Kilpisjärvi - Saarijärvi 11 km
The starting point for Nordkalottleden Trail is at the southern end of Kilpisjärvi Village on the grounds of Kilpisjärvi Visitor Centre. Another starting point for the trail is located at the north end of Kilpisjärvi Village at the local tourist centre Kilpisjärven Retkeilykeskus. If setting off from this second starting point the distance to Saarijärvi increases significantly.
When departing from Kilpisjärvi towards Halti the first sight along the trail is Saanatunturi Fell, which is on the edge of Kilpisjärvi Village. Saanatunturi Fell is a dominant feature of the landscape all the way from Kilpisjärvi to Saarijärvi.
The two trails which start at the south and north ends of Kilpisjärvi meet up at the mouth of the river which flows out of Lake Tsahkaljärvi. The trail then continues along the south side of the lake and turns north east. There are bridges across both the river which flows from and the one that flows into the lake.
At the foot of Muurivaara Hill the trail crosses into Norway for a while. No permits are needed for crossing the national border, but those things which must be declared at customs can not be taken across the border.
The terrain around Saarijärvi open wilderness hut is rocky, but there are a couple of places to set up tents near by. There is a bridge across the river which flows by the hut.
Saarijärvi - Meekonjärvi 19 km
On the north side of Lake Saarijärvi the trail enters Käsivarsi Wilderness Area, which is the largest wilderness area located in the municipality of Enontekiö. From Saarijärvi the route climbs up a slightly boggy slope between the Fells Tuolljehuhput and Kuonjarvarri. The next stretch, Kuonjarvaggi, is rocky; but the going is fairly easy.
Descending to the hut at the River Kuonarjoki the first large cliffs come in view. The cliff ways drop vertically from a height of 200 metres. At the foot of the cliffs there are great boulders, which have dislodged from the cliff walls.
From the hut at Kuonarjoki the trail leads along a level, easy-to-travel path through Meekonlaakso Valley. Meekonjärvi open and reservable wilderness hut are situated in the valley between the hills Saivaara, Meekonpahta and Annjalonji. There is a bridge across the River Pierfejohka.
Meekonjärvi - Pihtsusjärvi 12 km
Saivaara, a high and exceptional looking hill rises on the south side of Porojärvi Valley. On top of this hill there is a memorial plaque for Finland's former president Urho Kekkonen. If you wish to see this memorial plaque you can climb to the top of the hill from its east side.
On the west side of Lake Meekonjärvi Nordkalottleden Trail travels below a high cliff wall through rocky terrain and continues towards Lake Vuomakasjärvi, where there is a bridge across the river. After hiking across Vuobmegasvarri Fell you will come to Pihtsusköngäs Falls which fall from a height of 17 metres. The falls are one the sights along the trail, and this is a wonderful place for hikers to stop and take photos.
From the falls the trail continues along easy to cross terrain by the river bank and along the shore of Lake Pihtsusjärvi to the Pihtsusjärvi open and reservable wilderness huts.
Halti Fell, Route Option 1: Setting off from Lake Lossujärvi
If you do not wish to travel along Nordkalottleden Trail between Kilpisjärvi and Halti and back again, there is an alternate starting point. From the main road (E 8) on the Norwegian side of the border it is an 11 km hike along the bank of the River Didnujoki to Lossujärvi cabin. From there it is a further 12 km to Nordkalottleden Trail. This section of trail has not been marked in the terrain, so a map of this part of Norway (Helligskogen 1:50 000) is necessary.
The easiest way to get to Lake Lossujärvi from Nordkalottleden Trail is to circle around the north side of the Lake Vuomakasjärvi and other bodies of water. Hikers can cross the River Pihtsusjoki at the wading spot, which is located next to a Border Guard lookout hut. There is no bridge across the River Vuomakasjoki, though some maps show there to be one.
Pihtsusjärvi - Halti 12 km
A separate trail turns off Nordkalottleden Trail at Pihtsusjärvi hut. It leads to Halti, Finland's highest point, which rises to 1324 m. Halti open wilderness hut and Halti open/reservable wilderness hut are located 1,5 km west of the Halti trail on the north shore of Lake Haltijärvi. There is a guestbook at the top of Halti Fell, which those who have conquered the hill can sign.
From Halti hikers can travel back to Kilpisjärvi along Nordkalottleden via Lake Pihtsusjärvi, Meeko, and the River Kuonjarjoki. If you do not wish to return along the same route along which you came you can also get to the road leading to Kilpisjärvi via Lake Lossujärvi.
