Water Routes on Lake Inarijärvi

Inarijärvi lake offeres plenty of area to explore. Photo: Olli Vainio/MH.

Lake Inarijärvi (Aanaarjävri in Inari Sámi) is a lake in northern Lapland that was formed as a result of tectonic subsidence in the Earth's crust. When talking about Lake Inarijärvi, the locals refer to it simply by the name "Järvi" ("Lake"). "Have you been to the lake?" is the usual question asked when the locals meet. Although there are hundreds of lakes in Inari, everybody knows which lake the speaker means. Lake Inarijärvi is far superior to the other lakes.

You may take day trips on the lake but if you have the time and the inclination, you can spend the whole of the summer there and still not uncover all of its destinations. Canoeing on Lake Inarijärvi provides objects of interest for bird and fishing enthusiasts, for example. The area of Lake Inarijärvi is 1,084 square kilometres and it is the third largest lake in Finland.

The waters of Lake Inarijärvi run, via the River Paatsjoki, into the Varangerfjord on the Barents Sea. When the waters are not frozen, the lake's surface is about 119 metres above sea level. The lake is regulated by the Kaitakoski hydroelectric power plant that is located on the River Paatsjoki on the Russian side of the border. The lake's level is lowest in early May when the lake is still frozen; its surface is about 1.5 metres lower than in summer. When the ice melts in May-June, the lake's level rises rapidly to its summer height. Consequently, boaters do not necessarily notice the change.

Harbours at the lake Inarijärvi 2015 Metsähallitus.

By Car Arriving at Lake Inarijärvi from the Northern Side

  • In order to reach Lake Ukonjärvi, drive along main road no. 4 (E75) for 10 km to the north of Ivalo. Lake Ukonjärvi is situated right by the shore but there is no public boat ramp at the lake. The strait connecting Lakes Ukonjärvi and Inarijärvi is located at the northeastern end of Lake Ukonjärvi in front of Hämähäkkiniemi.
  • In Inari, you can launch your boat from the municipal boat harbour or from the shore where the local tourism enterprise is located.  
  • Partakko is located north of Inari. In order to reach Partakko, drive along Sevettijärvi Road (no. 971) for about 38 kilometres, after which point the road turns off to Käyräniemi. There is a municipal boat ramp and parking area at Käyräniemi.
  • Lake Nitsijärvi is connected to Lake Inarijärvi. The distance from Inari to Lake Nitsijärvi (road no. 971) is about 70 kilometres.

Arriving at Lake Inarijärvi from the Eastern Side

  • The Nellim boat harbour, which you can reach by driving along road no. 969, is located east of Ivalo. The distance from Ivalo to Nellim is 41 kilometres.  
  • In order to reach Veskoniemi's boat harbour, drive along Nellimintie (no. 969) for about 9 km, at which point the road turns left towards Veskoniemi which is about 14 kilometres further on. Before the village of Veskoniemi is the Nanguniemi boat harbour which is maintained by Metsähallitus. The road is hilly and winding and you will need a map as there are a number of roads branching off it.
  • From Koppelo: From the northern side of the village of Ivalo, there is a road that turns right after the bridge. Drive along Koppelo Road for about 11 km, at which point the road ends by the riverbank. There is a boat ramp and a parking area.

Tips for your preparation

Canoeing Instructions

  • There are a large number of private cabins at Lake Inarijärvi and it is not appropriate to land close to them.
  • When moving around nature, you must follow everyman's rights (www.ymparisto.fi).
  • Canoeists must watch out for motor boats on the narrow straits, as their wakes could make them capsize. Motor boats must not veer off of the narrow route or they may run onto the rocks.

Fishing

Apart from canoeing, you can also go fishing, as Lake Inarijärvi is a treasure for trolling and casting enthusiasts.

Safety Tips

  • Keep your mobile (and matches) in a waterproof box in your pocket.
  • Do not set off without a boating map and a compass.
  • Always wear a life jacket when canoeing.
  • The water in the lake is cold, so take care not to end up in the water. Even good swimming skills do not guard against hypothermia.
  • Make sure that there is some rope, fixing tools and a spare paddle in your kayak.
  • Take enough warm and windproof clothing with you, including warm headgear and gloves. Rubber mittens keep the inner gloves dry. Pack your clothes in a waterproof package.
  • Take mosquito repellent with you.
  • Make sure you pack a first-aid kit.
  • Inform your family, friends or the Siida Northern Lapland Nature Centre of your route plan. Also remember to let them know when you will return. Write your name and the planned route in the guestbook at the open wilderness huts, as this information is helpful if you get lost.
  • Note that you are travelling in a wide lake wilderness area where it takes time to get any help. The general emergency number for all emergencies is 112.
  • 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.
  • More information about safety at the Hiking in Finland webpages.

