Urho Kekkonen National Park is a national park in Finnish Lapland. With an area of 2,550 km2 (980 sq mi) it is the second largest national park in Finland. It has good connections and services near Saariselkä, while the backcountry is popular among wilderness backpackers. Sompio Strict Nature Reserve borders the park and is described here. The Kemihaara Wilderness Area also borders the park.
Urho Kekkonen National Park sits along the Russian border in the municipalities of Inari, Sodankylä and Savukoski. The park includes Korvatunturi, where Father Christmas lives – at least according to the Finns (yes, he has a reception in Rovaniemi, but he has to rest too). The park covers fells, broad mires and large wild forests.
The areas along E75, especially near Saariselkä, have lots of visitors, but outside day trip distance (and by the other entry points) the park is significantly more quiet and farther into the wilderness zones you will meet others mainly at wilderness huts and on the most common routes.
The park is partly in the Sami native region. There are exceptions in the park regulations for the Sami and for other locals.
The visitor centres are happy to help with advice to beginners as well as seasoned hikers, and information on current conditions, such as snow depth and water levels:
- 1 Kiehinen Customer Service, Kelotie 1, FI-99830 Saariselkä (Siula centre in Saariselkä), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Official visitor centre.
- 2 Tunturikeskus Kiilopää, Kiilopääntie 620 (from Kakslauttanen east towards the Kiilopää fell, at the road's end), ☏ . Information point, restaurant, lodging and shop by Suomen Latu, an outdoor association. The small shop sells post cards, literature, souvenirs, and last minute complements for the trail, including camping stove fuel, snacks and freeze-dried meals. Also packed meals if ordered in advance. Lunch €10.
- 3 Savukoski Visitor Centre Korvatunturi, Samperintie 32 (outside Savukoski centre, 1 km downstream from the bridge), ☏ . 20 June–30 Sep Tu–Su 09:30–16:00; closed in winter. Info and advice on Urho Kekkonen National Park, Kemihaara and surrounding areas. Free.
The opening hours of the visitor centres are limited. Check.
The park was established in 1983 and is named after the former President of Finland Urho Kaleva Kekkonen ("UKK"), who was an eager hiker and cross-country skier and often came here.
There are traces of human activity in the area starting from 3,000 years ago. The Forest Sami had four winter villages in the area and pitfalls and fences can be found from their era. There are also remains of Skolt Sami villages of a later date.
In the 16th century the culture of the Forest Sami began to erode, as result of Christianizing and arriving settlers. The area became fishing, hunting and pearl fishing grounds for Finns. The wild reindeer got extinct in the 19th century. The Sami now living in the area are descendants of Norwegian Sami arriving in the 19th century with big reindeer herds.
The heart of the park is the Raututunturi–Saariselkä fell area. It is easily traversed, shaped by the Ice Age, with gorges, fell heaths and boulder fields. The northern part of the park is characterised by the river valleys of Luttojoki, Suomujoki and Muorravaarakkajoki. The southern part of the park consists of forest wilderness with pine and spruce forest and isolated fells. In the south-west there are also large open "aapa" bogs, difficult to traverse (and partly off-limits in the bird nesting season). The national park is a watershed area, with some rivers flowing to the Arctic Ocean, some to the Gulf of Bothnia. The river Kemijoki, the longest river in Finland, originates in the park and nearby areas.
Flora and fauna
There is a diverse bird population in the park (130 species spotted), including several endangered species, like the gyr falcon (Falco rusticolus) and the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus). The golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) is the official emblem bird of the park. Most of the birds are migratory, the first of which return in February or early March. The most numerous birds are the brambling (Fringilla montifringilla), the willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus), the meadow pipit (Anthus pratensis), the redwing (Turdus iliacus) and the redpoll (Acanthis flammea). In the forests Siberian jay (Perisoreus infaustus), Siberian tit (Parus cinctus) and three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus) are commonly seen.
