The national hiking trail the UKK Hiking Trail leads through the Sallatunturi Area. Karhunkierros Trail which comes from the Kuusamo direction continues on northward as the UKK Hiking Trail from Hautajärvi through the municipality of Salla into Savukoski all the way to Tulppio. The trail is marked in the terrain with red plywood plaques.
There are many rest spots such as campfire shelters, lean-to shelters and wilderness huts along the trail. Hikers can choose to travel different length sections of the trail. From the trail hikers can explore the wilderness zones as well as visit numerous well-known sights in the area.
Starting Points for Trail
Possible starting points in the Sallatunturi Area for the UKK Hiking Trail include:
- Sallatunturi ski resort
- Vilma forest road (south of Aihkipetsi day-trip hut)
- Hanhikangas in Kelloselkä
For driving directions see the Sallatunturi maps and directions web page.
Level of Difficulty
The terrain in the area is demanding to hike across and many of the sections require that hikers have substantial experience in wilderness trekking. For the most part the trail leads through uninhabited forests and at several sections it is advisable to check your direction with a map and compass.
Sections of the Route
The UKK Hiking Trail can be travelled section by section between Hautajärvi and Kelloselkä
- Hautajärvi - Tervanpolttamalammit, 11 km
- Tervanpolttamalammit - Konttilampi, 7 km
- Konttilampi - Aihkipetsi, 12 km
- Aihkipetsi - Sallatunturi, 15 km
- Sallatunturi - Kelloselkä, 30 km
Hautajärvi - Tervanpolttamalammit, 11 km
The beginning portion of this trail leads across privately owned lands, where maintenance of the trail is organised by the municipality of Salla. When setting out from Hautajärvi village the trail travels via the Koutajoki Bridge. After the bridge The UKK Hiking Trail turns west onto a forest road, which it follows for one kilometre. The route leads through Kirjavanviita and Kirjavanjänkä. Before reaching the local Isoviita road the trail travels across an open field. At Isoviita the route follows a road for a kilometre again. At Vantturimpi Mire the trail has duckboards along it and it follows the route of a snowmobile track. Before reaching Kaartiselkä there is just under a kilometre's long portion of road after which the trail dives into young pine forest and follows old tracks left from logging all the way to Tervanpolttamalammit rest spot. Here visitors can rest in a campfire shelter which is maintained by the municipality of Salla.
Tervanpolttamalammit Lakes - Lake Konttilampi, 7 km
From the small lakes the trail ascends to a forest road and crosses it after which the trail climbs straight up the slope of Puupalovaara Hill. On top of the slope there are ancient pines. An old postal route, along which post travelled between the villages of Niemelä and Aholanvaara before the wars, lead through some part of this area.
The ascent continues and the view opens up towards the east; hikers are surrounded by trees which have been weighed down with heavy crown snow loads. The UKK Hiking Trail leads along a hard fell earth and straight ahead one of Palotunturi Fell's spruce covered peaks rises into view. The trail then descends down the slope and there are glimpses of water from between trees; this is Lake Pikkukonttilampi. After leaving this wilderness lake behind the trail continues downward in dark spruce forest. Little by little ancient pines come into sight and finally the trail reaches the shore of Lake Konttilampi which is lined with pine trees. Hikers may rest or stay overnight at the campfire shelter located on the shore.
Lake Konttilampi - Aihkipetsi, 12 km
From Konttilampi campfire shelter the trail climbs up into the fells again where there are spruce and birch trees even at the very top. The damp depressions on the slopes have become mires. On Palotunturi Fell there is a scenic lookout point from where the view opens to the east. Looming on the Russian side of the border are some larger fells such as Kieskistunturi and Possolitunturi. Down below next to a shimmering lake is the village of Niemelä. A short distance away at the top of the fell there is a small lake and on its shore Palotunturi campfire shelter.
From this campfire shelter the trail descends to Topsakka-aapa Bog and the fells are left behind. The vast mire area is the Löytöjänkä - Suksenpaistama-aapa Mire Reserve. The trail leads across the long-grassed peatland via Topsakkaharju Ridge, in places where the ground is damp and soft there are duckboards. At the end of Topsakkaharju Ridge there is a bird watching tower from where visitors can observe bird life in the surrounding mires and on the nearby Lake Topsakkajärvi. Next to the bird watching tower there is also a campfire site. Just over three kilometres from the bird watching tower there is a lean-to shelter at the Suksenpaistamalammit Lakes.
