LAKE KUOLIMO AND THE SHORELINE AREA
Lake Kuolimo has very clear and pure waters. In fact, the water is so pure that when swimming in it, one could almost believe they are bathing in drinking water!
Lake Kuolimo was created about 4 000 years ago as the result of a contusion of bedrock. A groove was created as a result of such a contusion, along which a powerful ice river owed towards an area in which the rock was soft. The ice river eventually formed a lake in the area.
The western beaches of the lake are made of granite, but the rest of the area is mainly rapakivi granite. In statistics concerning the area of Finnish lakes, Kuolimo is ranked 56th. Ridges pass through the lake, forming narrow peninsulas, sand banks, sandy beaches and islands. Lake Kuolimo is bounded in the south by 2. Salpausselkä ridge.
Lake Kuolimo is the heart of the community. It is rich and special. The area is geologically and biologically an exceptionally diverse combination of ridges, cliffs, mires and barren lakes. In addition, relics of the ice age, the char and sculpin, live in the lake. Lake Kuolimo is, in addition to the western part of Lake Saimaa, probably the only breeding area for Arctic char in the whole of the Vuoksi River waterway.
Lake Kuolimo ows into Lake Saimaa along two routes, via Partakoski and Kärnäkoski, both of which have impressive rapids. Partakoski is additionally the only spawning place for lake trout in the region of southern Saimaa. A canoe can pass from Lake Kuolimo to Lake Saimaa at the Orraintaipale former crossing point, at which the carrying distance is about 300 meters.
The area of Lake Kuolimo has a large number of leisure-time residences relative to the population of the municipalities. The lake is also considered to be one of the cleanest in Finland. The largest islands in the lake are Lehtisensalo (311 ha), Suomensalo (178 ha), Lamposaari (126 ha) and Paassalo (120 ha). Association Pro Kuolimo ry functions in the protection of the lake.
Some interesting sites that can be accessed on a boat or a canoe include Lehtisensaari and Suomensalo islands, Lepänkanto beach and recreational area, and Luotolahti shelter.
There are marked boat routes to Lake Kuolimo. The boating passage map was remade in 2010. Fishing licenses can be purchased from Etelä-Karjalan kalatalouskeskus (”South Karelia Fishery Centre”).
HIKING TRAILS AND DESTINATIONS
Lake Kuolimo also has several places to go ashore on the hiking routes. There are three hiking trails in Savitaipale, Jääkauden jäljet - kivikauden ihminen (”Traces of the Ice Age – Stone Age Man”), Orrainpolku ("Orrai path") and Säänjärven retkipolku (”Säänjärvi hiking path”). In addition, there is a path starting from Olkkola Mansion, which is suitable for hiking and mountain biking, and even enjoying art!
JÄÄKAUDEN JÄLJET - KIVIKAUDEN IHMINEN ("TRACES OF THE ICE AGE – STONE AGE MAN") – 15.3 km
The Traces of the Ice Age – Stone Age Man route meanders in Savitaipale along the southern shore of Lake Kuolimo. Part of the trail network is suitable for hiking and some for mountain biking. Along the route, one can view the prehistoric dwelling of Rovastinoja, a turf hut built according to the historic model dating back to the Stone Age settlement around Lake Kuolimo around 3000–1600 BC. Another interesting site worth visiting along the trail is the Lepänkanto recreation area, located on the shore of Lake Kuolimo. Lepänkanto has a wonderful sandy beach (approx. 700 m), which deepens very gently. Signs from highway 13, from which the distance is approximately two kilometers.
Services: dry toilet, disabled facilities, camp fire site, parking area, swimming shore, sightseeing location
ORRAINPOLKU ("ORRAI PATH") – 9.3 km
The path meanders through a rugged wilderness-like landscape, along which there are two shelters: Onkilampi shelter is accessible from Par- takoskentie road by car and is also accessible to disabled and handicapped visitors. Luotolahti shelter on the shore of Lake Kuolimo also serves visitors by boat. The highlight of Orrainpolku is the magnificent view over Lake Kuolimo from Luotolahti hill. The hill has a sharp incline, and as a result, the route is classified as demanding.
Services: dry toilet, shelter, suitable for families with children, camp re site, lookout spot, parking area, hiking trail
SÄÄNJÄRVEN RETKIPOLKU ("SÄÄNJÄRVI HIKING PATH") - 3.7 km
Säänjärvi hiking trail meanders along the roads and forests of Säänjärvi village. The trail departs from (former) Säänjärvi School. Along the trail, there is a bird-watching tower in the Valkjärvi heathland, which can be reached along set duckboards.
Services: shelter, wildlife observation platform, camp re, hiking trail, suitable for families with children
OLKKOLA TRAIL AND RAITALA ART TRAIL
In addition to the three aforementioned hiking trails, there is also a path starting from Olkkola Mansion, which is suitable for hiking and mountain biking. The Olkkola trail leads through pine woods to the Lepänkanto beach and Rovastinoja prehistorical dwelling, and onwards to the Traces of the Ice Age route. Along the Olkkola trail there is also an art trail. The Raitala Art Trail presents ten art productions and installations which are incorporated into the surrounding environment. The purpose of the art trail is to encourage people to explore the outdoors and inspire them to create their own folk art.
KÄRNÄKOSKI AND PARTAKOSKI
Two of the cultural historical sites worth visiting are Kärnäkoski fortress, built in the 1790s by the Russians, and the Partakoski rapids, which nowadays flow naturally from Lake Kuolimo to Lake Saimaa and are an attractive sight to see in South Finland. Both Kärnäkoski and Partakoski are located some 9 kilometers from the Savitaipale town centre to the north. Read more about Kärnäkoski and Partakoski from the Attractions page.
THE OLD TAKOMÄKI QUARRY
On the border of the Välijoki and Havo villages there is an old quarry Takomäki. The quarry was previously used to mine brown Rapakivi granite. The commercial name for the granite was ”Karelian Brown” or ”Baltic Brown”. Due to variations in the hue and quality of the stone, the mining ended in 1987. Nowadays the quarry is a popular recreation and swimming area during summer.