Hiking Further Afield in Enontekiö

The hiking trails in this region are probably some of the best in the world. They vary in length and difficulty but all trails almost always have some form of wilderness cabin provision. All the cabins are maintained by the state, and vary from reserved locked huts, to open lean-to shelters. All have toilet facilities, a wood supply and a nearby water source. The cabins that can be found in each key area, are shown here.

The mountains blossom throughout July and August and hiking, etc, is possible from mid June to the end of September, although you want to be on a fairly high trek if you visit between c. 20th June and 20th August because of the mosquitos. By the time we are into the Autumn, particularly the first three weeks of September, the landscape is vibrant with colour. This is known as the ruska period and is when most of the Finnish ‘summer’ tourists come to the area – almost as many as visit in the Spring for long warm days of skiing.

This section has been further subdivided into the following areas:

Hiking in the Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area / Enontekiö Highland Watershed Area
Hiking in the Pulju Wilderness Area
Hiking in the Tarvantovaara Region
Hiking in the Kilpisjärvi Region
Hiking in the Malla Strict Nature Reserve (part of the Kasivarsi Wilderness area, near Kilpisjärvi)
Hiking in the Kasivarsi Wilderness Area / Kilpisjärvi Region

Hiking in the Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area

This area is sometimes referred to, by some, as part of the Enontekiö Highland Watershed Area.

The rolling fell and forest landscapes of Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area make for wonderful hiking terrain, but the area’s large bogs are best to circle. There are no marked trails within Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area, but there are many old unmarked trails - most of which are visible on terrain maps - as Pöyrisjärvi has always been an important fishing, hunting and reindeer husbandry area for locals.

Access Permissions

Everyman’s Rights are valid in Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area. Pets are allowed in the area’s open or reservable wilderness huts only if the others in the hut allow. You can leave your route plan and timetable at for example Skierri, Fell-Lapland Nature Centre. Remember to also report on your return, so that a search party is not sent after you needlessly. Search and Rescue services charge for needless search operations. Although Finland has a broad network for mobile phones, there are some areas in the Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area without signal. There may also be some smaller spots where there is interference. If this happens try to climb to a higher place or go into an open area. It may be worth removing the SIM card from your phone and then trying again to make emergency call. Different phones also differ in their coverage.

Top Tips

When wilderness trekking in Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area you should always have a map, a compass and proper clothing, footwear and overnight gear depending on the length of your trek. Please note that weather conditions change very quickly and it can snow even in summer. Make sure you pack a first-aid kit. Hiking in wilderness areas is more demanding than on marked trails. For this reason it is good to be an experienced hiker before attempting a wilderness trek. The most popular time to visit the wilderness area is from June to September, but there are no peak seasons, when the area would be overly crowded. The Hetta-Näkkälä Marked Trail (26 km) This trail is part of an old postal route along which post was taken from Hetta to Näkkälä and from there to Pöyrisjärvi and Kalkujärvi. The trail is also suited for mountain biking. As a hiking trail the Hetta-Näkkälä Trail is not very demanding, but as a biking trail it is, because at different points the trail is rocky. There are duckboards on the trail, but not at every wet spot, so it is best to have waterproof footwear. The Hetta-Näkkälä Trail is marked with tall green poles with a white-red cross at the top.

From Hetta it is easiest to get to the Näkkälä Trail along the trail that starts from the Skierri yard between the two buildings. At first, the trail goes the same way as the Pahtajärvi Trail, which has been marked with blue marks. At Sissanginselkä, the Pahtajärvi Trail turns west while the Näkkälä Trail continues to the north. The rest of the Näkkälä Trail has only been marked with tall green poles located at a distance of about three hundred metres.

The Hetta-Näkkälä snowmobile track starts out right next to the hiking trail and goes in the same direction. Hikers should be careful to not to walk along it. The snowmobile track crosses bog areas and there are no duckboards on it. The trail has been marked in the Enontekiö guide and recreation map (opas- ja virkistyskartta) 1: 100,000. It has also been marked as a path in terrain maps of the area. You can get more information on the trail from Skierri, Fell-Lapland Nature Centre.

Services: Sissanki Lapp pole tent is located at the start of the trail, about 7 km from the village of Hetta. It is locked and can be rented for overnight stays. There is an open wilderness hut at the trails halfway point.
Sights: The Näkkälä seita rock is located near the village of Näkkälä at the end of the trail. Seitas are old sites of worship.

The Kalmakaltio-Pöyrisjärvi-Näkkälä Trail (~ 93 km)
This trail is not marked but it is quite clearly visible in the terrain. The footpath is extremely demanding and passes through the middle of Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area. When wilderness trekking in Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area you should always have a map, a compass, hiking boots and proper clothing as weather conditions can change very suddenly. There are no service structures along the footpath and rivers must be crossed by wading. In the past this was used as a postal route from Hetta to Näkkälä and on to through via Pöyrisjärvi to Kalkujärvi. The footpath is suitable for hiking and mountain biking.

