All visitors to Finland’s unspoiled countryside are encouraged to appreciate and enjoy the beautiful and pristine nature that surrounds them. That’s why Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife, municipalities, and many other organizations offer free-to-use or low-cost facilities in every corner of the country.
With thousands of kilometres of marked and maintained trails and ski tracks, thousands of campfire sites, picnic tables, covered cooking shelters, wilderness huts, and other great free or low-cost amenities the hope is that every visitor will grow to love the great outdoors even more and make every effort to preserve wildlife and pass on this deep appreciation to the next generation.
Visitors can help in these efforts by being conscientious when using the facilities. Avoid unnecessary wear and tear and respect other users.
- Nature trails – many trails ranging from easy and accessible which target users of all ages and abilities to more challenging ones. They often offer information boards with illustrations that highlight local history and flora and fauna.
- Hiking routes – in Finland there are thousands of kilometres of marked hiking routes meant for multiple-day backpacking adventures. They can vary in length and ability from easier routes meant for beginners to challenging wilderness routes in northern Lapland meant for experienced and knowledgeable trekkers. In either case always carry a paper map and compass and know how to use them.
- Duckboards, stairs, bridges – many trails in Finland incorporate duckboards and staircases to prevent erosion and to simplify hiking on wet or uneven terrain. Please stay on marked trails. There are many pedestrian bridges of various sizes over rivers and streams. Use caution when crossing especially narrow suspension bridges. There might be limits on the number of walkers who can cross at any one time.
- Picnic sites, campfire sites, cooking shelters, day-use huts, bird and observation towers – many of these sites in the national parks, hiking areas, wilderness areas, and municipalities include picnic tables and firewood sheds that contain pre-cut, free-to-use firewood. Fires are allowed as long as no grass or forest fire warnings are in effect. It is allowed to have a fire in a fireplace in a cooking shelter or day-use hut that has a chimney or flue even if a fire warning is in effect. Please use firewood sparingly. It is expensive and difficult to transport. Get a birds-eye view of the spring and autumn migrations or a perfect panorama shot anytime from the hundreds of bird and observation towers spotted all over the country.
- Wilderness huts, camping sites – many national parks, hiking areas, and wilderness areas have huts which are free to use for overnight accommodation for one or two nights. There are also huts that can be reserved for personal use for a fee. Follow the list of rules included in each hut. There are also many designated camping sites suitable for tenting. In many areas, camping is allowed only at these designated sites.
- Toilets, waste-collection sites – almost all of these day-use and overnight-use sites have toilet facilities, but only a few have waste-collection bins or receptacles for recyclables. In this case you must take out all you have brought in. In more remote sites there are usually composting dry toilets. Toilet paper may not always be available in these remote sites. When visiting remote sites, it’s best to carry as little disposable packaging with you as possible. Most remote sites do not have waste collection points at all. Discarded rubbish can be harmful to nature and wildlife. Be prepared to carry out everything that you have carried in.
- Take care of intimate hygiene with wet wipes. Note, however, that most wet wipes contain plastic and should not be put in the dry toilet: rather pack them in a small bag and take them away. The wrappings of menstrual products, sanitary pads and tampons must be packed in a small bag and brought away with you.
Metsähallitus Parks & Wildlife cooperates with many service providers and other partners who offer a great variety of facilities and services targeting visitors to national parks and other scenic sites in Finland. Click the partner links on the Destinations pages at nationalparks.fi.
These links lead to more information about outdoor activities in Finland: