Kostomuksha Nature Reserve. Where is the natural area located

The unique nature protection area, the Kostomuksha Nature Reserve, which has been operating for more than 30 years, is part of a huge natural complex. 2 countries took part in its creation: Russia and Finland.

Kostomuksha Nature Reserve is famous for its beautiful taiga forests, crystal clear rivers and lakes with fish, rich wildlife.

General characteristics

The Kostomuksha Nature Reserve was founded in the early 80s of the last century to study the Karelian natural area. According to the data of 2022, its area is more than 490 thousand hectares. The protected area is located in the northwestern part of Karelia, on the territory of the Kostomuksha urban district, near the Finnish border.

Костомукшский заповедник. Где находится природная зона

Kostomuksha Nature Reserve, Karelia

The distance between the southern and northern points of the reserve is 26 km. Part of the protected lands runs along Lake Kamennoye.

The forests of the reserve represent a valuable gene pool. These are mainly coniferous trees, some of them are over 150 years old. There are also 300-year-old giants here. There are many lakes on the territory of the reserve, the largest of which, Kamennoye, has an area of more than 10 thousand hectares and a depth of about 25 m.

The watershed between the two seas – the White and the Baltic – runs through the territory of the reserve. The reserve presents a diverse flora and fauna, for which interesting tourist routes have been developed.

The staff of the reserve carry out useful activities in various directions:

  • They protect nature.
  • They conduct scientific research.
  • They carry out environmental monitoring.
  • They are developing eco-tourism and educating citizens in the field of ecology.
  • They train scientific specialists in their field.

The main historical facts

In the 70s of the last century, the scientific community of the country sharply raised the issue of creating a nature reserve in the northwestern part of Karelia to preserve a natural, undisturbed natural complex.

Костомукшский заповедник. Где находится природная зона

In 1982, a decree was signed on the creation of the reserve, and in 1990, along with 5 specially protected areas of Finland, the Kostomuksha Reserve became part of the Russian-Finnish nature protection zone called Druzhba.

Initially, the main task of creating the reserve was to protect the local flora and fauna from the negative consequences of the activities of the Kostomuksha mining and Processing Plant. Subsequently, ethnographic activities and tourism development were added to this task.

Currently, the activities of the reserve are aimed at solving the following tasks:

  • protection of the relict taiga from fire and negative human impact;
  • biotope research and discovery of new species;
  • monitoring of changes in animal and bird populations;
  • educating the public by creating sightseeing routes;
  • ethnographic studies of the surrounding villages.

Climatic conditions

The reserve is located in the Atlantic-Arctic zone in an area with a temperate continental climate. Winter here lasts up to 170-180 days a year, the average temperature reaches -15 °C in January, in hotel years frosts reach -50 ° C. Spring is long and cool here, and autumn is also long and relatively warm.

The first frosts occur in September. The summer is short, the average temperature in July is + 17°C, it rains often. The average annual precipitation exceeds 530 mm. The snow falls by mid-autumn and finally disappears in May. The height of the snow cover reaches 90 cm.

Костомукшский заповедник. Где находится природная зона

There are few sunny days in this area, most of them fall in the middle of summer. In July, you can swim in numerous local reservoirs.

Terrain features

The territory of the reserve is partially located on the West Karelian hill. The terrain is hilly, with strong dissection, characterized by elevations up to 50 m high, in the south granite ridges can reach 300 m.

It is a lowland around Lake Kamennoye and gentle uplifts with riverbeds between them in the north of the territory. The soils in the lowlands are swampy, represented by peat bogs, in the forests the soil is forest soil, in the meadows – turf layers.

There are few rivers in the reserve, the main one is the Kamennaya River, flowing from a lake with the same name. There are 15 rapids on the river, one of them reaches a height of 8 m. The rest of the rivers are small, narrow, connected by the Tolloyoki and Kurzhma streams.

Костомукшский заповедник. Где находится природная зона

There is a gneissogranite layer under a thin layer of earth on the territory of the reserve, which practically does not allow water to pass through. Therefore, there are many blob-shaped lakes, for example, Serkiyarvi with an area of 50 hectares, or Duck, with an area of 37 hectares, as well as other small and medium-sized lakes.

The largest lake, called Kamennoye, is 23 km long and 15 km long. The lake belongs to the reservoirs of the White Sea basin. There are many bays and coves, and there are more than 95 islands of different sizes inside the lake.

Костомукшский заповедник. Где находится природная зона

The second largest lake is called Minozero and covers an area of 1.5 hectares. More than 11% of the reserve’s territory is occupied by swamps, especially in the south, while in the north high ridges of stone prevail.

Natural area

The Kostomuksha Nature Reserve covers several natural areas:

  • 65 % of the territory is old taiga forest;
  • 23 % of the territory is allocated to swamps;
  • 12% of the territory is occupied by freshwater reservoirs.

