Circular hiking trails in South Estonia (part II)

Source: Jaak Nilson, Visit Estonia

Circular hiking trails in South Estonia (part II)

In our previous article ‘Circular hiking trails in South Estonia (part I)’, we introduced you to 15 diverse hiking trails that each begin and end in the same spot. The nature of southern Estonia has so much to offer, however, that we simply had to create a sequel. For experienced and amateur hikers alike, circular hiking trails allow you to think less about navigating and more about the varied landscapes around you. Don’t worry about finding your transport again or retracing your steps and just enjoy the sights, sounds, sensations, scents and – if it’s berry season – tastes!

Lake Viti hiking trail and observation tower

Tartu maakond, Ketneri küla

The Lake Viti hiking trail is 2.5 km long and has both highs and lows. The information boards provide information about the forests of Vitipalu, the woodpeckers living there, the nesting places of bark beetles, and the ant kingdom. The trail includes a hiking hut, a 20 m high wooden observation tower, and a lovely picnic site by the shore of the sand outcrop of the Elva primeval valley. The Viti trail is suitable for hikers of all ages. The trail includes a hiking trail, a 20 m high wooden Viti observation tower, and a pleasant picnic place by the shore of the sand outcrop of the Elva primeval valley. The Viti trail is manageable for hikers of all ages.The scheme of the hiking trail with campsites and campfire sites can be found HERE. The Viti Lake hiking trail starts and ends in the Viti trail parking lot. The trail is marked with yellow stripes.

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Vitipalu Adventure Trail / Fairy Trail (Haldjarada)

Tartu maakond, Ketneri küla

Along the adventure trail, you will be accompanied by exciting tree statues and the secretive glances of fairies, and awaiting you on the banks of the creek will be pokus – creatures from Estonian legend. It will come as a surprise to find yourself on a witch's island, reaching which means you will have to cross the witch's bridge. Then, you will find yourself in a true witch's house. The 1.5 km long trail starts and ends at the witch's house picnic area. Near the adventure trail, there is a low adventure trail with various attractions suitable for both children and adults. If you are tired of the adventures, you can rest on the witch's house picnic site or the Jõeharu picnic site. There is an outdoor classroom near the campfire site, which can accommodate a group of twenty.

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Palumägede hiking trail and campfire site

Tartu maakond, Palumäe küla

Palumägede campfire site and hiking trail are located by Lake Pangodi, in the Pangodi Landscape Reserve. The 1 km long hiking trail is steep at times. It starts and ends at the second car park. The hiking trail is suitable for making the lakeside holiday more exciting for those who camp at the Palumägede campfire site and enjoy nature. The car park has a large information board. There are eight signs and a bench on the hiking trail. There is a campfire site with camping facilities, several benches, and barbecue oven in the lakeside open space in the middle of the forest, next to a small swimming area. Please be mindful of the nature!

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Taevaskoda nature trail

Põlva maakond, Taevaskoja küla

Come and walk with your family or ride a scooter on the Taevaskoda hiking trail, located in the Ahja River Landscape Reserve. The trail starts in the Saesaare car park and runs along both banks of River Ahja where you will see the Suur ja Väike Taevaskoda sandstone outcrops, caves with springs, and can take in many picturesque views. At the beginning of the hiking trail, there is an information board with a map of the recreational area and the trail. On the trail, signs in Estonian, English, and Russian will help you find the way. Visitors in a wheelchair can explore the trail until the Väike Taevaskoda sandstone outcrop (about 2 km back and forth). Good to know: you can see kingfishers flying around while walking in Taevaskoda.

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RMK Kiidjärve–Taevaskoja–Kiidjärve hiking trail

Põlva maakond, Kiidjärve küla

The hiking trail starting from Kiidjärve Visitor Centre runs along the banks of the picturesque Ahja River, where you can easily see different sandstone banks (Sõnajalamägi, Palanumägi, Oosemägi, Laaritsamägi, Mõsumägi, etc.). The trail runs along one shore to the Saesaare dam, over the bridge, and back along the other shore. The trail passes through Sõnajala campfire site, where you can pitch a tent. The trail also passes through the Roiupalu study trail campfire site. A map of the hiking trail can be obtained from the RMK Kiidjärve Visitor Centre. At times, the hiking trail runs along high shorelines and there are steep ascents. Please be careful!

