Urho Kekkonen National Park is a national park in Lapland, Finland, situated in area of municipalities of Savukoski, Sodankylä and Inari.
Urho Kekkonen National Park established in 1983 and covering 2,550 square kilometres, it is one of Finland’s largest protected areas. It is named after Urho Kekkonen, late President and Prime Minister of Finland.
The Suomujoki river flows through the northern parts of the diverse park. The marked paths in its western part are an easy destination even for the inexperienced backpacker, whereas the wilderness is good for long and demanding trips.
Most trips to Urho Kekkonen National Park are started from the Kiilopää fell center, the Aittajärvi lake along the Suomujoki river, or Raja-Jooseppi, and backpackers usually end up nearby the Saariselkä fell line, for instance on the top of its highest fell, Sokosti. Reindeer herding is still a common livelihood in the area.
How to Get There?
The hiking trails in the basic zone of the park are close to Road E75. Aittajärvi, Kemihaara and Tulppio are most easily accessible with a car.
From Saariselkä to Lake Aittajärvi: in summer Lake Aittajärvi can be reached by car. From Saariselkä, drive for about 13 km along road no. E75 to the north towards Ivalo and turn right onto the Kuutua forest road. At the crossroads you will see the signpost for “Kuutuantie”. The distance to Aittajärvi is 35 km. There are signposts at a couple of crossroads guiding you to Lake Aittajärvi. You may leave your car in the parking area from where it is about 200 metres to the shore. The road is not maintained in winter.
In early summer it is advisable to check the road’s condition at the Urho Kekkonen National Park Customer Service Kiehinen.
The distance from Saariselkä to Raja-Jooseppi is about 90 km. First drive along road no. E75 to the north to Ivalo, which is 30 km from Saariselkä. From Ivalo, drive along road no. 91 onto the road that goes to Nellimö and Raja-Jooseppi and continue for about 8 km. Thereafter, turn onto the road leading to Raja-Jooseppi and Murmansk. From that point, the distance to the national border and Raja-Jooseppi is about 50 km. It is a distance of roughly 3 km from the customs station to the River Luttojoki bridge located on the border of the Urho Kekkonen National Park. There is a parking area where you can leave your car for the duration of your hike.
It is about 93 km from the village of Savukoski to Tulppio. Drive along the Savukoski-Tulppio connecting road (road no. 9671) for about 80 km to Tulppio. From Tulppio, turn left onto a forest road and drive for about 13 km until you arrive at the Haukijärvenoja parking area located close to the national park border.
The distance from the village of Savukoski to Kemihaara is about 107 km. From the village of Savukoski, drive for about 12 km along road no. 967 and continue straight to road no. 9671. The road runs via the village of Martti and continues towards Tulppio and turns about 3 km before the Tulppio Cabins (Tulppion majat) to the left to Kemihaara. This is the only road leading to the Kemihaara Wilderness Area and to the Savukoski side of the Urho Kekkonen National Park. The road is regularly kept open in winter.
By car you can reach the starting point for Nuortti Hiking Trail at the south-eastern boundary of Urho Kekkonen National Park. The trail’s starting point is approximately 93 km from the municipal centre of Savukoski. From Savukoski take road 9671 (Savukoski – Tulppio) for 80 km at which point you will reach Tulppio. From Tulppio turn left onto a forest road. Follow the forest road for 13 km at which point you will reach Haukijärvenoja parking area near the boundary of Urho Kekkonen National Park. The road beetween Tulppio-Haukijärvenoja is not maintained in winter.
Many buses travel daily from Rovaniemi to Ivalo by Road E75. The National Park is on this route (Rovaniemi – Sodankylä – Vuotso – Tankavaara – Kakslauttanen (Kiilopää) – Saariselkä – Ivalo). You find bus timetables here.
The timetables with trains(www.vr.fi) and flights(www.finavia.fi).
There is a coach from Kemijärvi to Savukoski on weekdays. Transport from Savukoski to Kemihaara or to Haukijärvenoja (100 km) is by taxi.