Peak Seasons

  • The boating season starts in early June and continues until the end of September. The weather is best for canoeing from July–August.
  • Mosquitoes are at their most prevalent from 25 June–15 July. If you camp on the terrain, avoid still spots, mires and shrubs. Mosquitoes avoid the open islands located on the edge of the open waters.
  • High Seasons
    • There are many boaters on the lake in July–August, but only a few in June and September.

Difficulty Level of the Water Routes on Lake Inarijärvi

There are 3,318 islands on Lake Inarijärvi. Due to the high number of islands and islets, the lake is a labyrinth – it is charming, but it is easy to get lost there. The length of the winding shoreline is immense. Despite the high number of islands, this big lake also boasts large areas of open waters, the largest being Kasariselkä, Sammakkoselkä, Vasikkaselkä, Satapetäjäselkä and Ukonselkä. The biggest islands are Kaamassaari, Mahlatti and Leveä Petäjäsaari, on which there are ponds.

There are hundreds of kilometres of marked boat routes on Lake Inarijärvi. The routes marked on the boating map are primarily meant for motor boats. Canoeists look for the shelter of the islands and are also able to paddle in shallow and rocky shore waters, so the marked routes are not suitable for them as such. However, they are very useful to canoeists, as the route markers help them to work out their location.

Buoys and beacons advices and guides you. Photo: Tapio Tynys

Never underestimate Lake Inarijärvi. Even though the lake may be calm and pleasant when you set off, weather conditions can change rapidly. As regards trips that take several days, in particular, please take into account that there may well be windy and rainy days during this time. In windy weather, the waves of Lake Inarijärvi may become so big that it is dangerous for anybody to go onto the lake, such days are spent in the shelter of the islands.

In summer, there is daylight 24 hours a day. The sun does not set at all in June. At the end of July, the sun sets below the horizon for a couple of hours, and it is not until August that the shorter nights begin.

The surface water is warmest at the end of July. On open water areas, the water is about 14–15 Celsius and in shallow bays it may be even more than 20 Celsius. After mid-August, the water starts to get cold quickly. Consequently, boaters must take care not end up in the water. Although a life jacket keeps you afloat, you may rapidly contract hypothermia. Wearing a drysuit is always recommended because of the low water temperature.

Preparations for Setting Off for Lake Inarijärvi

The boating season starts in early June. Towards autumn, it becomes windier and the winds may last for several days. The boating season ends in early October, at the latest, as the bays freeze.

On Lake Inarijärvi, the wind usually blows from the southwest or from the northeast. On the long straits between the islands, the wind changes direction and starts blowing parallel to the straits. Consequently, boaters are usually able to travel in a tailwind or a headwind.

The locals travel on the lake by motor boat and the recreational fishermen have a boat equipped for trolling. Recreational visitors usually bring their own vehicle with them, which is usually a sea kayak that accommodates one or two canoeists and has a rudder or an adjustable fin. An open canoe is not very suitable for these open waters.

On the lake, Metsähallitus has a comprehensive network of bases for recreational boaters. There are no shops, restaurants or other chargeable services on the islands of Lake Inarijärvi, so you must be self-sufficient when on the lake. You need to be able to light a campfire, prepare food, find a place to stay overnight and navigate. You must bring your food with you as well as accommodation gear, a kit for lighting a campfire and other tools. Read more about equipmets on the Hiking in Finland webpages. 

Photo: Tapio Tynys


It is particularly important to keep matches and a mobile phone in a watertight box in your pocket. Matches, mobile phones, meals and other kit packed in the gear bag will be of no use if the kayak is carried away with the gear bag still in it or if the bag sinks to the bottom of the lake. Please see the safety section on the Hiking in Finland webpages.

