5 based on 127 reviews
After four times that I have visited Lapland I finally made it to Urho Kekkonen NP in Febuary 2017. Two friends and me had our snow shoes, poles and other equipment with us and went for a beautiful hike starting at Tankavaara. There's a parking lot and several options for markt round-trails. They all lead you along what's left from the battlefield of the winter war in 1942 between the Finns/Germans against the Soviets. We passed open Forests and climbed a hill (vaara) with a breathtaking view from the top. On our way back was the only time we met some other human beings, which I think is just great if you consider that Tankavaara is located right next to the highway 4. Once we were back at the parking lot we had some Finnish makkara and a hot cup of tea at the fire pit.
Urho Kekkonen NP is just beautiful (as most of Lapland is). It's easy to reach from Ivalo Airport or Rovaniemi Airport. Also it offers tours for those that just want to have a little walk and for those that want an extended hike for several days or even weeks. Keep in mind that there is a "maintained" zone, where paths are provided, huts are pretty close and cross country skiing tracks are sustained and the much larger "wilderness" zone, where there is only different types of huts but no maintainance of tracks or other infrastructure. Also if you decide to come during the cold time of year (October - April) be sure you know your skills, have the right equipment (maps, compass, food,...). This is actual Wilderness!
4 based on 63 reviews
Kids all hyped to go in and then get told you have to pay for one adult due to the kids being under 10 €30 for 3 people, tried explaining that I didn’t want to use the park but Happy walk around supervising them nope the girl behind the counter wasn’t the happiest of people either (face like thunder) not the best of experience wouldn’t go back.
4.5 based on 36 reviews
It's really really small. The main aim was to see aurora Borealis. But unfortunately the weather was too cloudy can't see any during my stay! Anyway, we joined the night reindeer safari, it's boring! Although its cold, still felt sleepy during the ride. The guides were inexperienced, seems didn't know what to tell about reindeer! Husky safari was interesting. Young dogs were very excited in running and unwilling to stop. They were cute, adorable and love meeting people. Even the first encounter with huskies, they let you touch their bellies! Daytime was very short, the hiking track had no lamps!
4.5 based on 29 reviews
5 based on 4 reviews
Ruijanpolku or Ruijanreitti is a long (30-35 kilometers) and quite challenging hiking route, which goes through Urho Kekkonen National Park and Sompio Strict Nature Reserve. It follows an old route, which was already used in the 16th century and especially in the late 19th century.
You can hike from Laanila (Saariselkä) to Lake Sompiojärvi (35 kilometers) or from Kiilopää to Lake Sompiojärvi (30 kilometers) - or vice versa. I hiked Ruijanpolku with my teenage son (15 years old) from Kiilopää to Lake Sompiojärvi.
We started our hike from Fell Centre Kiilopää. First we walked 2.2 kilometers along the road from Fell Centre Kiilopää to the west to the public parking place (address Kiilopääntie 203, Sodankylä). From there we started our hike (30 kilometers) along the Ruijanpolku Trail. We did the hike in one day but it took 13 hours and it was quite laborious. We still loved it extremely much. However, it could be a good idea to stay overnight in a tent at the midpoint.
The first lean-to was in Sivakkaoja, soon after the parking place. From Sivakkaoja to Pond Kaptukaislampi the trail was narrow but easy, well marked and dry. There are nice campfire places in two different places near Pond Kaptukaislampi. Firewood is available there but you have to have your own matchsticks. This is a beautiful place and you should stay overnight in a tent here if you don't want to do the whole hike in a day. There are also outhouses there but you have to have your own toilet papers with you.
Soon after Kaptukaislampi you come into Sompio Strict Nature Reserve. It is strictly forbidden to stay overnight there (except onshore Lake Sompiojärvi) and you may not walk away from the trail.
The winter 2016-2017 was very snowy and the spring 2017 came late. So there was still plenty of melt water in Sompio Strict Nature Reserve. Partially the trail was still quite wet in mid June. Rubber boots (wellies) were quite needful in some places. But views were much more beautiful here than in Urho Kekkonen National Park. We saw both swamps and fells (Lapp mountains).
The only campfire site between Kaptukaislampi and Lake Sompiojärvi is called Terävä-Nattanen according to the fell nearby. From that campfire site there is an offshoot trail to Fell Terävä-Nattanen (1.7 kilometers there and the same route back). I left my rucksack on the campfire site. So it was much nicer to walk onto the extremely rocky fell. This Fell Terävä-Nattanen (545 meters high) was the best part of the whole Ruijanpolku Trail. The view was amazing and immemorial!
From the campfire site of Terävä-Nattanen it is only about 7 kilometers to Lake Sompiojärvi. On this trail we even saw a lynx. But we didn't see any people during the whole day (33.4 kilometers). So this hiking route is very peaceful. It also means that you are on your own. I don't recommend this hike if you haven't any experience on hiking. But if you have, this is a marvelous and fantastic route!
We stayed overnight in a tent onshore Lake Sompiojärvi. There are a nice campfire site, an outhouse and a well there. Here we already met some other people, because a small car road comes here (no public traffic).
Ruijanpolku Trail ends onshore Lake Sompiojärvi. On the next day we continued our hike to Fell Pyhä-Nattanen (extremely wonderful, see separate reviews), Nalijoki, Riestonaapa and Tankavaara Gold Village.
Ruijanpolku Trail was the best experience of this summer!
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