Halti Fell, Route Option 2: Halti Fell - Lake Guolasjärvi
From Halti Fell it is possible to head north for 10 km, over the border into Norway and to Lake Guolasjärvi. The trail between Halti and Guolasjärvi is not marked in the terrain. Before setting out you should get a map of this area of Norway (Ráisduottarháldi 1:50 000) and make sure you have a compass.
The high, rugged area of Halti/Raisduottarhaldi is located at the centre of rapidly changing weather fronts; an impenetrable fog may form very quickly, and it may last for several hours, even days, at its worst. In thick fog even those experienced in orienteering may quickly lose their way. After fog or rain, the stones covered with moss and lichen are surprisingly slippery. In addition, snow patches of various sizes that may look easy to walk on are also risky, as the surface of the snow may be dangerously slippery or the crusty snow may collapse under you. In both cases the consequences can be very serious. The Guolasjärvi-Halti Trail is only recommended for very experienced hikers.
Mobile phone coverage is only available in the highest areas. Finnish operators can only be reached when close to the location of the guestbook box on top of Halti Fell or upon seeing the Ritnicohkka radio link mast.
There is a road leading from Lake Guolasjärvi to Kåfjordbotn and on to Skibotn. During summer a coach (www.matkahuolto.fi) travels from Finland to Skibotn. The distance from Guolasjärvi to Kåfjordbotn is about 30 km. The road is narrow and at parts in poor condition. The distance from Guolasjärvi to Kilpisjärvi is about 120 km.
A More Detailed Description of the Route Halti - Guolasjávri - Kåfjorddalen
From Halti Fell it is possible to head north over the border into Norway, to Raisduottarhaldi (2 km, height 1361m) and to Lake Guolasjärvi (5km).From the top of Raisduottahaldi the trail goes down to height 1326. From there the trail follows the ridge to northwest. After that trail goes to west, passes height 1176 on the eastside and continues towards north. Heights 898 and 852 passes on the southside. After that the reindeer fence passes through the small gate and trail goes to the parking lot on the east end of Guolasjärvi.
The rocky surroundings at Ráisduottarháldi are considerably more difficult to travel across than the terrain in the Halti area in Finland. The rain makes the lichen covered stones to become dangerously slippery.It is also worth to notice that a fog can cover the area in mere moments. The trail is not marked in the terrain.
From the parking lot it is possible to go further to Kåfjorddalen via gravel road or easy terrain ((e.g.. Ruvdajávri-Gaskkamus Áhkkejávri-Guolásjohka). Distance from parking lot to Paulanhytta (open cabin) is 14km. From Paulanhytta goes a fine and marked trail (2km) to spectacular Gorsabrua. Gorsabrua-bridge goes over a 153m deep canyon, with an amazing view to a waterfall which fall the bottom of the canyon. From Gorsabrua it is possible to go further via historic Fossevegen to parking lot Fossesvingen (2km), or go down along the west side of the canyon to old Ankerlia mining area and to Ankerlia parking lot (4km). Both trails are easy and marked. The gravel road from Kåfjorddalen to Guolasjärvi is suitable for normal car, but it can be partly in poor condition.
Pihtsusjärvi - Somashytta 13 km
From Lake Pihtsusjärvi the actual Nordkalottleden Trail turns eastward and climbs over Lovttokielas. The trail passes between two small lakes and continues along the banks of the River Kopmajoki to Lake Somasjärvi. Kopmajoki open wilderness hut is on the shore of the River Kopmajoki.
In Finland the trail is marked with 40 cm high brown bricks, but after crossing the border into Norway the trail is marked with stone signs. About 100 m above the River Rahpesjohka on the hillside just west of Lake Somasjärvi there is an open hut (www.ut.no, in Norwegian) owned by Statskog-Troms. The hut sleeps 8 persons.
Somashytta - Saraelv 35 km
From Somas the trail follows an ATV track along the north-eastern edge of Coalbmevaggi. The terrain is easy to travel treeless tundra. A separate trail leading to Saraelv turns off the ATV track. Hikers can find accommodation either at Sappen or Saraelv. The closest shop is located in Storslet 49 km from Saraelv.
Saraelv - Nedrefosshytta 27 km
From Saraelv Nordkalottleden follows the bank of the River Reisaelva through Reisdalen Valley. The landscape is covered by lush green leafed forest and it is therefore difficult to find a place to set up camp. At some points there are rocky areas where reach the river bank while at other points the trail climbs to higher land and leads through pine forest. During August and September huge raspberry bushes hinder hiking. The trail however is marked and clearly visible.