You will definitely need warm, windproof clothes even though it may feel more appropriate to wear a T-shirt when you set off. You will need sunglasses to protect your eyes and sun cream to protect your skin. Also take a mosquito repellent to guard against mosquitoes and blackflies. Mosquitoes do not attack you while you are boating but they may bother you once on shore, particularly at the turn of June and July. Mosquitoes thrive in still places, so pick a place where there is a breath of wind.

Services along Lake Inarijärvi

Drinking Water

The water in the lake is normally suitable for drinking, but it has not been tested. It is advisable not to drink the water of Lake Inarijärvi in the immediate vicinity of the village of Inari. Read more about drinking water Hiking in Finland.

Firewood Supply

  • There are serviced campfire sites at the boating bases and the other rest spots maintained by Metsähallitus. Read more about how to light a campfire on the Hiking in Finland webpages.
  • In addition to the outdoor campfire sites, there are also sheltered campfire sites at the boating bases. Among these bases are Pielpavuono, Kahkusaari, Suovasaari, Petäjäsaari, Jääsaari, Tyllylahti, Peiliniemi and Kärppäsaari.
  • When lighting a campfire, you must primarily use designated campfire sites. Lighting campfires is completely forbidden when a forest fire warning is in effect.
  • There are woodsheds at the boating bases and at the other rest spots. At the woodsheds, there are roughly 30-cm-long logs and an axe for chopping them. Please use the logs sparingly.

Cooking place of Suovasaari Boating Base. Photo: Tuija Kangasniemi

Waste Management

  • There are waste collection bins at the departure harbours and some boating bases also have waste collection bins. It is recommended that boaters and canoeists take rubbish with them from the lake. Biodegradable waste should be placed in a toilet or composter, and small amounts of clean paper and cardboard can be used as kindling in a campfire. Read more about Hiking without littering.
  • The rest spots mentioned in the route description are managed by Metsähallitus' Northern Lapland Park Area. More information is available at the Siida Northern Lapland Nature Centre and Ivalo Customer Service.

Dry Toilets

  • There are dry toilets at the open wilderness huts and at the boating bases.

Overnight Stays

Camping and Lean-to shelters

  • In recent years, camping sites have been constructed in the vicinity of the boating bases, such as the camping sites at Petäjäsaari, Tyllylahti and Suovasaari. At the camping sites, there are wooden tent platforms that can be attached to each other. The platforms are kept in the shelter so that they remain dry and clean.
  • Everyman's rights (www.ymparisto.fi) permit temporary camping as long as you do not disturb any other visitors to the area.

Open Wilderness Huts

You may stay one or two nights at an open wilderness hut; for more detailed information visit the Types of Huts webpages. The open wilderness huts by Lake Inarijärvi are traditional wilderness huts at their best. In stormy weather, they provide a dry and warm shelter for those paddling manually and for motor boaters.

The Red hut. Photo: Tapio Tynys

  • Petäjäsaari Hut, on the northwestern shore of Hoikka Petäjäsaari Island on Lake Inarijärvi.
  • Jääsaari Hut, on the southeastern shore of Iso Jääsaari Island on Lake Inarijärvi.
  • Kaikunuora Hut, on the southern part of Lake Inarijärvi, in the northern end of Sarminiemi.
  • Kärppäsaari Hut, south of Varttasaari Island on Lake Inarijärvi, in the northern end of Kärppäsaari Island.
  • Kahkusaari Hut, northeast of Viimassaari Island on Lake Inarijärvi, on the southeastern shore of Kahkusaari Island.
  • Pisteri Hut, (in Finnish) northern part of Lake Inarijärvi, on the eastersouthern side of Pisteriniemi Island

It is recommended that you cook food at the separate cooking shelters at the boating bases. That way, those sleeping at the open wilderness huts will not be disturbed.

Suovasaari cooking shelter. Photo: Tuija Kangasniemi

Rental Cabins

  • Petäjäsaari rental cabin on Hoikka Petäjäsaari Island and a rental hut at Kettuniemi on the lake's northern part.
  • The Kettuniemi rental hut can be booked at the Siida Northern Lapland Nature Centre or Ivalo Customer Service.
  • Metsähallitus' Natural Heritage Services has two cabins by Lake Inarijärvi meant for tourism entrepreneurs and other commercial trip organisers. The Mahlatti cabin is suitable for a small group. There is room for about ten people on the sleeping platform at the Selkälahti canoeing base. The cabins can also be rented by individual visitors – however, you may not make any advance bookings (only 7 days prior to arrival).

