Starting Points for Excursions
- There are numerous starting points for hiking trips in the Saariselkä area. Visitors can set off on the area's summer hiking trails and ski trails at the Saariselkä starting gate located next to Tunturi Hotel, at Fell Centre Kiilopää, Kakslauttanen Hotel and at Laanila Village. The starting points are all equipped with parking areas and tourist information boards.
There are about 200 km of marked summer hiking trails in the Saariselkä area, of which about 100 km are within Urho Kekkonen National Park. There is a map of the summer trails (www.saariselka.fi). The trails are also marked on the area's outdoor maps.
Saariselkä is an excellent place to set off on the Urho Kekkonen National Park nature trails. The Saariselkä area's nature trails have their starting point at Saariselkä tourist resort at the Urho Kekkonen National Park gate. The nature trails are marked in the terrain with green poles which carry pinecone symbols.
- Iisakkipää Nature Trail, 3 km, leads along the lower slopes of Iisakkipää Fell through a dell with a stream. The nature trail is a circle trail the starting point for which is at Saariselkä tourist resort, at the national park gate near Tunturi Hotel. The boards along the trail have text in Finnish, English, French and German. The trail is suited for inexperienced hikers. During winter the trail doubles as a snowshoeing trail.
- Iisakkipää Nature Trail, 7 km, is the longer circle trail option for Iisakkipää Nature Trail. Along this trail hikers can sense the proximity of the Ice Age, as the boards along the trail feature for example signs left behind by the Ice Age. The peak of Iisakkipää Fell is 454 metres above sea level and there are numerous ascents and descents along the trail. A spectacular view opens from the top of Iisakkipää Fell. The trail also passes via the edge of Pääsiäiskuru Ravine. The boards along the trail have text in Finnish, English, French and German. The trail is suited for inexperienced hikers. During winter the trail doubles as a snowshoeing trail.
The starting for the Kiilopää Nature Trails is situated on the grounds of Fell Centre Kiilopää. The nature trails are marked in the terrain with green poles carrying a pinecone symbol.
- Vasalenkki Nature Trail, 1 km, winds through easy to travel terrain near the River Kiilo-oja. There are boards along the trail with information aimed at children. The boards along the trail have text in Finnish, Swedish, English, French and German. The trail is well-suited for inexperienced hikers. During winter the trail doubles as a snowshoeing trail.
- Services: Kiilopää campfire site, near the trail's starting point
- Porolenkki Nature Trail, 3 km, leads along the lower slope of Ahopää Fell through forest along the reindeer round-up fence. The circle trail returns its starting point following the bank of the River Kiilo-oja. The trail is considerably easy to travel and the wettest sections have duckboards along them. The boards along the trail have text in Finnish, Swedish English, French and German. The trail is well-suited for inexperienced hikers. During winter the trail doubles as a snowshoeing trail.
- Services: Kiilopää campfire site, near the trail's starting point
- Kiirunalenkki Nature Trail, 6 km, climbs onto Ahopää Fell and informs hikers about the natural features of fells as well as what land formations the Ice Age left behind. The circle trail returns to its starting point following the bank of the River Kiilo-oja along the same route as the 3 km long Porolenkki does. The boards along the trail have text in Finnish, Swedish, English, French and German. The trail is well-suited for inexperienced hikers. During winter the trail doubles as a snowshoeing trail.
- Services: Kiilopää campfire site, near the trail's starting point
In addition to its nature trails the Saariselkä area has an abundant hiking trail network, from which visitors can choose different length routes to travel. The area's trails are marked on the area's outdoor map, and can be found on the Retkikartta.fi map service.
- Kakslauttanen summer trails 5 - 50 km. Hikers can set off on the area's summer hiking trails at Kakslauttanen, and hike along them to Kiilopää Fell, in the direction of Niilapää Fell and to Laanila Village. Starting points for these trails are situated at Kakslauttanen Hotel and Fell Centre Kiilopää. There is a connecting trail from the Kakslauttanen hiking trails to Ruijanpolku Trail. These trails are quite easy to travel and some of them are also suited for mountain biking.
