The Hitonhauta ravine in Laukaa is a stunning place for a day hike
I have to admit that Hitonhauta and its beauty were a complete surprise to me. Even though I have lived in Central Finland for three years now I would have never in my wildest dreams imagined that there would be a huge ravine only few tens of kilometres away from me. The Hitonhauta ravine and its surroundings are a stunning place for a day hike in Central Finland. This location is especially stunning over winter time when the waterfall in the ravine freezes creating beautiful natural ice sculptures.
Finding Hitonhauta is easy with Google Maps
My travel partner and I headed to Hitonhauta from Jyväskylä but it is easy to locate from anywhere in Finland. Google Maps is a good friend when you are trying to find the beginning of the route to the gorge. I also raise my thumbs and hat to Laukaa as there are signs saying ”Hitonhauta” already few kilometres before the parking area. When you put ”Hitonhaudantie” to Google Maps please note that it might just pick a random location on the road and suddenly inform you that ”you are now at your destination”. This is no means to worry, just keep driving and look for the sings or the end of the road as the trail begins from the end of the driving road. The road to Hitonhauta is quite curvy so a well-slept night before will be an asset when navigating on curvy roads.
Hitonhauta route is suitable for everyone
Hitonhauta provides a wonderful day trip for the whole family, as the route is rather easy to walk. The few kilometres long route is also not too long for the smallest hiker or even the laziest adult. The winter has made some parts very snowy so you might have to tiptoe downhill but there are only few of those. In the ravine area there are few ups and downs when you are climbing between each ice sculpture. Hitonhauta is an easy day hike for you if you walk at least sometimes in your normal life.
Clean air for all
In Finland you can rather freely roam in the nature and that is because of a set of rules known as the Everyman’s Rights. There are some restrictions in Nature Reserves such as Hitonhauta, but these are signalled with signs. You can also read the everyman’s rights here http://www.ym.fi/en-US/Latest_news/Publications/Brochures/Everymans_right(4484). In Finland you can walk outside the main route as long as you prepare for wet socks in winter time. As long as you do not harm the nature or leave trash behind you are free to walk around and admire the nature.
When walking around Hitonhauta you can almost feel the cleanliness of the air around you. I at least could. A great indicator for cleanliness of the air is the hanging moss that you will see all around you in Hitonhauta. It is a moss that is very peculiar about air and will not live in polluted areas. I had not seen it for a while so I was happy to walk amongst it in the Hitonhauta trail. Hanging moss looks almost like a tiny old man’s beard hanging from the trees. It is a protected species that is becoming less common so I am always happy to see it and also it is always a pleasure to breathe clean air!
Take snacks and go hiking!
For the day trip you want to take good shoes and clothes. Over wintertime you might benefit from waterproof trousers as you might want to climb higher in the ravine to take photos and it is more fun and easier to slide down on your bum. I was only wearing running trousers but that did not stop me from sliding on my bum anyway. Good shoes will keep the snow from coming to say hello to your socks. The hike is short so you will survive even if your socks are wet but no one wants to walk in wet socks do they? You might want to take a small stick with you for the hike as in the ravine that will provide extra security when going up and down in there.
It is important that you take snacks for the road as that makes the trip just a bit more fun. For the record we had no snack with us but there is this beautiful hut, known as a lean-to that has a fire and provides a place to grill sausages or corn or even marshmallows if you took them with. Next to the lean-to there is a shed with wood but you should take matchsticks with you just in case.
Hitonhauta is an amazing day trip and a day hike where you can take great pictures to show your family and friends. Many of our friends still struggle to believe this place is in Finland so that says something. I still cannot believe something this amazing is just next-door! So pack your rucksack and grab your friends and go for a hike!