National parks, nature parks and hiking areas
A visitor to Sámiland can be certain that the nature of northern Lapland is pristine and that it will be kept that way for generations to come. Around 60% of the Sámiland area is protected by various levels of conservation orders. Sámiland’s most important areas of conservation from the visitor’s perspective are the Lemmenjoki National Park, Urho Kekkonen National Park, and the Kevo Strict Nature Reserve. In addition, other popular hiking destinations are the Inari Hiking Area and the Näätämö and Sevettijärvi Wilderness Area. For more information about the Sámiland national parks and hiking areas click on the www.outdoors.fi website managed by the Finnish Forest and Park Service (Metsähallitus), or from the local nature centres and information huts.
Lemmenjoki National Park
Lemmenjoki is the largest national park in Finland and one of Europe’s most extensive wilderness regions. The national park offers plenty of interesting things to experience for those travelling their own trail and for those who like to stick to the trails. The marked hiking routes in the area traverse the park’s recreational sections in the Lemmenjoki River Valley. The Finnish Forest and Park Service (Metsähallitus) has a Nature Information Hut in Njurgalahti village, where hikers can get information about the Lemmenjoki district. Lemmenjoki also has a fascinating history of gold digging and is rich in Sámi culture. Interesting cultural sites include, for instance the old Sallivaara reindeer separation enclosure, as well as the Sámi settlements Kaapin Jounin kenttä and Matti Mustan tupa. The history and modern day of gold digging can be seen in the gold fields between Kultasatama dock and Jäkäläpää area.
Urho Kekkonen National Park
The Urho Kekkonen National Park is located within the municipal regions of Inari, Sodankylä and Savukoski. The national park reaches right out to the edge of the Saariselkä and Kiilopää resorts, and the park is a popular destination throughout the year. The neighbouring areas to the resorts include e.g. Rumakuru, Luulampi and Rautulampi, which are destinations for many unexperienced daytrip hikers, as it is easy to traverse the signposted terrain. The wilderness parts of the park provide challenges for experienced hikers who want to take long and demanding wilderness hikes.
Kevo Strict Nature Reserve
In the Kevo Strict Nature Reserve, the northern nature is at its most majestic. Kevo is suitable for demanding wilderness hikes, as the area is only accessible on foot. Lying within the core of the nature reserve is a canyon-like gorge valley over 40 kilometres long and up to 80 metres deep, along the bottom of which flows the Kevojoki River.
Inari Hiking Area
Inari Hiking Area is located west of the village of Inari. The Inari Hiking Area also includes the Myössäjärvi area, Otsamotunturi area, and the area between Tuulispää and the Inari village. The hiking area has numerous marked trails and hiking destinations. The new suspension bridge crossing the Juutuanjoki River is located three kilometres from the Inari village, over the Jäniskoski rapids.
Sevettijärvi Wilderness Hiking Area
The areas surrounding the villages of Sevettijärvi and Näätämö belong to the Vätsäri and Kaldoaivi wilderness areas. The marked Sevetti-Pulmankijärvi trail departs from Sevettijärvi, as well as the Saamen trail that connects Sevettijärvi, Näätämö and Näätämöjoki River. There are also numerous trails leading to the salmon fishing grounds of the Näätämöjoki River.