River Hiitolanjoki – also known as Kokkolanjoki by local people – is 53 km long (8 km flow in Rautjärvi, South Karelia, on the Finnish side of the border and 45 km in Hiitola, Republic of Karelia, Russia). The river takes its water from Lake Simpele and the lakes above River Silamusjoki, and flows into Lake Ladoga. There are 12 rapids on River Hiitolanjoki, and the total area of its waterways is 1415 km2, divided into seven smaller catchment areas.
River Hiitolanjoki is an ancient water route, fish provider, transport and log-floating route, and a source of power for flour mills, sawmills and more recently, for hydropower plants. The rapids on the Finnish side of the border – Juvankoski, Ritakoski, Lahnasenkoski and Kangaskoski – are harnessed to produce electricity; yet River Hiitolanjoki is still the most important river for the ascent of salmon inhabiting Lake Ladoga. An important aim is to enable this highly valued fish to return to its former routes and spawning rapids on the Finnish side of the border.
The river with its surrounding area is a rewarding and richly promising destination, whether your interests lie in fishing, hiking, cultural history or industrial heritage. Travel and recreational facilities on River Hiitolanjoki have been greatly enhanced and will be further improved.
River Hiitolanjoki is a unique river at the border of two cultures: its character is shaped by the highly visible interaction between Man and Nature. We invite you to find out more about this fascinating area on these pages – and of course, on the spot!