Large mammals in the park include reindeer, bear (Ursus arctos), wolverine (Gulo gulo), wolf (Canis lupus) and lynx (Lynx lynx). The large predators are seldom seen by hikers, but reindeer, hare, moose and fox are often spotted.
Some of the rivers are inhabited by the endangered freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera).
The park is in inland Finnish Lapland, clearly north of the Arctic circle.
In midwinter there is Polar Night (Finnish: kaamos), with a few hours of twilight in the day and light by moon, stars and often Aurora Borealis otherwise. Temperatures can drop to -50°C (-55°F), although -20 to -30°C (-5 to -25°F) is more typical. In the fells there can be hard winds also in cold times (which is unusual in the south), adding severe wind chill.
Early spring is ideal for skiing, as the sun is bright and days become warm (start your day early, as the snow will get soft in the afternoon). Although the weather can be very nice indeed, you should be prepared for changes, especially if you go for the wilderness. Skis for prepared tracks are not suitable away from tracks, at least not if weather changes and you get lost.
In late spring all the snow is melting, which means high waters everywhere. Especially in the remoter areas experience is needed to choose feasible routes and ford unavoidable streams. Use local advice if at all unsure.
The weather is often comfortable in summer, with temperatures mostly about 20°C. It can be much colder, though. The mosquitoes mostly arrive in late June and stay to freezing nights of August–September.
The time of autumn colours, ruska, is popular for hiking. It usually takes place in early September. Be prepared for possibly early winter.
The high season for hiking is the summer and early autumn. The skiing season is in November–April. "Off season" for purpose of getting room in the huts is late autumn, midwinter and late spring. Check individual huts for when longer stays are allowed.
You can enter the park anywhere, any time. A visit at a visitor centre is probably worthwhile, though, for most people. You can call them beforehand for any advice you need. See Understand above.
The western border of the park is by national road 4, i.e. E75 (Rovaniemi–Sodankylä–Vuotso–Tankavaara–Kakslauttanen–Saariselkä–Ivalo), with several coaches daily, including coaches from Ivalo to Saariselkä and Kiilopää and coaches from Nordkapp, Karasjok, Vadsø and Tana bru to Rovaniemi. You could come e.g. by plane to Ivalo or Rovaniemi or by train to Rovaniemi and continue by coach.
Thus Kiehinen Customer Service at Saariselkä, the entry at Kiilopää (some of the coaches make the detour) and Tankavaara are easily reachable. These three are 230–260 km from Rovaniemi, 30–60 km from Ivalo (by coach some 3 hours or 25–45 minutes, respectively).
For Sompio, turn from E75 to Sompiojärventie forest road at Vuotso, 8.5 km (5.3 mi) south from Tankavaara. Drive 9 km to the information board and parking lot of the circle trail or 14 km to the shore of Sompiojärvi for camping or the Ruijanpolku trail.
There is a coach from Ivalo to the border-station Raja-Jooseppi north of the park once a week (as of 2021), continuing to Murmansk. Earlier it ran thrice a week, but stricter borders disrupted the service. The border guard station is suitable to get to Luttojoki Skolt grounds, the customs further on is near the grounds of Raja-Jooseppi. There is a lean-to at the Luttojoki bridge (4 km from the customs, 6,5 from the border guard station) which might be suitable for the first or last night. This is the starting point for the Anteri 25 km biking route (one way, bike parking at the endpoint). By foot there are several routes with campfire sites etc., but no marked trails. The next lean-tos are 5 km from the Luttojoki bridge. If you skip Raja-Jooseppi and head directly for the Skolt grounds and Suomujoki, the first lean-to is at Harrimukka, 8 km from the border guard station. You might want to camp at the campfire site on the north side of Luttojoki on the way back, not to be in a hurry at the ford.
