Vätsäri Wilderness Area Trails
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Starting Points for Trails
The only marked trail in the Vätsäri Wilderness Area, the Piilola Trail, starts from Kessintie Road at a distance of about 14 km from the village of Nellim.
- The Piilola Trail, 35 km, connects the Norwegian Øvre Pasvik National Park and the Vätsäri Wilderness Area. The northern starting point for the trail is located by the shore of Lake Sortbryststjern in the northeastern part of the Øvre Pasvik National Park, and the southern starting point for the trail is situated along Kessintie Road in the southern part of Vätsäri Wilderness Area. The magnificent Piilola Trail passes through the stony heath forest. The mires, lakes and small rivers lend variety to the landscape. Because of its wilderness-like character, the Piilola Trail is so demanding that it is not suitable for beginners. There are not many structures such as bridges and duckboards on the trail, and most rivers must be crossed by wading or by walking on the stones. The Piilola Trail was opened in June 2009. Part of the trail goes along existing trails and established tracks, but as regards the new trail markings, the trail is still forming itself.
- Services: The open wilderness huts of Ellenkoia and Piilolaporten on the Norwegian side of the trail; in Finland the open wilderness hut of Piilola and the Nuottamajärvi lean-to shelter. In Norway, the trail has been marked by blue paint marks on trees as well as blue wooden signs hung on trees. In Finland there are blue wooden poles set up along the trail.
Other Hiking Tips
A 14-km-long marked trail from Lake Kirakkajärvi to the cabin of Pakanajoki ends on the northern edge of Vätsäri. From Pakanajoki, or Jankkila as the old forest wardens cabin is also called, the trail turns to north again, and ends up in Näätämö. Also the Jankkila - Näätämö section is about 14 km long. These trails are not marked even in all the new maps.
Nearby Vätsäri wilderness area is a Nellim Log-Floating Flume and its 2.7 km long marked trail. The log-floating flume constructed on the land between Lakes Nellimjärvi and Keskimöjärvi is a remnant of the busy logging period of the 1920s and 30s. At the time, log floating was the only profitable way of delivering timber to the mills. Log-floating flumes enabled the floating of logs from more distant areas. The log-floating flume (restored by the National Board of Antiquities in 1994-1995) is 304 metres long. By the flume, there is a replica of a loggers' cabin of the time.
- The starting point for the trail is located by the road running from Nellim to Virtaniemi at a distance of about four kilometres from Nellim.
Boating and Canoeing Routes
Lake Inarijärvi is excellent for boating. There are boat harbours in Inari, Veskoniemi and Nellim. There are also several boat launch places. Boat channels are marked, and there is also Lake Inarijärvi boating map available. Boaters need to bear in mind that Lake Inarijärvi is a great arctic lake, where the weather conditions may change unexpectedly, and the large open waters can be stormy.
Sevettijärvi canoeing route starts from Lake Sevettijärvi, continues via Lake Suolisjärvi and Suolisvuono Fjord to Lake Inarijärvi, and then to Lake Nitsijärvi, from where canoes may be carried across onto Kallovuono Fjord, if going to the village of Partakko. After Lake Nitsijärvi, the route returns to Lake Sevettijärvi via Lakes Hammasjärvi, Jorvapuolijärvi and Mihkalijärvi. Along the route, there are several tracks for dragging canoes across the land. Some are in better condition than others.
Services: There are two open wilderness huts, at Sollumusjärvi and at Suolistaival, along the route. There is also rental cabin in Kettuniemi. There are camping grounds along the route at Sevettijärvi, Partakko and Jorvapuolijärvi. Description of the canoeing route is available from Metsähallitus Ivalo Customer Service.