Activities in Salla
The peace and quiet of the wilderness and fell landscapes in Salla area are within easy reach for day trippers: by hiking or mountain biking in summer, and skiing, snowshoeing or winter biking in winter. The UKK trail, which passes through several nature reserves and the Salla National Park, and other trails in the neighbouring area offer opportunities for longer hikes.
When visiting a national park, you should use paths to avoid wear and tear on the terrain. Please follow the rules of the area and always take your rubbish with you to an appropriate waste disposal point. Read more about responsible hiking and the Outdoor Etiquette.
Walking and hiking
There are many trails of different levels and lengths suitable for day trips in Salla: short routes for the whole family, including the one leading to Kolmiloukkonen lake and lean-to shelter, and more challenging options, including the Pahakuru circle trail. Taivaantavoittelijan Taival, a trail that climbs to the top of Iso Pyhätunturi, offers splendid views of Sallatunturit fells on the Russian side of the border. The marked trails take in all the finest sights in the area.
There are several possible starting points for hikes in the National Park: Salla Reindeer Park, the Ski Resort and the Northern slopes.
The nearby area also offers easy destinations for day trips in all seasons. Ruuhitunturi, for example, can be reached by hikers and mountain bikers in summer and skiers and walkers on a winter hiking trail in winter. Views all the way to Russia open out from Ruuhitunturi.
You can also complete a longer hike by combining trails in the National Park with other paths in the local area. The UKK trail, which crosses the area, is also suitable for hiking. It brings hikers to varying natural environments and sights as well as rest stops and accommodation options.
Northern parts of Salla outside the National Park comprise plenty of wilderness areas for hikers. Tuntsa wilderness area is ideal for hiking. The easiest way to get to know this area is following the UKK trail, which goes through it. Tuntsa wilderness is also suitable for those who follow their own paths and skilled hikers who seek the peace and quiet of nature rather than ready-made trails. Read more about links to Tuntsa from Salla direction and other information about the area.
There is one mountain biking trail in Salla National Park: the Kaunisharju trail. Several routes of different lengths suitable for mountain biking are also on the offer in the local area. The Sallatunturi scenic trail, for example, starts at the Ski Resort, runs right next to the National Park and ends up at the top of Sallatunturi. A biking trail leads to the top of Ruuhitunturi fell in summer, and the Pahakuru trail in the National Park is open for bikers in winter.
Salla National Park and the nearby areas have a large network of tracks for both traditional and free-style cross-country skiing. The total length of maintained tracks is more than 100 km. Due to the area’s height from sea level, winters in Salla often bring plenty of snow, which makes this an excellent skiing destination. The maintained ski track of Kaunisharju and part of the Tunturin ympäri trail go through the National Park. The greatest part of the track network is located in areas near Sallatunturi. See digital track maps to check the up-to-date situation of track maintenance.
Snowshoeing and winter hiking
The hill and fell landscapes of Salla are highly suitable for snowshoeing. The Taivaantavoittelijan taival trail, which climbs to the top of Iso Pyhätunturi, is one of the most popular routes. To rent snowshoes and ask about suitable trails, contact tourism companies in Salla (visitsalla.fi). There are also several maintained trails for winter hiking in Salla, leading to such destinations as the Reindeer Park and Ruuhitunturi.
Other activities in Salla
Aatsinkijoki is the best river for paddling in Salla. Hangasjärvi lake is also a popular paddling destination in the local area.
The diversity of nature is also reflected in the wide range of bird species found in the area. Almost 150 bird species are seen in Salla annually, of which more than 100 can be spotted during the best observation period in early summer. Such species as the wood grouse and great grey owl live in the old-growth forests of Salla. The little bunting (Emberiza pusilla) favours marshy areas, and Salla has one of the largest populations of this bird in Finland. Species of the small wilderness lakes include the goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), smew (Mergellus albellus) and swans (Cygninae).
Two bird towers have been built in this area for bird-watchers. The tower of Termusjärvi is located less than 10 kilometres to the north of Salla village, and the tower of Aapa-Tuohilampi can be found to the west of Kelloselkä village. In addition to the birds of a species-rich bird wetland, mire birds can also be spotted from both towers. The best way to see bird species of old-growth forests is to walk along the hiking trails and open up your senses. Salmijoenkanjoni canyon and Palotunturi-Aikkipetsi area are particularly popular.
Splendid, large mire reserves are found to the north of Salla village, with nesting sites for valuable and demanding mire birds. Further north the landscape becomes harsher, culminating in Tuntsa-Värriö fell area, where many fell birds can be found.
Sights and views
Good vantage points for admiring the beautiful scenery of Salla include Iso Pyhätunturi, Ruuhitunturi and Kaunisharju. Unique natural formations here include Aatsinginhauta valley, Kaunisharju esker and Pahaojankuru ravine.
Waters on state-owned lands mainly comprise small lakes and ponds, or rivers and streams.
Ice fishing and hook and line fishing in water bodies of this area are permitted under everyman's rights (ymparisto.fi). For lure fishing, those aged between 18 and 64 need to pay the Fisheries Management Fee (eraluvat.fi) and also purchase a Metsähallitus fishing permit (eräluvat.fi). Those aged under 18 or over 65 years need to get a Metsähallitus fishing permit but not pay the fisheries management fee.
Permits are available in Metsähallitus’ Eräluvat web shop.
Before you go fishing, you need to check for any fishing restrictions at kalastusrajoitus.fi!
Picking berries and mushrooms
In summer and autumn, the forests in Salla are bursting with berries and mushrooms. Great spots for picking blueberries and lingonberries can be found in the forest, and cloudberries in the mires.
The most popular edible mushrooms are different bolete species and milk caps. The season begins as early as late July and continues until the temperature drops below zero in September. The most abundant harvest of false morels can be found at the end of May or early June in fresh coniferous heath forests where windfalls or forestry work have broken the soil surface.
Foraging can also provide a great addition to your meals while hiking. Read more in the Outdoor Guide!
Metsähallitus has a nature exhibition in Salla Visitor Centre at Salla Wilderness Park. Among other things, the exhibition introduces visitors to the geological history of Salla area and the nature of old-growth forests. Admission to this accessible exhibition is free.