You can get onto the Kalmakaltio-Pöyrisjärvi Trail at Kalmakaltio Spring. Kalmakaltio is a car ride away from the village of Nunnanen. From Lake Naltijärvi you have two different route options towards Lake Kalkujärvi. The eastern of the two crosses the border into Norway, so it’s not recommended if you have items that need to be declared in customs or if you have your dog with you. These two trails meet up at Suukisautsi from where the trail continues on via Kalkujärvi to Pöyrisjärvi. There is an unmarked, but clearly visible and easy to follow, 18 km trail to the village of Näkkälä. The Kalmakaltio-Pöyrisjärvi Trail is shown in the Enontekiö guide and recreational map 1:100 000 (in Finnish).
Services: Kalmakaltio and Naltijärvi open wilderness huts and on more western trail Lenkihaka open wilderness hut. Pöyrisjärvi open/reservable wilderness hut is near Lake Pöyrisjärvi. There are lodging enterprises in the village of Nunnanen and at Kalmakaltio and there are wilderness cabins available in Näkkälä.

Näkkälä - Pöyrisjärvi - Näkkälä, 36 km round trip
Kalmakaltio - Naltijärvi - Kalkujärvi - Pöyrisjärvi, 75 km
Services: The Kalmakaltio, Naltijärvi and Pöyrisjärvi open wilderness huts (as well as the reservable hut at Pöyrisjärvi, are of relevance to this hiking section although the hut positioning leaves quite a long and commiting day in the middle of the hike. On the more western trail, the Lenkihaka open wilderness hut might be of use. There are also lodging enterprises in the village of Nunnanen and at Kalmakaltio for before or after the trek.

Hiking in the Pulju Wilderness Area
(Area: 614 sqkm. Established 1991)

Sauli KoskiPulju Wilderness Area is known for its large mires and its numerous hills and fells. It is a perfect destination for experienced trekkers. During late summer the area’s abundant cloudberry crop attracts day trip visitors to its mires. A rather large road runs through the centre of the wilderness area so it is a very convenient and easy-to-reach target for those cloudberry pickers with orienteering skills. A road and snowmobile track run through the area from the village of Nunnanen to the village of Pulju. Pulju Wilderness Area is surrounded by several protected areas. Lemmenjoki National Park lies to its east and Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area to its northwest. The northern boundary of the wilderness area follows the Finnish-Norwegian border. Øvre Anarjohka National Park (www.dirnat.no) is on the Norwegian side of the border.

Reindeer husbandry is a significant source of livelihood in Pulju Wilderness Area. The reindeer of three herding co-operatives graze in the wilderness area. The boundaries of the municipalities of Enontekiö, Kittilä and Inari meet up at Korsatunturi Fell. This is also the place where the boundaries of the Näkkälä, Kuivasalmi and Sallivaara herding co-operatives run. The northeast boundary of the Kyrö herding co-operative runs on the lower slopes of Korsatunturi Fell. Herders often meet each other at Korsatupa wilderness hut.

Hiking in the Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area

Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area (Area: 670sq.km. Established 1991) is a perfect retreat for experienced hikers looking for peace and quiet as well as unforgettable nature experiences. Whooper Swans, for instance, nest in large numbers in this area but they are only one of the extremely diverse bird population in this area and the Lätäseno-Hietajoki Mire Reserve, which borders Tarvantovaara in the northwest. The wilderness area is still relatively unknown by the public, but experienced bird watchers have found it.

Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area is located west of the village of Leppäjärvi and north of the village of Kaaresuvanto. The north boundary of the wilderness area runs along the Finnish-Norwegian border. The northern limit of pine forests runs at the southern boundary of the wilderness area. Fell tundra rises near the Norwegian border. The highest peaks in these fells are over 600 m above sea-level. The area’s forests are mainly dominated by fell birch and about a third of the area is mire. The mires are mainly palsa bogs, which are bogs with frost mounds rising from them.

Many of the rivers that flow into the River Muoniojoki have their source on the fell tundra or at the area’s lakes and mires. The largest of these tributaries are the Rivers Tarvantojoki and Harrijoki. There are plenty of new catches for avid fishers, who are looking for new challenges.

The Kultima-Leppäjärvi Trail (25km)
The easiest place to set off on the Kultima-Leppäjärvi Trail is along a sandy road from the village of Kultima. The trail is a good day-trip route and leads through mainly lichen filled dry forest, but there are damper sections on it without maintained duckboards. The last 5 km of the trail from the River Palojoki to the village of Leppäjärvi is a dirt track and there are privately-owned cottages along it. The trail is also suitable for mountain biking.
Sights: At the trail's halfway point you can turn off the route and go 1 km north off the trail to Lake Pahtajärvi (a popular lake name in this area for any lakes bounded by steep faces). The lake is clear and surrounded by cliffs.

The Kultima-Leppäjärvi Trail (25km)
The easiest place to set off on the Kultima-Leppäjärvi Trail is along a sandy road from the village of Kultima. The trail is a good day-trip route and leads through mainly lichen filled dry forest, but there are damper sections on it without maintained duckboards. The last 5 km of the trail from the River Palojoki to the village of Leppäjärvi is a dirt track and there are privately-owned cottages along it. The trail is also suitable for mountain biking.
Sights: At the trail's halfway point you can turn off the route and go 1 km north off the trail to Lake Pahtajärvi (a popular lake name in this area for any lakes bounded by steep faces). The lake is clear and surrounded by cliffs.