Services for Boaters

Channels

  • On Lake Inarijärvi, there are marked channels, which should be used because there are plenty of rocks elsewhere.
  • The general depth of the channels is 1,8 m, but in some narrow places and near the shore it is only 1 m. The huts around the lake are usually easy to approach, but there are no official marked channels to the huts.
  • The boat channels and depths are marked in Inarijärven veneilykartta (Lake Inarijärvi boating map no 480).

Harbours

  • Fishing harbours and boat harbours are located in Veskoniemi, Nanguniemi, Nellim and Inari.

Boat Ramps

  • Boat ramps are located in Ivalo, Veskoniemi, Nanguniemi, Nellim, Ukonjärvi, Inari, Väylä, Partakko and Nitsijärvi.

Where to Buy Fuel

  • There is no fuel available in the harbours, but in the village of Inari the petrol stations in the village are close to the harbour.

The Route descriptions are according to the departure harbour

There are no marked canoe routes on the lake. The following route descriptions present some route proposals on the map. In order to follow the route descriptions, you must be able to read the map and the terrain, and the weather must be favourable. The routes cannot be canoed in poor weather.

Partakko–Nitsijärvi RouteKallovuono-Lammaslahti. Photo: Tapio Tynys

At Partakko, you can start your trip from the Käyräniemi boat launch maintained by the municipality. The trip's finishing point is by the Nitsijärvi boat ramp. Of course, you can also take this trip in the opposite direction. The distance between the starting and finishing points by road is about 14 kilometres, so you can pick up your car from the starting point by bicycle at the end of the trip, provided you leave your bicycle at the finishing point before setting off from the start.

The proposed route is vulnerable to strong winds both on Lake Nitsijärvi and Lake Inarijärvi, so you must have good canoeing skills and sufficient experience of paddling in rough waters.

There are three alternatives for canoeing the Partakko–Nitsijärvi Route. In order to take the shortest route, you must pull or carry your kayak from the Kallovuono Fjord on Lake Inarijärvi to Lammaslahti Bay on Lake Nitsijärvi. There is a 330-metre-long boat road across the isthmus. The shortest alternative is 33 km long. You can stay overnight on Lammassaari Island.

Route Description from Partakko © Metsähallitus 2015

Another alternative is to continue past Lammaslahti Bay to the Kuuva Canal and take a shortcut along the canal to Koskivuono Fjord. In this instance, you will have to canoe along the northern edge of the open waters of Vasikkaselkä. The shore only provides some shelter from the northern winds. The name "Kuuva Canal" comes from a man by the name of Matti Kuuva. He dug the canal with a spade at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The canal shortens the distance between Kanavavuono Fjord and Koskivuono Fjord by 16 kilometres. The route's total length is 42 kilometres.

The third and the longest alternative goes around Pisterinniemi. On this route, you can visit the Pisteri boating base (in Finnish), which provides some services. There is also an open wilderness hut at the boating base. The distance from Käyräniemi to the Pisteri boating base is 25 kilometres. The final section onto Lake Nitsijärvi and to the road side is equally long. The Nitsikoski Rapids are situated between Lakes Inarijärvi and Nitsijärvi. The rapids are short and easy to pass, as there are chutes in the rapids. There is also a footbridge.

Depature from the Nanguniemi Boat Harbour

Canoe Trip on Two Open Water AreasThe Labrador is very common in Inarijärvi lake. Photo: Tapio Tynys

This trip proposal extends to the mid-part of Lake Inarijärvi and is therefore both demanding and rewarding. This one-week trip requires careful planning as to what and how much food you should take with you. Luckily, the lake water is drinkable. Read more about the drinking water on the Hiking in Finland webpages.

Be prepared for the weather conditions to change a lot in one week. You will need warm and windproof clothes, headgear and gloves. The temperature may vary considerably in early summer, in particular. It can reach 25º Celsius, but it can also turn icily cold when the air masses arrive from the arctic regions.

It is slightly more than five kilometres to the first rest spot, which is the boating base on Jääsaari Island. From Jääsaari Island, the trip continues to the Jääsaari strait. The route is amongst the busiest on the lake, so it is recommended that canoeists stay away from the centre line in order to avoid large wakes.

