Half a day hike in Sipoonkorpi National Park – with just one bus ticket
Half a day in the wilderness conveniently with the Hop-On Hop-Off bus service
I wanted to enjoy as much as possible of the Sipoonkorpi National Park, so I decided to test the Hop-On Hop-Off bus service with a combination of hiking right through the national park. My aim was to fit in half a day’s time as much of the forest in Sipoonkorpi, taking a break with a nice cup of coffee and a sandwich and stroll around in the forest without having to hurry. Although the bus schedules force to keep a little eye on the time.
Walking through the southern part of the National Park, it is possible to choose among different lengths and types of paths and should the coffee break turn out to be a little longer than anticipated, there is also an option of cutting corners and reaching the end point a little quicker than through the forest path. On the other hand, should you walk with a faster pace, there’s always the option of taking an extra break, sitting down on the sun heaten rocks and admire the view over the pasture fields – and the end point’s bus stop is not a bad place to sit down either, with its cows walking slowly around on the fields. Not a bad place to wait for the bus at all!
Leaving from Tikkurila in Vantaa or Nikkilä in Sipoo in the morning
You can catch the Hop-On Hop-Off bus either from Nikkilä in Sipoo (at 08:45 am) or from Tikkurila in Vantaa (at 09:30 am). In Nikkilä, the bus leaves in front of the library and in Tikkurila the bus leaves at the Travel Center’s bus station at platform 10. Depending on the situation, the bus is either a 16-seat minibus or a fullscale tourist coach. In either case, it is easy to distinguish thanks to the ”Sipoonkorpi Hop-On Hop-Off” sign in the front window and in addition, right at platform 10, there is also a schedule stand placed, where you can check the timetable for the service. To get to Tikkurila, you can catch the Greater Helsinki Area local service (HSL) trains or buses and long bound trains also stop at Tikkurila train station. There is even a straight train and bus connection to the Helsinki-Vantaa international airport from Tikkurila.
Traffic connections to Nikkilä include bus services from for instance Kerava, Järvenpää, northern Sipoo, Itäkeskus in Helsinki, southern Sipoo and Porvoo.
You can check connections through these services:
HSL Greater Helsinki Area traffic journey planner
VR Finnish national train company
Matkahuolto longbound bus services
You can distinguish the Sipoonkorpi Hop-On Hop-Off bus from the sign.
HALF A DAY’S HIKE:
Bakunkärr – Brännberget – Kalkkiruukki – Kalkinpolttajanpolku – Sotunki (Kalkkiuunintie)
Duration: 1½ – 2 hours of walking + 30 min coffee break
Walking distance: approximately 7 kilometers
The bus arrives at Bakunkärr parking lot at 10:15
The bus leaves from Kalkkiuunintie bus stop at 12:45
Notice: Remember to bring your water bottle! There is no drinking water available.
NB! The bus does not stop and wait for passengers, you have to be on time at the stop.
Please tell the driver at which stop You wish to leave.
The path in blue takes around 1 ½ hours to walk and there is enough time for a good half an hour’s break.
The path begins at Bakunkärr parking lot and moves towards Bakunkärr pause retreat. Among the route there are a wide variety of different kinds of forest and planks help to get over wet spots. Especially after rain the terrain can be quite wet, so city sneakers are not a recommended footwear here.
It is important to choose good shoes for the path. My choice were the Finnish Defence Forces’ boots M/05.
The beginning of the journey goes along a narrow path, but the markings are clear. In the vicinity of Bakunkärr there is a shorter round path that is with its 2 kilometers suitable also for smaller children. This path is marked in blue, whereas the path towards Kalkinpolttajanpolku (Chalk burners path) is marked in yellow.
The route markings are clear, and it is easy to distinguish the wanted path from others. There are enough of signs that also help to keep You on the right track, even if crossing paths occur every now and then. There are quite a few places to take a break, either simple benches made of wood stubs and planks or table groups. Therefore, it is not necessarily an issue to enjoy your cold snacks at the designated rest areas with their fireplaces.