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Roiupalu study trail

Põlva maakond, Kiidjärve küla

This trail has a surprising amount of features characteristic of the South-Estonian region: the twisting Hatiku stream, wonderful views of the Ahja River and sandstone outcrops, the only marsh (Linajärve) on the banks of the Ahja River primeval valley, and drawings introducing small mammals. The trail is marked with orange patches on tree trunks. The trail has moderate technical complexity: it is easy at times, but there is a risk of slipping on the steep slopes. The trail is only suitable for walking.

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Valgesoo study trail

Põlva maakond, Kiidjärve küla

A bog hike is well-suited for learning about the development of swamps and vegetation and for observing pines. A 1.8 km round study trail goes around Valgesoo bog. A well-maintained boardwalk is about 1 km from the trail. On the study trail, you can observe bog plants, old forest plants including pine forests, and many red wood ant hills at the edge of the forest. You are guided by the map of the trail as well as coloured signs on the trees. Valgesoo bog is one of the 21 places in Southern Estonia worth discovering which are marked by a yellow National Geographic window; if you love nature, a visit is highly recommended.

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Ants’ path of Kiidjärve

Põlva maakond, Kiidjärve küla

Kiidjärve ants’ path (1.5 km long) passes through a forest with the area of 20 hectares and it includes approximately 200 ant hills. The visitors can also enjoy a large fir forest with record high fir trees and also a wide selection fir trees planted during an Estonian-wide campaign. The sample area is also called with a folk name the Ants’ Kingdom of Kiidjärve. The path is depicted on a large board and guided by smaller information boards along the path.

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Hiking trails at Lake Kirikumäe

Võru maakond, Kirikumäe küla

Kirikumäe's 3.2-km-long hiking trail winds around the lake of the same name, which is known as the best swimming area in the region. There is a bog on the southern shore of the lake and the hiking trail also runs across the bog. For this purpose, a boardwalk has been built there. In any case, however, you must be prepared to get your feet wet here and there. There are information boards, campfires, and forest trails on the track.

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Pullijärve hiking trail

Võru maakond, Misso alevik

Located next to the community of Misso, Pullijärv is a nice place to spend some time.  If you don't feel like swimming, you can hike around the lake: the 3.6-kilometer-long trail is just the right length for the whole family. The trail rises here and there too: boys used to do ski jumps from its highest point onto the lake in winter. The trail begins and ends at the RMK Pullijärv rental hut, which is located on the north shore of the lake. In spring and fall, the trail can be really wet.

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Lake Verijärv nature studies trail

Võru maakond, Verijärve küla

 Lake Verijärv nature studies trail is around 1 km long and has 9 information boards showcasing plants, trees, bushes, birds and animals. The trail runs through the Lake Verijärv ancient valley and wood. There are signs along the trail as well as three barbecue areas with benches. There are various legends about Lake Verijärv. It is said that the lake got its name centuries ago when slaves were punished in the old cellar that stood on the shore and their blood turned the water red. Another legend speaks of the nasty lord of Kasaritsa Manor, who was drowned by his coachman with his carriage and horses while driving home one night.

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Vällamäe hiking trail

Võru maakond, Haanja küla

The 2.2 km long Vällamäe hiking trail gives you a great experience of different heights. Vällamägi is the second highest hill in Estonia, covered with primeval forests and with very steep slopes, it is 303.9 m above sea level. However, if we take the 84 metres from its foot to its top, we can say that it is the highest hill in Estonia by its relative height. Its slopes are very steep in some places (slanting 35 to 40 degrees). Vällamäe forests have been the reserve of fir gene pools since 1992. At foot of the hill there is a hikers’ cabin where you can take a rest and enjoy the primeval landscape (only by prior reservations; to make a reservation, please call the RMK centre at +372 628 1532).