The Palojärvi-Salvasjärvi Trail (20km)
This is an old postal track which is maintained by the Finnish Road Administration and is still regularly used by locals. This trail, which is clearly visible in the terrain, runs from the north side of the village of Palojärvi to reindeer herders' summer cabins at Lake Salvasjärvi. It has kilometre signs marking sections of it but you should still take a map and a compass with you into this area to make sure that you don't get lost. The track crosses over into Norway at one point, so you should technically have your passport with you. When approaching Lake Salvasjärvi the trail starts to ascend onto the tundra plateau landscape. The trail's end point is on the east side of Lake Salvasjärvi at Salvasjärvi open wilderness hut. The reindeer herders' summer cabins are to the south of Lake Salvasjärvi. The trail is also suitable for mountain biking, but it is demanding as there are great changes in altitude and vast mires.
Services: Salvasjärvi open wilderness hut.

Hiking in the Kilpisjärvi Region

Kilpisjärvi is the main village in the arm of Finland and the main starting point for hikes around the village as well as hikes in both the Käsivarsi Wilderness Area and in the Malla Strict Nature Reserve.

Halti and Sanna
Halti and Sanna are the best known hiking destinations in the Kilpisjarvi region. Saana is located right by the village Kilpisjärvi, visible from all corners of the area. It is said to be the best known fell in Finland, due to its easily recognisable shape. Halti is within the Käsivarsi wilderness area. The hike to Halti is covered below as a component of the hike on the Nordkalottleden Trail.

At 1324 metres, Halti is actually Finland’s highest fell, even if Saana (1029 m) is the most recognisable. Halti lies close to the border between Finland and Norway, with marked hiking and skiing trails starting from Kilpisjärvi.

Trails of note in this area include:

• Iitto Nature Trail, 500 m
• Saana Nature Trail, 6 km
• Saana Trail, 8 km
• Tsahkaljärvi - Saanajärvi - Saana, 12.5 km
• Saanajärvi Trail, 4.5 km
• Salmivaara Trail, 2 km
• Malla Nature Reserve hiking trail and the Three Nations’ Intersection, 11 km
• Halti round-trip,
• Nordkalottleden Trail, 800 km

Litto Nature Trail on the Palsa Moors
En route to Kilpisjärvi you have a chance to stretch your legs on boardwalks which take you out across the peat marshes to view an area of natural significance - an area of Palsa Moors. Palsas are rare perennially frozen peat and mineral wetlands. They are found in the arctic permafrost region which is often dozens of meters thick. Palsas are formed in the thickest parts of the permafrost, where the ice begins to push a mound upwards into the peat layer. The peat insulates the preventing it from melting in the summer. Palsas can be 2,000 years old, seven meters tall, and 20 meters wide. Over time, the palsas grow breaking the layer of peat. Heat is then able to reach the center causing the palsa to collapse. A pond forms on the remains.

You can see palsas in Iitto along Highway 21, 56 km north of Karesuvanto. Wooden broadwalks lead you right to them. Iitto is located on the Käsivarrentie road, about 40 kilometres from Kilpisjärvi. There is a rest area on the river’s side of the road, where you can park your car. Walk along the board walk for about 100 metres, there are signs.

Sanna, located right by the village Kilpisjärvi, is the most recognisable fell as you enter Kilpisjarvi and, although it looks like it would be quite a hike to get to the top, it is actually a relatively easy stroll up its gently sloping side. In ancient times, the spirits of Saana and Halti were worshipped to guarantee a good hunt. Today, these sacred fells still leave you speechless.

Scrambling up to the top of Saana is a challenge worth doing. The longest set of stairs in Finland helps you at the steepest part of the four kilometer journey; two kilometers of solid wooden steps with lookout platforms. You are free to hike along the marked trails, but entrance to the Saana Nature Reserve and Research Area is forbidden between 15 May and 1 September. You may spot a surprise or two when you hike through the unforgiving environment – such as one of the many rare species of butterflies.

Hiking in the Malla Strict Nature Reserve & The Three Nations' Border Stone

One other place of significance in this area is the Three Nations' Border Stone where the borders of Finland, Sweden and Norway meet. The cairn that stands on a man-made island in lake Koltapahtajärvi in the Malla Strict Nature Reserve.

The original rock cairn was erected in 1897. Legend tells that workmen carried rocks for a week to complete the structure. However, the cairn did not survive the vast masses of shifting ice in spring. The current concrete marker was built in 1926. In summer, you can get there by taking the Malla boat, which travels from the Kilpisjärvi village to Koltalahti. The walk from Koltalahti to the cairn is just under three kilometers. You can also reach the cairn by walking 11 kilometers through Malla Strict Nature Reserve. You are free to circle the cairn – unless of course you have goods to declare at customs. Citizens of the Nordic countries do not even need to have their passports with them.

The Malla Nature Reserve is Finland’s oldest nature conservation area, established back in 1916. Covering an area of approximately 30 km2, the nature reserve is in just as natural a state as it was when it was founded. The trail that traverses the park from the Siilaskoski rapid water section to the Kitsiputous waterfall to the three nation intersection is the only route in the park permitted for using in the summertime. The marked trail covers a distance of approximately 11 km. There is a boat connection departing from the village of Kilpisjärvi to the Koltalahti jetty, which is only about three kilometres from the three border intersection.

You may hike the Malla Trail from Kilpisjärvi to the Three Nations’ Border Point (11 km) and return the same way. Another option is to travel onboard the M/S Malla from Kilpisjärvi to Koltalahti. From there you may walk to the Three Nations’ Border Point (3 km) and continue along the Malla Trail (11 km) to Kilpisjärvi.

