Bikepacking tip | From Vääksy to the Pulkkilanharju esker and KalkkinenАдрес: Siltatie 2, 17240 Kalkkinen Показать на карте
Адрес: Siltatie 2, 17240 Kalkkinen
The road running along the Pulkkilanharju esker is one of the most beautiful scenic routes in Finland and largely a part of Päijänne National Park. The Kalkkinen canal, the rapids and the lively village are all along this popular route. If you are looking to challenge yourself, choose the hilly Kopsuontie in one direction.
Vääksy–Pulkkilanharju–Kalkkinen–Kopsuo–Vääksy, 57 km
When you head north from Vääksy on road 314 towards Sysmä, you can ride on a pedestrian and bike path for approximately 15 km, almost until the end of the Pulkkilanharju esker.
When leaving Vääksy, you will pass Aurinkovuori hill, a large terminal moraine that is part of the Second Salpausselkä formation that was created during the melting period of the last Ice Age almost 12,000 years ago. Aurinkovuori separates Lakes Vesijärvi and Päijänne and rises approximately 70 metres above their levels. The road runs in the valley on the Päijänne side and declines gently towards the Asikkala village for approximately 5 km.
The Asikkala village landscape is part of the traditional landscape in Päijät-Häme, which is dominated by the Asikkala church of “a million bricks” along Vanha Kirkkotie. The old village centre will be on your left as the bike path continues along the graveyard fence towards the north. During the school term, a café on the natural resources campus of Salpaus Further Education centre is open.
The even road continues to the Pulkkila village, where you can pop into the Vilppulan marjatila berry farm’s shop to buy ice cream and berries in the summer. The actual Pulkkilanharju esker starts approximately 3 km away when the road dives in a forest along a section spanning a few hundred metres after the field landscape.
The stunning Pulkkilanharju esker
In the blink of an eye, the forest ends and the road continues along the Pulkkilansalmi causeway, where vast parts of lakes open up on both sides, Asikkalanselkä to the east and Hinttolanselkä to the west.
Pulkkilanharju is an esker that was deposited by the melting stream waters of the continental glacier approximately 11,500 years ago. It is actually a chain of esker islands that are nowadays connected by bridges. The esker is part of the national esker protection programme.
At the southern end, you will first encounter the Pulkkilansalmi lighthouse and right after that the summer restaurant Reimari. After that, there is a gradual climb towards the highest point of the esker, Kukonharju.
As the national park starts, the bike path dives into the forest for a while and changes into a gravel road. Road cyclists often choose the actual road but, especially during busy summer weekends, the forest is safer than the side of the road, and the gravel road is fairly good, especially for wider tyres.
At the midpoint of the esker is the Karisalmi bridge, which provides a great view to both the east and west. On the northern side of the bridge is a place to rest and a summer kiosk, and a nature trail presenting the creation of the esker and its vegetation starts by the bridge. Cruise and route ships stop by the Karisalmi pier sometimes, but not frequently.
The bike path continues a few more kilometres to the Käkisalmi bridge. After that, you must ride by the road for approximately 500 metres until you turn east on Kalkkistentie (3142).
The distance from the intersection to Kalkkinen village is approximately 7 km. The road to the Kalkkinen canal and rapids turns approximately halfway through the journey and, from there, it is still more than 4 km to the shore.
The longest freshwater canal in Europe and the protected rapids with a surrounding grove are both definitely worth experiencing. However, the gravel road to the shore includes quite steep hills and tight curves. From the canal, you can jump aboard the Päijänne Risteilyt lake ships sailing from Lahti to Heinola via Vääksy. The distance from the rapids to the canal is a few hundred metres and there is a map by the pier.
Lively Kalkkinen village
Kalkkinen village is a favourite among cyclists, and for good reason. since its centre is the home of Mani-Baari bar, the Pihamaa vineyard and garden farm and a café as well as K-Market Lampinen. The harbour is 500 metres away from the village centre by the Kymenvirta River from where you can hop on route and cruise ships.
If you continue south and cross the Kalkkinen bridge, you will end up on Kopsuontie (3132) famous for its steep hills where you will drive among car traffic. The worst curves were straightened when the road was asphalted in 2013, but the 23 km road still requires some experience to cope with. The spectacular views are rewarding and you can see the lake from several spots along the way.
Close to Vesivehmaa, Kopsuontie merges with road 313 running between Vääksy and Vierumäki. A pedestrian and bike path is under construction along this leg of the journey, but for now it only starts from Anianpelto near Vääksy. When heading towards Vääksy, the majority of the journey is downhill.
Since the route is circular, you can of course ride it in any direction and save the tail wind for the toughest sections.
Add the address of the village shop, Siltatie 2, 17240 Kalkkinen to your navigator. Other services are located in the vicinity.