Golden river valley at the heart of Finland's largest national park
The biggest National Park
Lemmenjoki boasts Finland’s largest national park, where breath-taking sceneries appeal to hikers and canoeists. Stretching over 70 kilometres, the River Lemmenjoki flows through the national park. Traditional riverboats are still in good use and take visitors to the national park and the legendary goldfields according to daily schedule. Lemmenjoki can be reached through the international airport of Ivalo and the village of Inari. Road 955 leads from Inari through the village of Pokka, towards the ski resort Levi and airport of Kittilä.
Lemmenjoki enjoys a long history as the home of gold panning. Gold-diggers still reside in the area today and visitors have an opportunity to experience the thrill of panning for gold in guided tours. There are plenty of interesting sights within easy reach – for example Ravadas waterfalls, Joenkielinen fell and the Home Stead of Kaapin Jouni. Finland’s largest national park has also a lot to explore off the beaten track. You can spend days and days trekking in the wilderness, experiencing the silence and the world’s purest nature. Better yet – while enjoying the Aurora Borealis or the Midnight Sun!
Local sights in Lemmenjoki
Lemmenjoki National Park
Lemmenjoki is the largest national park in Finland, as well as one of the largest uninhabited and roadless wilderness areas in Europe. Stretching over 70 kilometres, the River Lemmenjoki flows through the national park. Signposted trails, wilderness huts, rental cabins and designated campfire sites greatly facilitate hiking in the Lemmenjoki river valley and the surrounding majestic fells.
Visitors can experience the true essence of Lapland’s wilderness and gold panning lifestyle on a day trip to Lemmenjoki. The magical wilderness is also sure to inspire trekkers to embark on even longer journeys. Hop on a riverboat or pack a lunchbox and hike along signposted trails to experience the beauty of the fells rising up from the river valley. Visit the “reindeer king” Kaapin Jouni’s historic farm and get to know the everyday culture of the local Sámi people via guided tours organised by local entrepreneurs.
Ravadas falls, Ravadasköngäs in Finnish, is among the most beautiful attractions of the Lemmenjoki National Park. The waterfall is located in the confluence of the rivers Lemmenjoki and Ravadasjoki and is accessible by foot via signposted trails or by taking a riverboat ride. There is a wilderness hut situated nearby the waterfall. Ravadas Falls are located in the national park’s restricted access zone where walking is only allowed on the marked trails.
The farm of Kaapin Jouni
The homestead of Kaapin Jouni, located in the northern end of Lake Sotkajärvi, is the historical residence of a famous Sámi family. The farm was established in the late 19th century and has been inhabited ever since. The farm was set up by Menes-Antti, or Karhu-Antti, whose real name was Antti Juhaninpoika Morottaja (1853-1907). The most famous member and patriarch of the family, Jouni Aikio (Kaapin Jouni, 1875-1956), known as the “reindeer king”, moved into the farm after Menes-Antti. The government acquired the Kaapin Jouni farm in 2002, and it is now part of the Lemmenjoki National Park. The last member of the family moved out of the farm in 2004.
Joenkielinen is a fell that provides a great view of the Lemmenjoki river valley and surrounding wilderness. There is a marked round trail going to the top and along the river valley, making this hike an excellent day trip.