The Tar Route route was used to transport barrels of tar derived from the Taiga forest from the Eastern border to a port for the Baltic Sea. You will explore a section of this remote yet accessible area, paddling south to Kuhmo. This canoe tour passes through the lovely Lentua lake system, a network of lakes dotted with islands large and small and connected by rivers and small lakes with winding passages and short rapids (which are easily bypassed with short land transports).
You spend your days exploring this beautiful area and at night wild camping at a wide choice of designated camping areas with wind shelters and fireplaces where wood is provided. The clear waters offer wonderful opportunities for swimming from gentle, sandy beaches to cool off after enjoying a hard day's paddling!
This canoe tour takes you through thick Taiga forest rich in wildlife, with relatively little sign of civilisation/few settlements along the way, giving a real sense of remoteness during many parts of the tour. Much of the area is protected and the majority of islands are uninhabited, except by the local wildlife of course!
Canoe on the Tar Route in Kainuu is suitable for adults and families with older children (recommended min. age 12, younger children possible by arrangement) - as a flexible tour you can make it as challenging or relaxing as you desire. Explore the protected area of Lake Lentua, enjoy lunch on a deserted island or spend some time fishing. You may wish to stop on Lehtosaari island, where there is an open wilderness hut and even the chance to stop for a smoke sauna!
You paddle a minimum distance of 60km to Kuhmo but you can extend your tour as much as you like to discover the lake system's hidden treasures or even spend a day or two on land to go hiking.
The tour also offers very good possibilities for fishing, especially for perch and pike, and equipment is available to hire as an optional extra.
Canoeing for odd-numbered groups
Canoes used are 2-person Canadian canoes. Odd numbered groups will normally travel as even number in a canoe with the additional person in single kayak. For odd-numbered groups including a child, the child can travel as 3rd person in canoe.
Meet in Kuhmo (start time between 09.00 and 18.00 by arrangement). You will receive your equipment and some guidance on suggested routes to take before transfer to the start point (approx. 45 mins) to begin your tour.
Your canoe tour takes you through a series of lakes connected with river sections and some short rapids. Rapids (100m-400m) are easily bypassed by short carries or using the rail/trolley system provided at certain points to assist with land transports.
The area offers many route choices to explore the lakeland landscape and as a protected area you will find few settlements/houses, offering a real taste of remoteness during many parts of the tour. Spend the nights wild camping at one of the many designated camping spots where you can find wind shelters and fireplaces.
You paddle your way to Kuhmo, where you will end your tour and return your equipment.
Start any day by arrangement between 16th May and 20th September 2018 between 09.00 and 18.00. Tour durations are typically 4-8 days but longer tours are also possible.
Note that you should be prepared for cooler conditions when paddling at the start/end of the season.
Price includes camping/kitchen equipment.
Please note that price for transfer to start point must be added to all bookings.
For additional adult in odd-numbered group, extra tent is provided. Additional child in odd-numbered group will share tent.
Tour durations are typically 4-8 days but longer tours are also possible. Please contact us for price information for tours longer than 8 days.
|Transfer to start point, per booking up to 8 persons||GBP 77||EUR 80|
|4 days/3 nights|
|Even-numbered groups/person (2, 4 persons, etc)||GBP 106||EUR 110|
|Additional adult for odd-numbered groups (using single kayak)||GBP 135||EUR 140|
|Additional child for odd-numbered groups (travelling as 3rd person in canoe)||GBP 63||EUR 65|
|5 days/4 nights|
|Even-numbered groups/person (2, 4 persons, etc)||GBP 128||EUR 133|
|Additional adult for odd-numbered groups (using single kayak)||GBP 164||EUR 170|
|Additional child for odd-numbered groups (travelling as 3rd person in canoe)||GBP 70||EUR 73|
|6 days/5 nights|
|Even-numbered groups/person (2, 4 persons, etc)||GBP 142||EUR 148|
|Additional adult for odd-numbered groups (using single kayak)||GBP 188||EUR 195|
|Additional child for odd-numbered groups (travelling as 3rd person in canoe)||GBP 73||EUR 75|
|7 days/6 nights|
|Even-numbered groups/person (2, 4 persons, etc)||GBP 154||EUR 160|
|Additional adult for odd-numbered groups (using single kayak)||GBP 207||EUR 215|
|Additional child for odd-numbered groups (travelling as 3rd person in canoe)||GBP 73||EUR 75|
|8 days/7 nights|
|Even-numbered groups/person (2, 4 persons, etc)||GBP 172||EUR 179|
|Additional adult for odd-numbered groups (using single kayak)||GBP 232||EUR 241|
|Additional child for odd-numbered groups (travelling as 3rd person in canoe)||GBP 77||EUR 80|
|Optional Extras (see description below)|
|Extra Trangia (if required for odd-numbered person), up to 7 days||GBP 25||EUR 25|
|Fishing equipment/set/up to 7 days||GBP 20||EUR 20|
- Extra Trangia (if required for odd-numbered person): Trangia stoves are included as standard one per two persons. If you require an additional stove (e.g. if travelling as 5 persons and requiring 3 rather than the included 2 stoves), extra stove can be hired as optional extra.
- Fishing equipment: See image below. Includes casting rod + 10 lures - note that lures must be replaced if lost, price €3-€7/lure). Fishing licence is required (purchased locally) if fishing with lures, price around €15/week. If fishing with line only, no licence is required and line, hook, bobber and worms can be provided. Perch (up to 500g) and pike (up to 2kg with equipment available or up to 8kg with own fishing gear) can be caught the whole summer. In warm weather, pike perch are also possible. Roach are also commonly caught. It is possible to fish for trout in the local rapids for additional licence fee of €20/day.
