Kokalmus route trail runners will enjoy the finest needle paths and the same beautiful ridges as the earliest inhabitants of Hossa National Park 10 000 years ago. In this route description, we’ll tell you the most important terrain and route hints to make you prepare for this memorable trail running a little bit easier.

Kainuu Trail 38 k

Distance: 38.40 km
UTMB Qualifier 2022: Qualifier 50K
ITRA-points: 2
Mountain-points: 3
Total elevation: +1120 m
Aid stations: 5 + finish
Start and finish area: Hossan Visitor Centre
Start time: saturday at 09.00am
Maximum time: 13 h (finish is closed at 22.00pm)
Route markings: Red
Route map: See route map from here
More info: Kainuu Trail routes and maps -webpage
Presentation video: Kainuu Trail 38 km presentation video

Start - Iso-Valkeainen (1st Aid station), 8.8 km

The first part of the route runs from the pine-forest needle trails in the vicinity of the Hossa Visitor Centre through Iikoski River, following the shores of Lake Huosiusjärvi to the Torkonluikea River and from there along Hakoharju Ridge towards the first aid station (service point) in Iso-Valkeainen.

The first 200 meters and steps runners will have on the asphalt-paved Jatkonsalmentie, after which the running route leads to the needle trail next to the Road Iikoskentie. Trail follows very closely the Road Iikoskentie about 1.5 km until the crossing of the Iikoski bridge.

The only asphalt section of the route is on the Kainuu Trail's start (approx. 200 m) 

Immediately after crossing the Iikoski bridge, the route turns sharply to the left towards Lake Huosiusjärvi. This needle path, which teases the feet and eyes of a trail runner, runs in a pine-forest and it lasts about 3.5 km to the western end of Lake Huosiusjärvi. At the end of the section, the route crosses the Torkonluikea rapids, and immediately after crossing the rapids, the first slightly tighter ascent of Hakoharju, about 150 m long and 25 m high, is coming up. On the Hakoharju ridge, the 38 km route (as well as routes 21, 55, 78 km) turns sharply to the right backwards. So far, the running distance from the start is 5.4 km.

Crossing the River Torkonluikea at the western end of Lake Huosiusjärvi

The next 3.4 km section will be enjoyed by the fine pine-dominated ridges and, in the meantime, by diving into the river rapids in the ridges. Absolutely great scenery points in this area are Hakokosket and Suottavirta.

Hakokoski, Hossa National Park (Photo: Suomussalmi municipality / photographer: Jonna Saari)

Of course, the scenery to Syvä-Hoilua from the top of Hakoharju, for example, is also quite amazing. About 400 m before the first aid station in Iso-Valkeainen, the route arrives at the edge of Pieni Hossalaislampi pond, from where it turns left to turn around the pond towards the first service. The route arrives at the aid station along a small path on the right side of a larger road (Pistonlehdontie). At the Iso-Valkeainen aid station, the Kainuu Trail trail’s distance is 8.8 km from the start.

Iso-Valkeainen - Lihapyörre (turning point), 5.4 km (total 14.2 km)

From the Iso-Valkeainen, the journey continues to the right along the Road Pistonlehdontie for about 1 kilometer; the same part of road will also be returned when the Lihapyörre loop is completed. After 1 km running at the Road Pistonlehdontie, the route turns right to the shore of Lake Umpi-Valkeainen and from here to the right around the lake. On the other side of the lake, the route goes up to Laukunharju Ridge.

On the Umpi-Valkeainen beach path, it is nice to put a foot in front of another

Just before ascending to Laukunharju, the trail is at its narrowest and sometimes the trail has a few fallen old trees bringing variation to the running rhythm. From the top of Laukunharju, the route descends sharply at Laukunsalmi to the shore path leading to Laukkujärvi; at the same time, the landscape changes from pine-dominated trees to spruce forest. After Lake Laukkujärvi, the route continues along the River Somerjoki towards Lihapyörre and the turning point of 38 k route. At Lihapyörre, the distance is a total of 14.2 km.

Good to know: At Lihapyörre, the 38 km route has a turning point, while the 55 k and 78 k routes continue directly along the Somerjoki towards Lake Ala-Ölkky.

Kainuu Trail 38 k Kokalmus route map between Iso-Valkeainen - Lihapyörre

Lihapyörre - Iso-Valkeainen (2nd Aid station), 4.0 km (total 18.2 km)

At Lihapyörre the 38 k route turns sharply to the left and follows the road about 50 meters and then turns again tightly to the right towards back to Iso-Valkeainen aid station.
After this turning point the terrain type changes again from a spruce forest to a pine-dominated forest terrain. From here the 38 k route continues through Laukkulampi pond and Valkeaisenkangas area’s great pine-forests, continuing back to the Iso-Valkeainen aid station. When runners arrive at the Iso-Valkeainen aid station for the second time, the total distance is 18.2 kilometers.

Iso-Valkeainen - Muikkupuro - Kokalmus (3rd Aid station), 7.3 km (total 25.2 km)

After the second aid station visit to Iso-Valkeainen, the runners head towards the legendary Muikkupuro and its crystal clear natural waters. Muikkupuro is 1.5 km from the Iso-Valkeainen and mostly at this section runners can enjoy the fine grounded trail.

Path to Muikkupuro is mostly in very good shape

The last 400 meters before Muikkupuro, a 38 km track runs to a little bit smaller path and to the shore of Iso-Valkeainen, but this smaller path is also in a very pleasant running condition - like all other needle paths in Hossa :).

