Käsivarsi Wilderness Area Trails

Check regional Covid-instructions before your hiking trip or a visit to a nature center.

Liminganlahti Nature Centre is closed 1.1.-4.2.2022. The Finnish Nature Centre Haltia is closed 10.1.–1.2.2022. Koli Nature Centre Ukko is closed 1.1.–20.2.2022. Kuusamo Customer Service Karhuntassu is closed 13.1.–31.1.2022.

In other nature centers in Finland, we require the use of a facial mask and keeping the 2 meter distance to other visitors. In addition, there may be requirements to show the Covid pass, and/or the number of visitors can be limited. More information Nature centers. The length of the restrictions depends on the region. More regional information can be found at the Finnish institute for health and welfare website.
The flood destroyed the Vuomakasjoki bridge on the Nordkalott Trail and a new one will be built in 2022. You have to wade across the Vuomakasjoki River.

Three women climbing a path to a fell in the summer.

Hiking Trails

Starting Points for Trails

Nature Trails

  • Iitto Nature Trail (500 m) has its starting point at Iitto, which is 50 km south of the village of Kilpisjärvi. The information boards along the trail feature palsa bogs, which are bogs with frost mounds. The Iito palsa bog is a mire reserve, which is used only for education and research.
    • Services: information boards, duckboards, benches at the end of the trail.
  • The 5-km-long Saana Nature Trail has its starting point at Kilpisjärven Retkeilykeskus, a local lodging and excursion centre. The trail winds around the west side of Saanatunturi Fell and crosses the River Skirhasjohka. After this it continues on to Jeahkas Fell and then returns to Kilpisjärvi. The trail features the area's natural features and history.

Other Trails

  • Kilpisjärvi-Halti Trail is one section of the international Nordkalott Trail . Nordkalott Trail is 800 km long and has its starting point at Kautokeino in Norway. The trail crosses over to Finland at Lake Somasjärvi, passes Kilpisjärvi and has its end points at Kvikkjokk in Sweden and at Sulitjelma in Norway. Kilpisjärvi-Halti Trail is about 55 km long. Its starting point is at Kilpisjärvi. From there it heads towards Käsivarsi Wilderness Area crossing over into Norway occasionally. At Lake Pitsusjärvi the trail parts into two branches, which lead to Lake Somasjärvi and Halti Fell.
  • An 11-km-long trail leads from the village of Kilpisjärvi to the point where Finland's, Norway's and Sweden's borders meet.
    • Services: Open wilderness hut at Lake Kuohkimajärvi
    • Sights: Malla Strict Nature Reserve, the River Kitsijoki Falls, three nations' border point
  • Saana Trail has its starting point at Kilpisjärven retkeilykeskus, a lodging and excursion centre. The return journey is along the same route and you can stop off at Saanajärvi day trip hut. The trail is 8 km long, but if you decide to return via the day trip hut its distance is 12 km.
    • Services: Day trip hut at Lake Saanajärvi
    • Sights: Saana Fell
  • The Tsahkaljärvi - Saanajärvi - Saana Trail takes you from Kilpisjärvi Visitor Center via Tsahkaljärvi to the foot of Saanatunturi, continuing either to the Saanajärvi hut (5 km) or to the Saanajärvi Day trip hut (6 km). From Saanajärvi you can continue to the top of he Saana Fell, which is 5.5 km from Saanajärvi Day Trip Hut. Trail back to the visitor centre goes south side of Saana via Nordkalott Trail. The trail runs in the grove-like Mountain Birch forest on the foot of Saana and towards the village of Kilpisjärvi. The length of the journey from the top of Saana back to the visitor center via Lake Tsahkaljärvi is 11 km.
    • Services: Day trip hut at Lake Saanajärvi
    • Sights: Saana Fell, the River Tsahkaljoki Falls
  • Salmivaara Trail starts at Salmivaarantie, 200 meters from the main road. There is a parking lot and a sign post. The trail to Salmivaara follows the running track until it turns to the left. Follow the orange sign posts. The distance to Salmivaara Hill from the beginning is approximately 1100 m. There is a steep rise of 120 m to the hill. Take the same route back.
    • Sights: The River Tsahkaljoki Falls, the view from the top of Salmivaara Hill of the Malla, Saana and Parastunturi Fells.

Cross-country Skiing Trails

There are maintained ski trails in the area surrounding the village of Kilpisjärvi. One of these trails has lighting. There are no marked ski trails in the wilderness area. The skier can follow a maintenance scooter track, which is marked annually with twigs from Kilpisjärvi to Halti. The skier can also follow the marked snowmobile track through the Käsivarsi and Tarvantovaara wilderness areas from Kilpisjärvi to Palojärvi. There are no guarantees about the condition of the tracks.

Boating and Canoeing Routes

Poroeno - Lätäseno River Route, 100 km

The Poroeno - Lätäseno river route is a wonderful canoeing route for those who want to be challenged. The entire route is 100 km long with 265 m in altitude changes. To get onto the river route, you must first transport your boat or canoe, for instance, to Lake Porojärvi. From there you can set off on your canoeing trip along the River Poroeno.

Lätäseno River has rapids that are difficult for even experienced paddlers. Photo: Elina Tukiainen.

The river starts out from Lake Porojärvi as the River Poroeno. About 40 km downstream the Rivers Rommaeno and Toriseno join this river and its name changes to the River Lätäseno. The scenery at the beginning of the river route is rugged and rocky. Half of the altitude drop of the entire route occurs during the first third of the route. The last two-thirds of the route has greener scenery and at its end the waters are calm.

The Poroeno - Lätäseno river route is not suitable for beginners. Even experienced canoeists must prepare for the experience thoroughly. First it is good to know the routes water conditions. You can make inquiries for example at local enterprises that fly planes across the area.When there are heavy floods th

e river is too dangerous to canoe or boat down as the current is so strong and unpredictable and during very dry weather the water is too shallow and you are likely to hit rocks if you attempt to go down the river.

There are several open wilderness huts and two boat launch ramps along the river route. The open wilderness huts along the route are those at Lake Meekonjärvi, Lake Porojärvi, Lake Jogasjärvi, Tenomuotka, Hirvasvuopio and Isokurkkio. The two landing spots are at the River Saitsijoki and Neuhkana.

Snowmobile Tracks

The snowmobile tracks starting from the Hetta village are maintained by the municipality of Enontekiö. You do not need a permit to ride on them. The Victoria route, which runs along the border of Finland and Sweden from Muonio to Kilpisjärvi, is also free of charge. 

For the snowmobile track leading from Palojärvi to Kilpisjärvi in the Käsivarsi Wilderness Area in Enontekiö, as well as for the Syväjärvi–Karesuvanto and Raittijärvi–Saarikoski tracks branching off the main track, you need to purchase a national off-road traffic permit from Metsähallitus (eraluvat.fi). In the Kilpisjärvi village area, snowmobile tracks are maintained by the Kilpisjärven ladut ry association, and a track maintenance fee (kilpisjarvenladut.fi) must be paid online.