Urho Kekkonen National Park Day 5: Suomunruoktu – Kiilopaa

Route: Suomunruoktu – Kiilopää

Distance: 15 km, 4,5 hours

Once again we woke up to a freezing morning. The temperature might have dropped even well below zero during the night, and we hoped that the school kids sleeping in tents outside had warm enough clothes and sleeping bags. The hut was packed to the last spot and so did not even try get up before the others had their breakfast. The group of women who had joined us in the hut the previous night seemed to full of enthusiasm and energy.

For the rest of us it would be our last day and the mood in the hut was a bit somber. Jaakko and Sanna left first as they had a plane to catch. Matti left next with a bus to catch. We enjoyed our last instant breakfast, packed our gear and hit the trail with very light packs. The day would be relatively easy walking on a wide ATV trail passing several fells.

Route map Day 5

Route map Day 5

Easy ATV trail

The views along the path were spectacular, especially from the top of the fells. The sun was shining on a clear blue sky, and for the first time we were able to hike wearing only t-shirts. We walked quite fast and son passed Jaakko and Sanna, who were checking their map and planning an alternative route via the summit of the Kiilopää fell (546m).

Beautiful open views

Around 12.30 we  came across  an old reindeer separation area with an open day hut, which was a good place for the last lunch break. There were even some reindeer running around nearby. The first ones we saw since the first day. The hut was really simple, with  no gas stove and meant primarily to be used as a resting place for day hikers during the summer and skiers during the winter. The only drawback was that the nearest water source was a small stream almost 400 meters from the hut.

Reindeer near the seperation area

While we spent almost an hour relaxing in the hut, the clear skies slowly turned cloudy looking like it would soon start to rain. Our final destination, Kiilopää was only 3km away so a little rain would not bother us that much anymore. The rest of the path was very easy hiking and took us only about 50 minutes. We were lucky that the only real rain we encountered during the whole trip was during this last 3km stretch.

The ending of our trip and the entrance gate to the national park

The ending point for our 5 days of relative isolation was the Kiilopää Center where we arrived already after 14.00 in the afternoon. It is a nice little place mostly used by day hikers and skiers. There is a cafe, small restaurant and even some accommodation. Many of the hikers going to or coming from the UKK National park go through the center as it has good bus connections to elsewhere in Lapland. If you have time, make sure you try the awesome saunas, including the smoke sauna and a beautiful swimming spot in the river. We did not carry any swimwear so we had to skip it. While waiting for the bus to take us back to Saariselkä we enjoyed some delicious berry pie.

Warm and fresh berry pie

The final night we spent at Saariselkä Ski Resort in an atmospheric  log cabin, where we ate huge amounts of fresh food, enjoyed the sauna and sat by the fire treating ourselves with some traditional Lapland treats, bread cheese and cloud berry jam. There were plenty of reindeer walking around the cabin grounds, just a few meters from us. Finally!

Reindeer in Saariselkä

It was a nice and relaxing 5 days in the forest. Just the right amount of challenge. Highly recommended!

Here you can find a few more pictures:

Here is the map of the full route we hiked in 5 days:

The full route of the UKK hike

 

Day 1: Aittajärvi – Sarvioja

Day 2: Sarvioja – Muorranvaarakka

Day 3: Muorranvaarakka – Sokosti – Luirojärvi

Day 4: Luirojärvi – Tuiskukuru – Kustunlampi – Suomunruoktu

Day 5: Suomunruoktu – Kiilopää

Make sure also to check the packing list if you are planning a trip of your own to the Finnish Lapland.

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Comments

  1. Janis says:

    What a beautiful review of your hike you’ve had! I’m sorry I only found this 5+ after you wrote it so you probably will never read my comment.
    You really pointed out the beauty of Lapland’s wilderness in your pictures and explainations. I myself have lived in Rovaniemi for a few months and travelled to Finland multiple times. This year (2017) I spent three weeks in Lapland and also visited Urho Kekkonen Kansallispuisto as I will again next year at the same time. It’s a raw and pure place with everything you need to focus back on the important things in life.
    Thank you for these insights to your experiences 🙂

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