From a physical geography perspective the Saariselkä area is located in Northern Lapland and Forest Lapland. The highest fells in the Saariselkä Area are Kiilopää Fell (546 m), Kaunispää Fell (437 m) and Iisakkipää Fell (454 m). The northern boundary of the spruce zone leads through the area, which means that in the area's northern portion spruce forests are replaced by pine forests.

View from Kaunispää. Photo: Martti Rikkonen

The views from the Saariselkä fell tops are phenomenal; to the east and south there is a view of the fell area in Urho Kekkonen National Park and the Nattastunturit Fells in Sompio Strict Nature Reserve. To the northwest you can see Hammaskaira through which the wilderness-like River Ivalojoki flows.

What are the white flowers which I can see all over the area?

The Dwarf Cornel (cornus suecica ) is the flower which paints the trail sides white during midsummer. The leaves on the flowers are not petals as one might think, but rather protective leaves. Closer inspection reveals that the actual blossom is in the centre of these leaves and is small and black. In autumn the Dwarf Cornel's leaves turn red and is an exceptionally splendorous sight during ruska-season. The Dwarf Cornel's berries are red and look temptingly delicious. They are, however, tasteless and floury and birds thrive on them, but humans may not find them as appealing. The berries are not poisonous.

The Dwarf Cornel. Photo: Nina Raasakka

Ruska-season

Ruska begins each year at the same latitude at approximately the same time. Ruska comes about as the amount of sunlight decreases and thus a clear difference forms between day and night. Ruska begins at ground level slightly before it can be seen in trees. At Saariselkä's latitude the best time to experience ruska is the two first weeks of September.

Will there be mosquitoes next summer?

The mosquito population varies greatly each year. If there is a lot of rain and humidity, it is probable that there will be an abundance of mosquitoes, as their larva develops in water. If on the other hand it is dry, the mosquito population may be almost nonexistent. However, there are always mosquitoes along river and stream banks and during windless weather there may be enough for them to cause a nuisance. They tend not to be a bother on fell slopes and in open spaces. During summer when staying overnight in the terrain, for example, at an open wilderness hut, we recommend that you have a mosquito net at hand, which can be hung above your bed. This will ensure you get a good night's rest.

More Information on Nature in the Surrounding Area