Hiking Ski cross - country off trails Fishing Walk on a marked trail Pick berries and mushrooms Canoeing Sights and scenery Visit a Nature Centre Walk on a nature trail Visit in a information hut

What can one do in Käsivarsi Wilderness Area?

Wilderness hike

The uplands of the Käsivarsi fell area are perfect for true hiking enthusiasts. The Nordic Nordkalottleden Trail, with a total length of 800 km, passes through the wilderness area. Around 80 km of the trail is located in the Käsivarsi area. Services along the Nordkalottleden Trail ensure that also inexperienced hikers can enjoy the Yliperä  wilderness. Read more.

A girl skiing in Kilpisjärvi Area. Photo: Sauli Koski

Cross-terrain skiing

There are no marked ski trails in the wilderness area but skiers can follow the snowmobile track and the route marked with sticks leading to Halti Fell. In spring, the crust of the snow is often hard enough to ski on anywhere. In winter, the harshness of the conditions can take skiers by surprise, so inexperienced skiers are strongly advised to practise around Kilpisjärvi before venturing any deeper into the wilderness. The options include the trail around the Saana Fell (12 km) or around the Salmivaara Hill (10 km), and the trail to the Three Nations' Border Point (22 km). Read more.

Fishing

Käsivarsi is an excellent destination for fly and lure fishers, as well as for ice fishers in winter. Fish in the area include trout, arctic char, grayling, whitefish, pikeperch, and pike. Hook-and line- fishing and ice fishing are permitted under public rights of access; no permit is needed. Note that this only applies to still water.

  • To fish with hook and line or ice fish at Lake Toskaljärvi, Lake Luohtojärvi, and Peera Pond, an angling permit 1551 for the Enontekiö Wilderness Area is required (www.eräluvat.fi).
  • Persons aged 18-64 years must pay fisheries management fee (www.eraluvat.fi) for angling.
  • To fish at Lätäseno, a fishing permit (1550) for Lätäseno (www.eräluvat.fi) must be bought. The permit entitles the permit holder to fish in the Poroeno area, from the mouth of Harrijoki River onwards. The permit excludes Vähäkurkkio in Lätäseno. Fishing permit 1552 for Könkämäeno (www.eraluvat.fi, in Finnish) is required to fish at Könkämäeno between Vuosku and Kilpisjärvi (www.eräluvat.fi, in Finnish). In addition, fishing permit 2502 for Rajajoki (www.eraluvat.fi) entitles the permit holder to fish salmon in the area extending all the way to Kilpisjärvi.
  • Fishers need to check the restrictions on fishing sites at kalastusrajoitus.fi (In Finnish).

Fishing permits are sold by the Eräluvat online store (www.eraluvat.fi), at Metsähallitus customer service points, and by local businesses.

Käsivarsi Wilderness Area is a dreamland for fishermen. Photo: Seija Olkkonen

Other Activities

  • Geocaching: Geocaches are found all over the world including the Käsivarsi area. Read more (www.geocache.fi).
  • Dog Sledding: Read the intructions.
  • Plants: The Yliperä highland is a paradise for plant enthusiasts, and easily entice explorers to take excursions to the fells of the neighbouring countries also.
  • Bird watching: The call of a rough-legged buzzard nesting on a rocky cliff will stay with you always.
  • Nature trails: Visitors can stop in the Iitto Village on their way to Kilpisjärvi and take a break along the Palsasuo Nature Trail (500 m). Saana Nature Trail (5 km) introduces fell nature and history of the Lappish War. Read more.
  • Nature centre: The exhibition At the Edge of Scandinavia at Kilpisjärvi Nature Centre introduces the origins of the high-rise fell area. The nature centre has the latest information on local natural conditions and services. Read more.
  • Mountain Biking: There are no marked mountain biking routes, but independent enthusiasts have discovered the tracks used by locals.
  • Berry and mushroom picking: It is hard to find a more pleasing berry-picking spot than a blueberry-covered slope of the Saana Fell, or a swamp laden with cloudberries in the higher regions of the fell area. Finding the mushrooms before reindeer get to them is a challenge but worth a try!
  • Canoeing: The most popular canoeing route in the Käsivarsi Wilderness Area is the extremely demanding Poroeno-Lätäseno route (100 km).
  • Hunting: For hunters, the Käsivarsi Wilderness Area is a place to hunt for willow grouse. Even if you come back from the hunt empty-handed, you are guaranteed to enjoy the wilderness. Read more (www.eräluvat.fi).
  • Snowmobiling: The snowmobiling track from Hetta to Kilpisjärvi and the Victoria trail along the river dividing Finland from Sweden take the visitor to a landscape that continues to dazzle even the local snowmobile rider who are well familiar with it.  Read more.
  • Sights and the views:  Arriving at Kilpisjärvi is a striking experience. The Saana Fell with its steep and rocky cliffs rises sharply from the shore. The view from the top is one of the most starkly beautiful in Finland.
  • Guided trips and safaris: The Käsivarsi Wilderness Area can be difficult to reach on one's own. Local partners serve the visitors, making their trip a once in a lifetime experience.
  • Trekking: Anyone can enjoy the fells in the Käsivarsi Wilderness area regardless of hiking experience. There are several day trip destinations in the vicinity of the Kilpisjärvi Village that pass in the fell landscape. Read more.
  • Swimming: Swimming in a fell lake that thaws only by midsummer is an unforgettable experience. There is no official beach.
  • Volunteer activities: All the magnificent nature destinations require constant maintenance to keep them accessible and pleasant. Also, we are always on the lookout for and grateful to photographers and bloggers who share their findings and experiences of the natural environment.

Suggested trips

Suggestions for winter:

  • Half a day: A skiing trip around Salmivaara Hill (8 km)
  • 1 day: A skiing trip from the Hiking Centre to the Three Nations' Border Point and back (20 km)
  • 2 days: A skiing trip from Kilpisjärvi Nature Centre to Saarijärvi wilderness hut and back (24 km)

Suggestions for spring:

  • Half a day: A snowshoeing trip from Kilpisjärvi Nature Centre to Lake Tsahkaljärvi (2 km)
  • 1 day: A snowshoeing trip from the Hiking Centre to the peak of Saana Fell and back (8 km)
  • 2 days: A skiing trip from Ailakkalahti to the Ailakkajärvi wilderness hut and back (16 km)
  • 3 days: A skiing trek from Kilpisjärvi Nature Centre to Meekonjärvi reservation hut and back (72 km)

Suggestions for summer:

  • Half a day: Malla Strict Nature Reserve and the Three Nations' Border Point (15 km) on M/S Malla
  • 1 day: Hiking to the peak of the Saana Fell from the Hiking Centre (8 km)
  • 2 days: A trek from Kilpisjärvi Nature Centre to Saarijärvi wilderness hut and back (24 km)
  • 3 days: A trip to the shore of the Arctic Ocean and glaciers in Skibotn and Tromsø in Norway by car (160 km)

Suggestions in autumn:

  • Half a day: A trip from the village centre to the peak of Salmivaara Hill (2 km)
  • 1 day: Hiking the Saana Nature Trail (6 km)
  • 2 days: Trekking to Lake Terbmisjärvi (30 km)
  • 3 days: A hike along the Nordkalottleden Trail towards the Halti Fell or Sweden