Other nature trails
The Lakarinharju ridge is located to the north of Lakari Camping. The beautiful pine ridge has wide nature trails. From there you can see two bodies of water, Lakarinlahti in Lake Siekkisjärvi, and Lake Kangasjärvi. Typical forest birds, such as the crested tit, which have become rarer, can be observed on the ridge of landscape importance dating back to the ice age.
The Toriseva nature trail runs alongside the ridge, as well as the Pirkan Taival route. You can leave your car in the parking area next to Lakari Camping.
The water level in the riverbed that flows from Lake Vermasjärvi through Vähä-Vermas to Lake Marttisenalaisen drops by almost 30 metres. The most spectacular current and waterfall point on this route is at the old mill. The mill is also known as Makkaramylly.
The stream, which is usually open in winter, is a scenic water attraction where you can see otter tracks in the snow and where white-throated dippers often forage in winter. A little further down, on the south side of the power line, there is also an impressive waterfall in the middle of the forest, quite close to the gravel road.
As the name suggest, the Makkaraoja River is located in the village of Makkaraoja, near the junction of Vaskivedentie (national road 65). If you arrive by car, it is advisable to park it on the side of the road by the Makkaraojantie road and walk the rest of the way. The distance to the rapids is about 200 metres.
The Raiskinkallio ravine is located in Vaskivesi, between the Havanganjärvi and Ala-Kukkaro lakes. The rocky area has some spectacular formations and details, especially the ravine and the steep vertical rock faces. The place has been nicknamed Pikku-Helvetti, in reference to the more famous Helvetinjärvi National Park in Ruovesi. There are small forest paths near the ravine, otherwise there are no structures or signs in the area.
One way to reach the ravine is to walk from the Tiukantie road along the forest road for about 200 metres and turn right towards the cliffs.
One of the best hiking spots in Virrat is located at the southern end of Vaskisalo or Salonsaari. The state-owned recreational forest area of about 45 hectares has a vast amount of old representative forest, decaying wood, large aspen trees and a long shoreline, which is mostly rocky on the west side.
The Vaskisalo forest is a good area for picking berries and mushrooms. The animals in the area include the flying squirrel. Other species that may be seen in the area include the capercaillie and the lesser black-backed gull.
There is a trail running through the forest, marked in red on the trees. The campfire site, outhouse and wood shelter are located in the southern part of the area. The paths in the western part of the forest are in good condition, while those in the eastern part are forested. There are signs in some places. The parking area is located approximately 1.5 km from the beginning of the Niittylahdentie road.
The heritage landscape site in Soininmäenperä has representative meadow plant species, including moonwort, sweet vernal grass and frog orchid. The Virrat-Ruovesi section of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation manages the area with annual mowing and clearing. During the summer, sheep can be seen grazing in the fenced area, at which time you are not allowed to enter the area or feed the animals. The site is about 300 metres from the national road 23 along the Soininmäentie road.
Pahkaneva and Isoneva fens
In the south-western corner of Virrat, on the border with Ylöjärvi and Kihniö, lies the as yet unprotected and extensive Pahkaneva. It is an area of national importance, containing fens, marshes and coniferous swamps, with fine forest islands that enhance biodiversity. The rugged and scenic bog is a good area for berry picking. There are cranberries, bog bilberries, crowberries, cloudberries in the bog and wild blueberries in the woods.
Pahkaneva is an important bog for birds. In the area you can see birds of prey, numerous waders, and species of sparrow which are rare elsewhere. The bog is also important for invertebrates and reptiles. Butterflies, dragonflies and lizards are abundant in the bog. Pahkalammi and Pahkalähde are valuable small waters that contribute to enriching the bog landscape.
Isoneva is also a very valuable bog, which contains several types of bog. Isoneva is located about 2.5 km east of Pahkaneva. For example, willow ptarmigans have been observed there and many waders prefer the open bog. Isoneva also has rare butterflies. The edges of the bog are drained, but the central part is in a natural state. The most important wetland in the bog, Haukkalammi, is, occasionally, waterlogged. In 2017, Isoneva-Pahkaneva was selected as one of Finland's 100 natural treasures.
Pahkaneva is easily accessible from the west by turning from the Vaskuuntie road onto Pihtinevantie and proceeding along for 200 metres. If you are travelling by car, you should leave it near the fork in the road and continue walking along the forest road towards the south. It is about a one kilometre walk to the open bog. Isoneva can be reached, for example, from the turning point of the forest road on the eastern side of the bog, which is a less than 200 metres walk through the forest.
Salmi-Ruoke wilderness lake
This peaceful wilderness lake is located in the southwestern part of Virrat, on the border with Ylöjärvi. In the middle of Lake Salmi-Ruoke is a narrow and long peninsula. The scenic pine ridge and lakeshore are home to plants such as bog-rosemary, marsh Labrador tea and bogbean. Among the birds you can hear common redstarts and cuckoos. There is a sign to the lake from the Pahkanevantie road. The sign says Ylä-Ruoketjärvi, which is the old name of the lake. The path to Salmi-Ruoke is about half a kilometre from the road.
