Located on the eastern side of Lake Päijänne, Päijätsalo is a rugged island with a rocky top that is a remnant of a folded mountain range that formed nearly two billion years ago. The bare, rocky top of the island reaches 85 metres above the surface of Lake Päijänne.
The observation tower, built in 1899, provides a beautiful view over Tehinselkä, which is the largest open water area in Lake Päijänne. Päijätsalo Island is part of a nationally important landscape area and has been part of Päijänne National Park since 2001. Situated about 7 kilometres west of the municipal centre of Sysmä, Päijätsalo is a perfect destination for daytrips and is accessible by car and bicycle.
A circle trail of about four kilometres in length is a great way to explore the nature of Päijätsalo. The trail starts at the parking area or from the shore of Pyydysniemi when arriving by boat. This forest trail is classified as fairly difficult with some differences in elevation. The Tornipolku Trail also starts at the parking area and leads directly to the observation tower and the Pyydysniemi campfire site, located nearby. Please use the marked trails in the national park area in order to avoid damaging the vegetation.
The protected part of the island is dominated by spruce heath forests. The forest there was able to develop in its natural state for a long time, which is evident by the large number of old spruce, shield bark pines, hollow trees and decaying trunks. The number of deciduous trees increases near the shore of Lake Päijänne. The island provides the opportunity to see many rare plant species and old-growth forest birds, such as the red-breasted flycatcher (Ficedula parva), black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) or greenish warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides). Our magnificent diurnal bird of prey, the osprey (Pandion Haliaetus), is also a familiar sight.
Päijätsalo Island is a valuable environment in terms of cultural heritage. It is a well-known landscape attraction characterised by an active villa lifestyle since the 1800s. There was a lot of traffic across Tehinselkä and Pyydysniemi became a popular landing site. It provided a good place to start climbing to the top of Päijätsalo Island to admire the landscape of Lake Päijänne. The observation tower at the highest point on the island is a work of art that was built by villa residents and local inhabitants. During wartime, the observation tower also served as an air surveillance tower.