Welcome to Central Karelia! This region of the province North Karelia has a very high density of official outdoor trails where most of them are available also for mountain biking. Today we're explore trails in Kitee and Tohmajärvi.
Starting from the largest town in Central Karelia, Kitee, you'll spend an hour or two exploring local sights and pumping in some caffeine in Kiteen kotileipomo.
Local trails are not far from the town centre. Red Hutsi trail starts from local sports centre and it stretches to 7km with various terrain, sadly including a lot of fitness tracks. Second trail in Kitee is called Peltola, it's 8km long and especially its 5km long "winter" section offers a great singletrack action.
Both of these trails are perfectly marked and you'll also find information boards along the way. Parking is more than simple at both of the trailheads, which feature also toilets and even a café in the sports hall.
However, if you have only one day for this trip, don't spend too much time wondering around, because you'll need to ride about 20km to the neighbouring town Tohmajärvi for more adventures. Grab a lunch in one of the local restaurants (we've opted for a pizza for once...) and let's hit the road!
If you take the same route like us, you'll pass by many beautiful natural sights along the northern road to Tohmajärvi. Don't hesitate to visit all the bird-watching towers along the way!
BIKE TIP: All trails in Kitee and Tohmajärvi are absolutely rideable on a hardtail, which will also help you on the road transfer between towns.
If you happened to leave the lunch time for Tohmajärvi, we highly suggest restaurant Kotipirtti, which serves a great buffet-style lunch.
Trails themselves then start very close to the restaurant, at the sports centre of Tohmajärvi and there are three of them.
WARNING: There's no bike shop in Tohmajärvi, so make sure your bike is in a good condition. Closest bike shop is in Kitee.
The best strategy for riding in Tohmajärvi is to start from the sports centre and ride through all 3 available trails starting with Pekan trail, through Piilovaara trail and turning back on the green Kirkkoniemi trail, which brings you to the beach in the South, where you can also refill your supplies of drinking water.
All three trails are perfectly marked just like the ones in Kitee and again their multifuncionality is very noticable with singletracks to be found on about 50% of local trails. Best trail for singletrack action in Tohmajärvi is the Kirkkoniemi trail.
Take your time to look around yourself when riding in Tohmajärvi, because you'll see some epic views when climbing up and down local hills.
After you're finished with riding, take a break in the town, admire local statues of pigs, grab some quick dinner to regain some energy and head back to Kitee to finish today's trip! Till next time!
TOP TIP: Defnitely visit the bird-watching tower in Kirkkoniemi! Amazing spot to chill for few minutes.
P.S.: If you aproach this as a multi-day trip with a car, we would recommend to visit also the town of Rääkkylä, which offers few more Karelianpolut trails available for mountain biking.
We haven't visited these in person, but the trails there should be of the same kind like trails in Kitee and Tohmajärvi. You can find more information and maps on the official website of Rääkkylä.