Instructions on Exploring Saariselkä Area

In the Saariselkä Area it is

Allowed

  • Hiking and camping are allowed in the area as Everyman's Rights (www.ym.fi) outside of Urho Kekkonen National Park and Sompio Strict Nature Reserve.
  • Picking berries and mushrooms

Restricted

Forbidden

  • Lighting campfires if the forest fire warning is in effect
  • Pets running at large
  • Leaving waste in the area, or damaging constructions.

Hiking and camping are more restricted within Urho Kekkonen National Park and Sompio Strict Nature Reserve, please read their instructions separately.

Preparations

Mobile Phone Coverage

  • Although Finland's mobile phone networks have a good coverage, there are areas of poor reception in Saariselkä Area. Check the coverage with your phone operator. There are also always places where mobile phones do not function or there are disruptions. In these kinds of situations finding higher ground, an open area and/or removing the SIM card for emergency calls may help. Remember that there are differences in reception between different phone models.
  • 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.

Rautulampi day trip hut. Photo: Pertti Mäkelä

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safety

  • Do not set off on your own into the terrain or stray or part from your group. In the event of an emergency or accident it will be far more difficult to get help on your own without the aid of a group. Hiking companions are an irreplaceable help when in need.
  • Before setting off on a trek, visitors can leave a detailed route plan for their own safety with a friend or at a customer service point. If your route changes during the course of your trek, if at all possible, inform the person or place you have left your route plan of the change in plan. Remember to also notify the recipient when you return from your trek. In the Saariselkä area route plans can be left at Kiehinen Customer Service, Fell Centre Kiilopää or any place of lodging.
  • In the fells weather conditions may change very abruptly. A swift fog or snow storm may cause dangerous situations. Always have a map and a compass with you, even when hiking along marked trails.
  • Hiking during winter is extremely demanding. The weather and natural light conditions are difficult in midwinter, as the temperature can drop to as low as -40 degrees Celsius and during the Kaamos-season daylight is limited to only a few hours a day.
  • Especially when travelling on long hiking trails you need have confidence in your orienteering skills. You must also be prepared for emergency situations, such as camping overnight in the forest.
  • Late winter is a popular ski trekking time, but even then you must be properly prepared. You can ski along maintained and marked ski trails on normal cross country skis, but if you wish to ski off trails you will need forest skis.
  • Always be cautious when following a snowmobile track. Getting lost is always dangerous during winter. Winter trekking is best suited for experienced wilderness trekkers.
  • Some of the area's campfire sites are equipped with a saw and an axe, but most do not. Especially during winter we advise that trekkers bring their own saw and/or axe with them.
  • 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. 
  • Read more on safety and hiking skills on the Hiking in Finland pages.

Equipment

  • When hiking in the area surrounding Saariselkä, even when opting for marked and maintained trails hikers should always carry a map, an extra set of clothing, a knife, food and matches with them. When opting to hike off the marked trails in the terrain hikers must find their way using a map and compass and should plan thoroughly for this.
  • Read more on hiking equipment on the Hiking in Finland pages.
  • Please take the environment into consideration when hiking.

Peak Seasons

  • The peak seasons for hiking in the Saariselkä area are from March to April and from June to September. During late winter the area is very popular amongst skiers, during summer hikers and fishers fill the area.

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!