There is a daily coach or minibus from Kemijärvi (railhead) to Pelkosenniemi, connecting to a call taxi of Savukoski on request in weekdays. There is probably a coach/minibus connection also via Sodankylä. In Fridays the call taxi continues to Tulppio, Kemihaara (and to Nuortti, check whether that means the Haukijärvenoja trailhead), also fetching those who are returning. Check whether the taxi drives all the way also in winter (the road may not be snowploughed after Tulppio). The long distance UKK trail has its northern end at Haukijärvenoja. The last sections of it (from Oulanka National Park northward) are Hautajärvi–Hanhikangas/Kelloselkä, Kelloselkä–Naruska (no marked route), Naruska–Tuntsa and Tuntsa–Haukijärvenoja.
The lake 4 Aittajärvi at the north border of the park can be reached by car or taxi in summer: drive 13 km from Saariselkä towards Ivalo, turn to Kuutua forest road (look for "Luttojoentie"). Some 35 km along the forest roads. Ask about the road's condition and more exact directions at the visitor centre.
There are free parking areas at all the above mentioned entry points. There are one or more marked trails leading into the park at all of them, but Aittajärvi.
Fees and permits
- There are no entry or hiking fees for the park or visitor centres.
- Mostly use existing trails and paths where such exist, to minimize wear and erosion. Straying away from them is allowed, except in the Sompio reserve.
- You can sleep in your tent, in lean-to shelters and in open wilderness huts for free (see Sleep below for restrictions). Beds in reservation huts cost €11/night/person. Some huts can be reserved for a party for €25–55/night.
- For commercial camping sites outside the park you pay as normal.
- Sauna costs €7/4, the latter for children under 7 and members of groups of ten or more (you could perhaps include a few ghosts if there are six to nine of you). Pay in advance or check how to pay later. Coordinate bathing with others at the hut.
- Use the wood stoves for heating (and for melting snow for water, if needed). Take wood indoors instead of what you use and chop and make tinder as needed, for the next guests to use (but don't leave scrap paper).
- You can book a guided tour of the visitor centre or negotiate a visit outside the opening hours for a fee. Guiding for a group (max about 30 persons) €50/hour, double outside opening hours.
- Permits are required for most fishing. Fishing in flowing water requires a Metsähallitus recreational fishing permit. You can get permits at the visitor centres. Fishing is prohibited in some areas.
- Equipment can be rented from local businesses. Also guided tours and excursions are available.
The park borders Russia and there is a border zone, which should be strictly respected. To climb Korvatunturi you therefore need a special permit unless you go on a tour with a business with a permanent one, but there is a trail to Korvatunturinmurusta, where you get a view. The border zone is very close at the grounds of Raja-Jooseppi, and close or really close in the far end of the Nuortti trail, from the Saukkosuvannonvaara shelter south of the river to the turn on the north side of the Kolsankoski bridge. Be careful unless strictly keeping to the marked trails.
Sompio is a strict nature reserve, keep to the trails. No berry picking here. Even small samples (of whatever) for educational use require written permission.
Entry to a few mires (Pajuaapa, Repoaapa and Lamminaapa) is prohibited in the bird nesting season, 15 May to 15 July.
Leave-no-trace camping principles should be observed in most parts of the park. Although there are waste bins also in the remote areas, you should mostly carry your waste out of the park yourself. Food scraps and similar small quantities of organic waste can be put in composting toilets, where available. Clean paper can be burned, but don't burn packages that contain metal or plastic coating.
Locals, especially those in reindeer husbandry, have special rights. Don't get upset if you see them driving in the park or picking berries in the nature reserve.
Maps are sold at the visitor centres and probably in bigger book and outdoor stores in all the country. There are a few options, with maps of all or part of the park, with or without trails and services specifically marked and on tyvek or more ordinary paper. The 1:100,000 maps may be enough if following trails, while 1:50,000 are probably a better choice otherwise. Declination is about +13.5° (230–240 m off on 1 km unless taken into account) in 2020 – the magnetic north pole has started to move rapidly in the 2000s.
There are marked trails in some parts of the park, especially in the west. Local businesses offer guided and assisted tours and excursions and help with e.g. canoe tours. You can get advice at the visitor centres. Otherwise you are on your own. Even when following marked trails you yourself are responsible for finding your way, should you be caught in fog or a snow storm or if markings are missing.
