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Hiking in Lapland
Looking for a trek just outside town or unbounded Arctic wilderness? Lapland has hiking trails for first-timers and more seasoned hikers alike.
Lace up your boots and head into the wilderness! Lapland’s forests, bald fell tops, and endless winding river await the intrepid explorer.
From day trips through gentle hiking areas to longer hiking trips through challenging terrain, the whole of Lapland is yours to explore.
Northern Finland has official hiking areas that are maintained by the Metsähallitus, the Forest Administration. These include the Arctic Circle Hiking Area and the Inari Hiking Area.
The Arctic Circle Hiking Area lies just north of Rovaniemi, about a 15- or 20-minute drive from downtown. As there are a couple starting points just off Highway E75, you can also hop a bus there and back. These hiking routes often take you along the Raudanjoki river with its impressive rapids. The hills here are gentle, and the hiking routes to the top often open wide to lay the grandeur of Arctic Finland at your feet. Stretching away in all directions are the pine and birch forests and the sparkling waters of lakes and rivers.
Farther north sits Lapland’s largest lake, Inari, and the Inari Hiking Area is a great introduction to the homeland of the Sámi people. There are a handful of different trails ranging from an hour’s walk to the whole day. A few recommended trails include the Juutua Accessible Trail (1 km) for beginners, which follows the bank of the Juutuanjoki river; the Pielpajärvi Wilderness Church Trail (10 km round-trip), which winds through a stony old-growth forest to the eponymous church; and the Inari-Otsamo Trail (18 km), which follows the Juutuanjoki river through old-growth forest before climbing up the Otsamotunturi Fell for a spectacular tundra vista. A great place to begin this hike is Siida, the Sámi Museum and Northern Lapland Center, in the village of Inari. Here you can get maps and prepare yourself for the vast untouched wilderness of Inari before you.
Because these hiking areas are maintained by the Forest Administration, this means there are marked hiking and nature trails, as well as camping sites and lean-to shelters, as well as toilet and other facilities.
But daytrips in Lapland aren’t limited to the Hiking Areas. Every national park has hiking trails. Check out Nationalparks.fi for info on all of Finland’s national parks, including trails, maps, facilities and more.