- Transfer Kajaani-Kuhmo-Kajaani: In addition to options to travel by bus, taxi or airport taxi, subject to availability transfer from Kajaani or Kajaani airport to Kuhmo can be offered. Price €145/one-way for up to 4 persons, additional person €20/person/way. Cost for transfer is paid locally on arrival.
- Transfer to start point for larger groups: If you are a group of more than 8 persons, you will require a second transfer to your start point for each additional group of 8 persons. Standard transfer price applies.
What's Included »
- Canoe equipment: 2-person Canadian canoe (normally Old Town Discovery), paddles, buoyancy aids, waterproof containers. Child travelling as 3rd person in canoe will have extra seat/paddle/buoyancy aid.
- Kayak equipment (if adult in odd-numbered group): Single kayak, paddle, buoyancy aid and spray skirt.
- Kitchen equipment: Trangia* cooking stove (one litre fuel/week is included). NB: Note that Trangias are suitable for 2-3 persons and therefore for odd-numbered groups, an additional Trangia is not supplied (e.g. 2 Trangias are supplied for 5-person group).
- Camping equipment: Tent (number/type provided depending on group size, models vary e.g. 2-person tent Jack Wolfskin North Bay II or similar, 3-4 person tent Hannah Serak 4 or similar), 3-season sleeping bag (please bring own liner), pillow and foam sleeping mat.
- Maps: Two waterproof canoeing maps.
- Instructor: Introduction/assistance in planning your route before your tour starts.
*Exact contents may differ from example shown
Please be careful with the canoe and the rest of your equipment! If some part of the equipment should break as a result of misuse or carelessness, you may be charged for the damage caused.
Please see "Optional Extras" below.
- Travel: We do not arrange flights or domestic travel, but are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey. See under "Getting There" for general travel information.
- There is no food included. You must bring all food needed during the tour with you from the beginning as this tour runs in a remote area with no opportunities to buy food along the way. Provisions can be purchased in Kuhmo or from a small store near the start point.
Good To Know »
Swimming ability required by all participants. Minimum 2 adults. You should be in good health with a good general level of fitness and strength and enjoy the outdoors. Recommended minimum age 12.
The canoe tour runs through a series of lakes connected by sections of river and short rapids. Rapids should be bypassed by foot by carrying the canoe or using the trolley/rail system available at certain points to assist with land transports. Note that paddling on lakes can be challenging in windy conditions and you should consider carefully the best side of the lake to paddle on and be prepared to adjust your itinerary depending on weather conditions.
What makes this "Medium"?
The area is quite remote and outside high season you may see few other persons during your trip, but has a network of camping locations and also rails provided for some portages. Total distance paddled and route is taken is flexible. In windy conditions, the lakes can be choppy and paddling more challenging.
NB: Perception of difficulty is very subjective. What is hard to one person may be easy for another and vice versa, depending on factors including level of fitness, age and previous experience. Weather conditions/temperatures can also dramatically affect the actual level of challenge encountered.
For information on any equipment and/or clothing included as standard for this experience, please see under "What's Included".
A detailed recommended packing list for personal items to bring will be sent with your booking documentation.
NB: We advise you not to buy equipment or clothes for your trip or to incur other non-refundable expenses such as flights until you have received confirmation of your booking from us in writing. Note of course that the most appropriate clothing to use as well as the level of challenge experienced during any outdoor activity may vary significantly depending on factors such as the time of year and the particular weather/temperature conditions during your trip.
Preparing for your trip:
For further reading, we also have a number of general information articles to get you ready for your trip, covering a wide variety of topics from what to do on a city break before/after your tour, advice on packing, eyewear for winter and considerations for female travellers.
Combine This With
This experience makes a good combination with the following:
- Bushcraft, Canoeing & Hiking with Huskies in Kainuu (25 mins by transfer)
- Cycling and Canoeing in North Karelia (5-6 days, 1 hour by car or 3.5 hours by bus)
- Hiking in the Finnish-Russian Borderland (8 days, 1.5 hours by car or bus)
This experience is ideal for groups. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
This provider has a written environmental policy.
Getting There »
Detailed information on travel options to this experience will be provided in response to your enquiry. We are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey.
Please ensure that you make a booking with us first and wait for confirmation that your spaces are reserved before making any travel arrangements.
Fly to Helsinki for travel by train (6 hours) or domestic flight (1 hour 15 mins) to Kajaani, before onward travel by bus, taxi or transfer to Kuhmo (1.5-2 hours).
Gallery & Reviews »
"The best part was the meeting with the wildlife." Donatello, August 2018
"It's beautiful." Lawrence, September 2017
"Matt and I had a fantastic time on our canoe tour! Thank you so much for your help in organising it! [Pre-departure service] was a very smooth operation! I was most impressed. The best part was stopping off at the hut on Ränkänsaari Island - what a beautiful place! No suggestions for improvement - it was perfect! Would rather it hadn't rained on the fourth day, but not anything could have been done to mitigate that, hehe!" Aline
"The Tar route is much more than the website indicates - it's a fabulous route with a 'Canadian' feel in a nature reserve. [The highlights were] the remote 'feel' to the whole area and seeing woodland caribou with their calves and the fabulous facilities of wind shelters, saunas, and ready-cut firewood provided for free by the Finnish state. We extended for an 11-day trip and explored on a longer 100km route. Just a big "thank you" for such a great trip. [I chose Nature Travels because] used in past and provide great options and fabulous service." Mark. You can also read a more detailed trip report from Mark.