Route Description from Nanguniemi © Metsähallitus 2015

There is a z-sign for navigation purposes on the islet located in the middle of the mouth of the Jääsaari strait. At that point, you must decide on which side you will bypass the long chain of islands in front of you. The chain of islands separate the open waters of Kasariselkä and Sammakoselkä from each other. Kasariselkä is rocky and more open to winds than Sammakkoselkä on the eastern side. The boat course runs to Sammakkoselkä, where the route is clearer. In windy weather, choose the mid-most alternative on the map. Continue along the narrow straits sheltered by the islands to the Kärppätupa boating base. The distance from Jääsaari Island to Kärppätupa is at least 17 kilometres.

From Kärppäsaari, it is possible to continue northeast along the straits between the islands. There are plenty of sheltered natural harbours. The distance from Kärppäsaari Island to the northern side of Kuorpasaari Island and back to Kärppätupa is at least 27 kilometres.

You can start your return trip by canoeing from Kärppätupa heading east-southeast onto the northern side of Tavesaari Island and continuing along the strait between Tavesaari Island and Tuurakivisaari Island to the bay between Kovasaari Island and Keitinniemi. From there, you can continue via Kaamasnuora to Kuossaperä and further to the Tyllylahti boating base or to the Red Hut. Before that, you will pass the border sign signifying the Treaty of Teusina of 1595. The border sign marks the ancient border between Sweden and Russia. The distance from Kärppätupa to Tyllylahti is 19 kilometres.

From Tyllylahti, the trip continues southwards towards the Nanguniemi departure harbour. The final section is characterised by numerous islands. The length of the winding route is at least 10 kilometres.

The entire trip is at least 78 kilometres long.

Departure from the Nellim Boat Harbour

Nellim is also a good starting point for a canoe trip. What follows is a presentation of two alternative routes, i.e. a day trip and a longer trip taking three days. On the longer trip, be prepared for spending the second night on your own, i.e. without any constructed services.

Day Trip to Speinniemi

From the boat harbour, the distance to the boating base of Peiliniemi (Speinniemi) is a bit more than 5 kilometres.

Photo: Tapio Tynys

There has been an unusual amount of variation in the name of this boating base. It is very common for Inari Sámi geographical names to adopt Finnish forms, and the names' meanings have changed. However, it is rare that several names are used for one place. The original name of the peninsula next to the boating base is "Speinnjárga", which originates from the name of a man known as Spein Sarak or Sarak Svendsen, who once lived in northern Norway. On the old topographic map, the name has been distorted into Peiliniemi ("mirror peninsula"), so the meaning has changed completely (in northern Sámi, "speadjal" stands for "mirror" and "njárga" for "peninsula"). On the address and recreation map for Inari, the boating base in question is known as "Lusmanuora".

You can return to Nellim the same way or by going around Lusmasaari Island. Going around the island increases the length of the return journey from 5 kilometres to at least 14 kilometres. That way, the length of the day trip is either 10 or 19 kilometres.

Route Descriptions from Nellim © Metsähallitus 2015

Canoe Trip around Kaamassaari Island

You can take a two-day trip by continuing from Speinniemi to the Tyllylahti boating base where there is a camping site. On the way, you can turn off to Andreasnuora and study a former prison camp that was run by the Germans in World War II. The prison camp is located on the northern side of Andreasnuora. Most of the buildings at the former prison camp have decayed but there are still some traces of the camp left.

The length of the stretch on the first day of canoeing is 22 kilometres. In addition to the Tyllylahti boating base, you can also stay overnight at the Red Hut, which is an open wilderness hut located opposite Tyllylahti. On the address and recreation map for Inari, the Red Hut is called "Kaikunuora".

Go around Kaamassaari Island along the narrow straits. You might even see a white-tailed eagle wheeling in the sky as this bird is regularly observed on the lake. The trip continues onto the strait between the islands of Kovasaari and Kaamassaari, after which, the open waters of Satapetäjäselkä await you. At this point, you must study the direction of the wind as it is advisable to pass Satapetäjäselkä on the lee side.

Return to Nellim either via Speinniemi or by canoeing across Satapetäjäselkä onto the southwestern side of Tervasaari Island and continuing on from the northern side of Lusmasaari Island. The distance from Tyllylahti to Nellim is about 30 kilometres.

Pahtaniemi Day-trip Route

The excursion is roughly six kilometres long when you canoe the tailwind section straight and the headwind section close to the shores. The route is quite open to winds.

