The Rapids Route at Karkkila weaves through a historic ironworks area

Karkkilan koskireitti rapids route Myllykoski

Karkkila is one of those towns in southern Finland where the connection of industrialisation and forces of nature meet. There are five rapids around Karkkila which were harnessed early for different purposes. While today, the old ironworks area is a historical landmark, the rapids attract everyone from hikers and picnickers to kayakers and fishers. This Rapids Route is known as Karkkilan Koskireitti in Finnish.

When we visited the rapids route at Karkkila, there was still plenty of snow on the ground at places. Still, it was definitely spring time because the rapids were swooshing full with water! I definitely recommend visiting in the spring when snow has started to properly melt because the experience is definitely grander.

Five rapids within four kilometres

We knew that walking in the mushy early spring snow would be tiring, so we decided in advance to do only half of the rapids route. So, we started from the dog park parking area in the middle of the route. This meant that on our way towards Pyhäjärvi lake, four out of five rapids would be on our route.

Map by Karkkila Municipality

As we walked down past the dogpark near Kannas towards the Massakoski rapids, there was still quite a lot of snow. It also didn’t hold us, so we kept sinking down to our shins in snow every now and then. Thankfully, the walk wasn’t much longer than about 500m until we reached the old Massakoski sluice and powerplant. The running water had kept freezing and thawing on the sluice structure, creating a wonderful piece of art.

There were sign posts directing us to the Rapids Route (Koskireitti) every now and then but we also used a map app. It was easier to walk on roads and paths where the snow had totally melted from, so the app helped with recognising those areas.

The route would have gone under Vihdintie road but the underside of the bridge was too slippery. We decided to climb up to the top and cross the road the old fashioned way. After that, the well-worn path faithfully followed the river. It was truly slippery at times so we were happy to have spiked shoes on.

Myllykoski rapids was the last rapid before the Karkkila ironworks area began. The rapids shone brightly in the spring sunshine, and we sat down at a picnic table in front of it. Blissful!

The Myllykoski rapids were very pretty in the sunlight

Karkkila ironworks deeply involved in Finnish history

Once again, we had to cross a road to keep on the Rapids Route. We were right next to Högforsin ruukki (Högfors ironworks), which was established in 1820 by Arvid Bökman and Johan Dreilick. The ironworks had a huge blast furnace to work iron ore, and some of these are still visible.

This ironworks became the leading ironworks in the Nordics after the Second World War with over 1800 employees. It had been vital during the war as well as after the war when Finland paid war reparations to the Soviet Union.

The route takes you through the ironworks, which means you have to cross a very unique covered bridge. The door is not very visible so it took us a while to realise we had to go inside to get to the other side of the river.

Karkkilankoski rapids flowed next to the ironworks area, but we knew one set was still coming up higher. We walked up the hill towards a lovely manor house. The ironmaster (the owner and/or manager of the ironworks) Joseph Bremer built this manor house next to the ironworks in the 1850s.

Karkkila rapids Koskireitti Karkkilankoski

The final rapids called Kivistönkoski started under Turuntie road, coming down from Pyhäjärvi lake. The sun was still shining brightly so we just gazed at the flow of the water, watched birds jumping on the rocks below us, and breathed in fresh spring air. Wonderful!

Directions to Karkkila rapids route

Address: You can jump onto the rapids route from anywhere. There are three great places to start from (and you can also park here):

  • 1) Högfors ironworks (top end of the rapids route): Corner or Turuntie and Pyhäjärvenraitti, 03600 Karkkila
  • 2) Karkkila dog park (middle of the route): Helsingintie 18, 03600 Karkkila
  • 3) Pitkälänkoski rapids (bottom end of the rapids route): Puhdistamontie 12, 03600 Karkkila.

How to get there:

  • Car: There are three larger parking areas along the Karkkila rapids route:
    • 1) Högfors ironworks (top end of the rapids route): Pyhäjärvenraitti, 03600 Karkkila
    • 2) Karkkila dog park (middle of the route): Helsingintie 18, 03600 Karkkila
    • 3) Pitkälänkoski rapids (bottom end of the rapids route): Puhdistamontie 12, 03600 Karkkila.
  • Bicycle: There are plenty of smaller roads such as the 120 past Nuuksio national park to cycle on while enjoying the countryside.
  • Public transport: You can get to Karkkila by public transport. Check out timetables from Route planner. The nearest stops are:
    • – Ironworks: Karkkila MH (MH = Matkahuolto). You will have to walk about 1km from the bus stop to the ironworks.
    • – Dog park: Karkkilan kauppakeskus L (= Karkkila shopping centre). The bus stop is next to the dog park.
    • – Pitkälänkoski: Santasalonkatu P. You will have to walk about 600m from the bus stop to the start of the rapids route.

Accessibility: Most parts of the rapids route are accessible. The area has some well-worn paths but the terrain is varying.

When to go: You can visit at any time of the year. However, there is no winter upkeep on the route so you may end up walking in deep snow. In the winter, the rapids and nearness of water can make the route slippery at times. Make sure you wear your studded shoes and maybe take Nordic walking sticks with you, too.

What to wear: Studded shoes during the winter/slippery season. Other times, normal walking shoes are fine.

Facilities: There are is no fireplace in the area. You must not build an illegal fireplace. There is a dry toilet in the area.

Make sure you also check out

Klassarinkierros at Nuuksio National Park is nearby if you feel like exploring more forests. Lahokallio nature path is also nearby at Lohja and suitable for people of all ages.


  1. Marjatta Vainio-Mattila says:

    Tuo suomennos vaatisi stilisointia. Siellä on aika hassuja kohtia. Esim. lopussa puhutaan takasta, jota ei luvatta saa rakentaa jne. Muuten hieno juttu!

    Viikonloppuna tapasin koskireitillä pari ryhmää (ei karkkilalaisia). He valittivat, että Pitkälänkosken kohtaa oli vaikea löytää. Kaipasivat kylttiä osoitamaan, missä kohtaa se koski on.

    1. Tarja says:

      Hei Marjatta,

      Kiitos paljon kommentistasi. Alkuperäinen Karkkilan koskireittiä käsittelevä teksti on kirjoitettu englanniksi, joten mahdollisten stilististen erikoisuuksien syynä on todennäköisesti automaattikäännös, jonka käyttämäsi laite on tehnyt. On todella kivaa, että juttu miellytti. Pitkälänkosken kohdasta kannattaa laittaa viestiä vaikka Karkkilan kaupungin sivujen kautta yhdyskuntatekniikasta vastaaville. Toivottavasti blogistamme löytyy Karkkilan lisäksi muitakin kivoja paikkoja, joissa voit vierailla.


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