Anyone, all ages and fitness levels, can enjoy the wilderness, rapids and magnificent landscape of the Arctic Circle. The hiking area is only a short drive from Rovaniemi, and offers excellent opportunities year-round for enjoying the great outdoors.
The diverse nature trails in the Arctic Circle Hiking Area are excellent for short hikes and day trips. They are great for enjoying the wilderness and learning about local natural life or cultural destinations. The trails can be accessed easily from Vikaköngäs and Vaattunkiköngäs parking areas. The trails feature colourful illustrated information boards that introduce the area. There are several pleasant rest spots and campfire sites along the route for eating packed meals and taking a break.
Könkäänsaari Barrier-free Nature Trail (1.5 km) provides access to the riverside and forest wilderness for all. The route is ideal for families with children, and can also be accessed by wheelchair with an assistant. Vianaapa Mire Trail (7 km) is equipped with duckboards and passes through an unditched and otherwise untouched aapa mire. Kivalonaapa Meadow Culture Trail (1.3 km) gives an interesting peek into the haymaking tradition of Southern Lapland. Read more about the various nature trails and routes in the area.
The River Raudanjoki, which passes through the Arctic Circle Hiking Area, is a wonderful setting for canoeing. Vaattunkiköngäs Rapids and especially Vikaköngäs Rapids with its surging waters and rest spots are excellent practice spots for rapids canoeists throughout the summer. Vikaköngäs has been modified to better accommodate canoeing down the rapids and fishing.
A shorter canoe excursion can be made from Vaattunkijoki boat launch site to Vaattunkilampi lean-to shelter. The Kivalonaapa Meadow Culture Trail can be hiked during the same trip. Canoeists can continue from Vaattunkiköngäs boat launch site to Olkkajärvi along the River Raudanjoki. The Kalliosalmi–Olkkajärvi Canoe Route can be explored at length over several days, or one shorter stretch at a time. See the route description to find the stretches that you like best.
Canoeing services and equipment are provided by cooperation partners.
Vikaköngäs Recreational Fishing Area in the Arctic Circle Hiking Area offers excellent opportunities for lure fishing next to good service structures. A glimpse of silver grayling or spotted trout in the surging waters entices fly fishers and anglers. Other species found in the waters include rainbow trout, whitefish, perch, and pike. Nearby campfire sites are good for lunch breaks and coffee brewed over a campfire, or for cooking fish. There are no better ways to enjoy self-caught fish than at a lean-to shelter beside the roaring rapids.
Fishing permits in the Vikaköngäs Recreational Fishing Area (permit area 2565) can be purchased at Metsähallitus online shop (www.eraluvat.fi) or at Pilke House Customer Service Point. 24h and 3h mobile phone permits are also available. For instructions, go to Metsähallitus online shop (www.eraluvat.fi), or see the information board at Vikaköngäs.
Fishers need to check the restrictions on fishing sites at kalastusrajoitus.fi (In Finnish).
- Cross-country skiing: The area offers excellent opportunities for cross-country skiing although there are no maintained ski trails. In early spring, the open terrain in Kivalonaapa is particularly good for skiing.
- River rafting: River rafting in rubber boats is popular in the Arctic Circle Hiking Area. The river rafting route starts from the Vikajärvi lake outlet, which is an old log floating shore, and continues down the River Raudanjoki towards Vikaköngäs and on to Vaattunkiköngäs. After the rapids, rafters reach the old log storing area below. River rafting trips are organized by Metsähallitus cooperation partners.
- Birdwatching: Birds can be spotted along all trails in the area. Könkäänsaari Island with its wide range of bird species is an excellent destination for birdwatchers, and the birdwatching tower along Vianaapa Mire Trail is excellent in spring for observing mire species and migratory birds.
- Snowshoeing: The Arctic Circle Hiking Area is good for snowshoeing. One of the various excellent destinations is Vaattunkivaara, which has an observation tower along the nature trail. Könkäänsaari and Kielosaari Nature Trails are also good for snowshoeing.
- Berry and mushroom picking: The Nordic wildernesses brim with healthy treats! You can freely pick mushrooms, bilberries, lingonberries, and crowberries in the forests, and cloudberries and cranberries in the area's mires.
- Seeing the sights and the views: The magnificent Vikaköngäs and Vaattunkiköngäs rapids can be safely viewed from hanging bridges, which are also accessible by wheelchair. The observation tower on top of Vaattunkivaara Hill has excellent views of the surrounding wilderness.
- Cycling: Mountain biking is allowed according to everyman's rights. Always stay on clearly visible tracks and pay attention to other hikers.
- Trekking: The Arctic Circle Hiking Area is ideal for day trips, as there are various marked trails in the area (2.5-12 km). One of the most popular trails is the scenic Könkäiden polku Trail (10 km one way) that follows the River Raudanjoki from one rapid to another. The more challenging Olkkajärvi Hiking Trail (12 km one way) offers a short hike in a wilderness-like environment. Read more about the trails.