Natural parks in Estonia are from another dimension! One moment you are walking in the woods, then suddenly you are bog walking. The nature around you is rich in color and variety of flora. Estonian national parks are doing fantastic job in terms of preserving the area as well as making it easily accessible for everyone.
Soomaa National Park is no exception – we enjoyed every bit of Riisa Nature Trail on a cold day in March. Of all the trails we have been to so far, this one is definitely one of the best and unique ones. You forget time, it’s like the time stands still when you are in this amazing place.
Getting to Soomaa National Park
Unlike Lahemaa, reaching Soomaa National Park requires a bit more time if you are coming from Tallinn. You need to be prepared for almost 2h car drive. The easiest way is to come here by car (either your own or rental). However, public transport is also available. In that case you should stay overnight in Pärnu. Regular buses depart from Pärnu approx. 6 times per day, the ride will last 1 hour you would need to get off at Riisa bus stop.
Riisa Nature Trail
The trail is very well maintained. In fact, it is under renovation and should be finished by Summer 2018. Part of the trail (1,2 km) is wheelchair accessible, meaning it is wide enough for a wheelchair to pass through. Total length of the trail is 4,8km. It is a circular trail, so you can expect to get back to the parking lot without having to turn back. Use the chance to relax, enjoy the silence of the bog and Soomaa National Park, climb the observation tower for breathtaking views.
What you can expect to see
Riisa bog is the smallest of the Soomaa National Park bogs and has its own charm. You can expect to see many different plants, such as black crowberry, common heather, leatherleaf, marsh labrador tea, and of course lots of pine trees. In summer, vast amount of bog pools can be found on both sides of the trail. In winter, when the temperatures drop below zero, huge valleys of ice are formed. The peat layer in Riisa bog ranges from 3.3 to 6 meters.
When is the best time to visit Soomaa National Park?
Each season has its charm. Summers are great because the days are long, the bog wakes up and you may encounter much more wildlife. Winter, on the other hand, is when the bog sleeps, the colors are dimmed and the sounds are quiet.
It’s a perfect opportunity to be alone with yourself, as you will hardly meet any other visitors. We enjoyed our winter visit very much and are looking forward to returning again in another season!
Soomaa National Park is not limited to just one trail. Thanks to being one of the largest national parks in Estonia, there is plenty of choice when it comes to spending a day in the nature. There were at least 5 other trails – both longer and shorter than Riisa trail. We didn’t have chance to explore them this time, but we will come again in future.
Have you been to Soomaa National Park? Did you walk any of the trails?