Sign Up
Koitajoki – Kesonsuo- Lylykoski

Kesonsuo- Lylykoski

Listed under the national mire protection programme, Kesonsuo is the most important mire complex in North Karelia. The mire environment is a valuable bird sanctuary. The best way of exploring the area is from the bird tower located at Säkäsaari. The road from Hakovaara leads to the site. Hiking in the area is allowed only along the boardwalk. Koitajoki meanders through Kesonsuo mire landscape into Lylykoski. At Lylykoski, the journey is eased off to a scenic float around the rapids.

Picture by Alpo Hassinen



Kesonsuo is an internationally valuable wetland, and the most important mire complex in Northern Karelia. This vast conservation site consists of swamps and ridges and is a bird sanctuary for breeders and migrants. The species of the mire includes, among other the red-throated diver, the reeve, the European golden plover, and the horned grebe.

Palokanangas-Selkäkangas area is bordered by River Koitajoki, which is included in the national ridge protection program. In the southern part of Palokangas, springs and seeps are noticeable within the landscape. There are representative starting and creeping areas. The villages of Kirvesvaara, Hakovaara and Huhus linger within close vicinity. Koitajoki meanders peacefully around the rare bog-like edges of Kesonsuo.



In Lylykoski, one can still see the signs of activities of the forefathers that took place on Lake Koitajoki. In the upper part of Lylykoski, Koitajoki was crossed by a ferry before the current road replaced its function. The traces of various log hauling structures are part of the landscape. The historical permanent establishments in the area have over the years been converted into holiday homes. Still some old homesteads and log huts can be spotted along the riverbanks. In Lylykoski-Ilomantsi area, one of the few remaining village schools is still operational to date.

To experience the region, it is highly recommended to use guided tour; it is hard to navigate the Koitajoki due to its bends and side streams. The waterways of Koitajoki are partially marked.