The rhizome path slides up the rocky terrain ascending.

You have to push a few steps to get up on the rock. The branches of curly pines sweep the surface of the backpack.

The views from the top of the cliff are worth a light breeze.

In the Kivikko forest you can do the same in the raven terrain as in the moist cloth forest. The rocky and rocky terrain, on the other hand, offers rugged vantage points for viewing the city.

Photo: Mikko Suutarinen / HS

The rugged terrain is reminiscent of the wilderness of the north, but is now just over a 10-minute walk from the nearest metro station.

These forests, which start in Kontula but spread mainly to the Kivikko area, are also known as “Kontula Lapland”.

The ruggedness of rocky and rocky soils, as well as the pink glows and cones, do not represent the usual Helsinki park landscape.

“Kontula Lapland” is reminiscent of the time when the current Kontula was still in Finland.

Photo: Mikko Suutarinen / HS

The atmosphere goes so full that the landscape has even been used to present real Lapland in a 1951 film in the Rovaniemi market.

Something still separates this urban forest from the real wilderness: Here you can’t escape the steady rumble of traffic. Somewhere behind the tops of the trees, the Nelostie roars, and the higher you cling, the more clearly it stands out.

"Without that sound, you wouldn't know where you are," says Katariina Kaarlela, who went on a forest walk as our guide.

Kaarlela has been walking these forest trails for the last five years she has lived in Kontula. From his home you walk a few minutes to the edge of the forest, and in winter the ski slope is less than half a mile away.

Looking from the edge of the forest on the Kontula side, nature merges with the regenerating city. The crane visible at the back is from the construction site near the Kontula shopping center, where tower houses are being built.

Photo: Mikko Suutarinen / HS

Almost 40 percent of Helsinki's land areas are green areas managed by the city. The information comes from the city's Statistics Helsinki publication published in June. A total of 4,800 hectares of forest are used by Helsinki residents in the urban area.

The urban forest is a very unique place between a bustling city and natural peace. In the rock, a roof damper or a stretch of road splits a little between the tops of the trees. From the top of the cliff you can see in clear weather over the Old Town Bay to the Pasila tower. In winter, the surrounding city emerges even more strongly when there are no leaves on the trees.

An illuminated ski and outdoor trail, Kivikko loop, runs through the forest for about four kilometers. However, there are smaller and slightly larger trails in the forest in almost every direction. By walking along them, you can find, for example, caves hidden in the forest, informal campfire sites and moats.

The Kivikko forest also contains a considerable amount of history. The area was part of the Viapori fortification chain built in the early 20th century. Traces of it can still be found along forest trails.

The caves during the First World War are the only special features of the Kivikko forest. The cave in the picture is more than four meters high and is divided into two side corridors.

Photo: Mikko Suutarinen / HS

At the mouth of the cave, the air feels cooler than usual. There is a few meters of visibility, after that there is only darkness in front. The extra light reveals that the back wall of the cave is more than ten meters away, but the side rooms branching from it continue further.

During his walks, Kaarlela has already found five caves in the forest, of which this one in the middle of the forest is the largest. The caves, built during the war, were originally used as crew shelters, ammunition depots and, for example, telephone exchanges.

Katariina Kaarlela hopes that her nearby forest will come to life with signs and walking tours.

Photo: Mikko Suutarinen / HS

“It would be nice if there were some signs or information about these structures here,” Kaarlela exclaims as she walked past the moat.

In the past, walks have been organized in the forest to tell the history of the area, but in recent years there have been no such trips, according to Kaarlela. He would like the tours to come back and at the same time the nature of the area to become familiar to the townspeople.

One specialty of the area is the old cannon road almost in the backyards of Vesala detached houses. The road appears completely unexpectedly at the end of the forest path and stands out from the terrain remarkably well. The old cobbled road has survived in surprisingly good condition to this day. But how many who walk it know that they are walking on rocks stacked in the ground during the Russian Empire?

View of the cobbled cannon road from the Vesala side of the forest area.

Photo: Mikko Suutarinen / HS

During the three-hour walk in the forest, you rarely meet other people. Judging by the condition of the trails, however, we have been trodden here.

Mountain bike tire tracks can be seen here and there. On top of a hill, a young cyclist sets off on a wild downhill ride.

Some forest visitors have come to the site to take advantage of the forest supply. Pasi Suomelainen, who lives on the Jakomäki side, says that he is on the move for the seventh day. It comes with a berry picker and a couple of liters of boxes for blueberries.

Pasi Suomelainen, who cycled from Jakomäki to blueberry, is satisfied with this summer's berry harvest.

Photo: Mikko Suutarinen / HS

"Now they are only big," Suomelainen commented on the berries in the middle of the bushes.

There has been no need to mourn the berry harvest this summer. The Finn has already picked up the freezer in his home almost to the brim.

This time, Katariina Kaarlela leaves the blueberries in the bushes, with the exception of a few dessert berries that pass directly into the mouth. But he tries to look at the chanterelles from his surroundings every step of the way. A few have already knocked to the bottom of the pain.

“Kontula Lapland” is divided into Kontula, Kivikko and Vesala areas as a unified forest.

Vesala is also probably the highest natural point in Helsinki, when the rock always rises to just over 60 meters. There is a similar rock area in Heikinlaakso.

Near the high cliff you can see rocks worn round and round. They are remnants of the shores of the Yoldia Sea more than 10,000 years ago, which then passed by the forest.

The forest area continues after crossing Porvoonväylä in Jakomäki. There are, among other things, Kaivantopuisto, which presents the area's military structures, and the ancient shore rock of the Yoldian Sea, or damn field.

Close to the Vantaa border, there is still the area's crown jewel. The swamp area Slåttmossen, which extends to Vantaa Vaarala, is a nature reserve on the Helsinki side and a magnificent oasis next to the highway. Twenty meters from Somerikkotie start the elongated trees that lead to the swamp.

The wet ground smells everywhere, the stems of the tufts of wool swing in the wind and the sparrows of the bridge are visible everywhere. However, there are no berries in sight this time. Is it due to eager pickers or berry-free?

The Jakomäki nature reserve Slåtmossen is a real oasis in the middle of the city.

Photo: Mikko Suutarinen / HS

A few kilometers of walking trail around the swamp is easy to get around, even with small children. When walking along the long trees, you can feel that you have traveled completely to the other side of Finland, but this gorge is easily reached by bus.

Read more: Few know a hidden paradise in Vantaa: The magical area of ​​Lapland's wilderness is like a tourist ad and it cunningly hides even from its closest neighbors