Instructions on Exploring Urho Kekkonen National Park

In Urho Kekkonen National Park, the following are

Allowed

  • Walking, skiing, rowing and canoeing and on wintertime montain biking any where else except at the skiing tracks.
  • Picking berries and mushrooms

Restricted

  • The use of the national park is regulated through the Park Regulations.
  • The national park has been divided into the following zones to regulate its use and to prevent its wearing down: the recreational and nature turism zone and remote zone. The zones have different regulations for hiking, lighting fires and camping. See the zonedivision from the Excursionmap.fi.
  • Camping is allowed only nearby huts, shelters and fireplaces in recreational and nature turism zone.
  • The park is restricted at east to the boder zone between Finland and Russia and therefore part of the park is situated at the boder zone, in which one need a border zone permit to enter. (www.raja.fi)
  • Lighting campfires is allowed only at sites marked for this purpose in recrational and nature turism zone.
  • At summer time montain biking is allowed on a marked trails and a few unmarked trails, which are:
    • Kakslauttanen - Kopsusjärvi
    • Nilanpää - Suomunruoktu
    • Rajajooseppi - Anterinmukka
    • Kemihaara - Peskihaara - Keskipakat
    • Kemihaara - Mantoselkä
  • Fishing is allowed with the correct permits.
    • Fishers need to check the restrictions on fishing sites at kalastusrajoitus.fi (In Finnish).
  • Hook and line fishing and ice-fishing on a lake-waters. Fishers need to check the restrictions on fishing sites at kalastusrajoitus.fi (In Finnish).
  • To organise events in the National Park permission is always needed. (www.metsa.fi)

Photo: Kimmo Kuure

Forbidden

  • Lighting campfires if the forest fire warning is in effect.
    • Making open fires is always prohibited at both marked campfire sites and when fires are permitted by the land owner if a forest fire warning has been issued for the area (ilmatieteenlaitos.fi). 
    • This prohibition does not apply to cooking shelters or other fireplaces with a flue.
    • During the driest periods it is recommended that fires not be lighted in the fireplaces of the Lapp pole tents and the stoves of the huts so that sparks do not set fire to the dry terrain.
  • Making fire is forbidden in Paratiisi- and Lumikuru and also Raja-Jooseppi homestead and skolt sámi fields at Lutto- and Suomujoki -rivers.
  • Driving a dog sled, except with licence at Pieranvaara -hill trail.
  • Pets running at large
  • Taking or damaging trees, bushes, other plants or their parts, or mushrooms other than edible ones
  • Damaging soil or rock, and extraction of earth material or minerals
  • Killing, catching or disturbing wild vertebrates, or damaging their nests
  • Catching or collecting invertebrates
  • Driving motor vehicles, except on roads designated for motor vehicles
  • Leaving waste in the area, or damaging constructions
  • Mountain biking at skiing tracks
  • Other people disturbing behavior

Photo: Eeva Magga, Metsähallitus

Preparations

Equipment

  • Take into account the different seasons when packing equipment and food.
  • 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. Further information on equipment and hiking can be obtained from camping books.
  • A sleeping bag is part of the hiker's basic gear because the huts in the national park do not contain blankets, except for the reservable huts in the Savukoski area.
  • Take with you pots and pans for making food and your own cutlery.
  • Make use of the good, comprehensive network of huts in the national park when planning a hike. In the off-season there is usually room in the huts, but if you want to guarantee yourself a sleeping place, make a reservation for a reservable hut or turf hut or keep a tent with you.
  • Take with you a V9 battery for the fire alarm, because moisture and the cold weaken the functioning of the battery or someone may have removed the battery.
  • There are mattresses in the national park's reservable huts and turf huts and in the rental hut. Notice that the number of mattresses in all of the huts is not equal to the number of sleeping places.
  • There are no mattresses in the open wilderness huts, except for in Anterinmukka Open Wilderness Hut and the open wilderness huts on the Savukoski side of the park.
  • The national park's huts have a stove or fireplace and a gas cooker. There is firewood in the woodshed.
  • The lean-to shelters, Lapp Pole Tents and huts have a saw and an axe. Especially winter campers should take with them their own equipment, mentioned above. Spare blades for the saw can be found on the woodshed's wall.
  • The huts usually have a water bucket and scoop, a waste bucket, guest book, fire alarm. The hut's folder contains e.g. instructions on how to use equipment and how to behave in the hut.
  • Make sure you pack a first-aid kit.

Photo: Petteri Polojärvi, Metsähallitus

Peak Seasons

The high seasons for hiking in the national park are the skiing season in November–April and the hiking season in the summer and autumn. The open wilderness huts are often full in the high seasons, so make sure to reserve a place in a reservable hut or turf hut and to keep a tent with you, unless you plan to sleep under the stars.

Safety Tips

  • 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.
  • Day trips are a good way to start out if you are a beginner. When going into the park's wilderness zones for longer and more demanding treks, you must always have an experienced hiker in your group.
  • Before setting out on a trek explain your exact route to someone reliable. If your route changes tell your contact as soon as possible. Remember to also tell them when you have returned from your trek. You can leave your route information at your place of lodging, Fell Centre Kiilopää or any of the parks Visitor Centres. Mark down your visits in the huts' and tepees' guest books. In emergencies the markings serve as aids to helpers. The area's rescue service has been organised according to statutes and it can be reached through the emergency exchange. Remember to give notice of your arrival so that the searchers are not called out unnecessarily. Remember to call the emergency number 112 first in an emergency situation.
  • The weather may change rapidly on the fells. A quickly forming fog or blizzard may cause dangerous situations.
  • In winter, trekking is very demanding. Harsh weather and poor light in the middle of winter cause difficulties. The temperature can drop to -40° and during the darkest part of winter there is sunlight for only a couple of hours. The cold is increased significantly by wind chill.
  • Orienteering skills are essential. Be prepared for emergencies such as having to camp out in the forest.
  • Avoid hiking alone. In emergencies a hiking partner is immeasurably valuable.
  • Early spring is a popular time for trekking, but even then proper gear is needed.If you have normal cross-country skis, you should stay on maintained trails.
  • When following snowmobile tracks be cautious. Getting lost is especially dangerous during winter. Winter trekking is best suited for those with experience.
  • Avalanches may occur in gorges.
  • Hiking in Finland:

Photo: Matti Mäcklin, Metsähallitus

Mobile Phone Coverage

  • Although Finland has a broad network for mobile phones, there are some areas in the park without signal. There may also be some smaller spots where there is interference. If this happens try to climb to a higher place or go into an open area. It may be worth removing the SIM card from your phone and then trying again to make emergency call. Different phones also differ in their coverage.
  • We recommend that you keep your mobile phone warm at all times and take along food and drink. Certain phone models do not work when the temperature falls below zero. You should therefore let someone know your planned route. To keep your mobile phone charged, bring along a spare power source, a spare battery or an old phone with a working battery.

Rules for Using Wilderness Huts

Read how to use wilderness huts

Emergency number 112

In case of an emergency along the way, for example if you get lost or injured or see a forest fire, dial 112. Detailed instructions.

Dogs must be kept on a leash! Photo: Seppo Leinonen.

Dogs must be kept on a leash!

(chapter 8 -  Keeping a dog)

Photo: Tuuli Turunen.

Information for Companies and Big Groups

Do you plan to organize guided excursions to the Finnish National Parks or other protected areas? It is possible due to partnership agreement with Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland.

Overnighting

Many kinds of Huts for the Hiker. Please note, that it is not allowed for big groups or commercial groups to overnight in Open Wilderness Huts and in Day Trip Huts