On top of the steep cliffs of Pahtaniemi is a view opening far out across Lake Inarijärvi. On the return trip, the parish village of Inari will be in front of you and, behind the village, you will see the mighty Otsamotunturi Fell.

There are no services at Pahtaniemi or along the route.

Route descriptions from Inari to Ukonsaari © Metsähallitus 2015
The Ukko Route

There are no accommodation services along the route so you must take your own tent with you.

Right after setting off from the Inari boat harbour, you are faced with the Juutuanvuono Fjord. It is a stretch of open waters and the lake is often rough when the wind blows from the east. The islands do not offer much shelter. Canoe along the fjord's northern shore and you will arrive at the first destination, the Pielpavuono campfire hut. The distance to the hut is 7 kilometres.

Information at Hautuumaasaari -island. Photo: Tapio TynysThere is a marked trail from Pielpavuono to the Pielpajärvi wilderness church. More information is available on the wilderness church's history and services. The bottom of Pielpavuono Fjord is suitable for overnight stays. Please note that the fjord's western side (starting right from the bottom of the bay) is private land.

From Pielpavuono, the trip continues towards the Hautuumaasaaret Islands, of which there are two. First, you will see Vanha Hautuumaasaari Island by the side of Pielpaniemi, the distance to which is 3.5 kilometres. The trip continues east–northeast to Hautuumaasaari Island, a distance of 4 kilometres. On the island, there are reddish beaches and behind the beaches is a dark and ancient forest.

You are allowed to land on these islands and walk there, but lighting a campfire, camping, collecting grave memorials and digging are prohibited, just as it is at other graveyards.

It is a distance of only 1 kilometre from Hautausmaasaari Island to Ukonsaari Island. The high rocky island is visible from all directions, so it has become one of the Lake Inarijärvi symbols for the municipality of Inari. There is a jetty on the island and steep steps to its rocky hill. From the top, there are excellent views opening out onto Lake Inarijärvi. The island vegetation is vulnerable to erosion, so visitors must keep to the designated areas. There are no campfire sites or any other rest-spot services on the island.

Ukonsaari Island marks the trip's turning point; from here, you can return to Inari's boat harbour; the return trip is 12 kilometres as the crow flies.

The Archipelago Route

When continuing to the east of Ukonsaari Island, the next target is the boating base on Suovasaari Island. The distance to the boating base is 7 kilometres and the route proposed runs between numerous islands.

From Suovasaari Island, the distance to the boating base on Petäjäsaari Island is roughly 11 kilometres when canoeing clockwise around Leviä Petäjäsaari Island. The trip passes through an archipelago that is often heralded as the most beautiful archipelago on Lake Inarijärvi.

Photo: Tapio Tynys

After canoeing for 9 kilometres, the proposed route runs back to Suovasaari Island along the southern route. When continuing southwards from the island, choose the shore route marked on the nautical chart that runs along the southern side of Korkiasaari Island. On this route, the distance to Inari's boat harbour is about 17 kilometres.

The entire route is roughly 60 kilometres long. Allow four days for the trip. Actually, it is a good idea to allow five days for the trip as you may have to pause and wait for the wind to calm down.

Route descriptions from Inari to Partakko © Metsähallitus 2015

Inari Village–Partakko

This route runs to Suovasaari Island in the same way as the Archipelago Route. The stretch to be canoed on the first day will be 17 kilometres. This stretch is very open to winds.

From Suovasaari Island, the trip goes on to the northeast to the boating base on Kahkusaari Island. The numerous islands provide some shelter from the winds. Bypass the Pääsaaret Islands and Viimassaari Island either from the western or eastern side, depending on the winds. The stretch for one day is 16–20 kilometres long depending on the route chosen.

After Kahkusaari Island, it is possible to head to Kotalahti Bay and end the trip there. The distance to Kotalahti is only 9 kilometres. The longer alternative is to carry on to Partakko along the lake's northern shore. Please note that this section is very open to southerly winds. You can end the trip at Käyräniemi, where there is a boat ramp. At its shortest, the length of this stretch is 21 kilometres.

The entire trip is at least 54 kilometres long, so allow at least three days for the trip.

