Mountain Biking 

Mountain biking is a fun activity that allows you to experience some of the country's most spectacular national parks and other wild areas on two wheels. Enjoy relaxed mountain biking in most scenic destinations without any huss or fuss. Breathe in and let the two wheels carry you through the beauty of Finnish nature.

Mountain bikers on duckboards. Photo: Touho Häkkinen

A mountain bike makes it possible to explore beautiful landscapes and get to wild places that would be difficult or time-consuming to reach otherwise. The increasingly popular e-MTBs (electric-assist mountain bikes) help you pedal more efficiently and give you more power when needed, for example when biking with your fitter and faster friends. Fatbikes and e-fatbikes are excellent for exploring the Finnish nature, too, both in summer and especially in winter.

In Finland’s protected areas, you will most likely be biking on trails, as biking off-trail is forbidden to prevent erosion, protect nature and ensure your safety. New MTB specific marked trails are popping up all the time, since mountain biking is getting more and more popular every year. 

Destination and trail selection

Certain national parks and popular recreational areas have special trails designated for mountain biking, with routes of various lengths and degrees of difficulty. Trails vary from pleasant rides on wide logging roads to challenges on a narrow up-and-down singletrack across the forest and fells. Check the web pages of each destination for details of routes, facilities and opportunities to rent mountain bikesDestination Search helps you find a biking destination close to you. 

Taking a break at a campfire site. Photo: Touho Häkkinen

Note that mountain biking is often not limited to specific biking trails only. It may also be allowed on multi-use trails. Inquire locally. Be considerate when sharing a trail.   

In Finland, singletrack is the most common trail type. At maximum, it is just wide enough for two bikes to pass. Trails wind their way through forests and beautiful landscapes.

Start out on trails that are relatively smooth and flat. Mountain-bike-specific trails are typically marked by skill level (see below). Note, that classification may vary between destinations.  

  • EASY: Wide trail or track, large roots or rocks to go around, wide bridges. Mostly firm surface and few changes in elevation. The route can be handled with basic biking skills.
  • MODERATE: Clearly defined trail or track. There may be duckboards, soft sections, long shallow and short steep descents on the route. Biking requires constant alertness and basic mountain biking skills.
  • DIFFICULT: Trail is often narrow or challenging. There may be a lot of roots, loose rock, steep hills, soft sections and duckboards in poor condition. Biking requires good mountain bike skills.

Once you’ve decided on your biking destination, acquire a good trail map. Most maps show all trails in the area: hiking trails, mountain biking trails, multi-use trails etc. For some popular mountain biking destinations, specific mountain biking maps may be available.

Photo: Touho Häkkinen

Plan your route carefully, especially when going on an overnight biking trip. Consider these when planning the route:

  • Choose a trail that is meant for mountain biking. It can be either a trail designated specifically for biking, or a shared-use trail. Be considerate to other trail users!
  • When biking in winter time, keep away from cross-country skiing tracks. 
  • If you ride a bike at dark, make sure your bike is lit. Although there is plenty of sunlight in summer, it can get dark in the forests after the sun goes down. Trails are hardly ever lit.
  • Take advantage of the maintained campfire and picnic sites for breaks on your biking trip. For overnight stays, use huts, lean-to shelters and designated camping sites.
  • Only light a campfire in one of the designated campfire sites provided. 

Preparing for your trip  

Pay attention to current conditions in your planned destination. Are there warnings in effect, such as a forest fire warning or grass fire warning? Are there trail closures? What does the weather look like? Is there still snow on trails, especially in May? 

Familiarize yourself with Everyman’s Rights, i.e. the responsibilities and rights you have when moving about in Finnish nature. They apply to both Finnish and foreign citizens.

No permit is required when biking in Finland. There are no entrance fees to National Parks or other protected areas. However, groups of 10 or more are asked to notify Metsähallitus in advance when planning to camp out. Ask about group campsites. 

Pack your food, drink and other supplies in washable and reusable containers to prevent waste. There is no garbage collection so take away all your litter

Gear. What do you need? 

The first thing you need is a proper mountain bike that is equipped for off road use. The second crucial item is a helmet

Fat bikes are great for winter recreation. Photo: Jaakko Posti

Pack a multi-tool, a patch kit/spare inner tube and a pump in your backpack. Bring water, snacks, up-to-date trail map, compass, matches, sunglasses, headlamp and a first aid kit, too. Keep extra waterfproof clothing in your backpack.  You’ll be more relaxed and have more fun with the peace of mind knowing you have everything you need.   

Before hitting the trail, check that brakes and gears of your bike function normally.

If you need to rent a mountain bike, turn to one of the outdoor service providers in and near Finland’s national parks. They offer rentals and guided biking trips. We recommend using services of authorized Parks & Wildlife Finland partners, who are committed to the principles of sustainable nature tourism. 

Safety

The number one rule is: wear a helmet! Make sure your helmet fits properly before you hit the trails. Protection equipment, like knee pads and elbow pads, can save you from more bruises.

Stay on trail to prevent erosion. Photo: Juuso Ritari

Biking alone is not recommended. When biking in a group, aid is near if you need it. 

Ride your bike according to your skill level. Make sure you can stop quickly if needed.

Summer weather in Finland can be unpredictable. Therefore, keep checking the weather forecast. Seek for shelter if the weather gets worse. Daylight hours are plentiful in the summer, but nights can be cold. 

Winter weather although sunny can get quite chilly along the way. Take with you warm clothes and an extra jacket to wear during breaks. Carry an extra pair of mittens or warm gloves and a thermos with something warm to drink. 

During and after rainy weather, be alert on wooden surfaces, such as a duckboard, bridge or stairs, as they may get very slippery.  

Help us to prevent forest fires and grass fires. In Finland, a fire warning is given when the risk of quickly spreading forest fire or grass fire is high. Don’t make a fire when there’s a fire warning in effect. It is your responsibility to be aware of warnings in effect. For up-to-date warnings of storms and forest fire hazards, see the website of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi).

Carry and drink enough water. You may use the water from springs, lakes or wells. Water from springs and wells is usually clean and safe to drink but lake water may contain harmful algae or bacteria from animal droppings. Therefore, always boil lake water before drinking. Using water from natural sources is always at your own risk. 

Carry a fully charged mobile phone. However, do not rely on it. Not all areas have mobile network coverage. Battery may also run out. 

Emergency number in Finland is 112. You can call 112 from a foreign mobile phone connection, too. Consider downloading the 112 Suomi application beforehand. It enables the automatic delivery of your coordinates to the emergency service dispatcher when dialing 112.

Mountain Biking Etiquette

Wherever you go mountain biking, please follow the "Rules of the Trail" to make sure you avoid disturbing nature and other visitors.

  • Nature and trails throughout natural areas belong to everyone.
  • Give due consideration to other visitors.
  • Take care with your speed for the sake of everyone's safety.
  • Since you as a cyclist are travelling faster, it is your responsibility to avoid collisions with those who are moving slower than you, e.g. hikers.
  • Ride responsibly to prevent erosion.
  • Stay on the trails and routes designated for biking.
  • Avoid sudden heavy braking, and stay away from any natural areas sensitive to erosion.
  • Follow local rules and regulations in natural areas, and leave no trace of your visit.
  • Consider the rights and needs of local residents, landowners, and the people who look after trails.
  • Enjoy the chance to explore Finland's natural areas under Everyman's Right, but do not forget the responsibilities that come with these rights. 
  • Downhill riders yield to uphill riders (unless the trail is clearly marked for one-way)   

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