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Kisejärve hiking trail

Võru maakond, Kärinä küla

Kisejärve hiking trail is 6 km long and runs along former horse roads and swamp borders (rubber boots are recommended). The hiking trails takes you past several lakes, valuable nature and bog communities and you can also see the results of the activities of beavers.

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Sänna Sky Trail

Võru maakond, Sänna küla / Sännä

The Sänna Sky Trail is a hiking trail long a path that represents a model of the Solar System on the scale of 1:1 billion. The Sun and the four first planets are located near the Sänna Manor, while the next planets are found in the Pärlijõe river valley between the villages of Sänna and Hurda.  As you travel along the hiking trail you will gain an appreciation of the small/large size of our planet and of the low/high speed of light, and you can read scientific information on the planets and the Sun and on the cultural heritage of the Sänna area.  Good to know: The trail is open for independent hikers or a guide can be hired from the Sänna Culture Factory.  NB! An idea for an excursion - a hike along the Sänna Sky Trail and pizza making in a stone oven. 

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Õrsava Lake Hiking Trail

Võru maakond, Värska alevik

The Õrsava Lake Hiking Trail winds around the lake of the same name. The 5 km trail starts officially at the Värska school stadium, but you can start at any point. The lakeside footpath is made more exciting by several bridges. On the shore of Õrsava village there is a campfire site and an RMK bonfire site, as well as a swimming area. In addition to scenic views of nature and pine forests, the hiking trail offers some history: it's partly on the road of the former Estonian Defense Forces Training Center, the so-called , and although the camp was largely dismantled in World War II, some soldiers' barracks and other buildings have been preserved.

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Lake Pühajärv hiking trail

Valga maakond, Otepää linn

The hiking trail that encircles Lake Pühajärv starts near the centre of Otepää Nature Park. The 12 km trail takes you on a voyage of discovery around one of the most unique and beautiful lakes in Estonia.Covering the whole track takes from 3–6 hours. There are rest areas and barbecue sites along the way. Part of the track (approximately 2.2 km) runs along the Pühajärve–Kääriku exercise track by the Otepää–Kääriku highway. You can cover the track by foot or bike. Cyclists must bear in mind that there are parts of the track on which you will have to push your bike instead of riding it. The RMK Kiigemäe and Koolirand campfire sites are located on the trail. There, you can make a fire and camp.

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Murrumets Hiking Track

Valga maakond, Pühajärve küla

Murrumets Hiking Track starts from the Pühajärv Manor Park, runs through Murrumets Forest and back to the park. It takes about 1-1.5 hours to pass the 3.5 km track. There are information boards next to the track that give information about the flora and fauna of our forests and cultivated landscapes. The track passes the ancient Pühajärv War Oak (circumference 6.98 m and height 22 m) and the commemorative stone to mark the Pühajärv War of 1841, which can be found among the oaks of Murrumets Forest (sculptor Lembit Paluteder, opened on 11 September 1971). There are rest areas and fire sites by the track.

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Kekkonen hiking track

Valga maakond, Kääriku küla

The Kekkonen hiking track can be used all year round – in summer for hiking, jogging and cycling and in winter for skiing. The track was named after former Finnish president Urho Kaleva Kekkonen, who visited Kääriku. The 15 km track starts from Kääriku stadium and passes through several spots of natural beauty, including Harimägi Hill – one of the highest points in the Otepää Highlands (211.3 m above sea level). Its viewing tower, which stands 26 metres high, is right next to the hiking track. Those with more energy can follow the additional 5 km loop on Harimägi Hill.

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Sinialliku hiking trail

Viljandi maakond, Sinialliku küla

Sinialliku hiking trail runs along the shores of the lovely Sinialliku Lake and takes the hikers to mystical springs; the water of the springs gets its blue hue from the bluish-gray sediments at the bottom. The spring of Siniallikas is known as a sacrificial spring with water that has healing properties. Nearby, those interested can climb the site of an early settlement where an ancient Estonian fortress used to stand during the 12th and 13th century. You can start the hike from the old Sinialliku Railway Station or from Karksi-Nuia–Viljandi road. There is a large campfire area by the hiking trail – a convenient place to camp even for a larger group.

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Last updated : 16.04.2021

In category: For bicycle travellers

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