We were on a roadtrip from Jyväskylä all the way to Enontekiö in north western Lapland, and we wanted to visit Hepoköngäs along the way. We knew the largest free-falling waterfalls in Finland were somewhere in the Kainuu region just above the midriff of Finland so we took out an old-fashioned map and checked out that it was located in Puolanka, about 100km above the town of Kajaani. Yes, it was sort of along our route (it wasn’t really… the detour added several hours to our travel time) but we decided it was definitely worth seeing. I mean… you can’t really see too many forests and white-water rapids, not to mention waterfalls in your entire lifetime. You just can’t.
More about Hepoköngäs
The nature around the waterfalls is lush and dark green, and you can almost see the oxygen and freshness surrounding you. For everyone visiting, a great way to enjoy the area is to explore the different plants in the area because there are small signs explaining details about the woodlands along the walking path. However, make sure you respect the nature and leave it in better condition than you found it in.
Address: Hepokönkääntie 21, Puolanka. This address has a tiny place where you can park your car for the duration of your visit.
How to get there: You can get to Hepoköngäs by car or by bicycle. Public transportation gets you about 16km from the waterfalls to the town of Puolanka.
- Car: Just follow the instructions of your navigator. You drive towards Puolanka from either Oulu or Kajaani.
- Bicycle: There are narrow but still well-maintained gravel and asphalt roads for bicycles as well as excellent maps. The bicycle routes follow closely to the car route.
- Public transport: Admittedly, getting to Hepoköngäs is a bit tricky by public transport. The city of Oulu is 130km and the town of Kajaani 100km away from Puolanka. You can take a bus or a train to either of these cities. Check the local bus schedules from the homepage of the town of Puolanka (only in Finnish: bus = linja-auto in Finnish).
Facilities on site: There is a small cafe there in the summer. There are accessible toilets by the falls themselves on top of the falls. There is a small fireplace area also near the top of the falls. You may use the firepit but make sure you follow local advise on fire safety and check if it’s safe to make fire in the area by referring to this map.
When to go: You can visit the waterfall at any time of the year. If you visit during snowy or wintery seasons, make sure you are careful as some areas can be slippery.
What to wear: Mosquito repellent in the summer.