In the park you are advised to use marked trails where such are provided. Otherwise you are free to choose your route, except for a few restricted areas: the border zone, Sompio strict nature reserve and, in bird nesting time 15 May to 15 July, a few mire areas (Pajuaapa, Repoaapa and Lamminaapa). There are trails through Sompio.
There are unmarked established routes, often between huts, and reindeer paths, which lead nowhere. Some popular routes follow ATV tracks used for maintenance and for the reindeer husbandry and many others are well worn and mostly easy to follow. Use the paths where you can, but be sure you know where you are going: some fork in unexpected ways or fade away in wetlands or otherwise. The trails are subject to erosion in the spring floods and often quite stony.
Biking is allowed on a few routes (see biking below). Using a dogsled is allowed on the route around Pieranvaara. Horseback riding is allowed on the Kemihaara–Mantoselkä and Kemihaara–Vieriharju trails. Grazing is probably not allowed.
There are waterways suitable for canoeing.
In wintertime there are maintained tracks for cross-country skiing near Saariselkä and Kiilopää, mostly also with free-style lanes. For backcountry skiing you need appropriate skis and skills.
- There are nature trails and exhibitions at the visitor centres.
- 1 Iisakkipää (nature trail from Saariselkä, 6 km circle trail). Fell by Saariselkä. Good views.
- 2 Rumakuru (about 6 km from Saariselkä and Laanila, by a marked trail). Two day huts at Rumakuru valley, one of which is from about 1900, probably built by gold diggers. The steep and rocky Rumakuru itself was created by the Ice Age.
- 3 Luirojärvi. Lake in the middle of the park, with wilderness hut, rental hut and sauna. Popular stop at the foot of Sokosti.
- 4 Sokosti. Highest fell in the area, at 718 m. Popular destination in the middle of the park. See the Kiilopää–Suomuruoktu–Tuiskukuru–Luirojärvi–Lankojärvi–Kiilopää unmarked hiking trail below for directions.
- 5 Nuorttijoki river valley. There is a circle trail (40 km) going up the river on one side and down on the other, partly by the river, partly higher up. See below.
- 6 Korvatunturi. Home of Father Christmas. Excursions to Korvatunturinmurusta nearby are arranged by local businesses.
- 7 The grounds of Raja-Jooseppi (400 m before the customs, 1,5 km walk, driving most of the way possible in summer). A nationally valuable cultural heritage area. The Finn Jooseppi settled here in 1910 (the name means "Joseph at the border") with his female companion.
- 8 Sompio Strict Nature Reserve. Includes all the common habitats of the national park, in a smaller scale. It is on the border between the Forest Lapland and the Peräpohjola vegetation zones and the Nattaset fells rise from the spruce and pine forests to above the tree line. There is a hiking trail through the reserve to Kiilopää and Laanila, and a shorter circle trail leading by the Nalijoki river and to the Pyhä-Nattanen fell top.
- Remainings of old Sami villages
- See also Hiking in the Nordic countries for some advice for longer hikes.
There are 200 km of marked trails in the Saariselkä–Kiilopää region, 100 km of which are in the national park. There are a few marked trails in other parts of the park. Many of those going for longer hikes use other routes, some of which are well worn. Many of these routes go along ATV tracks used for service of the huts and for the reindeer husbandry.
- 1 Nuorttijoki marked hiking trail. 40 km circle route along Nuorttijoki river at the south-eastern corner of the park, 2×12 km more if you use the UKK trail to get from Tulppio to the trailhead. A new bridge at the far end was built in the autumn of 2020. The ford at Haukinivat is too dangerous at high waters, ask about the current situation at the visitor centre if you intend to cross there on return. If you get stuck on the northern side, continue westward and navigate to the Kemihaara road (6–8 km), you will probably want a taxi to fetch you from there. The far end of the trail is very close to the border zone; be careful the last 2.5 km on the south side (from the Saukkosuvannonvaara shelter) and until the turn on the north side.