- Services: Rönkönlampi campfire shelter, Sivakkaoja lean-to shelter, Kiilopää campfire site, Niilanpää campfire site
- Rumakuru summer trails. Rumakuru Ravine is a popular hiking destination located in Urho Kekkonen National Park, near the Saariselkä tourist resort. Trails from the Saariselkä tourist resort, Laanila and Kiilopää lead to Rumakuru. Hikers can either return along the trail they came by or choose one of the other trail options thereby travelling around a circle trail. Laanila Village and Kiilopää Fell are the starting points closest to Rumakuru Ravine; about 5 km in one direction.
- Moitakuru summer trails, 10 - 22 km have their starting point at the national park gate near Tunturi Hotel at the Saariselkä tourist resort. The Moitakuru trail has two route options, a shorter (10 km) or longer (22 km) circle trail. The shorter route climbs onto Kaunispää Fell and descends from there to an intersection near Palo-oja campfire shelter and then turns from there towards the River Luttojoki. The route back follows the south bank of the River Luttojoki to the Saariselkä tourist resort. The longer route option continues from Palo-oja campfire shelter to Moitakuru day-trip hut and all the way to Lake Kuukkelilampi. Moitakuru reindeer round-up fence stands close to Moitakuru day-trip hut. From the fence the trail continues via Luttotupa day-trip hut to the banks of the River Luttojoki and follows the river back to the Saariselkä tourist resort. At the last stages of the journey hikers can stop to rest and eat at Kelo-oja Kullankaivaja day-trip hut or at the campfire shelter or at the Karvaselkä haunted cabin.
- Prospektori summer trail, approximately 1 km/ direction, is a trail from Laanila Village to the old Prospektor goldmine. The trail is easily to travel and well-suited for inexperienced hikers. At the old Prospektori goldmine there is an old miners' cabin, which is now used as a day-trip hut. From the mines hikers can continue along the trail to the boundary of Urho Kekkonen National Park and continue for example along the south side of the River Laanioja and via Piispanoja campfire shelter to Laanila Village, in which case the route is a 6 km long circle trail.
- Laanilan kultareitti Trail, 7.6 km is a trail which features the area's gold mining history in the terrain between Kutturantie road and main road 4. The trail leads by old gold mines and gold mining claims and features the history and world of gold mining. Gold prospecting is still practised in the vicinity of the trail. One end of Kultareitti Trail is on main road 4 (Sodankylä - Ivalo road) about 2 km south of Laanila Village, while its other end is at Kutturantie road parking area, about 1.5 km from the Kutturatie road intersection towards Kuttura Village. There are starting point geode boards at both ends of the trail. The trail is marked in the terrain with gold coloured poles. Along the trails there are information boards which tell of the history of gold mining at the start of the 1900s. Kultareitti Trail is also a cycling route. During winter Kultareitti Trail is part of the Kulmakuru Nature Skiing Trail. The trail is well-suited for inexperienced hikers.
- Sights: The Kerkelä mining village, the Kuivakuru panning facility, the Eversti and Carl Gustaf mine shafts and the Laanila quartz rock, among other attractions, are located along the trail.
- Ruijanpolku Trail, 35 km, is part of an old route, which led via the River Luirojoki, Lake Sompiojärvi and the River Ivalojoki to the Norwegian coast. During the Great Famine (1695 - 1697) and the Great Northern War (1700 - 1721) refugees travelled north along this trail in search of a better livelihood. New signs and markings have been erected along about 35 km of the trail from Lake Sompiojärvi to Laanila Village. Ruijanpolku Trail is marked in the same way it originally was with wooden signposts. There are duckboards along the wet sections and mire portions of the trail. There is a walking bridge across the River Nattushaara. A separate short path leads from Ruijanpolku Trail to the top of Terävä-Nattanen Fell. For the most part the trail travels within Sompio Strict Nature Reserve, where hikers are only permitted to hike on marked trails and camping is only allowed at the camping ground on the shore of Lake Sompiojärvi.
- Services: two campfire sites on the shore of Lake Sompiojärvi, a well, a bird watching tower, a lean-to shelter, a waste bin point, a campfire shelter and a camping ground. The campfire sites are situated at the crossroads where a path leading to the top of Terävä-Nattanen Fell and the shore of Lake Kaptukaislampi turns off Ruijanpolku Trail. Kaptukainen campfire shelter which is situated on this separate path is not in public use. There is a lean-to shelter on the Kopsusjärvi road about 600 metres west of Ruijanpolku Trail. The next lean-to shelter is situated by the trail at the River Sivakkaoja just before it reaches Kiilopää road. There is a guide shelter at the point where Ruijanpolku Trail crosses Kiilopää road.
