Hiking Estonia: Viru Bog

Sep 09, 2019    /    wild adventures

Shrouded in Estonian myth and legend, bogs are a type of mire and mires cover about 1/5 of Estonia’s mainland. 

This particular bog is about an hour from Tallinn (Estonia’s capital), with well-kept trails, easy bus access, and a landscape unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in Europe or around the world.

Which is why if you’re coming to Estonia, I’d recommend a (very easy) hike.

Follow the wooden paths (and don’t step off or you’ll damage the extremely fragile bog ecosystem) as they wind through pine trees and peat moss and deep-blue standing water.

Along the way, you’ll find plaques explaining features of the bog, like its carnivorous plants, inhospitable, acidic ecosystem, and hundreds of species of spiders (don’t worry, not a single one is poisonous and we never came across a web on the trail).

And if you’d like to see the bog from above? Near the beginning of the trail (assuming you’re following it in the same direction we did), there’s an observation tower that can accommodate up to 12 people at a time and has impressive 360-degree views over the bog (that’s where I took the cover photo for this post).

Once you’re through the bog, the wooden platforms end and open up into a welcoming pine forest with wide trails leading back to the parking area and road.

After exiting the bog itself, we settled in on the forest floor for a picnic before circling back to catch our bus. 


(Psst, this post may contain affiliate links, which means if you purchase something through one of my links, I get a commission at no extra cost to you.)


Want to experience the hike for yourself? Here are some relevant details: 

Hiking times and local transportation

If you’re coming from Tallinn, Viru Bog is about a one-hour bus ride from the main bus station (bussijaam), which you can get to easily by tram/bus within the city. The stop you want is called Loksa Tee.

We took bus 811 out to the bog and bus 868 back, but there are several buses that stop there, so just ask for a ticket to Loska Tee (and you can check bus schedules at Rome2Rio – in our experience, they’re accurate – and buy your round-trip tickets at the bus station before you depart).

There appear to be two Loksa Tee bus stops for arrivals. One is on the main road and the second is on a slightly less busy side road. If you get dropped off on the main road, you’ll need to find a way to cross to the side road (where the trails start). We were dropped at the side road location, where the bus stop is actually smack dab on top of a trailhead leading into the park. 

The trailhead isn’t marked here, but it’s pretty clearly a trail. We followed it and within minutes we were in the park and intersecting with the main trails. 

The full hike from the bus stop, through the wooden platforms of the bog, and then through the forest on the other side of the bog and around to the main parking area (which is about 10 – 15 minutes walking distance from the bus stop) took us about two hours.

You can also drive out and there’s a parking area at the main trailhead, but we’re big fans of skipping the extra money, hassle, and pollution that comes with car rentals, so for us, if there’s a bus, we’re taking it. 

Trail markers

The bog trail is easy to follow because you have to stay on the wooden platforms and they only split off a couple times, and then only for viewpoints, not alternate routes. The forested parts of the trails were a little less clear (they’re marked, but the way they were marked wasn’t always clear to us since we don’t speak the language). Still, there don’t seem to be many ways you could get lost.

We checked Chad’s phone once or twice at crossroads in the forest to make sure we were pointed in the right general direction. 

Dogs on trails

There were no signs with dog rules in the bog, but I feel comfortable assuming the rules for dogs are the same as for humans:

Don’t step off the wooden walkways (the bog ecosystem is easily damaged).

Don’t stop to eat or feed your dog in the bog area (we picnicked in the forest just beyond the bog).

We saw two other dogs hiking the bog during our day there, so it’s definitely not unusual. 

Is the trail crowded?

This is a popular park, so if you go during midday hours in the summer, expect to share the trail with large tour groups. If you want a little more privacy, I’d try the trek in the off-season or early morning. 

Accessibility

I’m happy to say that a portion of this trail is accessible to wheelchair users. You should be able to go from the trailhead at the parking lot to the observation tower platform (and partway up there’s a ramp).

What to bring

The hike is an easy one and the paths are mostly wooden and/or packed dirt, so you could easily hike in everyday sneakers. As usual, I did the route in my Salomon women’s speedcross trail running shoes.

Estonia can get cool and rainy without warning, even in summer, so while we didn’t end up needing them, I brought a poncho and jacket (and would recommend other hikers do the same).

We didn’t see any water fill-up stations in or near the park, so bring plenty of water for your hike and some extra just in case. 

Since I’m hiking with a middle-aged small dog and occasionally she’s had some knee issues, I also hike with a dog backpack. Here’s the one I’ve been trying out (full review coming soon because I friggin love this pack. Big thanks to my friend Sonja for sending it to me!). 

Finally, this hike is incredibly pretty, so don’t forget your camera. All the photos above were taken with my Sony a6000.

Happy hiking!

 

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One Comment
  • Lynne Nieman
    September 9, 2019

    This looks like a beautiful easy hike. So excited to hear more about Estonia as you settle in there, Gigi! Great pics too :)

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