Trail through Malla Reserve to the 3 Borders stone (11 km) has its starting point at the parking area at the northern end of the village of Kilpisjärvi. The trail soon crosses the River Siilasjoki and rises steeply through a mountain birch forest. After a couple of kilometres, the mountain birch zone is left behind and the terrain turns into an easy-to-walk fell heath. The trail to the top of Pikku-Malla Fell diverges from the main trail after 2.5 km.

The Malla Trail continues winding through the undulating fell landscape past small ponds. The trail becomes rockier and begins to ascend gently towards Iso-Malla Fell. Close to the Kitsiputous Falls, the terrain becomes even steeper, and you have to cross the only scree stone field on the trail. After the falls, the trail winds along the fell slope thick with willows in places, and gradually descends back to the heath.

The small brooks towards the end of the trail are normally quite easy to cross, but in the flood season the crossing is more challenging. For the last few kilometres the trail follows a reindeer fence. Before Lake Kuohkimajärvi, the trail makes a winding descent in the birch forest. At Lake Kuohkimajärvi you may either turn to Kuohkimajärvi open and reservable wilderness hut, or continue another half a kilometre to the boundary mark. The Malla Trail is part of the Nordic Nordkalottleden Trail.

Services: There are information boards in Finnish, English, Northern Sámi and Norwegian at the starting point in the parking area. There are no hiking services in Malla Strict Nature Reserve. At Lake Kuohkimajärvi there is an open and reservable wilderness hut and a campfire site. M/S Malla operates to Koltalahti daily in the summer.

The protected areas are adopting the principle of hiking without littering. Hikers are expected to bring their own litter back from their hike. The Malla parking area has a waste collection point for mixed waste. Sights: Kitsiputous Falls, Pikku-Malla Fell, Three Nations’ Border Point.

The Koltalahti - Three Nations’ Border Point excursion (3 km) starts with a half-hour boat trip through the arctic Lake Kilpisjärvi. While onboard, you will have time to admire the beautiful view of the Tuipali and Paras Fells, and of Malla Strict Nature Reserve with the Kitsiputous Falls on the northern side.

From Koltalahti - after the initial hillocky part - the trail continues as an easy, even trail towards the boundary mark. The trail follows the Swedish-Finnish border, now and then popping into the birch forest. The rest of the trail runs along the shore of Lake Kuohkimajärvi. Services: There are no hiking services between Koltalahti and the Three Nations’ Border Point. Sights: Three Nations’ Border Point.

The trail to Pikku-Malla Fell (7 km) is a to-and-from route. First you stay on the Malla Trail that starts at the parking area. After a couple of kilometres, you will see a signpost by a large boulder pointing to the left - turn there. The trail ascends steadily, and only towards the end is there a steeper slope. On top of Pikku-Malla Fell you will have an amazing panoramic view to the south. Services: There are no campfire sites or other hiking services on this route.

From the Three Nations’ Border Point, you may also head for the large fells in Norway and Sweden. Paras Fell, with its pointed peak, is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Norway. By following the marked summer trail, you may walk to Goldahytta hut (3 km) and continue to the foot of Paras Fell (14 km). From Gappohytta, you may continue hiking to Pältsastugan hut in Sweden (12 km) and from there to Koltalahti (14 km).

The continuation of the route through to Abisko is outlined in the section below.

From Goldahytta, another option is to choose the trail passing Malla Strict Nature Reserve on the western side; this trail takes you to the Kilpisjärvi-Skibotn road, one kilometre from the Norwegian-Finnish border.

Hiking in the Käsivarsi Wilderness Area (2 206 sq.km. Established in 1991)

Käsivarsi is Finland's second largest wilderness area. it is located in the NW corner of Enontekiö and has an area of 220 630 hectares. There are no roads within the wilderness area, but it is not uninhabited. Raittijärvi Lapp village is inhabited by some families through most of the year.

There is a wilderness cabin on the shore of Lake Kelottijärvi, on the edge of the Käsivarsi wilderness area.

Käsivarsi Wilderness Area’s grand fells and fish filled lakes and rivers attract hikers, skiersand fishers alike. Possible starting points for trips in the wilderness area are the village of Kilpisjärvi at the foot of Saanatunturi Fell or from along the Neljän tuulen tie Road “The Road of the Four Winds”, which leads into the Käsivarsi region. Käsivarsi is Finland's most popular wilderness area and has a very unique nature. The fells in the NW corner are the only ones in Finland which are part of the Scandinavian watershed area, the Scandinavian Mountains. Other than Saanatunturi Fell, all of Finland's fells over 1000m in height are in this Wilderness area.

One marked trail leads through the wilderness area, the Kalottireitti - Nordkalottleden Trail, 60 km of which is within the wilderness area. Other trails can be found outside the boundaries of the wilderness area near the village of Kilpisjärvi. Though there are no other trails within the area, hikers are free to trek off-trails as much as they like.

Halti Trail (108km)
Halti, Finland’s tallest fell, 1328 m, located approximately 55 km from the village of Kilpisjärvi. From Kilpisjärvi you can reach the Halti summit by taking the (Calotte Route) Kalottireitti.

