Peaceful Onkimaanjärvi lake is located near highway 2, adjoining Liesjärvi National Park in the area of three municipalities; Tammela, Loppi, and Karkkila. Border of Tavastia and Uusimaa regions cuts right through the lake. The northern shore is in Tammela and Loppi in Tavastia region, and the southern part belongs to Karkkila in Uusimaa. The lake has two fireplaces that provide nice settings for a day visit.
We visited the Onkimaa lean-to shelter in Tammela on a misty weekend in November when moose hunting was ongoing. We actually saw many hunters along the way, in the border of Liesjärvi National Park, when we were driving towards our destination. We stopped to talk to them and I let them know where we were heading and they told us the area they were going to be. This way we knew it would be safe to go to the lake. It’s extremely important to pay attention to moose hunting in autumn in Finland, for your own safety.
Walking through the Liesjärvi National Park area
We parked the car on the parking lot along Antinsuontie and walked about 1,5 kilometers to the Onkimaa lean-to shelter. This part of the Liesjärvi National Park is separate from the main area, which is located north of Liesjärvi lake. I have been to the national park many times, but never in this 255 hectares Tervalammi bog area. It is protected by Natura 2000, as most of the Liesjärvi National Park. The Häme Lynx Trail passes Tervalammi in one corner, so you don’t really get to see much of it on the trail.
To my surprise we passed a field within the national park that had been burned last summer. The forests here consist of about 50 year old pine trees. Interestingly, about 9 hectares of the forest was burned on purpose last summer as a nature conservation measure. Burnt and charred wood is essential for some species that depend on decaying wood and burnt wood.
Suddenly a flock of four black grouse took off from the ground to the nearby trees. They prefer to spend time at the top of the trees, especially near forest openings. In autumn they gather into flocks for the approaching winter, when they like to feed from birch trees’ buds. Finland’s black grouse population is estimated at 350,000–500,000 pairs. The nesting of the black grouse as well as other forest fowls in spring is the reason why it is so important to keep dogs on the leash in Finnish forests from spring to autumn. For the same reason, walking in Tervalamminsuo bog is prohibited between 15. April and 15. July.
When we arrived to the Onkimaanjärvi, my dog Nalle was keen to go check out the lake. The lake is about 4 kilometers long, and we could see many cottages on the opposite side. The shore looked rocky and shallow, but I read somewhere that the deepest spot in this lake is 16 meters. The average dept of Finnish lakes is only about 6-7 meters.
Grilling sausages for lunch at the Onkimaa lean-to shelter
We carried some firewood with us, even though I suspected that there would be some, as there was. At least it saved us from having to cut any firewood.
The dry wood that we brought lit up fast and soon the fire started warming us. The morning was pretty chilly, it was only about +3 degrees Celcius. There was no wind in the air. The smoke from our little fire descended down on the ground and seem to stay over water like the morning mist. The surrounding of the shelter looked clean, but we collected few plastic rubbish near the shelter while we were waiting for our sausages to cook.
In Finland, makkara is the most typical barbecue food to eat. We rarely eat hot dogs, but plain sausages with mustard or ketchup are the thing. Wooden sticks you can see leaning to the shelter are sausage sticks, makkaratikkuja. Those are used mainly to grill the sausages but they could be used also for grilling tikkupulla, sweet buns. Raw bun dough is wrapped around the head of the stick and cooked over the hot coals. As you can imagine, the dough has to be thick to stay on the stick. I have heard that you could even use ready-made croissant dough for the tikkupulla. I’ll report to you again when I have tried that.
After lunch we sat down and waited for the fire to slowly go out. We were not in a rush. Nalle looked very comfortable resting at the lean-to shelter, staring at the lake. I guess he liked the view. Autumn days like these are not the most beautiful time of the year in Finland when fall foliage is gone and everything is more or less grey. Nevertheless, it was very peaceful. Maybe the hunters had left without a prey. On the way back home we spotted six deers and two roe deers on a field. I feel like we didn’t go home empty-handed, but carried yet another meaningful nature experience with us.
Directions to Onkimaanjärvi in Tammela
Coordinates to the lean-to shelter:
Nearest parking lot:
Car: The Onkimaa lean-to shelter is located about 1,5 kilometers from the nearest parking lot. The address for the parking lot is approximately Antinsuontie 402, Tammela.
Bicycle: There are no special roads for cyclists so you have to drive alongside cars.
Public transport: The closest bus stop is called Loukku on highway 2, about 6,5 kilometers from the parking lot. See timetables at Matkahuolto website.
Accessibility: This area is not suitable for wheelchairs or children’s buggies. Most of the trail from the parking lot to the lean-to shelter is wide and flat, but near the shelter there is a staircase and some rocks along the trail.
When to go: This area can be visited when there isn’t a lot of snow of the ground.
Facilities: There is a lean-to shelter, an outhouse toilet, and a firewood shelter with plenty of firewood in it.
Special to know: Terrain in this area is very rocky and it’s not therefore ideal for camping with a tent. Onkimaanjärvi belongs to Karjaa-Mustionjoki fishing area. Angling and ice-fishing are allowed here by everyman’s rights. For lure fishing, 18–64-year-olds must pay a management fee that allows them to fish with one rod. The fee can be purchased for example from Eräluvat website. Lighting a fire in open fireplaces such as lean-to shelters is forbidden if the forest fire warning is in effect. Check the forest fire warnings at the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s website.
What else to see in the area?
- The ultimate guide to Hämeen Ilvesreitti tells you all about the nature destinations along the Häme Lynx Trail.
- Kivisammaljärvi on Hämeen Ilvesreitti in Loppi is located within pretty close to Onkimaanjärvi. It doesn’t have a lean-to shelter, but it’s a nice and peaceful destination along the Ilvesreitti.
- Liesjärvi National Park provides also excellent hiking and camping possibilities.
- The Korteniemi Heritage Farm in Liesjärvi showcases the history of the farming in Finland and is a lovely place to visit during summer.
- Kyynäränharju is a beautiful ridge in Liesjärvi National Park.
- Kettumäki is another small area that belongs to the national park but it is little bit outside of the main national park area. There are short trails and in winter also cross-country skiing trails.