The Steepest Hill

Regional route 610 running between Korpilahti and Joutsa in Central Finland is almost a normal Finnish regional road. It is one of the more spectacular roads because of its steep hills and many lakes. It’s also very, very familiar for me from my childhood summer holiday trips across Finland.

Two details separate it from an ordinary regional road. The first one is the Kärkistensalmi bridge, which is the third longest bridge in Finland. The profile of the road is also exceptionally steep, which is another speciality.

In fact the steepest hill on the Finnish road network was located on this road when it crossed the Vaarunvuori hill. The road was almost straight reaching a height of 180 metres very quickly with an average climb of 12 %, exceptional in Finland. The road rose gradually, so at times it was even steeper than that.

In 1984 a new and easier route was completed to the east of the original path. The old track was no longer accessible by car, but featured a trail, which could be hiked. And that was exactly what I did.

It wasn’t difficult to find the start of the old road. It was named Vanhavaaruntie, Old Vaaru Road.

I had to leave the car behind me. It isn’t actually visible in the photo, how steep the road in reality was.

The conditions on the route varied a lot. In some points it was so overgrown that walking was difficult. In some points it was a nice, clear path.

The route was well marked, there were even fireplaces and a sightseeing spot around the area, which is nowadays a nature reserve. I decided to go for the sightseeing spot, which was a few hundred metres from the old road.

The sightseeing spot was high above Lake Päijänne, one of the largest lakes in Finland. The view really was spectacular from there.

There was even a small pond by the old road. The road passed really really close to the water.

On we go. I walked as far I could along the old road line, but the closer I got to the current road, the more overgrown the place was. In the end I had to turn around and climb all the way back up and then walk down again to reach my car.

36 years have passed since the new road was completed. Nature is now taking over the old path.

And so we are back at the very start. Just down the hill and there is my summer car ready to take me to new adventures.

Published by desertedfinland

A Finnish Urban explorer & Photographer

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