At Topsakka, an old mire meadow, there is a grey barn which is a remnant of life in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The feed for livestock was gathered almost completely from natural meadows. The meadows were a long way from settlements and so haymaking lasted several days. The haymakers lived in a turf roofed Lapp pole tent or in herder's cabins. The haymakers' route from Kallunki Village to Topsakka lead between the Palotunturi and Isovaara Fells. The hay was transported to livestock in a horse-drawn sleigh during winter. Hay was gathered from natural meadows up until a few years after Finland's last war times.
The UKK Hiking Trail leads from the Suksenpaistamalammit Lakes along the west slope of Aihkipetsi straight to Vilma forest road. From the road it is only a kilometre's trip to a wonderful resting spot, Aihkipetsi day-trip hut on the shore of Kalliolampi.
Aihkipetsi - Sallatunturi, 15 km
From the day-trip hut there are three route options to reach Sallatunturi. You can continue your journey along Aihkipetsi Trail, which leads around the east side of Ruuhitunturi Fell, along Ruuhitunturi Trail which climbs to the top of Ruuhitunturi Fell or along the actual UKK Hiking Trail which travels between the two fore mentioned trails.
The UKK Hiking Trail climbs from Aihkipetsi day-trip hut onto Kuusikkoruuhivaara Hill and on its north side turns off the Aihkipetsi and Ruuhitunturi Trails to travel east towards Siskelilampi campfire shelter. From Lake Siskelilampi the trail leads across hilly terrain to the edge of vast mires and on from there along duckboards to the bottom of Kolmiloukkosenvaara Hill. The trail then continues to Lake Kolmiloukkonen where there is a lean-to shelter.
The Aihkipetsi Trail which comes from Aihkipetsi day-trip hut and comes around the east side of Ruuhitunturi Fell unites with the UKK Hiking Trail just before it reaches Lake Kolmiloukkonen.
From Lake Kolmiloukkonen the UKK Hiking Trail continues to Salla Reindeer Park, at which point it crosses road 950 (Salla - Kuusamo). The hiking trail follows road 950 on its east side until reaching Sallatunturi tourist centre.
Sallatunturi - Kelloselkä, 30 km
About half of this section of the UKK Hiking Trail travels within the boundaries of the Aatsinki - Onkamo Natura Site. When setting out from Sallatunturi there are two route options when heading towards Aatsinginhauta Canyon. The route options are around the same length. It is 8 km to the crossroads before Pahakuru Ravine where the trails yet again meet.
Northern Route: Along the northern route hikers travel along the fell side to Kaippahanoja lean-to shelter which is high on the fell's forested slope and on from there through a spruce filled mire towards Pahakuru Ravine.
Southern Route: The other option is a trail that circles to the south side of Sallatunturi. This trail follows the same route as the Sallatunturi - Kaunisharju Trail all the way to Tunturilampi lean-to shelter. From the lean-to shelter the UKK Hiking Trail continues to Kylmähete campfire shelter and from there on towards Pahakuru Ravine.
The northern and southern routes meet up before reaching Pahakuru Ravine. In the ravine's surrounding areas and on its precipice there are ancient pines. From the Pahakuru rest spot there are also steps to the bottom of the canyon where there is a small stream. Hikers can get water for example to make a pot of coffee at the campfire site. From the edge of the ravine from the shelter of ancient pines there are glimpses of the view over Aatsinginhauta Canyon.
The trail descends from the ravine to the very bottom of Aasinginhauta Canyon. The trail soon reaches Pitkälampi campfire shelter (Luppotupa) where visitors can rest.
From Pitkälampi campfire shelter there are a set of duckboards leading north for nearly a kilometre. To the left of the trail is the steep Julmoivanrinne Cliff. The trail meanders through difficult to travel terrain at the bottom of the canyon surrounded by hills. Before reaching the River Aatsinkijoki the UKK Hiking Trail arrives at a forest road along which the trail continues the Aatsinki Village. There is a lean-to shelter Koutalampi where visitors can once again take a breather. At long last the village view with lots of water opens in the nook of the area's hills. From the village hikers can continue onward along the road to Hanhikangas at Kelloselkä, where the trail crosses a railroad track and comes to road 82 (Salla - Kelloselkä).
At Hanhikangas there are still tree stumps left from war-times. The Russians used the same route during the Winter War when advancing westward. The troops were sent supplies from a base at the old village of Salla. Finns did their best to interfere with the enemy's supply transportation and therefore the Russians had to fell the sides of the road to open the view so that they can protect their transport loads.
The UKK Hiking Trail continues in the eastern part of Salla northward from Kelloselkä, but the trail is in poor condition and the markings along the trail are partially lacking between Kelloselkä and Naruska.