The Halti trail is part of a much larger Nordkalottleden Trail. The Nordkalottleden Trail is 800 km long but a 70-km-section of this runs through northern Finland in the area surrounding of Enontekiö in the Käsivarsi region. The most popular part of the Finnish section is between Kilpisjarvi and Halti (the highest peak in Finland at 1324m). The trail starts at Kilpisjarvi and heads towards Halti at which point you turn around and head back the way you came. The walking is easy and encompases some of the hilliest terain in Finland (though that’s not saying much). There are numerous huts (both open and reserved) along the route.

The Arctic Trail hiking route attracts many hikers each year (approx. 5 000 - 10 000/year), who tend to overnight in the village before or after their wilderness adventure. Many tourists trek to the Three Countries Border Marker or climb to the summit of the sacred Saana fell. In addition, some tourists explore Malla Nature Reserve, visit Siilastupa Information Point or explore the regions many nature trails.

Nordkalottleden Trail
The entire Nordkalottleden Trail is 800 km long and a 70-km-section of this runs through northern Finland in the area surrounding of Enontekiö in the Käsivarsi region. The other sections of the trail run through Norway (380 km) and Sweden (350 km). As the trail is so long it can be hiked in sections.

There is a regular bus service to Kilpisjarvi but travel there will take the better part of half a day, so build in a days worth of travel to you itinery. The best place to start is from the Kilpisjarvi Visitors centre at the southern extent of the village – if you get dropped in the centre of the village, it is probably best to walk back down the road.

Nordkalottleden Trail is a demanding hiking trail and not suitable for beginners. All the structures planned for the trail have not yet been built and at some points wilderness huts are very far apart. We recommend that you bring a tent with you. There are 40 wilderness huts along the entire trail, and hikes between them span from 10 to 50 km.

When setting out hikers should make sure that they have proper equipment and clothing as weather conditions can change very suddenly. We recommend that you do not venture into the fell area alone.

Parts of Nordkalottleden Trail are covered by scree rock and therefore demanding to hike. The larger rivers such as the Bierfejohka and Vuomakasjoki, two of the largest in Finland, have bridges over them, but smaller streams must be crossed by wading.

There are both open wilderness huts and reservable wilderness huts along Nordkalottleden Trail. You can stay over night for 1 to 2 nights in open wilderness huts or rent a bunk from a reservable wilderness hut.

There are 3 starting / end points for this trail. They are located in northern Norway at Kautokeino, in southern Norway at Sulitjelma and in Sweden at Kvikkjokk. The Finnish section leads through Käsivarsi Wilderness Area and Malla Strict Nature Reserve. You can get onto the trail at the village of Kilpisjärvi.

The trail offers versatile northern fell landscape. It passes through easy to travel fell highlands, lush birch forests, glaciers and steep-sided gorges. There are many parts with abundant fell vegetation.

Nordkalottleden Trail is made-up of several old trails and new barely travelled trails. In Finland the trail is marked with white 40-cm-high wooden poles which have orange tops. In Norway the trail is marked on stones with paint signs. In Sweden the trail is marked with red crosses and signs with route symbols. The Nordkalottleden Trail can be hiked in sections.

Kautokeino - Kilpisjärvi, about 190 km or alternatively Kilpisjärvi - Halti - Kilpisjärvi about 108 km, Kilpisjärvi - Abisko about 190 km Abisko - Staddajåkka - Kvikkjokk 394 km, or alternatively Abisko - Staddajåkka - Sulitjelma, 329 km

Crossing Borders

Nordkalottleden Trail crosses over national borders at several points. Hikers should make sure that they are not carrying any items which you would need to declare in customs. Those wanting to take their dogs on their hike should contact The Finnish Customs well in advance. Contact The Finnish Food Safety Authority for information on mandatory vaccinations and certificates.

The Section of the Trail in Finland

The portion of the trail, which is in Finland, is a summer hiking trail. The best time to hike there is from the beginning of July to the middle of September. The trail is busiest during August and September. During winter it is possible to ski from Kilpisjärvi to Halti Fell, but there is no marked skiing trail between the two.

In Finland, as well as crossing the Malla Strict Nature reserve, the Nordkalottleden Trail leads through Käsivarsi Wilderness Area. Everyman’s rights are in effect in the wilderness area.

Hikers should reserve about a week for the Kilpisjärvi - Halti - Kilpisjärvi section of the trail. When hiking from Kilpisjärvi to Abisko or Kautokeino you will need to reserve even more time than this. These two sections of the trail require experience; especially in Norway the trail requires diligence as the markings for the trail are painted onto rocks and it can be difficult at times to follow the route.

There is a water point in the vicinity of each open and reservable wilderness hut in Finland. This water from these points is clean and safe to drink. The location of each water point is printed in each hut’s guest book. Streams along the trail have clean water.

Ready chopped firewood is supplied to all open and reservable wilderness huts in early spring. As wood is brought to Käsivarsi Wilderness Area from quite far away and transportation is expensive we ask that visitors do not burn firewood outside of wilderness huts.

Metsähallitus has 8 open and 6 reservable wilderness huts on Nordkalottleden Trail. The open wilderness huts at Lake Saarijärvi, the River Kuonjarjoki, Lake Pihtsusjärvi and Halti Fell are located in the same building as the reservable wilderness hut there. The open and reservable wilderness huts at Lake Meekonjärvi are about a half kilometre from each other. Kopmajoki open wilderness hut is situated near the Norwegian border.

