Kivach Nature Reserve is situated in the Republic of Karelia, in the North-Western part of Russia. It was founded on 11 June, 1931 and is the oldest reserve in the republic. 

The area of the reserve is 10930 hectares, or about 110 km2. It is one of Russia’s smallest reserves. The greatest length of the territory from North to South is 12 km, from West to East – 14 km.
Around the reserve in 1975 was created a protection zone, it is also called a buffer zone or transitional territory. Line width of 1-2 km surrounds the reserve, its total area 6492,6 hectares, or approximately 65 km2.

A nature reserve is a type of specially protected areas with the strictest protection regime. Its land, nature complexes, mineral resources, water bodies and even the air above are not used for human economic activities. 
The main goal of the founding of the reserve was to protect the nature of unique world’s famous Kivach Falls and adjacent forests.

Kivach Falls is about 8000 years old. It formed when the glacial lake, which covered the area, retreated after the melting of the last ice sheet. However, the rocky ridge, through which the river makes its way, is 2 billion years old. This old bedrock is most probably of volcanic origin.


natural complexes

Nature Reserve "Kivach" - the standard of nature of the middle taiga of South Karelia.
It is called "Karelia in miniature", because on this small piece of land are concentrated almost all the features inherent in the nature of the Republic of Karelia.


The main wealth of the taiga reserve – forests – occupy 85.4 % of its territory. Their average age is 150-190 years, and some areas are more than 230 years. These are mainly old coniferous massifs typical for the taiga zone.
Pine forests dominate – 44.4% of the forest area. Spruce accounts for 32%. The leading place among deciduous species belongs to the birch 16.7%, and less aspen – 6.5%.

water bodies

Different types of water bodies occupy 10.3% of the reserve.
The main waterway crossing the territory from North-West to South-East is the Suna river. Several forest streams and river Sandalka flow Into it. 
Within the reserve there are 14 lakes – large on the borders and internal forest lakes - called lambas.


3.6 % of the reserve area is occupied by more than 50 different swamp areas located in the relief depressions. Most often they are small, forested with pine or birch, but there are open areas. A special place among them is given to the key wetlands, springs of ferruginous mineral water. 
Around the springs is dominated by cushions of mosses of various colours and shades and grow rare species of plants.


Since ancient times, small areas of forest meadows and glades, occupying less than 1% of the total area, have been preserved in the reserve. Their presence significantly increases the biological diversity of the territory.
These natural complexes are most often wetlands and gradually overgrown with trees and shrubs, due to the lack of agricultural exploitation.


Flora in kivach nature reserve

The flora totals more than 780 species of vascular plants, 325 species of lichens and 193 species of leafy mosses.
Species usual for the middle subzone of taiga dominate there: bilberries, cowberries, twinflower (Linnaea borealis), stiff club-moss, sylvan horsetail, etc.
Among them there are many rare, protected in Karelia and Russia, for example: red-listed species  lady's slipper, ghost orchid, spring and lake quillworts.


Fauna in kivach nature reserve

In territory of the Kivach nature reserve there are 271 species of ground vertebrates, including 47 species of mammals, 216 species of birds, 3 species of reptiles and 5 species amphibious is registered. 25 species of fishes live in lakes anf rivers. There have been revealed 276 species of spiders, 3531 species of insects. 107 species are included in the Red Data Book of Karelia.
More than 60% of animal species live on the woods, middle taiga for the most part: red-backed mice, squirrels, mountain hares, bears, mooses, hazel-grouses, wood-grouses, goldeneyes, chaffinches, willow wrens, brown frogs. There are also representatives of southern wood and forest-steppe zones, as well as tundra and northern taiga. Amond the northern species there should be mentioned three-toed woodpecker, white grouse, in some years wood lemmings were found.
Amond the southern species thereb should be mentioned wild boars, lake seagulls, blackbirds, and wood warblers. Gluttons, roe deers, quails, nighthawks, orioles, nightingales and included in the Red Book of Russia fish hawks, white-tailed eagles, peregrines, and golden eagles are found seldom.

Focus area of the Kivach reserve

Main aims

The Federal state budgetary institution "the State natural reserve "Kivach" is the nature protection, research and ecological and educational institution having the purpose of preservation of natural complexes, unique and standard natural sites and objects, the historical and cultural objects located in the territory of the state natural reserve "Kivach", ecological education of the population and creation of conditions for regulated tourism and rest, development and introduction of scientific methods of protection and ecological education, implementation of state environmental monitoring.

Reserve territory patrolling

National parks and reserves are highly protected areas. The natural sites on the reserve (earth, water, mineral resources, plant and animal life) are totally disused from the economic management. The reserve is an environment-oriented constitution that goes in for environmental education, protection of the plant and animal genetical fund, researching its natural history and ecosystem.

The State environment protection inspectors patrol the area, prevent acts and detect violations against reservation conditions. The Chief State Environment Inspector examines cases of the administrative offences. The environmental control legislation provides also for criminal responsibility for certain offences.

Scientific research

The research department of the reserve and experts from other research establishments are responsible for the scientific researching on the reserve, as well as for writing scientific articles and monographs. “Nature study and examination on the reserve according to the program of Nature Records” is the main academic subject.

For over 40 years the collaborators monitor different processes in the natural complex and make out Nature Records.

The insects collection represented by more than 70 thousand pieces has being added for years in the department. The herbarium consisted of 6 thousand sheets is included in the List of the Herbariums of the world (electronic database).

Environmental education

Environmental education among local people and incoming tourists is one of the main underlying reserve objectives. The colleagues contact with many people, it efforts the spread of environmental knowledge, raises the level of culture and develops the coherence between man and nature.

