|Tallest Drop||18 m|
|Volume (avg.)||0.68 m3/s|
|Volume (max.)||9.5 m3/s|
Hepoköngäs is probably the most famous free waterfall in Finland today, at least as a tourist attraction. Not only is it the number one nature sight in Puolanka, it is also mentioned in practically every tourist guide in the Kainuu region. The fall flows in the Heinijoki River east of the Hepoköngäs Nature Reserve area, in a place where the river falls down a steep (not quite vertical) cliff. The fall is located about 16 kilometres from the centre of Puolanka municipality, towards Hyrynsalmi, down the road Hyrynsalmentie (891).
As a nature sight, Hepoköngäs is one of the most gorgeous waterfalls in Finland, but it is not the highest, contrary to some information sources. The fall has, however, earned its place as one of the best sights in Kainuu, as it is a refreshing and beautiful place in the middle of Kainuu's coniferous forests. The water flows like a foaming ribbon down the cliff and into a lake, making the entire lake heave. It is easy to get to admire the fall both from the top and from the lake shore, from where you can see the entire fall. You can also descend down the rocks along the fall, if you want to see it close-up.
The height of the waterfall is usually said to be 24 metres, but the actual value is 18 metres, where its horizontal length is 5 metres (Source: Suomen luonnon ihmeitä, Risto Lounema 2001). This can be estimated also from the contours of terrain maps. Maybe the value "24 metres" is calculated by also taking the rapids above the waterfall into account – who knows. All in all, Hepoköngäs is a beautiful and rugged waterfall, the worth of which shouldn't be underrated.
It is easy to get to Hepoköngäs because the fall has its own parking area and there is a well-kept path of about 600 metres leading to the fall. You can get there also by wheelchair, for there are wooden paths especially made. By the lake shore there are also good places for resting. The UKK hiking track also passes the sight, so hikers can admire both Hepoköngäs and the nearby Komulanköngäs on their hike. For tourists, there is also a café near the parking lot, open during summer.
All in all, Hepoköngäs is a great waterfall in its natural state, definitely worth seeing for anyone traveling in the area. Even though the amount of water in the fall drops significantly after the floods in May (these pictures were taken in early June 2009 and during the spring floods in May 2015), the fall is worth seeing during all seasons when there is no snow.
Ps. Hepoköngäs also won our 2014 vote of the most beautiful waterfall in Finland!
Hepokönkääntie 21, Puolanka
GPS: 64.82261 (N), 27.87741 (E)
Open the location in Google Maps
The walk from the parking area to the fall is about 600 m.
Waterfall on mapOpen the fall on the official terrain map of NLS
Video of the waterfall
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Waterfall added to the site 19.11.2015, last updated 29.06.2019