Ruostejärvi Recreation Area is located in the municipality of Tammela by Härkätie Road and near main road 2. It consists of approximately 70 hectares including 3 kilometers of shoreline. It has a nice beach with shallow water, nature trails, and Häme Nature Centre (Hämeen Luontokeskus), which introduces the Häme Lake Uplands in detail. Ruostejärvi is popular especially among families with children.
We arrived to Ruostejärvi with the kids and parked our car in the parking lot right next to Härkätie road. We walked about 300 meters from the parking lot to the Häme Nature Centre near the beach. There were signs welcoming also dogs to the Nature Centre, but by law they are not allowed in public beaches Finland.
The smallest of the family especially enjoy the Ruostejärvi area. The Nature Centre has a cafeteria and playroom for the kids, and outside the kids can enjoy their own nature trail called Ant trail (Muurahaispolku 0,5 km). Learning to recognize animals, birds, plants and mushrooms is always fun. I was surprised how well the kids already know them, and in few years they will know more than me, for sure.
After the Ant trail and spending some time indoors in the playroom we went for a swim. The changing rooms and toilets are located in front of the Nature Centre. The beach is narrow in terms of sand area, but shallow for a good 20 meters. The water of the lake is bright, kind of rust color. Ruoste means rust in Finnish, and it is not difficult to guess where this lake gets its name. The sun was partly behind the trees in the afternoon.
The trails at Häme Nature Centre can be seen in the map below. Muurahaisenpolku (in blue) is the Ant trail suitable for the kids. Lapinniemenpolku (in red) is usually accessible in winter by foot. Kurjenpolku (in yellow) has duckboards and Meidän metsäpolku (in pink) is supposed to have a ferry connection. One trail departing from the Ruostejärvi leads to Liesjärvi National Park and another trail from Eerikkilä Sport & Outdoor Resort (Eerikkilän Urheiluopisto) is going to Saari Folk Park. Hiking opportunities in this area are thus quite good.
Camping in Ruostejärvi area is allowed based on everyman’s rights, but there are no specifics spots for tents. Making a fire is only allowed at specific fireplaces when the forest fire warning is not on, you should always check that at the Finnish Meteorological Institute website. There are picnic tables close to the beach. You can also rent canoes and SUP boards from the Nature Centre. Eerikkilä provides for example fatbikes for rent.
Directions to the Häme Nature Centre
Hämeen Luontokeskus / Häme Nature Centre
Ruostejärvi Recreation Area
How to get there:
- Car: Arriving from from road 2 (Helsinki-Pori), turn to Härkätie towards Porras and drive 1,5 kilometers until you see the parking lot on the left.
- Bicycle: The Hämeen Härkätie bicycle route passes the Häme Nature Centre. The cycling route is basically the same road cars use so please take care.
- Public transport: The closest bus stop called Eerikkilä is in the intersection of road 2 and Härkätie, about 1,5 kilometers away. Check out tickets and timetables at Matkahuolto.
Accessibility: The trail from the parking lot to the Häme Nature Centre is wide and suitable for wheelchairs and children’s buggies. The beach is shallow but there is a steeper descent to the water line.
When to go: All year round, but summer months June-August are the best. The Nature Centre opening times during summer: Mon-Fri 11-18, Sat-Sun 12-18. The entrance to the Nature Centre is free.
Special to remember: If you want to swim in the area, check the up-to-date situation of blue-green algae before getting in the water as it’s a health hazard to humans and animals. The Lake Wiki shows up-to-date algae info. The latest water analysis results are usually available at the information boards by the beach. Dogs are welcome to the area and inside the Nature Centre except to the beach when there are people swimming. Please note that there are no lifeguards in the area, so always keep an eye on your kids.
Also visit in the area
The Eerikkilä Sport & Outdoor Resort is located about 3 km away from the Häme Nature Centre, on the other side of the lake. Liesjärvi National Park is located nearby, and there is a hiking trail from Ruostejärvi lake to Liesjärvi. Pääjärvi recreation area, Torronsuo National Park, Saari Folk Park, and Iso-Melkutin are all in relatively close proximity to Ruostejärvi. The Häme Nature Centre has information desk and maps for nearby trails in the national parks and recreation areas.