Pilvijärvi at Sipoo is popular all year around

Pilvijärvi Söderkulla Sipoo

Pilvijärvi and its nature trail is nestled in the serene landscapes of Sipoo, Finland. The scenic nature trail winds its way along the shores of Pilvijärvi lake through lush pine forests and calm marshlands. Whether you’re an avid hiker or a biker, a general nature enthusiast, or simply want to spend time taking in fresh air, Pilvijärvi and the wider Söderkulla area of Sipoo is the place to go.

The Pilvijärvi lake is busy in the hot summer months but when we visited in early April, the lake was still iced over and the ground covered with soft, slightly melting snow. The wider Söderkulla area has plenty of ski tracks maintained by the Sipoo municipality, so we were careful not to walk in those areas. As it was only April and we know how packed snow in forests can turn into sheer ice, we were thankfully prepared with studded winter shoes because the hike without them would have been impossible.

Many trails to choose from

Click for a larger map (opens in a new window). Original map by Sipoo.fi

The wider Söderkulla area in Sipoo has several trails to choose from. The Pilvijärvi nature trail is 10km at its longest (blue route on the map). Due to the soft snow which no longer supported our weight fully, we decided to return halfway along Möträskintie road. This made our circular route about 6km in total. For those who want to know, these kind of snow conditions (= soft snow that doesn’t carry your weight) are called kantohanki in Finnish: kanto comes from the Finnish verb “to carry” (kantaa) and hanki is a type of packed snow.

We had to park our car at the very beginning of Pilvijärventie road because there was still snow (old and new) on the ground. This meant that we had to walk about 600m to reach the lakeside area. We bumbled around a bit in the beautiful spring sunshine until we realised that the trail head began at the carpark area. Once we found the path, we decided to walk it clockwise.

Pilvijärvi luontopolku nature trail

The nature trail is marked with blue dots on trees and buildings. The trail first crosses a small isthmus between Pilvijärvi lake and a smaller lake. The trail winds itself in the forest, and the recent snowfall had made the trail very slippery. Once again, we had been sure spring was coming but instead we got “fool’s spring” or a cold snap in late April. Finnish nature doesn’t let you get away with winter very easily, for sure.

Pilvijärvi lake Sipoo

Thankfully, the views overlooking Pilvijärvi lake were wonderful in the bright sunshine. Despite the slippery trail, the air was fresh and even mildly warm. In the summer, some of the areas are covered with duckboards since the lake often “leaks” on the trail, making it slightly marshy. We decided we absolutely must come to Pilvijärvi in the summer or autumn to experience it again.

Pilvijärvi trails

In some areas, the combination of frozen ground and uphill turned out to be difficult to manage even with studded shoes on. Thankfully, we’d brought Nordic walking sticks with us, and using those in their “winter formation” (soft tip off, used like a ski pole) allowed us to get up certain hills. We also took our time to plot our route so that there were trees we could hold on to while going up and down.

Some vigilance with trail markers required

Most of the time we were just enjoying the beautiful sunshine and the almost entirely snow-free trail. But if our eyes left the trail map we had saved on my phone, we noticed that it was easy to get confused about where the trail actually was. It got a lot easier when we got on the actual Möträskintie road. It was easy to walk on and the “shortcut” decreased the 10km nature trail to a much more manageable 6km. Nonetheless, we did have to keep our eyes on the map apps, our compass, and the trail map to make sure we didn’t get lost.

Pilvijärvi trails Möträskintie

When we got back from the other side of the lake, we sat down for a bit next to the tables and fireplaces. I knew it would be difficult to get our car out of the slope where we left it, so we had some snacks to replenish our energies. And indeed, our car tyres were partially buried into the quickly melting snow, refusing to go forward. So, I ended up reversing the car back down the steep slope in order to get out. Good thing we had those snacks.

Pilvijärvi fireplaces

Directions to Pilvijärvi nature trail

Address: You can type Pilvijärven luontopolku or Pilvijärventie 70, Sipoo on your navigator.

How to get there:

  • Car: There is a car park by Pilvijärvi but you have to pay a parking fee during the summer season. However, when there is snow on the ground, the road to the lake is not cleared of snow. There’s a block on the road so it’s impossible to drive all the way to Pilvijärvi lake. You may be able to leave your car in the beginning the path but note that it may be difficult to get out if the snow is soft since the road is very steep.
  • Bicycle: It’s relatively easy to cycle all the way to Pilvijärvi when there is no snow on the ground. You can enjoy the deep forest and occasional countryside views on your way to the Söderkulla area in Sipoo.
  • Public transport: You can get to Pilvijärvi by public transport. Type Pilvijärven luonnonsuojelualue on the Route Planner for timetables. The nearest bus stop called Pilvijärventie is 900m from the trail head of Pilvijärvi nature trail.

Accessibility: When there is no snow on the ground, the main area at Pilvijärvi lake has well-worn paths suitable for even those with limited mobility or children’s prams. The Pilvijärvi nature trail is not accessible but is suitable for sure-footed children. During snowy times, make sure to take your time hiking in the area as rocks, holes, and tree roots are hidden under the snow.

When to go: You can visit at any time of the year.

What to wear: Normal walking shoes are fine. Just notice that sometimes the nature path can get slippery. During snowy times, make sure to wear warm clothes and always take care hiking in snow. If the snow is soft, consider wearing snow shoes.

Facilities: There are no official facilities in the area outside the peak summer season. There are a few fireplaces at the trail head next to the official carpark.

Make sure you also check out

Since you’re already at Sipoo, make sure to check out the paths at Sipoonkorpi national park.

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