Starting Points for Trips

There is no recommended walking direction for the Piilola Trail; you can walk it from south to north or vice versa. The easiest way to hike on the Piilola Trail is to walk some of the stretch back and forth, as the trail's northern and southern starting points are located far from each other by road. Public transport services do not quite connect the starting points but local tourism entrepreneurs provide transport services.

Photo: Pasi Nivasalo

Starting Points for Excursions 

  • The Piilola Trail's southern starting point is situated along Kessintie in the southern part of the Vätsäri Wilderness Area, some 14 km northeast of the village of Nellim.  
  • The trail's northern starting point is located on the shores of Lake Sortbrysttjern in the northeastern part of Øvre Pasvik National Park, some 11 km southwest of the village of Vaggetem. 

Trail Sections

Below, the Piilola Trail has been divided into sections (according to accommodation opportunities) from south to north, i.e. from Finland to Norway. 
  • Kessintie–Piilola 20.5 km 
  • Piilola–Piilolaporten 3.8 km 
  • Piilolaporten–Ellenkoia 6.3 km 
  • Ellenkoia–Sortbrysttjern 4.4 km

Trail Marks

On the Finnish side, the Piilola Trail has been marked with wooden blue poles and in Norway with blue paint marks on trees as well as blue signs hanging from the trees. The Piilola Trail has been operational since June 2009, and there are still some sections (mainly on the Norwegian side) where no clear track has formed. 

Kessintie–Sortbrysttjern Trail Description, 35 km

Photo: Pasi Nivasalo

  • Kessintie–Piilola 20.5 km. The first two hundred metres of the Piilola Trail run on forestry land where the use of the forest can be clearly seen. After walking for 3 km, you will arrive in the Vätsäri Wilderness Area. In the Kessi area in the southern part of the wilderness, you will see signs of the selection cutting carried out in the 1920s, in which the largest trees were felled. The trail runs along the shores of Lake Kessijärvi where is a former wilderness farm (privat own area) and its outbuildings. Trail runs through impressive forests where the proud old trees, or 'aihkis', spend their retirement days. The trail bypasses all of the most difficult rocky areas. The Nuottamajärvi lean-to shelter is located at the distance of about 9 km from Lake Kessijärvi. Before arriving at the lean-to shelter, cross the River Naamajoki along the bridge, and before the Piilola open wilderness hut, wade cross the brook at Hietikkolompola. The Piilola open wilderness hut is situated on the shores of Lake Nammijärvi. 
  • Piilola–Piilolaporten 3.8 km.  In this section, the trail runs through mires across which there are no duckboards. The hike culminates in crossing the Finnish-Norwegian border at the Piilola border crossing point (border mark rm 353 K): A reindeer fence divides the two countries from each other and, at the same time, the European Union nations from the non-European Union ones. There are steps to help you climb the reindeer fence. The Piilolaporten open wilderness hut is located at a distance of only a few hundred metres from the State border.
  • Piilolaporten–Ellenvannskoia 6.3 km.  The variation in altitude is greatest on this stretch but the ascents are reasonable. The open waters of Lake Ellenvatnet dominate the views on this stretch. On approaching the Ellenvannskoia open wilderness hut, there are nature information boards on the natural features and cultural history of the Øvre Pasvik National Park. 
  • Ellenvannskoia–Sortbrysttjern 4.4 km.  On the last stretch that runs along the shores of Lake Sortbrysttjern, there are also information boards presenting the natural features and cultural history of the national park. The last lean-to shelter is located at a distance of about 2.4 km from the Ellenvannskoia open wilderness hut. Following the shoreline of Lake Sortbrysttjern, you will arrive at the Piilola Trail's northern finishing point. 

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

Dogs must be kept on a leash!