Hiking in the Urho Kekkonen National Park
I spent the last days of July and the first week of August hiking in the Finnish Lapland in Urho Kekkonen National Park with a friend.
Named after a Finnish president Urho Kekkonen, the national park is located some 250 km to the north from the city of Rovaniemi. The eastern parts of the park are next to the Russian border.
We split the trip as follows:
- Friday: Travel from Helsinki to the national park.
- Saturday - Thursday: Hiking in the national park.
- Friday: Travel from the national park to Helsinki.
You can get to Urho Kekkonen National Park with public transport: we took the night rain from Helsinki to Rovaniemi and a bus from Rovaniemi to Kiilopää. Kiilopää is a resort next to the national park. It has many services, including fat bike rental and showers.
We followed the Luirojärvi Circle Trail totaling some 87 km. On the fourth day we hiked to the hop of Sokosti, which is the highest point of the park — some 731 meters.
The weather during the week varied a lot. On the first day we were hit with heavy rains and strong winds. The temperature was some 9 degrees Celsius. It was cold.
The weather forecasts promised only rain for the week but luckily some days were warm and sunny. We stayed the nights in open wilderness huts. These allowed us to dry our gear and clothing.
My favourite route was from Luirojärvi to Lankojärvi. The 22 km route starts with swampy from Luirojärvi but ends in scenic vistas following a river to Lankojärvi.
All in all a very nice hike and I recommend it. The Luirojärvi Circle Trail is not very well-marked, so you should have some wilderness hiking experience before trying it out.