In addition to the above-mentioned ecosystems, meadow territories are also observed here.

The forests of the reserve for the most part have not been affected by human activity. Basically, the forest consists of pines and fir trees. They grow on hillsides, interspersed with mountain ash and juniper. Closer to the foot of the hills, the pine tree is replaced by spruce growth. Birch forest is found only closer to the borders of the reserve.

Lichens and mosses grow in the swamps, along the banks of the river there are shrubs – viburnum, bird cherry, rosehip. In the meadows and on the border of the forest there are many northern berries – blueberries, blueberries, boneberries, cloudberries. There is a ban on the collection of these berries on the territory of the reserve.

Костомукшский заповедник. Где находится природная зона

The world of plants and animals of the reserve is not rich enough, which is typical for the taiga zone. Nevertheless, here you can sometimes find unique plants and unusual representatives of the animal world. So, near the shore of Lake e, there is a red book plant — labelia Dortman, which can live exclusively in clean water.


The flora is represented by typical specimens of the northern taiga. The forests here are low, with underdeveloped undergrowth, and are characterized as fire-hazardous. Both young and very old trees grow in the forest. 80% of the forest stands are pine, 16% are spruce, there are also some birches and aspens.

The hills are dominated by forests, which grow, in addition to pines, birches and firs, as well as plants such as:

  • goat willow;
  • juniper;
  • ashberry;
  • grey alder.

In dry places, lingonberry pine forests are common, where there are many lingonberries, there are also mosses and bushy lichens.

Костомукшский заповедник. Где находится природная зона

Lichen forests grow on the tops of the sand ridges located on the right bank of the river, where there is practically no undergrowth, a lot of lichens, and small shrubs grow.

The outskirts of the swamps are dominated by crimson pine forests, where stunted pines, dwarf birches, crimson and cloudberry grow.

In the valleys of rivers and streams, where there is more moisture, spruce forests grow, as well as ferns and flowers. Lichens (144 species), mosses (160 species) and vascular plants (more than 400 species) grow in the reserve. Red book plants are also found here, for example, hemispheres – lacustrine and bristly.


The Kostomuksha Nature Reserve has 160 species of birds, 210 species of vertebrates, and more than 32 species of mammals. The local fauna is characterized as typical of the taiga.

The following animals live here:

  • brown bear;
  • Wolverine;
  • reindeer of the north;
  • the marten;
  • wolf;
  • fox;
  • mink
  • otter;
  • The ferret;
  • raccoon dog;
  • badger;
  • muskrat;
  • hog;
  • roe deer.

Костомукшский заповедник. Где находится природная зона

Of the birds of prey, there are:

  • hawk;
  • tawny owl;
  • buzzard;
  • the hawk owl.

Of the waterfowl:

  • mallard;
  • Gogol;
  • gumennik;
  • the whooper swan and others.

Костомукшский заповедник. Где находится природная зона

Grouse and capercaillie are found in forests, and gray cranes and sandpipers are found on reservoirs.

There is a variety of fish in lakes and rivers:

  • lake salmon;
  • pike;
  • sig;
  • ide;
  • roach.


The work of the reserve’s staff is to protect untouched forests from human activity. A lot has been done in this direction, but there are a number of problems.

Some of them are related to economic activities around the reserve, so the staff found areas of woodland prepared for logging on the north-eastern and eastern borders of the reserve. Illegal deforestation has been suspended, but the threat of deforestation still remains.

Tourists who leave garbage in unintended places, as well as try to pick mushrooms and berries, also pose a danger to the environment. The employees of the reserve are fighting mercilessly against violators of the rules of visiting the territory.

Tourist routes

Kostomushsky Nature Reserve was one of the first in Russia to organize a number of excursions to protected areas.

The table shows the most popular of them:

Title Short description Duration Cost, rub. (adult / child)
The Peddlers’ Trail A circular route,2,5 km, along the path that peddlers used to walk more than 150 years ago 30 min. 400/200
To Lake Munanki Hiking to the picturesque lake, overnight accommodation in a cabin is possible 1.4-2 hours. 600/300, with an overnight stay of 100/500
In the fairy forest 30-kilometer 3-day hike through picturesque places 3 days 3920/2100
Tsar-threshold Hike to the highest threshold on the Kamennaya River 1.5-2 hours. 1020/500
The lower hut Hiking to the Lower hut, exploring the protected nature 40 min. 1020/500
Rune-singing settlements Tour of the ancient Karelian settlement sites 3 hours . 1420/700
Rafting on the lake and river A difficult water rafting route 3-4 days 10000/5000
On the trails of Metsola Winter 12-km sleigh route 1 hour 500/250

To visit the reserve, you must obtain a special permit, the cost of admission for 1 person is 220 rubles.

