Instructions and Rules in Salla National Park
NB! More detailed instructions and rules for Salla National Park will be provided later once the new management plan and rules for the area have been completed. For the time being, the policies of the earlier management plan (julkaisut.metsa.fi) remain valid.
Take a look at the Outdoor Etiquette.
In the Salla National Park, you may freely walk, ski, row and canoe except in the border zone.
- The national park is delimited by the state border in the east. This means that part of the park is located in the border zone, and a border zone permit is needed to access it (raja.fi).
We recommend camping in the vicinity of rest- and campfire sites and day trip huts, where is also firewood shelters and drytoilets available.
Lighting a fire is allowed at the maintained campfire sites that have been marked on the map and in the terrain. You are only allowed to use the firewood that has been reserved for the purpose. The person who lights the campfire is always responsible for the fire.
The use of a portable camping stove is allowed in areas where hiking is allowed.
- Making campfires is permitted at designated sites in the recreational zone. Outside the recreational zone, fires may for the time being be lit under Metsähallitus’ general permission. By decision of Metsähallitus, lighting campfires in the forest is generally permitted on state-owned land in Lapland, North Ostrobothnia, Kainuu and North Karelia. You can use fallen branches, twigs and small root stocks to build a fire. A serviced campfire site must be used if one can be found within a half-kilometre radius. In protected areas with a valid management plan or regulations, the contents of these plans and regulations must be observed when lighting fires. In most national parks, for example, campfires are only allowed on serviced campfire sites.
During the forest and grass fire warning
- Please note that lighting campfires is also forbidden at campfire sites if the forest fire warning or the grass fire warning is in effect. Check the current warnings (en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi).
- During the forest and grass fire warning, the use of twig stoves is not allowed, as sparks may be created.
There are no waste bins at the Salla national park. Hikers must look after their own waste and carry it out of the forest with them for sorting.
- You can put leftovers and other biowaste in a dry toilet or composter at rest spots.
- Small amounts of clean paper and cardboard may be used as kindling at a campfire site or a fireplace at a wilderness hut. Other waste, such as packages that contain aluminium foil or plastic, may not be burned in a fireplace.
Angling and ice fishing is allowed in national parks lakes and ponds. Before you go fishing, you need to check for any fishing restrictions at kalastusrajoitus.fi (kalastusrajoitus.fi, in finnish).
It is allowed picking berries and edible mushrooms.
- Snowmobiling is permitted on snowmobile tracks, for which a permit issued by Metsähallitus is required. Metsähallitus' tracks are unofficial routes subject to a charge. In order to use these tracks, a snowmobile user can apply to Metsähallitus for an individual or shared family track permit. With this permit, they may use their snowmobile on all tracks found on Metsähallitus’ track map. Read more about tracks and track permits. To use a snowmobile anywhere else, you need an off-road permit issued by the landowner.
- Almost the entire area of Salla National Park belongs to the ADIZ border zone, which means that all drone operators must submit a drone flight plan to AIS Finland prior to flying. Flight plan preparation instructions and submission forms can be found on Fintraffic ANS's aviation information service can be found on the website of Fintraffic ANS (ais.fi).
- In addition, the national park is delimited by the state border in the east. This means that part of the park is located in the border zone, and a border zone permit is needed to access it (raja.fi).
- Research activities, organising events or, for example, filming of films or advertisements on location always require a permit from Metsähallitus. Further information on required permits: research and access permits (metsa.fi) and permits and notifications related to events (metsa.fi).
- Using routes and structures of Salla National Park in business activities is always subject to a fee, and repeated business requires a co-operation agreement with Metsähallitus (metsa.fi). Daily usage fees should be paid in Eräluvat online shop (eraluvat.fi).
- Operating motor vehicles, except on roads designated for them.
- Capturing, killing, and disturbing animals, and taking or damaging their nests or burrows.
- Allowing pets to run freely.
- Littering and damaging the structures.
- Accessing the border zone.
To fully enjoy your experience in nature, you should plan your excursion carefully and find out about the local conditions. The most important equipment when hiking are a knife, matches, a map and compass. They should be taken along even on the shortest day trips in addition to food and drink.
- You can practise hiking on day trips. When you wish to try hiking outside marked trails, going out with someone more experienced is a good idea.
- The area has a dense trail network. While the trails are marked in the forest, you should get a suitable map to avoid confusing the different trail options.
- You should not head out on long excursions without navigation and hiking skills. You should also note that many trails in this area have significant height differences, which makes them more demanding.
- Late winter is a popular time for excursions, but you will also need appropriate gear during this season. You should not leave the managed track network if you do not have special skis designed for this purpose!
- Winter excursions are demanding. You need to prepare for harsh weather and short day length, as the temperature may drop below -40 degrees, and you only get a few hours of daylight during the polar night. The wind chill factor will make sub-zero temperatures considerably more difficult to sustain. You will also need more energy in very cold temperatures.
- You should be careful when following snowmobile tracks. They do not necessarily lead to where you are going. Getting lost is always dangerous in winter.
- In ravines, you may run the risk of an avalanche.
- You should avoid going out alone. In an emergency, the help of a fellow hiker is invaluable.
- Forest roads are not maintained in winter, which is why you should select one of the National Park's official parking areas as the starting point of your excursion: Salla Wilderness Park, the Ski Resort or the Northern slopes.
- Please note that there are no huts suitable for overnight stays in Salla National Park. A tent or similar is part of the hiker’s basic gear.
- Remember to always carry a first-aid kit. If you face an emergency on your hike, e.g. get lost, get injured or observe wildfire, call 112 and report an emergency. More information on how to act in an emergency.
- Mobile phone coverage varies in Salla National Park. You can check your own mobile operator’s coverage map before your trip. Read more about mobile phone coverage (112.fi).
- You should also read the safety tips in the Outdoor Guide.
It is important to familiarise yourself with the destination in advance and prepare carefully for your excursion. Staying on the trail and keeping an eye on weather forecasts make for a successful trip. You should get hold of Sallatunturi outdoor map before heading out.
Summer usually only begins around mid-June once the frozen ground has thawed out and warmed up. The midgets hatch after Midsummer.
Autumn colours in Salla usually emerge in mid-September and go on until early October, after which time the first sub-zero temperatures cause the leaves to fall off trees. An autumn storm can sometimes pull the leaves off earlier.
The first snow in winter (fmi.fi) usually falls around mid-October, and the snow accumulation in an average winter is 85 cm. The winter in Koillismaa is harsh due to very low temperatures and the heavy snow cover. We only recommend winter excursions for the most experienced outdoor enthusiasts. The lowest temperatures measured in Naruska, Salla have reached below -50 degrees C. You should remember that the wind chill factor will make sub-zero temperatures considerably more difficult to sustain. You also need more energy in cold weather, and you should account for this when packing your food supplies. You should note that on winter hikes, you will travel considerably more slowly than in the snow-free season, on average 1.5 km/h. You should also check carefully the length of daylight hours (moisio.fi) before heading out. The day length is at its shortest around the winter solstice (21 December), at which time there is 1 hour and 47 minutes of daylight in Salla. The sun rises at 11:10 and sets at 12:57.
Spring usually comes to Koillismaa in the last week of April as the days grow longer. Spring floods usually start in mid-May, and the flood waters will normally have receded by early June, in time for the flowering of the calypso orchid (Calypso bulbosa).
The peak times for excursions in the National Park are the skiing season from Christmas till March and the hiking season in summer/autumn.