Just before Muikkupuro, Kainuu Trail runners will enjoy this path

After crossing the Muikkupuro (and the lean-to), the route continues along the shore path of Lake Keski-Valkeainen towards the wilderness hut of Ala-Valkeinen.

Muikkupuro’s crystal clear water is drinkable (Photo: Kainuu Trail / Jukka Liuha)

At the Ala-Valkeinen wilderness hut, the running route turns sharply to the left on the Valkeainen ridge, and from there, after a 250-meter run, turn right towards the very nice  ridge and scenery of Hoiluansärkkä.

Runners will cross this bridge by arriving from the Ala-Valkeinen wilderness hut’s side

Nice view of Hoiluansärkkä (Photo: Suomussalmi municipality/photographer: Jonna Saari) 

On the Hoiluansärkkä, the Kainuu Trail track runs between Lake Ala-Valkeainen and Lake Pitkä-Hoilua, forwarding towards Lake Kokalmus. After circling the Kokalmus Lake, Kainuu Trail runners can enjoy the traditional and beautiful lake landscape of Kokalmus Bay and the services of the Kokalmus aid station. When the 38 km route is reached to Kokalmus, a total of 25.2 kilometers have been run.

Kokalmus aid station - trail runner’s paradise in the middle of wilderness

Kokalmus - Pitkä-Hoilua - Jatkonvaara - Huosius - Finish, 12.9 km

After the Kokalmus aid station, the 38 k runners will run towards Lake Lounaja and Lipposensalmi lean-to a shelter. After 100 meters of the lean-to, the Kainuu Trail track turns 90 degrees to the left from the t-shape crossing towards the shore-sceneries of Lake Pitkä-Hoilua (see map).

Good to know: At this t-shape crossroads the official Hossa’s hiking trail markings continues straight (as the Kainuu Trail turns to the left), so there are no Kainuu Trail signs on the direct path and access to the direct path is blocked by a signpost.

Kokalmus lakeside landscape at Kokalmusperä

Path after the aid station of Kokalmus (Photo: Kainuu Trail / Jukka Liuha)

The Kainuu Trail’s track on the shore of Lake Pitkä-Hoilua is enjoyed for about 3 kilometers, after which you turn again 90 degrees from the t-shape crossing - this time to the right towards Jatkonvaara (see map).

At this crossing, the 38, 55 and 78 km routes meet the 21 km track’s route. Both routes turn towards the Jatkonvaara.

Good to know: Also at this crossing, the official hiking trail continues straight to the north, but the 38 km (and 55 and 78 km) Kainuu Trail signs do not guide you to run straight, but instead turn right towards the ascent of Jatkonvaara hill. The Kainuu Trail 21 k track will come from the opposite direction of the Pitkä-Hoilua’s shore path to the same crossing, but these signs will only be visible from the north for 21 k runners. The crossing also has a “traffic divider” made of signposts so that runners arriving from both directions turn towards the ascent of Jatkonvaara.

After the crossing, the trail heads towards Jatkonvaara and there will be a one kilometer long continuous ascent (total elevation 60 meters) to the top of the hill. On top of the hill, the path dives into a small slope, from where it ascends another steep climb to the crossroads of Kainuu Trail and the Hossa’s official hiking trail. This path from Pitkä-Hoilua to the intersection of the official hiking route is one of the weakest (in condition) in Kainuu Trail (but still runnability is good); the path is in a weak condition because it has not been an official hiking route since 2017.

Down from the top of the Jatkonvaara hill, runners can enjoy comfortable and relaxed downhill running towards Huosius. About 500 meters before Huosius, the route crosses the dirt road Pistonlehdontie and a few hundred meters later it joins the 10 k track’s route at the Lake Huosiusjärvi campfire site. Here it turns right towards Jatkonsalmentie and the Huosivirta bridge, which is located in the northern corner of Kenttäjärvi (see map).

At Huosius, all Kainuu Trail routes will have 4 kilometers into finish

Good to know: As a result of the customer feedback we received after the first Kainuu Trail in 2021, we have now added an independent water point (not an official aid station) to Huosivirta bridge starting from 2022. This additional water refilling place will serve all participants in the Kainuu Trail, regardless of the track.

After crossing the Huosivirta bridge, the route turns sharply to the left along small stairs that rise towards Huosiharju. In the last four kilometers before the finish, the Kainuu Trail runners will get an experience to “enjoy” the surprisingly tense ascents and descents of Huosiharju. Although this section is surprisingly tough and tests the endurance of the trail runner's physical and mental capacity, Huosiharju’s eye-catching postcard landscapes with the crown of the Huosilampi pond’s landscape will provide strength and energy for the last meters. From Huosilampi shore you can already hear the Kainuu Trail’s speaker calling from the finish and competition centre.

The Kainuu Trail route on the east side of the Huosivirta stream (Photo: Suomussalmi municipality / photographer: Antti Kulmanen)

In the northern corner of Huosilampi pond, the route turns sharply to the right to turn south and to circle around Huosilampi (background you can see Huosilampi)

Huosilampi will be circled around almost completely before reaching the finish line

Huosilampi view about 1 kilometer before the Kainuu Trail finish

Duckboards and Kainuu Trail signs guides towards the finish (500 m before finish)

The last ascent is 250 meters before finish

There it is - Kainuu Trail finish

38 k runner crosses the finish line in 2021 Kainuu Trail

Get familiar with the Kainuu Trail distances, routes and maps
Read the Kainuu Trail race instructions
See from here Kainuu Trail aid stations
Check out Kainuu Trail equipment and gear
Kainuu Trail entry and registration

Welcome to enjoy trail running in the beautiful Hossa National Park, Kainuu, Finland!

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