- Kiilopää–Suomuruoktu–Tuiskukuru–Luirojärvi–Lankojärvi–Kiilopää. 70–80 km trail, not marked, but one of the most popular routes, with huts 15–20 km (10–12 mi) apart, with a shorter leg to Luirojärvi, and a few day huts, lean-to shelters and campfire sites for breaks or camping by tent. The four wildernesss huts on the trail all have gas stoves for cooking. The trail is mostly along ATV tracks or otherwise wide and easy to follow, but there are some places were you should be alert with your map. There are a few fords, notably Suomujoki at Suomunruoktu, Luirojoki at Luirojärvi, Palovanganjoki by its mouth, and Suomujoki near Lankojärvi. They should be easy, but may be unpassable during spring floods. The fords near Lankojärvi can be avoided by using the Kotaköngäs bridge 2 km upstream from Palovanganjoki (there is a shortcut on higher ground from a campfire site at Palovanganjoki). The Suomujoki crossing at Aitaoja has a bridge, and the ford at Suomunruoktu can be avoided by adjusting the route to ford near its source instead. There is a sauna at Luirojärvi. From Luirojärvi you can visit Sokosti, the highest fell in the area, as a long day trip.
- Raja-Jooseppi–Suomujoki–Kiilopää. 70–80 km trail, also not marked but with huts and campfire sites. In the first part of the route there are buildings of Skolt Sami families, who were evacuated from Petsamo after the war (and later settled at Sevettijärvi. Note the border zone at Raja-Jooseppi.
- 2 Ruijanpolku (turn from E75 to Sompiojärventie forest road at Vuotso, drive 14 km to the shore of Sompiojärvi, with camping area and other infrastructure – or start in Laanila/Kiilopää/Kakslauttanen). 35 km trail through Sompio to Kiilopää, Kakslauttanen or Laanila, part of the former trail between the Bothnian Bay and the coast of Finnmark (Finnish: Ruija) at the Arctic Ocean. It is mentioned as early as in the 16th century, but fell in disuse at the beginning of the 19th century. This section is now a marked hiking trail. Some of the historic markings (cairns, i.e. stone heaps) remain and must not be touched. The leg through Sompio is tough, with quite rough terrain. As camping is not allowed here, the 15 km (9.3 mi) leg between Sompiojärvi and the Kaptukaislampi lean-to shelter, with a 2×1.5 km sidetrip to the top of Terävä-Nattanen, has to be done in one day (there is a campfire site for a break before or after the sidetrip). Otherwise there are lean-to shelters 9–12 km (5.5–7.5 mi) apart. The trail crosses the road and some trails of the Kakslauttanen-Kiilopää area, allowing some variations in that end. Sompio is a strict nature reserve, leave no trace and keep to the trail.
- 3 Korvatunturi marked hiking trail. 2×20 km from Keminhaara to Korvatunturinmurusta, with view to Korvatunturi. Korvatunturi itself is at the border, inside the border zone. See Savukoski.
- Sompiojärventie–Nalijoki–Tankavaara trail. Through Sompio Strict Nature Reserve to Tankavaara or Männistö. Seems to have been closed with the Tankavaara visitor centre. It used to continue northward from the Nalijoki shelter to a fireplace, onward west out of the reserve to the Iso Tankavaara fell and farther west to Tankavaara or north to Männistö.
- 4 Pyhä-Nattanen (turn from E75 to Sompiojärventie forest road at Vuotso, drive 9 km to information board and parking lot). In Sompio Strict Nature Reserve, 2–7 km. A return trip to the Pyhä-Nattanen fell or a circle trail including Pyhä-Nattanen. The day hut on the fell was built as fire watch hut. On the circle trail there is also a lean-to shelter, at Nalijoki. The circle trail starts at the information board, the return trip 1.1 km farther by the road. The fell is steep enough not to suite people with health or fitness issues: 200 m (660 ft) vertically on 1 km. Nice views from the peak.
There are 250 km of cross-country skiing tracks in the winter, 25 km of which are lit. Most are suitable both for classic and freestyle skiing.
