Instructions for those hiking in Oulanka National Park

If you set off on a winter trip in Oulanka, please bear in mind that the ice on streaming rivers - especially the ice on the Oulankajoki River - can be fragile throughout the season. Do be careful when walking on ice.  

Tengmalm's owls. Photo: Olli Lamminsalo

In the National Park, the Following Are

Allowed

  • Hiking, skiing, row boating and canoeing except restricted areas in Korvasvaara, Juuma och border zone
  • Picking berries and mushrooms
  • Angling and ice fishing except restricted areas (Aventolampi, Haaralampi and Savilampi).

Restricted

  • Making campfires and camping in the open. This is only permitted at sites marked for these purposes.
  • Cycling is only permitted on roads and on the designated trail from Taivalköngäs to Oulanka Visitor Centre (9 km).

Forbidden

  • Lighting campfires if the forest fire warning is in effect
  • Pets running at large
  • Taking or damaging trees, bushes, other plants or their parts, or mushrooms other than edible ones
  • Damaging soil or rock, and extraction of earth material or minerals
  • Killing, catching or disturbing wild vertebrates, or damaging their nests
  • Catching or collecting invertebrates
  • Driving motor vehicles, except on roads designated for motor vehicles
  • Leaving waste in the area, or damaging constructions
  • Fishing in the restricted area of Pesosjärvi.

Preparations

Get information on lodging, food stocking places, bathing possibilities, the weather and the best season for hiking before setting-off. Good advice never hurt anyone!

Seasons

  • In Kuusamo leaves change colour from mid-September to the beginning of October, when the first freezing weather causes them to fall from the trees.
  • Winter in the Koillismaa region is harsh, due to sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall. We recommend winter trekking only for the more experienced.
  • Permanent snow generally falls around mid-October. An average of 85 cm of snow falls each year. The lowest temperature ever recorded at Kiutaköngäs is -46 °C.
  • Spring arrives in the Koillismaa region in the last week of April as the days get longer.
  • The annual spring flood normally begins in mid-May and waters stay at a higher level to the beginning of June, when calypsos (Calypso bulbosa) begin to bloom.
  • Summer begins only around mid-June when the ground has thawed.

Mosquitoes

In Kuusamo mosquitoes appear in late June after Mid-Summer and disappear with the first freezing temperatures of September. These whining mosquitoes are joined in the late summer by sand flies and midges. The period when there are the most mosquitoes is called "räkkä".

Tourist Season

The majority of Oulanka's 200,000 annual visitors come during summer. The main tourist season starts in the end of June and lasts to the end of August. The Pieni Karhunkierros Trail, the Karhunkierros Hiking Trail and the Kiutaköngäs Rapids are the most popular places among visitors.

Safety

It is important that you get as much information as possible about your hiking destination in advance and prepare for your trip thoroughly. Knowing your route and sticking to it and knowing what the weather has in store, will help make your trip a success. It is also good to know if the forest fire warning is in effect. The Rukatunturi-Oulanka 1:50 000 outdoor map is very good to have when setting-off on a hike.

  • Fire and Rescue Services can reach even the most demanding locations. Oulanka National Park's Fire and Evacuation Plan is updated annually.
  • Information about the safety and equipments of canoeing: Turvallista melontaa (www.melontajasoutuliitto.fi, in Finnish) and Melontaopas (melonta.wasalab.com, in Finnish).
  • If you face an emergency on your hike, e.g. get lost, get injured or observe wildfire, call 112 and report an emergency. More information on how to act in an emergency.
  • Make sure you pack a first-aid kit.
  • Hiking in Finland:
  • Before your trip see also page What is New.

Mobile Phone Coverage

  • Although Finland has a broad network for mobile phones, there are some areas in the park where cliffs or forest block signals. There may also be some smaller spots where there is interference. If this happens try to climb to a higher place or go into an open area. It may be worth removing the SIM card from your phone and then trying again to make emergency call. Different phones also differ in their coverage.
  • Mobile telephones work quite well in Oulanka National Park, except in some gorges and canyons.
  • We recommend that you keep your mobile phone warm at all times and take along food and drink. Certain phone models do not work when the temperature falls below zero. You should therefore let someone know your planned route. To keep your mobile phone charged, bring along a spare power source, a spare battery or an old phone with a working battery.

Waste Management

  • In Oulanka National Park visitors must abide by the rules of Hiking without Littering.
  • The National Park and Karhunkierros Hiking Trail have three recycling points. Visitors can recycle for example glass and metal at these points as well as hazardous waste such as batteries.
  • Visitors are asked to burn paper and cardboard at campfire sites and to place organic waste in dry toilets.

Emergency number 112

In case of an emergency along the way, for example if you get lost or injured or see a forest fire, dial 112. Detailed instructions.

Dogs must be kept on a leash! Photo: Seppo Leinonen

Dogs must be kept on a leash!