National Parks of Inari-Saariselkä
Inari-Saariselkä is a popular outdoor destination as it is home to Finland’s two biggest 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 and outdoor enthusiasts. The possibilities are endless and suit everyone – you can go for multiday trekking adventures in the wilderness, or on a short walk with children to the close-by fireplace.
Urho Kekkonen National Park
The Urho Kekkonen National Park is the second-largest of Finland’s national parks and a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The northern part consists of highland fells and wilderness, with several fells exceeding 500 metres in height. The National Park extends East from the outdoor resort of Saariselkä to the Russian border. 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 most renowned attractions of the wilderness zone of Urho Kekkonen National Park are Lake Luirojärvi, Paratiisikuru Gorge and Sokosti Fell.
The National Park can be safely enjoyed also on day trips due to the several well-marked and themed trails. The trails start from Saariselkä, Kiilopää and Kakslauttanen. In the wintertime there are trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and winter walking and in the summertime for hiking and mountain biking.
Lemmenjoki National Park
Lemmenjoki is the largest national park in Finland. It is also one of the largest 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 by 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 greatly facilitate hiking in the Lemmenjoki valley and the goldfields. Visit Ravadas waterfalls, Joenkielinen fell top, the Home Stead of Kaapin Jouni, goldfields and much more! Finland’s largest national park has plenty of wild places to explore off the beaten track.
Kevo Strict Nature Reserve
The Kevo Nature Reserve is among the most rugged hiking attractions in Finland. There are two marked, rather demanding hiking trails of 63km and 86km. At Sulaoja, between villages Karigasniemi and Kaamanen, there is a two-kilometre long nature trail. The 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 80m in-depth. At the bottom of the canyon flows the Kevojoki River. The 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 Sámi culture and livelihoods. Hiking and skiing are allowed, but 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
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 exciting sights. Jäniskoski rapids, Otsamo fell and Pielpajärvi Wilderness Church are interesting sights to visit.