Before setting off on a hike you should know what the areas water level is as when moving on from Saraelv through Reisdalen Valley there are several small rivers which you will have to cross. When these rivers flood the terrain in the Reisaelva area can difficult to hike across. During rainy summers or early summer when the rivers are flooding its possible that Nordkalottleden in its entirety and its trail marking are completely covered by water. If waters are this high you can hike from Saraelv to Vuomadathytta hut along a fell trail which travels at a higher altitude. This trail is not marked however and you will need maps of Norway (Raisduottarhaldi and Mollesjohka) to find your way.
The first three huts upstream from Saraelv are owned by Statskog (www.statskog.no, in Norwegian). Ansamukka hut is located 3 km from Saraelv on the opposite shore of Raisaelva and it is locked. Sieimahytta hut is also owned by Statskog and located on the east side of the River Reisaelva. The wilderness hut is divided into two parts of which one side is open and the other locked. Ansamukka hut and the locked side of Sieimahytta hut are not in use because of their poor condition.There is a boat on the bank of the River Reisaelv so that hikers can get across. If the boat is on the wrong side of the river hikers can wade across if the waters are low. There is a suitable wading place a few hundred metres upstream from the wilderness hut. Rodhytta hut is a locked maintenance hut owned by Statskog.
Those hiking along Nordkalottleden Trail can see the magnificent Mållesfossen Falls, which is one of Europe's highest waterfalls (269 m). The falls are located in the River Mollesjohka a tributary of the River Reisaelv. Mollesjohka flows into Reisaelv from the east. If hikers want to get close to the waterfall they must first cross the River Reisaelv.
About 2 km upstream from the falls there is a small turf-roofed hut owned by Statskog-Troms called Vuomadathytta. This turf hut is located by the trail. About 5 km from this hut is another turf-roofed hut Stakarhytta on the shore of the River Reisaelva. The next hut after this is Nedrefosshytta (www.ut.no, in Norwegian) about 2 km upstream from Stakarhytta. There is a hanging bridge across the river. At this point it is also possible to climb up a cliff wall to admire the view to the entire breadth canyon.
Nedrefosshytta - Raisjärvi 30 km
About 3 km upstream hikers will find the Imfossen Falls. The waterfall and its surrounding area are considered the most magnificent sights on Nordkalottleden Trail. The trail to the waterfall is at parts steep and rocky. Hikers should be cautious as during rainy times especially the trail above the canyon can be dangerous. After the waterfall for about 1 km the river follows a 50 - 75 m deep canyon. Above the falls there is a small open wilderness hut, which sleeps two hikers.
The trail climbs gently up from the valley to the peak and meanders to Lake Raisjärvi over rocky terrain occasionally leading through fell-birch forest. About 3 km in the direction of Lake Raisjärvi from Imfossen Falls there is a small open turf hut on the bank of the River Luvddijoki. The turf hut has room for two and is equipped with a wood stove. Hikers will find the turf hut if they turn left off of Nordkalottleden Trail right before arriving at the River Luvddijoki. There are no signposts to the hut. The turf hut is situated on the north side of the river about 300 - 400 metres from Nordkalottleden Trail.
At the top of Bouzuoaivvi the trail follows the edge of a bog. Make sure you do not lose the trail. The River Njargajåkka is the most difficult on the trail to cross, but when the water level is low you can wade across in rubber boots.
At the north end of Raisluobbal the route turns and leads through a bog between Jalgesvarri and Aitevarri, and joins an all-terrain-vehicle track on the slopes of Hålvinvarri. The bogs on either side of Ciegnaljåkk are difficult to travel. The river can be waded across if you have rubber boots.
Hikers arrive at Reisavanhytta hut (www.statskog.no), which is owned by Statskog-Troms, after passing by a transformer station on the west side of Lieggascårro. From the hut you can proceed to Kautokeino along the road which leads to the Bidjovaggen mines. The distance to Kautokeino along this route is 40 km.
Raisjärvi - Kautokeino 51 km
This section of the trail is marked with orange-red paint markings on birch trunks and rocks. The trail leads over the top of Rivkus and after Jeageloaivi turns southeast over the northern point of Doelljadasvaara Hill and from there by the north shore of Lake Majanasjavri to Cuonovuoppi fell hut. The trail travels through birch and willow forest and the terrain is boggy at parts. You can get to Cuonovuoppi hut from Kautokeino Village by car.
The trail continues through fell-birch forest over the top of Goaskinvarri. It then turns east past Lake Addjetjavri and Boeccegasvarri to their north and leads to Buletjavri. The end point for Nordkalottleden Trail is at the Buletjavri Camping Ground, which is located about 2,5 km from the centre of Kautokeino Village.