There are no marked routes in the park's wilderness areas, but there are some well-established trails along the most popular hiking routes and particularly on the stretches in between the huts. You might also come across some deer trails in the area that don't lead anywhere. Even though there are no restrictions on where you can go in the national park, it is recommended that you use the existing trails. Be sure to bring a map and compass with you and know how to use them. In the wild, GPS alone is not necessarily enough to keep you from losing your way.
The more common starting points for hiking are Saariselkä and Kiilopää, and Aittajärvi and Raja-Jooseppi in the northern part of the park. You may also begin at Orponen (Vuotso), Kemihaara, Marivaara on the north side of the Lokka Reservoir, and Haukiniva on the Nuorttijoki river.
Most of the unmarked hiking routes in the national park are of average difficulty in terms of terrain conditions. One of the most popular routes is: Kiilopää - Suomuruoktu - Tuiskukuru - Luirojärvi - Lankojärvi - Kiilopää, which is 70 to 80 kilometres long.
Kiilopää - Suomunruoktu, 14 km
The hiking trail starts from the yard of the Kiilopää Fell Centre. The early part of the trail passes along the marked Rautulampi Trail until it reaches the Niilanpää reindeer fence, from where the route moves onto an unmarked trail that leads to the Suomunruoktu open and reservable wilderness hut. The wide trail follows the Suomujoki river, which can be easily crossed to reach the wilderness hut.
Suomunruoktu - Tuiskukuru, 13 km
From the Suomunruoktu hut the trail continues further downstream of the Suomujoki river. After crossing the bridge on the Aitaoja river, head towards Vintilätunturi. From the heads of Harrihaara, head towards Tuiskukuru. An alternative route passes by the ponds of the Suomujoki River. After passing the ponds, follow the Vintiläoja stream to the fell birch stands on the south side of the Pikkutunturi Fell, from where you will descend to Tuiskukuru. There is a open and reservable wilderness hut in Tuiskukuru.
Tuiskukuru - Luirojärvi, 8 km
From the Tuiskukuru hut the trip continues to Lake Luirojärvi, amidst impressive pine stands and fell birch stands on the south side of Ampupäät. You can cross the Luirojoki river at the river's neck. When the water is at normal level, it reaches up to just below the knee. There are several huts at Lake Luirojärvi where you can spend the night. Luirojärvi open and reservable wilderness hut, Kuuselan kämppä rental hut, Rajankämppä open wilderness hut and Raappana open turf hut.
Luirojärvi - Lankojärvi, 19 km
There is a trail from the western shore of Lake Luirojärvi to Lake Lankojärvi. Between Vasanlyömäpäät and Joukhaispää, the trail continues towards the Suomujoki river. There is a wading spot in the Palovanganjoki river near the Suomujoki river. From there follow the trail downstream towards lake Lankojärvi. There are fords on the south side of lake Lankojärvi. During flood season we recommend that you cross the river at the Kotaköngäs bridge. The Luirojärvi - Lankojärvi trail is flanked by heathlands and beautiful fell landscapes. There is a open and reservable wilderness hut at Lankojärvi.
Lankojärvi - Kiilopää, 19 km
There is a clear trail from lake Lankojärvi, along the Rautuoja stream, westwards to the Rautulampi fireplace. The landscape is mostly forest. There is a trail marked with crosses that passes via Niilanpää through a wide-open fell area from Rautulampi to Kiilopää. The trail is broad and rocky.
The first trails to be opened every autumn are the lit skiing trails (about 25 km), which lead outside of National Park borders to Laanila, Kiilopää and Kakslauttanen. As more snow falls the trails which lead to the fells in the main sector of the park are opened. The last trails to open in the spring are: Vellinsärpimä - Taajoslaavu and Rautulampi and Kulmakuru, which lies outside the national park.
Most of the skiing trails are suited for classical skiing and freestyle skiing. There are several day trip huts along marked skiing trails. Trails are maintained on a daily basis during ski season, but skiers should take into consideration that trails in the fells get covered with snow very quickly because of high winds.
There are trail maps (www.saariselka.com) available and maps also include the difficulty of the trail. Hiking maps can also be used as a skiing trail map.
Go Ski Trekking
The winter brings its own challenges to wilderness hikes. If you want to ski outside the marked trails, your skis should be broad hiking or forest skis. Winter hiking is only recommended for experienced hikers and groups should have at least one experienced member with them. You will need to use a map and compass for navigation, so you need to be skilled in using them. In the wild, GPS alone is not necessarily enough to keep you from losing your way. The national park's huts are about a day's journey apart from one another and it is recommended that you use them, especially in winter conditions. Make reservations for the reservable huts and turf huts well in advance to guarantee that you have a place to stay.
Cycling on summertime is permitted only on the marked trails and also on the following routes: Kakslauttanen-Kopsusjärvi, Niilanpää-Suomunruoktu, Raja-Jooseppi-Anterinmukka, Kemihaara-Peskihaara-Keskipakat, Kemihaara-Mantoselkä, Kemihaara-Rakitsat. Cycling on winter is allowed all over except on skiingtracks.
Check the summertime biking trails and additional information from Saariselkä Mountain Biking Guide.