You can also ski farther into the wilderness with a backpack. Suitable skills, skis and equipment are needed, see Hiking in the Nordic countries for some advice. Less experienced visitors can do expeditions with an appointed guide. On some routes snowmobile assistance is allowed.
Canoeing and Kayaking
- See also: Mountain biking
Biking is allowed by the following routes:
- Kemihaara–Mantoselkä and
Contact the visitor centres or local businesses for advice and requirements.
Supplies are available at Saariselkä and in the villages of Savukoski, Vuotso and Tulppio (?). These are not towns but small villages, so check beforehand if you want or need something special. Also Tunturikeskus Kiilopää has a small shop with some supplies.
Some souvenirs are available at Kiehinen, Kiilopää and probably Vuotso and the other shops.
At Saariselkä there is a supermarket and an outdoor equipments' store.
- Supermarket Kuukkeli, Saariseläntie, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. 09:00-21:00.
- Partioaitta (outdoor equipments), Honkapolku, ☏ .
Savukoski, two supermarkets:
- K-market Heinäjärvi, ☏ , fax: . M–F 09:00–18:00, Sa 09:00–16:00, Su 12:00–16:00. Also e.g. post and fuel.
- 1 Sale Savukoski, Uittotie 1 (in Savukoski centre, one block downstream from the bridge), ☏ (€0.0835/call + €0.121/min), firstname.lastname@example.org. M–Sa 09:00—20:00 Su 12:00—18:00. Grocery store. Also water, liquid gas (10- and 11-kg containers only?), cash with the S share owner's card.
- K-extra Sieppi, Säpikästie 3, ☏ . M–F 08:30–18:00, Sa 09:00–14:00, Su 11:00–14:00. Grocery store.
There are restaurants and cafés especially in the Saariselkä area, but also in the other villages around the park. Some tourist businesses offer meals in the park by agreement.
There are stoves for preparing food in the wilderness huts, and pot and pan in at least some of them, but if the hut is crowded it is easier to use your own. Usually the more remote the hut, the more Spartan is the equipment.
In the Basic Zone, the Saariselkä wilderness zone and the Nuortti wilderness zone making fire is allowed only at the specially designated campfire sites (e.g. at the lean-to and cooking shelters). In the Kemi–Sompio wilderness area lighting fires using twigs and branches found on the ground is allowed. When there is a forest fire warning in effect, open fire is prohibited everywhere. In really dry periods fire should be avoided even in huts (the gas stove in huts can be used for cooking).
Carry a camping stove on any longer hikes. It can be used (with due care) also during wildfire warnings.
The water in ponds, streams and rivers should be potable, but it has not been tested. To be safe you might want to boil it. There is water available at the visitor centres and customer service points.
There are some 50 huts of different types in the national park, those close to Saariselkä mostly day huts, not meant for overnight stays in normal conditions. Except for day trips and short trips with reserved beds you should be prepared to sleep in your tent. Off season there is usually room in the huts, but there is no guarantee. If you get lost or caught by bad weather you might have to camp before getting there. There are no blankets in the open wilderness huts, usually not mattresses.
Use the guest books of the huts.
There are lodging services in the villages surrounding the park, including hotels. There is no lodging with any services in the park itself. Note that the huts in the wilderness are heated by wood, by you. In the winter it will take some time before they get warm. Check the web pages of the huts, as some may be closed for repairs or similar. While the rental huts have their own yard, the "huts" with reservable beds are often compartments of open huts or day huts.
There are two rental huts in the park (€47 and €57/night, for 4 and 5 persons), which can be rented for up to a week off season, two nights otherwise.
There are reservation huts in the busier areas, where you get a guaranteed bed for €11 a night (at most two consecutive nights, up to a week off season). Reservations are handled by the Kiehinen visitor centre (check where to get the key, there are several options).
There are quite a few open wilderness huts in the area, mostly in the backcountry, and open turf huts working by the same principles. You are allowed to stay two consecutive night in any of them. Off season you are allowed to stay up to a week in some of the huts.