Kilpisjärvi - Kautokeino, about 190 km

Kilpisjärvi - Saarijärvi 11 km
The best place to start is from the Kilpisjarvi Visitors centre at the southern extent of the village – if you get dropped in the centre of the village, it is probably best to walk back down the road.

The starting point for Nordkalottleden Trail is at the southern end of Kilpisjärvi Village on the grounds of Kilpisjärvi Visitor Centre. Another starting point for the trail is located at the north end of Kilpisjärvi Village at the local tourist centre Kilpisjärven Retkeilykeskus. If setting off from this second starting point the distance to Saarijärvi increases significantly.

When departing from Kilpisjärvi towards Halti the first sight along the trail is Saanatunturi Fell, which is on the edge of Kilpisjärvi Village. Saanatunturi Fell is a dominant feature of the landscape all the way from Kilpisjärvi to Saarijärvi.

The two trails which start at the south and north ends of Kilpisjärvi meet up at the mouth of the river which flows out of Lake Tsahkaljärvi. The trail then continues along the south side of the lake and turns north east. There are bridges across both the river which flows from and the one that flows into the lake.

At the foot of Muurivaara Hill the trail crosses into Norway for a while. No permits are needed for crossing the national border, but those things which must be declared at customs can not be taken across the border.

The terrain around Saarijärvi open wilderness hut is rocky, but there are a couple of places to set up tents near by. There is a bridge across the river which flows by the hut.

Saarijärvi - Meekonjärvi 19 km
On the north side of Lake Saarijärvi the trail enters Käsivarsi Wilderness Area, which is the largest wilderness area located in the municipality of Enontekiö. From Saarijärvi the route climbs up a slightly boggy slope between the Fells Tuolljehuhput and Kuonjarvarri. The next stretch, Kuonjarvaggi, is rocky; but the going is fairly easy.

Descending to the hut at the River Kuonarjoki the first large cliffs come in view. The cliff ways drop vertically from a height of 200 metres. At the foot of the cliffs there are great boulders, which have dislodged from the cliff walls.

From the hut at Kuonarjoki the trail leads along a level, easy-to-travel path through Meekonlaakso Valley. The Meekonjärvi open and reservable wilderness huts are situated in the valley between the hills Saivaara, Meekonpahta and Annjalonji. There is a bridge across the River Pierfejohka.

Meekonjärvi - Pihtsusjärvi 12 km
Saivaara, a high and exceptional looking hill rises on the south side of Porojärvi Valley. On top of this hill there is a memorial plaque for Finland’s former president Urho Kekkonen. If you wish to see this memorial plaque you can climb to the top of the hill from its east side.

On the west side of Lake Meekonjärvi Nordkalottleden Trail travels below a high cliff wall through rocky terrain and continues towards Lake Vuomakasjärvi, where there is a bridge across the river. After hiking across Vuobmegasvarri Fell you will come to Pihtsusköngäs Falls which fall from a height of 17 metres. The falls are one the sights along the trail, and this is a wonderful place for hikers to stop and take photos.

From the falls the trail continues along easy to cross terrain by the river bank and along the shore of Lake Pihtsusjärvi to the Pihtsusjärvi open and reservable wilderness huts.

Alternative Route Option 1: Setting off from Lake Lossujärvi

If you do not wish to travel along Nordkalottleden Trail between Kilpisjärvi and Halti and back again, there is an alternate starting point. From the main road (E 8) on the Norwegian side of the border it is an 11 km hike along the bank of the River Didnujoki to Lossujärvi cabin. From there it is a further 12 km to Nordkalottleden Trail. This section of trail has not been marked in the terrain, so a map of this part of Norway (Helligskogen 1:50 000) is necessary.

The easiest way to get to Lake Lossujärvi from Nordkalottleden Trail is to circle around the north side of the Lake Vuomakasjärvi and other bodies of water. Hikers can cross the River Pihtsusjoki at the wading spot, which is located next to a Border Guard lookout hut. There is no bridge across the River Vuomakasjoki, though some maps show there to be one.

Pihtsusjärvi - Halti 12 km
A separate trail turns off Nordkalottleden Trail at Pihtsusjärvi hut. It leads to Halti, Finland’s highest point, which rises to 1324m. The Halti open wilderness hut and the reservable wilderness hut are located 1,5 km west of the Halti trail on the north shore of Lake Haltijärvi. There is a guestbook at the top of Halti Fell, which those who have conquered the hill can sign.

From Halti hikers can travel back to Kilpisjärvi along Nordkalottleden via Lake Pihtsusjärvi, Meeko, and the River Kuonjarjoki. If you do not wish to return along the same route along which you came you can also get to the road leading to Kilpisjärvi via Lake Lossujärvi.

Alternative Route Option 2: Halti Fell - Lake Guolasjärvi

From Halti Fell it is possible to head north for 10 km, over the border into Norway and to Lake Guolasjärvi. The trail between Halti and Guolasjärvi is not marked in the terrain. Before setting out you should get a map of this area of Norway (Ráisduottarháldi 1:50 000) and make sure you have a compass.

The rocky surroundings at Ráisduottarháldi are considerably more difficult to travel across than the terrain in the Halti area in Finland. A fog can cover the area in mere moments and the rain makes the lichen covered stones to become dangerously slippery. The Guolasjärvi-Halti trail is recommended only for very experienced hikers. Mobile phones only function at the highest points on the trail.

