Rantaraitti is the name of the pathway that circles Lake Jyväsjärvi in the centre of the city and which has become such a firm recreational favourite with both townspeople and tourists alike. From Rantaraitti, some 12 km in length, it is possible to enjoy the lake shore scenery close up, as well as the places along the way in their all their diversity.
These include Jyväskylä harbour, the University of Jyväskylä’s Mattilanniemi and Ylistönmäki campuses, the newly refurbished Ainola dance pavilion complex and the summer theatres at Survo-Korpela, as well as the Survo-Korpela heritage site, Sulkuranta allotments, Pitkäruoho birdwatching tower, the new housing fair area at Äijälänranta and Viherlandia garden centre. The Kuokkala, Mattilanniemi and Äijälänsalmi bridges connect the northern and southern sides of Lake Jyväsjärvi to one another in a brilliant arc of light when darkness falls.
On Rantaraitti nature is truly close at hand. The marshes at Äijälänranta are shoreline areas in their natural state and home to many species of water birds. Many streams sun into Lake Jyväsjärvi, such as Korkeakoski and the waters from the Kylmälahti valley. The coppice area at Ylistönrinne with its shady, moist slopes constitutes the only known habitat in Finland for the seriously endangered Clausilia dubia land snail.
Jyväsjärvi is also an important resting place for migratory birds. In Jyväskylä migration can be followed from the Pitkäruoho birdwatching tower situated in the conservation area, for instance. The Tourujoki river is home to Jyväskylä’s ducks. In summer the nature trail in the Tourujoki valley tempts people to step briefly sideways from the Rantaraitti path.