- Sights: the view from the top of Terävä-Nattanen Fell
Cross-country Skiing Trails
When snow conditions are at their best there is a 250 km network of ski trails in the Saariselkä area. The ski trails are marked in the terrain with wooden poles and nature skiing trails with cross signposts. Different colour codes tell the level of difficulty for each ski trail: those marked with blue are easy, red are medium and black are difficult. The first ski trails to be opened in the autumn are the basic one from Saariselkä to Laanila and the approximately 25 km long lit ski trails to Laanila, Kiilopää Fell and Kakslauttanen. As snow conditions improve ski trails leading into the fell area are also opened. The Vellinsärpimä - Taajoslaavu ski trail, the Rautulampi ski trail and the Kulmakuru ski trail on the edge of Hammastunturi Wilderness Area are the last to be opened in the spring. The majority of the area's ski trails are suited for both traditional and free-style cross-country skiing. There are numerous day-trip huts and a few lean-to shelters on the ski trail network. Ski trails are maintained daily during the ski season. Skiers should, however, take into account that ski trails in the fell area can get snow clogged very quickly when it is snowing or windy.
Ski trails are marked on the Saariselkä area ski trail map (www.saariselka.fi) and on the Saariselkä - Kiilopää outdoor map. During the ski season a café is open at Luulampi day trip hut.
There are a number of trails which can be used as cycling routes in the Saariselkä area, which are marked on the area's newest trail maps. Local companies rent out mountain bikes.
The following are mountain bike routes in the area:
- Laanila Kultareitti (7.6 km) is a trail which features the history of gold prospecting and is also suited for cycling. The trail leads by old gold mines and gold mining claims and features the history and world of gold mining. Read a more detailed description of the trail higher up on this page.
- Kakslauttanen cycling route can also be travelled on foot (see Kakslauttanen summer trails higher on this same page). The shortest route option is a circular trail which is about 7 km long. The longer circular route (about 19.5 km) is a cycling route from Kakslauttanen to Kiilopää and from there towards Laanila and via Rönkönlampi campfire shelter back to Kakslauttanen. The route leads for the most part across easy to travel terrain. Visitors can also cycle along the Kakslauttanen cycling routes to Laanila and all the way to Saariselkä tourist resort and on from there to, for example Moitakuru.
- Services: Rönkönlampi campfire shelter, Kiilopää campfire site.
- Moitakuru summer trail 10 - 22 km (see description higher up on this page) is also suited for mountain biking. The trail's most demanding sections are those climbing over Palopää Fell and Kaunispää Fell.
- Saariselkä tourist resort - Laanila Village. Visitors can cycle along ski trail routes which are cycling trails during summer. The Saariselkä starting point for the route is at the gate near Tunturi Hotel, while the Laanila starting point is at Laanila Hotel. The circle trail is about 11 km long and made up of trail sections; Saariselän tourist centre - Laanila - Piispanoja - Saariselkä tourist resort. There are also connecting trails from the route to Kakslauttanen, Kiilopää Fell and Moitakuru Ravine.
- Services: Piispanoja campfire shelter
Snowmobile Trails and Tracks
Numerous snowmobile trails and tracks lead from Saariselkä to the south as well as the north.
- From Kakslauttanen there is a track heading south, no snowmobile track permit is required in the municipality of Sodankylä. Tankavaara Visitor Centre is just off the route and easy to stop by at. From there you can continue your snowmobile ride to Finland's most southern Lapp village Vuotso.
- From Kakslauttanen there is a track heading north, in the municipality of Inari snowmobile riders need a Metsähallitus snowmobile track permit. From Saariselkä you can get to Ivalo and on from there either further north or to the east to the border crossing at Raja-Jooseppi by snowmobile.
- In the Saariselkä area snowmobile track permits are sold by Kiehinen Customer Service and by companies which rent out snowmobiles. For more information on track permits and snowmobile track maps (www.eraluvat.fi, in Finnish) see the Eraluvat website.