The lush Mäntylänlahti (northern bay of Lake Vermasjärvi) is one of the most important resting areas for ducks in the Suomenselkä area during migration periods. It is the best bird water in Virrat in terms of breeding species and numbers. Examples of rarer breeding species include the common pochard and the garganey.
In total, there are around 50 breeding species, including many night singers, the most common of which is the sedge warbler. Night callers include the spotted crake and the corn crake. From the birdwatching tower you can often see a bird of prey, such as the western marsh harrier, which is typical of birdwaters. The area is also important for many waders.
The parking area has a campfire hut and an information board. There is a good path to the bird tower from the parking area. In some places there are also duckboards on the route. Next to the tower is a lean-to shelter and a campfire place.
The distance to Mäntylänlahti is about 5 kilometres from Makkaraoja along the Äijännevantie road. The sign for the birdwatching tower is next to the road.
The northern part of Lake Kurjenjärvi, located in the Kurjenkylä village, is called Joutsenjärvi. The nature reserve, which is important for birdlife, is also part of the Natura programme. Joutsenjärvi is home to species such as the abundant whooper swan, horned grebe and ruff. During migration periods, large numbers of ducks and waders are occasionally seen in the lake.
In the immediate vicinity of Joutsenjärvi, in the south-western direction, is the Isoneva-Kurjenmetsä area. It is also a Natura area and a nature reserve. Isoneva is a valuable bog and Kurjenmetsä is an old pine forest.
From the small parking area on the north side of the Joutsenjärvi Farm, the distance to the birdwatching tower is about 100 metres. It is easily accessible along a forest road and path. There is a small signpost to the birdwatching tower on road 694.
Next to the national road 66, north of the Liedenpohja village, is a geological natural attraction, the Ilmarisenhauta rift. The gorge-like depression formed on the sandy heath is a major sight in Virrat. Two stories are linked to Ilmarisenhauta, one about Ilmarinen and the other about the Finnish war.
After the ice age, the outlet of Lake Näsijärvi started in Liedenpohja. At that time, the water flowed northwards from Lake Näsijärvi. The more famous of the two stories is that the giant Ilma-Isto began digging a canal to divert the waters from north to south at the behest of Ilmarinen. However, Ilma-Isto was unable to finish the job because his shovel broke. And so Ilmarisenhauta was born.
There are plenty of club-mosses and mosses growing at the bottom of the rift. The moss cover is, in places, unusually uniform. The slopes are home to species such as crowberry. The slopes are dominated by old pine trees, with spruce growing at the base. There are many paths in the Ilmarisenhauta area. There is a sign for the site on the national road 66.
Haukkaneva and Ruuhineva fens
Haukkaneva has even been called one of the largest open bogs in southern Finland – and it is big. This is definitely one of the most impressive nature attractions in Virrat. Haukkaneva, located near the border with Alavus, has a rich bird fauna, with breeding species such as the European golden plover, Eurasian whimbrel and wood sandpiper.
The nearby Ruuhineva fen is smaller, but it, too, is both an important bird bog and a beautiful landscape. Avoid moving around in the rather difficult-to-reach bogs from early May to mid-July because of bird nesting. There are no service structures and hardly any paths in the bogs. The bogs included in the Natura programme are also conservation areas. The extensive bog area continues on the Alavus side to the Iso Vehkajärvi lake.
These bogs can be accessed from various places along forest roads of varying condition. Perhaps the easiest way to see the Haukkaneva clearing is from the north. From the road north of the Rummakkolampi pond, walk along the old forest road for almost half a kilometre and the bog opens up in all its glory on the left.
Jouttivuori linden forest
In the village of Jouttikylä, near the border of Virrat and Ruovesi, there is a linden forest that is rare in northern Pirkanmaa. Dozens of small-leaved lindens grow on an area of less than a hectare in the hillside. In Virrat, the small-leaved linden occurs at the northern border of its range in Western Finland.
Other plants in this nature reserve include the demanding baneberry and fly honeysuckle, as well as many ferns. Polypores and decaying wood are abundant. From the slopes of Jouttivuori, you can see the Joutsenselkä of Lake Tarjannevesi in places, although the view is somewhat obscured by trees.
The linden forest can be accessed from, for example, the Raskintie road. You can park your car on the stretch of road at the steep bend before the barrier. From the barrier, turn right along a modestly marked path along the top of the clearing. A signpost to the linden forest is located about 200 metres from the road.
In this brochure, the Killinkoski spruce represents a protected natural monument. There are many natural monuments in Virrat, but most are either in yards of houses or, elsewhere, in rather inaccessible places. The Killinkoski spruce grows right on the edge of the walkway on the Inkantie road. The thick and quite tall spruce tree is visible from a distance on the straight road.