The members of the ecological department run walking tours to the waterfall Kivach and along taiga reserve paths, arrange excursions in the museum of The Nature and invite tourists to visit the arboretum (the tree nursery).

Attractions of the reserve Kivach


On the territory of the reserve there is a waterfall "Kivach", formed by the fall of the Suna river. Here Suna, one of the largest rivers in Karelia, crosses the diabase ridge that arose in the Precambrian period. 
Water falls from four steps. The total height of the fall from the upper mirror of the river to the lower — 10.7 m.
According to philologists, the name Kivach comes either from the Finnish "kivi" — stone, or from Karelian "kivas" — snow mountain.
Kivach waterfall for a long time was considered the largest plain waterfall in Russia and the second largest plain waterfall in Europe after the Rhine (river Rhine, Switzerland).


The appearance of the dendrological collection on the estate of the reserve is the result of scientific research and experiments. Scientists were interested in the possibility of growing in Karelia tree species of other regions (introducents), which would help in the shortest possible time to raise the country's economy after the military devastation/
It's history starts In 1947. More than 350 seed samples were tested. The planting material - the vegetative parts of plants and small seedlings come from the Botanical gardens and arboretums of the Republic of Karelia and St. Petersburg.

Monument to the fallen soldiers

During the great Patriotic war, the nature reserve did not function. The fighting took place throughout all the territory of reserve.
In October 1941, a Finnish group of troops led the offensive in the direction of Kivach.
During the fights in Kivach 194 people were missed,  63 were killed, 24 of them were buried, 39 cannot be moved from the field of battle. Total losses amounted up to 257 people. The wounded were taken to the hospital in the Sopokha village.
After the war, there was the burial of the dead from the wounds of the fighters. In 1999, the reserve was reburied 69 found the remains of dead soldiers, and June 11, 2000 was opened a military memorial.

Services for tourists

Karelian Souvenirs

Exhibition pavilion

Karelian Souvenirs You can buy in the Exhibition pavilion, which is located in the tour area of the Nature Reserve "Kivach".

Most popular routes and programs


Sopoha pine wood

The route starts from the central path of the reserve. Tourists will get acquainted with the nature complex of the aqueoglacial plain, its elongated sand waves (sandosar), treed with pines; high moors scattered with cloudberries and beautiful forest lake (rus. Lamba) will appear on the low.
The route is opened usually in summer time.
The distance is about 2,5 km
Duration of the tour is about 2 hours.
To book a tour, a preliminary application is required.

Route # 5

SOPOHA PINE WOOD & Spring bogs

The route starts in the Sopoha pine forest. Tourists will get acquainted with basic forest types of the aqueoglacial plain: its moss pine wood, mixed forest with different wild grasses on the ground, spruce forest near the brook. You will see different typical and rare plants reaching the spring bogs with healthful water sources.
The route is opened usually in summer time.
The distance is about 6 km.
Duration of the tour is about 3 hours.
To book a tour, a preliminary application is required.

Route # 3

1500 steps to nature

The ecological path "1500 steps to Nature" is a 600 m long circular route through a picturesque forest corner on the bank of the Suna river.
It takes place near the excursion zone of the reserve. The route leads to a meeting with the taiga.
It is necessary to have sports or tourist clothes, comfortable waterproof shoes, personal protective equipment against insects.
The tour offer is valid all year round. The route is attractive in any season. 
Duration of the tour is about 40 minutes.
To book a tour, a preliminary application is required.

Route # 2

Museum of nature reserve Kivach

 The exposition is located in two halls. You will get comprehensive information about the reserve, meet the brightest representatives of flora and fauna, see the structure of Karelian birch wood, learn the truth about its origin. 
The tour is valid all year round and is attractive in any season. 
Museum is open: winter months (October-April) — from 10 to 17 hours, summer (May-September) — from 9 to 21 hours. 
Requires clothes and shoes — comfortable for walks in nature. 
Duration of the tour is about 30 minutes. 
To book a tour, a preliminary application is required. 

Route # 1

Waterfall Kivach and arboretum

 Waterfall with a tour in arboretum — living collection of trees and shrubs (excursion in the fresh air.
You will discover the secrets stored in the harmony of stone and water; trees and shrubs of Karelian nature and guests from other continents, presented in the arboretum; you will get acquainted with the history of the development of these places by man.
The tour is valid all year round and is attractive in any season. 
Requires clothes and shoes — comfortable for walks in nature. 
Duration of the tour is about 30 minutes. 
To book a tour, a preliminary application is required. 

Most popular routes and programs

Museum of nature reserve Kivach

The Museum of nature presents informative exhibitions that tell about the features of the reserve, gives the opportunity to get acquainted with the history of these places and the whole region, with the most prominent representatives of flora and fauna, to see the structure of the Karelian birch wood, to learn the truth about its origin.

Have a nice interesting and cognitive leisure in Karelia!

News from Kivach Nature Reserve


Address: 186220, Zapovednaya street, 14, Kivach village, Kondopozhsky district, Republic of Karelia, Russia

+7 (8142) 44-50-33, +7-921-2274923.


Our contacts

Geo cords,
how to find us

Geographical coordinates: N 62.16126 E 33.58969
How to get: Kivach Nature Reserve is located at a distance of 27 km from Kondopoga and 80 km from Petrozavodsk.
The way to the reserve passes on the route R-21 "Kola". In the area of post 493/912 highway "Kola" starts the local road. The road from the turn to the reserve entrance is 8 kilometers. At the checkpoint of the reserve you can get information about the visit and pay the entrance tickets.