For someone who loves forest and trail running the place where we live now is ideal as it’s only 20 meters from our door to the closest trail. The forest close to us is filled with WWI trails, trenches and caves (see feature image at the top of this post of a cave). These structures were built during WWI and they are a part of so called defense ring which follows roughly the current Kehä I ring road.
Most of them are under newer buildings or roads but quite a few of them remain in the forest between Kivikko and Jakomäki in East Helsinki. It is understandable why they were built here as this area is the highest natural point in Helsinki around 63 meters so it would have had a good view to all directions.
More about the history on Yle website and image of remainders of the constructions and trenches in the area this blog post refers to you can find here https://yle.fi/progressive/pdf/olotila/IV_Kivikko.jpg. Those are also marked on maps so if you are heading this way for just to dig into history or to check a new interesting place for trail run and mountain biking it’s good to check approximately where they are.
The forest is very popular place to take your dogs out, go for a picnic, children to play, schools to do orienteering and of course for trail running and mountain biking. So it’s filled with paths of gravel, small pebble and trails. Some built during WWI and some formed later on top of old trails and of course completely new trails.
I tend to run in the forest at least once a week at any weather and will certainly post something about trail running during the winter also. It has it’s own challenges, but right now the weather is still perfect and the forest is a great place for trail running and you hardly ever have to choose the same path twice!
Since the area is quite rugged and a rocky there are a lot of ups and downs, but you do need to know where you are going and it’s best to stay on the bigger trails unless you are familiar with the place as there are quite a few sudden drops to trenches about 1,5 meters down up to 20 meter drop to a trench leading to caves. Some are fenced and some are not.
Trails have formed over these trenches too, but generally there is a lot of loose rocks and sharp edges, not to mention suddenly a metal pole poking out. So first timers be aware of these and slow pace is better than full speed running or pedaling on a mountain bike.
After my trail run I often stop at this outdoor gym place and do a few exercises.
These exercise areas are really handy and can be used almost full year round (apart from when there is really, really a lot of snow).
With a little imagination you could do a pretty good training just with these tools.
When in need of HIIT training there is a landfill hill along the way home also where you can do full speed up and down training.
When I started running this up I got really exhausted by the time I was at the top, but lately the hill has not felt as long as before which is good.
Progress that is!
And if you time your runs towards the time when the sun sets you will always get a view of a different sunset from up the hill <3
I can definitely recommend these trails to anyone and you can easily plan the distance as there are so many trails to choose from, but with children you need an adult along due to the drops. It is quite rocky too, but still manageable for anyone with good shoes unless you want to go wandering to the caves or trenches which will require a bit more adventure state of mind.
This area is also popular picnic place and there are plenty of nice spots with a view to eat so you could take the kids for a historic adventure picnic! Remember to take something warm to sit on (newspaper or foldable seat pad) with you as the rock get pretty cold even during the summer.