There is a road leading from Lake Guolasjärvi to Kåfjordbotn and on to Skibotn. During summer a coach travels from Finland to Skibotn. The distance from Guolasjärvi to Kåfjordbotn is about 30 km. The road is narrow and at parts in poor condition. The distance from Guolasjärvi to Kilpisjärvi is about 120 km.

Pihtsusjärvi - Somashytta 13 km
From Lake Pihtsusjärvi the actual Nordkalottleden Trail turns eastward and climbs over Lovttokielas. The trail passes between two small lakes and continues along the banks of the River Kopmajoki to Lake Somasjärvi. Kopmajoki open wilderness hut is on the shore of the River Kopmajoki.

In Finland the trail is marked with 40 cm high brown bricks, but after crossing the border into Norway the trail is marked with stone signs. About 100 m above the River Rahpesjohka on the hillside just west of Lake Somasjärvi there is an open hut owned by Statskog-Troms. The hut sleeps 8 persons.

Somashytta - Saraelv 35 km
From Somas the trail follows an ATV track along the north-eastern edge of Coalbmevaggi. The terrain is easy to travel treeless tundra. A separate trail leading to Saraelv turns off the ATV track. Hikers can find accommodation either at Sappen or Saraelv. The closest shop is located in Storslet 49 km from Saraelv.

Saraelv - Nedrefosshytta 27 km
From Saraelv Nordkalottleden follows the bank of the River Reisaelva through Reisdalen Valley. The landscape is covered by lush green leafed forest and it is therefore difficult to find a place to set up camp. At some points there are rocky areas where reach the river bank while at other points the trail climbs to higher land and leads through pine forest. During August and September huge raspberry bushes hinder hiking. The trail however is marked and clearly visible.

Before setting off on a hike you should know what the areas water level is as when moving on from Saraelv through Reisdalen Valley there are several small rivers which you will have to cross. When these rivers flood the terrain in the Reisaelva area can difficult to hike across. During rainy summers or early summer when the rivers are flooding its possible that Nordkalottleden in its entirety and its trail marking are completely covered by water. If waters are this high you can hike from Saraelv to Vuomadathytta hut along a fell trail which travels at a higher altitude. This trail is not marked however and you will need maps of Norway (Raisduottarhaldi and Mollesjohka) to find your way.

The first three huts upstream from Saraelv are owned by Statskog. Ansamukka hut is located 3 km from Saraelv on the opposite shore of Raisaelva and it is locked. Sieimahytta hut is also owned by Statskog and located on the east side of the River Reisaelva. The wilderness hut is divided into two parts of which one side is open and the other locked. Ansamukka hut and the locked side of Sieimahytta hut are not in use because of their poor condition.There is a boat on the bank of the River Reisaelv so that hikers can get across. If the boat is on the wrong side of the river hikers can wade across if the waters are low. There is a suitable wading place a few hundred metres upstream from the wilderness hut. Rodhytta hut is a locked maintenance hut owned by Statskog.

Those hiking along Nordkalottleden Trail can see the magnificent Mållesfossen Falls, which is one of Europe’s highest waterfalls (269 m). The falls are located in the River Mollesjohka a tributary of the River Reisaelv. Mollesjohka flows into Reisaelv from the east. If hikers want to get close to the waterfall they must first cross the River Reisaelv.

About 2 km upstream from the falls there is a small turf-roofed hut owned by Statskog-Troms called Vuomadathytta. This turf hut is located by the trail. About 5 km from this hut is another turf-roofed hut Stakarhytta on the shore of the River Reisaelva. The next hut after this is Nedrefosshytta about 2 km upstream from Stakarhytta. There is a hanging bridge across the river. At this point it is also possible to climb up a cliff wall to admire the view to the entire breadth canyon.

Nedrefosshytta - Raisjärvi 30 km
About 3 km upstream hikers will find the Imfossen Falls. The waterfall and its surrounding area are considered the most magnificent sights on Nordkalottleden Trail. The trail to the waterfall is at parts steep and rocky. Hikers should be cautious as during rainy times especially the trail above the canyon can be dangerous. After the waterfall for about 1 km the river follows a 50 - 75 m deep canyon. Above the falls there is a small open wilderness hut, which sleeps two hikers.

The trail climbs gently up from the valley to the peak and meanders to Lake Raisjärvi over rocky terrain occasionally leading through fell-birch forest. About 3 km in the direction of Lake Raisjärvi from Imfossen Falls there is a small open turf hut on the bank of the River Luvddijoki. The turf hut has room for two and is equipped with a wood stove. Hikers will find the turf hut if they turn left off of Nordkalottleden Trail right before arriving at the River Luvddijoki. There are no signposts to the hut. The turf hut is situated on the north side of the river about 300 - 400 metres from Nordkalottleden Trail.

At the top of Bouzuoaivvi the trail follows the edge of a bog. Make sure you do not lose the trail. The River Njargajåkka is the most difficult on the trail to cross, but when the water level is low you can wade across in rubber boots.

At the north end of Raisluobbal the route turns and leads through a bog between Jalgesvarri and Aitevarri, and joins an all-terrain-vehicle track on the slopes of Hålvinvarri. The bogs on either side of Ciegnaljåkk are difficult to travel. The river can be waded across if you have rubber boots.

