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Saariselkä Wilderness

The wilderness around Saariselkä will conquer the soul and mind of the traveller – whether you are here in winter or summer. There are fells and peaceful wilderness as far as the eye can see, and the whole area is wonderfully serene.

With all the services, friendly people and great hiking routes, Saariselkä is a small paradise in Lapland for all travellers.


Things to do in the wilderness:

– Skiing, downhill skiing, snowboarding
– Hiking, camping, Nordic walking
– Fishing, ice fishing
– Mountain biking
– Snowshoeing
– Safaris: reindeer, horses, huskies, snowmobiles
– Canoeing, rafting or rowing
– Gold panning
– Admiring the Northern Lights
– Enjoying a smoke sauna

In summer you can marvel at the midnight sun, and in winter ponder the polar night. Furthermore, Saariselkä nature is the perfect place for admiring the Northern Lights. When the sky is bright and clear and the night is dark, you have an almost 100 per cent chance of seeing the Northern Lights. In the remotest parts of Northern Lapland, the aurora borealis can be seen at around 200 nights of the year.

The nature in Saariselkä area is a mix of beautiful fell, marsh and forest land, which is ideally suited for hiking and tourism but also for reindeer husbandry.

From the biogeographical view, Saariselkä area is located in the north of the Nordic countries and Forest Lapland. The tree cover in the area is divided into spruce forests in the south and pine forests in the north. Still, compared with the landscapes of southern Finland, Saariselkä is scarce of trees.


Urho Kekkonen National Park

Founded in 1983, the Urho Kekkonen National Park is an important part of ​​tourism and wildlife in the area. The park covers 2,550 square kilometres in the municipalities of Inari, Sodankylä and Savukoski, and includes also the Saariselkä fells.

The National Park is in an area shaped by the Ice Age, with the fells having mainly rounded peaks. The most common type of rock in the Saariselkä area and on the fells of the National Park is the 1.9 billion year old Lappish granulite.

Glaciers retreated from the area only 9,500 years ago, when many other types of rocks were deposited on top of the Granulite.

The area is rich in marshes, surrounded by rocky fells with their gorges and small waterfalls.



The highest fell in the Saariselkä area is called Sokosti, rising 718 metres above sea level. Sokosti is part of the Urho Kekkonen National Park-Sompio-Kemihaara-Natura 2000 nature reserve. The fell is a popular hiking destination, with several lower peaks in addition to the main one.

The region’s other best known fells are Kaunispää, Kiilopää, Ukselmapää and Vuomapää.

Kaunispää: At a height of 438 metres, Kaunispää is the only fell in the area whose top can be reached by car, and over 100,000 people visit the top every year. It has a unique history spreading from the gold mining days all the way to the development of the ski resort.

Kiilopää: Situated in the Urho Kekkonen National Park, the peak of Kiilopää rises to 546 metres. It is part of the Urho Kekkonen National Park-Sompio-Kemihaara-Natura 2000 nature reserve, and is a popular hiking destination.

Ukselmapää: Smoother and more easily accessible than Sokosti, and hence a popular hiking destination. Ukselmapää is known for its handsome gorges, the best known ones being Pirunportti (Devil’s Gate) and Ukselmakuru.

Vuomapää: Standing at 690 metres above sea level, Vuomapää is located in the southeastern part of Saariselkä. Below it, in the Hammaskuru gorge runs Hammasjoki river.

Remember everyman’s rights!

In Finland, by virtue of everyman’s rights, you can reside and hike on someone else’s land. You can pick berries and mushrooms from public areas.

Angling and ice fishing are permitted under everyman’s rights – but for other forms of fishing, permits are needed. Follow the local rules and find out what the practices are.

Everyman’s rights do not include the use of motor vehicles. Please do not ride a motor cycle or a snowmobile on private land.

Finnish English

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