Sipoonkorpi National Park: Bakunkärr Trail in Winter

Sipoonkorpi National Park: Bakunkärr Trail in Winter

The Bakunkärr Trail is easy and like a nature trail. In winter, the route is great for those who want a quick forest bath, and in summer for a nice trail run.

Sipoonkorpi National Park in eastern Uusimaa is a green oasis for the people living in the capital region. It takes less than half an hour to reach the national park from Helsinki. As its name suggests, Sipoonkorpi (= Sipoo’s Woods) offers deep forests as well as rural traditional landscapes.

The routes of Sipoonkorpi National Park run through varied nature, with differences in elevation. The typical nature in southern Finland includes steep cliffs, dense forests and forest ponds, streams and open fields. Coniferous trees especially grow in the forests.

The Bakunkärr Trail is the shortest of the marked loop routes in Sipoonkorpi and it can be combined with, for example, the Knuters Trail. Around the same length is also the Byabäcken Nature Trail when hiked as a loop trail. The route can be hiked all year round, but the path is not maintained in winter.

Sipoonkorpi National Park parking areas

It is about twenty kilometers from the center of Helsinki to Sipoonkorpi. The national park is easily accessible by public transport, either by bus or by train and bus. There are bus stops on different sides of the national park.

There are several parking spaces in Sipoonkorpi National Park when arriving by car. The closest parking area to the Bakunkärr Trail is Bakunkärr (Knutersintie road 421), and there are parking areas on both sides of Knutersintie road. If you hike the Knuters Trail at the same time, you can also park in the Knuters parking area, and when combined with the Fiskträsk Trail, Korvenportti is also a good option.

During peak times, on weekends and in good weather, the smaller Bakunkärr and Korvenportti parking lots can fill up quickly. After a blizzard, larger parking areas are plowed first. In a snowy winter, you can search for information about the plowing situation on Sipoonkorpi National Park's Facebook page.

On my own trip in February, there was not much snow in southern Finland. In Sipoonkorpi, both the roads and the forest paths were either icy or free from snow. On a weekday, there was only one car in the Bakunkärr parking area.

Bakunkärr Trail in winter

The Bakunkärr Trail is a 2-kilometer (1.24 miles) loop route. The route starts directly from the Bakunkärr parking area, so you don't have to walk any further. Bakunkärr Trail is perfect for a quick outdoorsy trip even in winter, when there is little daylight.

The route is marked with blue diamonds on tree trunks. There are many signs, and they stand out well even in winter. Although getting lost is unlikely, it's worth keeping a map and compass with you when hiking in nature.

In the middle of the Bakunkärr Trail, you will find a new cooking shelter, which is located on top of a cliff. The spacious shelter has a fireplace and seating for a larger group. There are more tables and benches next to the shelter on the cliffs. There is also a log shed and a dry toilet in the yard area. Paper is usually found in the toilet.

The Bakunkärr cooking shelter is around three hundred meters (984 ft) from the Bakunkärr trail. The path to the cooking shelter is marked with orange diamonds.

Tenting is also allowed at the Bakunkärr fireplace. The boundaries of the camping area are marked with signs on the trees.

Bakunkärr Trail route description

In winter with little snow, you can go hiking the Bakunkärr Trail with normal winter shoes or boots. Even if the path is icy in places, it is not particularly slippery or difficult at any point. If there is a lot of snow, you should take snowshoes or sliding snowshoes.

The route runs on cliffs and in a dense forest. You can cross bogs and streams by duckboards and bridges. In winter, some of the streams and wetlands may not be frozen.

When you hike clockwise, the first stretch before the Bakunkärr cooking shelter is shorter, about 700 meters (0.43 miles), the second half is 1.3 kilometers (0.81 miles), respectively. The shorter leg initially runs through a very dense forest close to the road, from which the sounds of the cars carry a little disturbingly into the nature. The noise calms down as the trail turns deeper into the woods and up the rocks.

The trail goes in the middle of the open cliffs surrounded by tall fir trees. The first resting place can also be found there, off the path to the left. You can spot the table group if it is not covered with snow.

Next, the trail runs between big stones, where you can stop to look at evergreen moss and fern. The rooty path meanders between the trees and climbs up to a signposted intersection, from where you can reach the Bakunkärr fireplace and the Kalkinpolttajanpolku Trail.

The trail leading to the cooking shelter may be the most slippery part, especially on the duckboards. The slope leading to the fireplace site is also quite steep and slippery. Bakunkärr site is popular, there are often people around the fire even on weekdays.

The longer stretch has a slightly more varied terrain than the first half. The path mostly runs higher up on the cliffs, and there’s a bit more daylight. Right after the crossing, the trail climbs up, and on the right side of the path there is a comfortable resting place.

The last stretch of the route descends into denser forest again. Just before arriving at the parking area, the trail meanders in dense leafless hazel bushes.

The approximate hiking time of the Bakunkärr Trail in the summer is about an hour. Even in winter, the route can be hiked in an hour, if the path is well-trodden or there is little snow, and you don’t stop by at the fireplace site for long. If you go snowshoeing and there is a lot of snow on the route, the round takes probably more time.

The Bakunkärr Trail is easy and like a nature trail. In winter, the route is great for those who want a quick forest bath, and in summer for a nice trail run. As a snowshoeing trip, it would be a great exercise as well.

Bakunkärr Trail, especially the western, or longer, section of the trail runs through beautiful forest landscapes, where the mind calms down in the midst of the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Hiking in Sipoonkorpi National Park

In Sipoonkorpi, moving is allowed with everyone's rights. There are a lot of private yards, land and farms in the area, where walking is not part of everyone's rights. When deviating from the marked trail, it is worth studying the map so that you can go around the private areas from a sufficient distance.

You can camp in Sipoonkorpi. Camping is only allowed in places marked for camping. Fires may only be made in the maintained fireplaces where firewood is available all year round.

There’s no waste management system in Sipoonkorpi National Park. Bio-waste can be put in a dry toilet, but other rubbish must be brought out of the forest. In winter, ice fishing is allowed, except on the River Byabäcken, Ritobäcken and Hälsangsbäcken and on the Lake Storträsk.

Mobile phone network coverage is generally good in Sipoonkorpi. In an emergency, call 112.

Read also: Hiking in Winter: Essential Guide for Hiking in Snow and Safety

Other winter routes in Sipoonkorpi

If the Bakunkärr Trail seems too short, combine it with another trail on your winter trip. You can also access these Sipoonkorpi routes from the Bakunkärr parking area:

Links – Sipoonkorpi National Park – Sipoonkorpi transportation and starting points

Finland Sipoonkorpi National Park Hiking Winter Hiking Forest Winter


Sipoonkorpi Winter Hiking: Byabäcken Nature Trail
Liesjärvi National Park – Blue Lakes and Green Forests