There are 4 tourist destinations developing in the reserve:

  • recreation in eco-houses in nature;
  • rafting on the reservoir;
  • botanical excursions;
  • ethnographic research.


There are interesting sights in the reserve:

Educational and ecological trail

An ecological trail called “Amazing Nearby” leads through the territory of the reserve.

Костомукшский заповедник. Где находится природная зона

It is a solid wide wooden deck that leads through the forest, undergrowth and streams. There is also a swampy area there. There are toilets and benches for recreation.

Munanki tract

A cozy eco-house built using Finnish technology is located near Lake Huuntilampia. 12 people can relax here comfortably. There is a sauna and barbecue facilities.


The waterfall is 8 m high, one of the steps in the bed of the Kamennaya River. Here you can enjoy the views and relax in a small wooden house.

Old settlements

The places where the village of Akonlahti used to be, where ancient traditions are preserved and oral runes are practiced.

Kalevala Nature Park

The nature park is located a few km from the reserve.

Костомукшский заповедник. Где находится природная зона

There are many picturesque places here, there are parking lots on the river, special places for picking mushrooms and berries.

Visiting rules

There are strict rules in the reserve that visitors must follow.

It is prohibited to:

  • hunting;
  • to fish;
  • being with a firearm;
  • to make hay;
  • to carry out logging of green spaces;
  • herding pets;
  • place apiaries and beehives;
  • to carry out construction work;
  • to carry out works that change the hydrology of lands;
  • Burn the grass;
  • plowing the land;
  • drive by motor vehicles and leave them outside special parking lots;
  • to collect berries, mushrooms, and herbs;
  • being with dogs;
  • feed wild animals;
  • destroy and damage information signs and signs.


The Kostomuksha Nature Reserve offers guests accommodation in guest houses scattered throughout its territory. In addition, tourists can stay in one of the hotels and guest houses in Kostomuksha, located just 10 km from the protected area.

Костомукшский заповедник. Где находится природная зона

The Horseshoe Hotel, Karelia

The following hotels and guest houses are offered to tourists:

  • The Horseshoe Hotel is located 3 km from the city. The room fund consists of separate comfortable houses, which can accommodate from 2 to 8 people.
  • Guest house on Lingonberry Street with free parking, comfortable rooms and a barbecue area.
  • Aina Hotel is a small family-run hotel located next to the railway station of the city in a quiet forest area.

There are many places to relax in the city, walking areas along the lake and in the central part of the city, the Mix cafe offering Asian dishes, the Kristall restaurant, delighting guests with live music and delicious local cuisine.

Location, how to get there

The reserve is located on the border of the Kostomuksha urban district and the Muezersky district of the Republic of Karelia, where there is a specially protected area. The office of the reserve and the visitor center, where you need to apply for an entrance permit, is located on Priozernaya Street, 2.

You can get here from Kostomuksha, Petrozavodsk, Moscow and St. Petersburg by car or train:

Where from Distance, km Details Notes
Kostomuksha 10 From the railway station along Mira Street to Lenin Street and further to Internatsionalnaya Street, along it to the entrance to the reserve From the entrance to the city – on Gornyakov Avenue, then on Lenin and Internatsionalnaya streets
Petrozavodsk 495 Along the R-21 highway up to 754 km, then along the A-137 highway to Kostomuksha By bus or minibus that go to Kostomuksha daily
Saint-Petersburg 900 Along the R-21 highway up to 754 km, then along the A-137 highway to Kostomuksha On Wednesdays and Fridays – direct train St. Petersburg-Kostomuksha
Moscow 1490 To St. Petersburg, then along the R-21 highway up to 754 km, then along the A-137 highway to Kostomuksha  In summer, the Anapa-Murmansk train runs through Kostomuksha 3 times a week

The reserve offers a private bus transfer from the railway station upon reservation.

Interesting facts

There are several interesting facts related to the reserve:

  • It is part of the international Russian-Finnish protected area “Druzhba”.
  • The reserve was the first among such formations in Russia to offer excursion programs to visitors.
  • Part of the territory is located near the Finnish border, so a special permit is required to visit the reserve.
  • During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45, the territory suffered little damage.
  • In mid-June, you can see the puffins, grouse chicks and other birds that have not yet learned to fly and just run around the ground.
  • Camera traps have been installed on the territory of the reserve, which capture wild animals in their natural environment.

Beautiful wildlife, clean water of lakes, streams and rivers, the opportunity to see many birds and animals live — all this attracts tourists to the Kostomuksha Nature Reserve. People come here to take a break from the daily hustle and bustle, breathe clean air, and admire the beautiful views.

Video about the reserve


Leave a Reply

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. By clicking "Accept", you agree to our use of cookies.