The Valtavaara-Pyhävaara nature reserve was established to protect the parts of hill, forest and mire landscape in Koillismaa that have been preserved in a natural state of wilderness, in addition to offering opportunities for environmental research and nature activities.

Please familiarise yourself with the rules and regulations for Valtavaara-Pyhävaara (in Finnish; pdf, 1.2 Mb, julkaisut.metsa.fi), ratified on 14 May 2021.
Movement in the area is limited in the restricted section of the Juhannuskallio Cliff. Take a look at the restricted area at Getting around in Nature.

Respect Nature
Pets
Getting around in Nature
Camping
Lighting Campfires
Litter-free Hiking
Fishing
Berry and Mushroom Picking
Biking
Horse Riding
Other Rules
Flying Drone and other aircrafts
Forbidden Activities
Seasons
Safety

Respect Nature

Hiking in the Valtavaara-Pyhävaara Nature Reserve is regulated by the ratified rules and regulations for the area. When moving around in nature, let’s show respect for it. Please take a look at our Outdoor Etiquette.

Please don’t share any such contents on the Internet that break the rules of the national park.

Letting pets run free is forbidden. Dogs that are used for hunting and reindeer husbandry do not need be kept on a leash during those activities.

Getting around in Nature

In the nature reserve, you may walk, snowshoe, ski, row and canoe freely, with the exception of the restricted area:

  • Entering the restricted section of the Juhannuskallio Cliff is forbidden from 1 April to 15 August. The Juhannuskallio Trail runs by the northern and eastern part of the restricted area, and it is not allowed to leave the trail to enter the restricted area.

Map of the Juhannuskallio Restricted Area.
 

Camping

Temporary camping is allowed in the immediate vicinity of the rest spots, campfire sites and huts that have been marked on the map of the nature reserve and in the terrain, as well as on camping sites marked in the terrain. The huts and lean-to shelters are listed on the Services page. All huts, lean-to shelters and campfire sites in the Valtavaara-Pyhävaara area can be found at Excursionmap.fi.

Lighting Campfires

Lighting an open fire in the Valtavaara-Pyhävaara nature reserve is allowed at the maintained campfire sites that have been marked on the map and in the terrain. You are only allowed to use the firewood that has been reserved for the purpose. The person who lights the campfire is always responsible for the fire.

The use of a portable camping stove is allowed in areas where hiking is allowed.

During the Forest and Grass Fire Warning:

  • Lighting an open fire is forbidden everywhere, including at the marked campfire sites, when a forest fire warning (ilmatieteenlaitos.fi) is in effect.
    • The ban does not concern the cooking shelters or other fireplaces with a chimney, which are the Valtavaaranlampi Cooking Shelter and Valtavaara Campfire Hut
  • During the forest and grass fire warning, the use of twig stoves is not allowed, as sparks may be created.

Litter-free Hiking

There are no mixed waste bins in the terrain of the Valtavaara-Pyhävaara nature reserve. Take away everything that you brought along. Always carry a bag in which you can collect all rubbish and take it back with you when you leave the area.

Small amounts of clean paper and cardboard may be used as kindling at a campfire site or a fireplace at a wilderness hut. Other waste, such as packages that contain aluminium foil or plastic, may not be burned in a campfire, as they may form non-biodegradable waste and toxic gases.

Read more about Litter-Free Hiking.

Fishing

Ice fishing and angling are allowed on all of the lakes and ponds in the area. Fishermen must check the fishing restrictions on kalastusrajoitus.fi (available in Finnish and Swedish).

Berry and Mushroom Picking

Picking berries and edible mushrooms is allowed, unless restrictions on movement in the area prevent it.

Biking

Cycling is allowed all year-round on the Pyhän jyssäys Trail, which runs in the Pyhävaara section of the area. See the Pyhän jyssäys Trail description.

In other parts of the nature reserve, cycling is not allowed: Juhannuskallio, Konttainen and Valtavaara.

