National Parks & wilderness areas of northernmost Lapland
Northernmost Lapland is a popular outdoor destination as it is the home to Finland’s two largest national parks – The Lemmenjoki National Park and Urho Kekkonen National Park. Well-marked trails and Finland’s densest network of wilderness cabins create a unique setting for hikers. The possibilities are endless and suit everyone. You can go for a multiday trekking adventure, or on a short day trip with the whole family.
Urho Kekkonen National Park
Urho Kekkonen National Park is among Finland’s most popular outdoor destinations. The northern part consists of highland fells and wilderness, with several fells exceeding 500 metres in height. The National Park is easy to access from Saariselkä. Here you can trek on foot or skis through magnificent arctic landscapes. Enjoy the Northern Lights in the winter and autumn and midnight sun in the summertime. The park area boasts Finland’s densest network of day cabins and wilderness huts.
The National Park can be safely enjoyed on day trips due to the several well-marked trails. In the winter there are tracks for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. In the summertime, hikers and mountain bikers can enjoy the trails.
Lemmenjoki is the largest national park in Finland. It is also one of the biggest roadless wilderness in Europe. Stretching over 70 kilometres, the River Lemmenjoki flows through the national park. River Lemmenjoki is known for its gold panning history. Gold is still actively panned for today and travellers can try gold panning on a guided tour.
Lemmenjoki is best experienced on a riverboat cruise that takes you to the Lemmenjoki National Park and the beautiful scenery of the goldfields. Signposted trails, wilderness huts and rental cabins facilitate hiking in the Lemmenjoki valley. Visit Ravadas waterfalls, Joenkielinen fell, the Homestead of Kaapin Jouni, goldfields and much more!
The Kevo Nature Reserve is among the most rugged hiking attractions in Finland. There are two marked, rather demanding hiking trails (63km and 86km). At Sulaoja, between villages Karigasniemi and Kaamanen, there is a two-kilometre long nature trail.
This unique area is a prime habitat for rare birds. Access is restricted to signposted trails. The heart of the nature reserve consists of a canyon spanning 40km in length and at some places 80 metres in depth. Rest of the nature reserve is fell highland crossed by gentle slopes of ravines. There are also vast tundra-like open mires. Kevo is a stunning hiking destination to enjoy under the midnight sun. Hiking the trails require a good physical condition.
The six wilderness areas in Inari-Saariselkä region are vast and uninhabited areas that have remained in a near-natural state. Here you can roam around for days without running into another person. Only traditional means of livelihood can be practised in the wilderness areas. These include hunting, fishing and reindeer husbandry.
The aim for these protected areas is to conserve their rugged wild nature and to preserve the local culture and livelihoods. Hiking and skiing are allowed. It should be noted that these areas are suitable only for experienced trekkers. Wilderness areas of Inari-Saariselkä include Hammastunturi, Kaldoaivi, Paistunturi, Muotkatunturi, Tsarmitunturi and Vätsäri.
Inari Hiking Area is located around the village of Inari. It starts at Lake Myössäjärvi, along Inari – Ivalo road, and continues to the northern side of Juutuanjoki River. From there it covers the area to the south until Lake Solojärvi along Inari – Kittilä road. Towards the East, the hiking area includes half of Lake Inarijärvi.
The hiking area has numerous marked trails and interesting sights. Jäniskoski rapids, Otsamo fell and Pielpajärvi Wilderness Church are just a few to mention.
There are many ways you can enjoy the outdoors! Go on a hiking trip, or head out to the wild on a mountain bike. In the winter, snowshoes are a must to explore the Lappish nature off the beaten tracks.
Before heading out to the wild, get familiar with the principals of hiking and outdoor life in Finland. Here you will find practical information on how to enjoy the great outdoors of Finland and regulations to follow.