Route markings are clear, and the different paths are easy to distinguish one from the other. The Bakunkärr round route is blue and the route towards Kalkkiruukki is yellos. The longer round route Kalkinpolttajanpolku is marked in green and white.
The first bigger rest area, that also comes with a tidy dry toilet, is Bakunkärr resting area. Should you want to take a break there, you keep walking the approximately 200 meters straight forward, instead of turning right to the west, in the directions of Kalkinpolttajanpolku and Kalkkiruukki resting area. The turning point is simple to distinguish, as the narrow forest path turns into a wider gravel path, that is big enough to fit even a fourwheel buggy, that are used by Metsähallitus (the forest organisation that takes care of the Finnish National Parks). At the resting area there are two firepits, of which one also has a roof over it. At the table groups You can enjoy a view toward southeast where in the distance, you can see a small marsh pond.
If there is no need for a break, it is recommended to keep walking towards the Kalkkiruukki area.
Already one kilometer into the journey, there is a resting point with a tidy dry toilet. Should you however not need this service at this time, you can walk past the Bakunkärr resting area and save the extra walk of around 300 meters.
When closing in on Kalkkiruukki resting area, the scenery becomes hillier and in places there are quite impressive height differences. This path is however suitable for people with basic physical abilities and does not demand a sporty trim. The path is also easy to walk with its gravel paths, planks and small bridges.
The Kalkkiruukki resting area is well equipped. There are two tidy dry toilets and plenty of seating areas. Even if all the seats would be taken, it is definitely not a bad idea to sit down on the rocks that have been warmed by sunlight. Tents are allowed at the Kalkkiruukki area and next to the fireplace, there is even a sleeping hut for two.
Kalkkiruukki resting area has a fireplace and plenty of seating areas.
After the coffee break it is time to continue the journey, because the path is only halfway through. The remaining half is a joy to walk: mostly level and partly downhill. From the darkness of the forest, the path emerges on a wide sandy road right next to pasture fields. The road is also used by cars, so it is important to stay at the side of the road. If the coffee break has been a little too long, there is the option of walking the rest of the way along the big road all the way to the paved road. You can thus save a good 15-20 minutes but will miss a few sceneries well worth seeing. However, if you worry about missing the bus, it is a good option to keep in mind. Taking the path will double the time necessary.
The route is easy to follow, white and green squares tell you where to turn, but it is still important to keep your eyes open, otherwise it is easy to miss where the path gets back into the forest.
If your break was longer than anticipated, you can walk straight forward here instead of taking the stairs up into the forest. By walking straight to the bus stop from here, you reach the bus stop in about 10-15 minutes. By walking through the forest, you need to schedule at least another 15 minutes.
In total the around 7 kilometers of walking felt joyful and although I usually am a fast walker, I tried on purpose to take my time and enjoy the scenery, stopping for photographs. I took a few extra rounds to time both the straightest road and the smaller path and can therefore say, that 2 hours and 45 minutes is more than enough time from the starting point to the end point, even if you need to be on time at the bus stop to wait for the bus. If there is time to spare, you can always do as I did and take a second pause on the rocky hills, enjoying the scenery with pasture lands and cows on the Vantaa side of the National Park. So, it might be a good idea to spare some extra coffee in the thermos just in case – if for nothing else, you can enjoy it at the bust stop while waiting for the coach!
For half a day’s journey readymade food is recommendable. Remember to bring a water bottle, since there are no water points in the southern parts of Sipoonkorpi National Park.
I recommend you bringing readymade food with you for this journey. Brewing coffee and making a fire might turn out to be a little too time consuming and there might not be time to actually sit down and relax, which should be a priority for your pause. In my blog postings to come I will give you hints about longer journeys, to which you should bring both matches and sausages!
It is important to be on time at the bus stop since the bus does not stop and wait for passengers. Wave clearly with your hand, signalling to the driver that you want onboard.
For more information on the Hop-On Hop-Off bus service, check the link below:
Sipoonkorpi Hop-On Hop-Off bus
Text & Images:
Last modified 04.07.2022