There are saunas (self service) at some of the huts. Remember that the last to arrive has an absolute right to the facilities: be prepared to arrange room for anybody showing up in the night.
The day huts are primarily meant for breaks, but can be used for lodging in emergencies.
There are also lean-to shelters and "Lapp pole tents", mostly along the Suomujoki, Luttojoki and Nuorttijoki rivers. They are suitable for overnight stays mainly in the summer and autumn.
There are firewood sheds and toilets by all these facilities. There should be a saw (with a spare blade) and an axe in the woodsheds, but in winter you are advised to bring your own. Chop as needed, carry indoors and make tinder for the next guest instead of what you use. The toilets are unheated outhouses, mostly composting dry toilets. Use your own toilet paper and cover feces with the provided material. The dry toilets can be used also for small amounts of organic waste, such as food scraps.
There are no lamps in the huts. Use your own torches (flashlights) and candles in the dark seasons; in late spring and summer the sun probably provides all light you need.
There are six saunas open for use by all (at Luirojärvi, Anterinmukka, Tahvontupa, Vieriharju, Härkävaara and Karhuoja) and one at a rental hut for those lodging there (Tikkasen Vieriharju). They work by self service, pay in advance if possible and get directions if you are not used to wood heated saunas. Coordinate bathing with the others at the hut. There is also a museum sauna (at Raja-Jooseppi), which may not be used.
There are no campsites with any service in the park.
In Sompio Strict Nature Reserve, camping is allowed only at the shore of the lake Sompiojärvi, for a maximum of three days. There is a designated tent area, a lean-to shelter and two "Lapp pole tents".
Otherwise camping is allowed by campfire sites, lean-to shelters and huts (at rental cabins only if you rented it). At huts there is usually a designated tent area. If choosing a non-designated site, be considerate about others and wearing of the ground – and don't camp on the rescue helicopter landing spots!
The designated tent areas usually have a campfire site of their own. You can use toilets and other infrastructure of the lean-to shelters and the huts. Use their guest books.
In the basic and recreational zones of the park (near Saariselkä and Kakslauttanen, and around the Nuortti river), camping is allowed only at campfire sites and near the shelters and open wilderness huts.
In the wilderness zones camping is permitted everywhere, except at treeless fells, surroundings of ancient structures (the Skolt grounds and the grounds of Raja-Jooseppi), the areas of Paratiisikuru and Lumikuru and possibly other areas sensitive to erosion.
In Sompio wild camping is not allowed.
General advice for wilderness hikes in Lapland apply.
The weather may change rapidly on the fells. Be prepared for fog or storm.
Respect the force of the water at fords.
Always take a good map, compass, knife and matches with you, even on the shortest day trips along marked trails. Prepare well and do not go without experienced enough company. GPS is no substitute for orienteering skills and a map.
Tell about your plans to a friend or e.g to the visitor centre (including a dead line when a rescue operation should be started). Tell about any changes to the plans and remember to tell when you do return. Use the guest books.
There are areas in the park without mobile phone coverage. Try fell tops. The emergency number 112 can use any provider, remove the SIM card if necessary.
A 9V battery for the fire alarms of the huts may be needed.
Beware of avalanches at gorges.
Mobile phone coverage is weak in much of the park. Telia has an antenna on the Sokosti fell in the middle of the park, otherwise (and if it happens to be out of order) antennas are along the main roads outside the park. Use high ground to get a connection, otherwise keep the phone off or in airplane mode to save power. No electricity at the huts.
- Tankavaara, the gold rush museum
- Hammastunturi Wilderness Area on the other side of the Inari road, towards Lemmenjoki National Park
- UKK trail, leading from Tulppio all the way to Koli National Park, or at least to Ruka (350 km). From Hautajärvi it follows the Karhunkierros trail. From Ruka southwards documentation is partly lacking and some sections not maintained.
- Vätsäri Wilderness Area (see Sevettijärvi and Inari) and Øvre Pasvik National Park (see Kirkenes) in the Pasvik–Inari Trilateral Park