Horse Riding

Horseback riding is forbidden in all other sections of the area except on the Iso Kumpuvaara forest road.

Other Rules

Forbidden activities in Valtavaara-Pyhävaara

  • Killing, catching or disturbing wild vertebrates, or destroying their nests.
  • Catching and collecting invertebrates, as well as taking and damaging trees, shrubs and other plants or their parts.
  • Extracting earth materials, damaging the soil and bedrock, and the drainage of forests, mires or other areas.
  • Constructing buildings, structures or roads.
  • Littering.
  • Excavating in, covering, changing, damaging, removing and in any way interfering with archaeological sites.
  • Letting dogs or other domestic animals run free, with the exception of dogs used for hunting and reindeer husbandry.
  • Activities that disturb other people in the area.
  • Lighting campfires when a forest fire warning is in effect.
  • Other activities which may have an unfavourable effect on the natural conditions, landscape or the preservation of animal or plant species in the area.
  • Landing a manned aircraft in the area.

The Rules and Regulations for Valtavaara-Pyhävaara

The rules and regulations for Valtavaara-Pyhävaara (in Finnish; pdf, 1.2 Mb, julkaisut.metsa.fi), ratified on 14 May 2021.

Seasons

The Valtavaara-Pyhävaara area welcomes roughly 155,000 visitors per year. The busiest time at Valtavaara is in late February and early March, when schools are out for the winter holidays. During this period, hundreds of cross-country skiers may be travelling the trails between Ruka and Valtavaara each day. However, the lean-to shelters, the rest spot shelter and the campfire hut and their campfire sites can only accommodate a few visitors at a time, and you should take this into account when planning what food to bring with you.

Safety

Familiarise yourself with the destination in advance. We advise you to acquire the Rukatunturi–Oulanka Outdoor Map 1:50 000 for your excursion. Staying on a marked trail and following weather forecasts will help you to have a successful trip. You should also look into any forest fire warnings that may be in effect.

  • Make sure you dress in colourful and weather-appropriate clothing. Find out about the weather and other conditions before the trip.
  • During winter, visitors to the Valtavaara-Pyhävaara area should keep in mind that the snow cover in the terrain is quite thick and there is a possibility of avalanches. For this reason, we do not recommend cross-country skiing far away from the maintained tracks, and skiers should stay close to the marked skiing trail. Hillsides can be especially dangerous. In the Valtavaara section of the area, it is not safe to go off the marked trails at all.
  • Make sure you pack a first-aid kit. In case of an emergency – for example, if you get lost or hurt, or detect a wildfire – phone 112 and report the emergency. More information on how to act in an emergency.
  • Mobile phone reception on Valtavaara Hill is usually good.
  • Also check the latest information on Valtavaara-Pyhävaara’s What’s New page (“Ajankohtaista”; currently in Finnish only, Luontoon.fi).

Check for Warnings

When forest and grass fire warnings (en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi) are in effect, fire is only allowed at covered campfire sites that have a flue. A fire can be also lit in fireplaces at wilderness and other huts. Always use extreme caution when handling fire. The one who lights a fire is always responsible for its safe use. Please note, that making fire at these campfire sites can be banned locally. 

Drawing of a fireplace. The drawing shows the roof, the flue and off the ground.

112 Emergency Number

If you have an emergency during your trip, such as getting lost, injured or finding a wildfire, call 112. Read more detailed emergency instructions.

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Download the 112 Finland application (112.fi) to your phone. When an emergency call is made through the 112 Finland application, the emergency center attendant is automatically informed of the caller's location.

It is recommended to keep the mobile phone warm and to bring extra food and water with you. There are many excursion locations with no mobile coverage and some mobile phones does not work in sub-zero temperatures, that is why it is always a good idea to let someone know about your itinerary and timetable.

Outdoor Etiquette

1. Respect nature.

2. Mainly use marked trails.

3. Camp only where it is allowed.

4. Light your campfire only where it is allowed.

5. Do not litter.

Read more