Day Trip to the Ivalojoki River Delta, 10 km

This excursion is suitable for bird enthusiasts. There are a great variety of waterfowl at the river's delta. You can observe them from the Juurakkovuopaja bird-watching tower, which is located on the headland. The best time for spotting and listening to the birds is when the waters begin to melt from the end of May to the beginning of June, when you can see migratory birds on their way to the north, in addition to the local birds resting at the delta. When the brooding period begins in mid-June, the birds become quieter and hide. The route is roughly 10 kilometres long. (See the route proposal on the map below).

Canoe Trip around Mahlatti Island – Two Days

The old table full of scripts. Photo: Tapio TynysThis route is about 30 kilometres long and it circles Mahlatti, which is the largest island on Lake Inarijärvi. The route is rather sheltered thanks to the numerous islands. The scenery consists of ruggedly beautiful rocky islands. The islands are almost in their natural state. The old pines, which all bare their individual marks of time, dominate the vegetation.

There are plenty of sheltered natural harbours in which to take a break or stay overnight. You will need a tent for accommodation. There are many private cottages in the area and it is not appropriate to beach close to them.

The most famous sight is the ice cave of Korkia-Maura. There is Metsähallitus' jetty, campfire site, woodshed and dry toilet by the ice cave. The Germans ran a prison camp on Mahlatti Island during World War II. There are still signs of the former prison camp at Kivisalmi.

The landscape is handsome from every angle. If you wish to see further across the islands, you can climb Vuoriainen Hill. The hilltop is 130 metres above lake level.

Route Description from Veskoniemi © Metsähallitus 2015

Canoe Trip around Petäjäsaari Island

The route is at least 37 kilometres long but it becomes even longer if you wind between the islands. The trip takes at least two days. However, allow three or more days for the trip so that you have enough time to explore the area properly. The proposed route runs along the gorgeous archipelago on the southwestern part of the lake, where there are a large number of natural harbours. The route is mainly sheltered but it also has some stretches where the lake may be rough.

You can canoe the route in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. When setting off clockwise, you can first head to the ice cave of Korkia-Maura. The ice on the bottom of the cave does not melt even in summer. The route is mainly in the shelter of the islands but the open waters of Moossinaselkä may be windy. The distance from the harbour to the ice cave is eight kilometres.

After the Maurasaaret Islands, continue towards the strait between the islands of Hoikka and Leveä Petäjäsaaret. First cross the open waters of Jäkäläselkä. Bypass its numerous rocky islands on their lee side.

Most canoeists visit the boating base at Petäjäsaari Island. At its shortest, the distance from the ice cave to the boating base is 13 kilometres, and 21 kilometres from the departure harbour on the tip of the Veskoniemi peninsula. Petäjäsaari's boating base is an excellent place for overnight stays. There are two long boat jetties, an open wilderness hut, a campfire hut, a cooking shelter (gas), two campfire sites, a dry toilet and a woodshed. For campers, there is a camping site and wooden platforms for pitching tents. They keep the bottom part of the tent dry and clean and provide a flat platform for sleeping on the stony terrain.

The trip continues along the strait to the northeast, and from the edge of the majestic open waters of Kasariselkä to the south and the Raesaaret Islands. Following the shoreline, you will first reach the Raesaaret Islands and then the Piekanasaaret Islands. After the open waters of Moossinaselkä, you will be close to Veskoniemi's departure harbour. The distance from the Petäjäsaari boating base to the departure harbour is 16 kilometres.

Coordinates for the Starting Points, WGS 84 System (Car Navigator)

First the Starting Points Name then Latitude and Longitude

  • Ivalo 68.66070 and 27.54390
  • Lake Ukonjärvi 68.754082 and 27.457729
  • Inari Holiday Village 68.902284 and 27.036735
  • Boat harbour in the Inari parish village 68.908437 and 27.019198
  • Kotalahti 69.083695 and 27.649673
  • Käyräniemi 69.173066 and 27.910820
  • Lake Nitsijärvi 69.268575 and 27.980799
  • Veskoniemi boat harbour 68.785306 and 27.645431
  • Nanguniemi boat harbour 68.828252 and 27.793257
  • Peuravuono Fjord 68.720466 and 27.754501
  • Nellim boat harbour 68.848101 and 28.321062

The Route descriptions are according to the departure harbour

There are no marked canoe routes on the lake. The following route descriptions present some route proposals on the map. In order to follow the route descriptions, you must be able to read the map and the terrain, and the weather must be favourable. The routes cannot be canoed in poor weather.