Keisarinlähde Loop


This route takes in five lakes through varied scenery and is ideal for paddling trips over 2 to 3 days. No separate transportation is needed, as the route starts and finishes in the centre of Mäntyharju. This route is also convenient thanks to its many rest areas and accommodation alternatives. It is easy to cover 15 to 20 kilometres a day, including stopping for rests. According to legend, Tsar Alexander I stopped at Keisarinlähde ("Tsar Springs") in Kallavesi on 10 June 1803 when inspecting the Russian border with Sweden. Keisarinlähde is probably the only place in Finland where you can fill up your drinking bottle without having to climb out of your canoe or kayak!

Landing areas are indicated by orange paddling markers, but the route itself is not marked.

Level of difficulty

The Keisarinlähde Loop is suitable for physically fit persons who have some paddling experience. There are two places along the route where canoes and kayaks must be carried over land (see below). If you stick to pace of 4 km/h, the entire route will require 13 hours of paddling. The most popular direction to take the loop in is Kallavesi-Ala-Kuhanen-Ylä-Kuhanen-Herajärvi-Tainavesi, as the Tainankoski rapids flow from Tainavesi into Kallavesi. Keisarinlähde is situated in Kallavesi, where there is a nice connecting route to Ala-Kuhanen through a pretty strait where the flow of water varies according to the surfaces of the lakes. Watch out for rocks by the shoreline in Ylä-Kuhanen.

Overland sections

The first overland section is between the Herataipale bay and Herajärvi. When coming ashore in the bay, you should leave a sufficient distance to any cottages. You can carry your canoe or kayak from the Herataipale bay to Heralampi and then paddle or float your canoe or kayak to Herajärvi if there is sufficient water. The carrying distance over the trickiest section is approximately 500 metres.

The second overland section is between Tainavesi and Kallavesi, where you must carry your canoe or kayak approximately 200 metres in order to bypass the rapids. You can continue paddling after the mill. There is a convenient boat harbour in the Tainavesi bay where you can come ashore easily.

Useful information

Good overnight places include the Puukonvuori and Herajärvi lean-tos. Other places worth stopping at are Keisarinlähde in Kallavesi and the Taina lean-to at the mouth of the Tainajoki river. The route is not accessible by rowing boat due to the narrow straits and shallow waters. The route is easier when there is high water, as the straits can be very shallow otherwise. The carrying distances are also longer when there is low water.

Rest areas

  • Puukonvuori, approx. 15 km from start
  • Iso Mäntysaari, approx. 17 km from Puukonvuori 
  • Taina lean-to, approx. 10 km from Iso Mäntysaari

Approximately 200 metres to the east of Puukonvuori is a giant's kettle rock formation. In the same area, on the lake side of the rocks, there are prehistoric rock paintings that can be seen better from the water.

Services and sights

The most impressive sight along this route is the nature itself. In addition to the lean-tos along the route, a cabin is available for rent at the Miekankoski café.

Starting point

Asematie 11
52700 Mäntyharju


Keisarinlähde-(2) Keisarinlähteen-melonta-(2) Keisarinlähteen-melonta


stay on track



Time required
2-3 days


50 km


Level of difficulty
Easy-medium: Two sections require carrying canoes and kayaks over land.


Physically fit outdoor enthusiasts


Orange markers at landing areas



Info board




Rock paintings and giant's kettle


Puukonvuori hill


Keisarinlähde springs



  • The starting point is 400 metres from the train station
  • You can combine paddling with hiking at Puukonvuori
  • Canoes and kayaks can also be rented

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