Hikers arrive at Reisavanhytta hut, which is owned by Statskog-Troms, after passing by a transformer station on the west side of Lieggascårro. From the hut you can proceed to Kautokeino along the road which leads to the Bidjovaggen mines. The distance to Kautokeino along this route is 40 km.

Raisjärvi - Kautokeino 51 km
This section of the trail is marked with orange-red paint markings on birch trunks and rocks. The trail leads over the top of Rivkus and after Jeageloaivi turns southeast over the northern point of Doelljadasvaara Hill and from there by the north shore of Lake Majanasjavri to Cuonovuoppi fell hut. The trail travels through birch and willow forest and the terrain is boggy at parts. You can get to Cuonovuoppi hut from Kautokeino Village by car.

The trail continues through fell-birch forest over the top of Goaskinvarri. It then turns east past Lake Addjetjavri and Boeccegasvarri to their north and leads to Buletjavri. The end point for Nordkalottleden Trail is at the Buletjavri Camping Ground, which is located about 2,5 km from the centre of Kautokeino Village.

Kilpisjärvi South to Abisko in Sweden, 190 km

Kilpisjärvi - Kuohkimajärvi 11 km
Hikers setting off in the direction of Abisko can start their trek by travelling through Malla Strict Nature Reserve to Kuohkimajärvi open wilderness hut.

The starting point for the trail is at a parking area at the north end of the village of Kilpisjärvi just south of Lake Siilasjärvi. You can also get onto Nordkalottleden Trail from the nature trail which starts off at the foot of Saana Fell. Nordkalottleden Trail turns off the nature trail before reaching the top of the fell.

After crossing a road the trail comes to a parking area from where it continues west towards Malla Strict Nature Reserve. When going into a strict nature reserve visitors should read the reserves' rules and regulations before entering the area and always ensure that you stay on marked trails.

From Kilpisjärvi you can also get to Malla Strict Nature Reserve by the Malla Boat, which sails between Kilpisjärvi and Kolttalahti three times daily during the summer peak season if there are enough people on board.

Kuohkimajärvi - Pältsastugan 13 km
Nordkalottleden crosses into Sweden at the point where Finland’s, Sweden’s and Norway’s borders meet. The trail climbs a 100 m incline to the bare top of Tuipali and descends to the lush Pältsa Valley.

No key is needed to get into huts in Sweden, as each hut has an employee present during peak season. This person takes payment for accommodation and can offer information to visitors. Huts in Sweden are owned by Svenska Turistföreningen. Maps which would be useful when hiking in Sweden along Nordkalottleden are for example Fjällkartan BD 1.

Pältsastugan - Rostahytta 12 km
This is a new section of Nordkalottleden Trail and therefore the path is not as clear as at other points. From Pältsa the trail ascends along easy to travel sandy paths to the top of Måskåkaise. After crossing the Norwegian border the trail is marked with stone pillars. The trail leads past the south side of Lake Måskåjärvi towards Rostahytta hut.

Huts in Norway are locked and owned by Troms Turlag. Hikers can get the keys to these huts from Norwegian customs at the Kilpisjärvi border crossing. Keys are given out in exchange for a deposit.

Rostahytta - Daerttahytta 18 km
From Rostahytta hut the trail goes 6 km uphill. After this there is an 8-km-long portion which is very rocky and after this it begins to descend down the side of the fell towards Daerttahytta hut, which is located in Øvre Dividal National Park.

Daerttahytta - Dividalshytta 30 km
Nordkalottleden Trail passes through Øvre Dividal National Park for over 10 kilometres across gently sloping tundra. Between Daerttavagg and Skaktardalen there are a couple of wide river crossings. Next the trail crosses fells. The difference in altitude between the trail’s highest spot and the bottom of Dividal Valley is 600 metres. After crossing the bare tops of fells the valley is surprisingly lush. Dividalshytta hut is located halfway up the Jierta hillside and there is a spectacular view from it.

Dividalshytta - Vuomahytta 19 km
After Dividalshytta hut the trail crosses the River Divielva along a hanging bridge. Nordkalottleden Trail climbs past fell birch forest to open peaks with far stretching views. Vuomahytta hut is located at the mouth of a U-shaped valley.

Vuomahytta - Gaskashytta 20 km
After passing Vuomahytta hut the trail climbs further up. The highest point of the trail is at 950 metres and from there it begins its descent to Gaskashytta and Altevatn.

Gasgashytta - Innset 15 km
The lower slopes of Litjälkt do not offer hikers any wonderful nature experiences with all their shrubbery and muddy trails. Before reaching Innset there are pleasant camping sites. At Innset hikers can find accommodation as well as a bus which will take them to Narvik.

Innset - Lappjordhytta 28 km
Altevatn is a dammed lake which is tens of kilometres long. There are around 400 private summer cottages at its west end. To pass these you must follow the road that goes through the area.

The next portion of the trail has been travelled somewhat less. There are three river crossings. The bridges are often damaged by floods so they may be unsteady. Before reaching the Swedish border hikers come to Troms Turlag´s Lappjordhytta hut.

Lappjordhytta - Abisko 25 km
Nordkalottleden Trail descends down a steep hill towards Lake Torniojärvi and the Swedish border. Pälnovik has an open hut (rare in Sweden) that sleeps 4. The trail leads to Björkliden by the side of a railway track. Abisko Turiststation provides information on train timetables. You can walk the 8 km to Abisko along a road built by workmen who originally built the track.