Kaunisharju Trail, Salla
Metsähallitus Verified partner Explorers Choice
A lovely view to Iso Pyhätunturi opens from TunturilampiPhoto: Harri Tarvainen, Metsähallitus
Walk along eskers shaped by the Ice Age, through ancient spruce forests and past lakes and streams in Salla National Park.
The Kaunisharju trail leads through a beautiful forest dominated by spruce trees, partly in Salla National Park. The trail follows the edges of the steep eskers of Kaunisharju shaped by the Ice Age, crosses several forest streams and takes in beautiful fell, mire and lake views. One section follows the UKK trail. While relatively close to the resort, it still has a wilderness atmosphere. According to legend, a hermit lived in his hiding place in Kaunisharju and stayed away from the beaten tracks.
Trail markings: blue squares on trees, partly red squares on trees (UKK trail section)
Recommended direction of travel: the trail can be followed in either direction
If you wish to get back to human contact, Salla Visitor Centre is close by with its services, including an interesting nature exhibition.
Rest stopsLog restaurant, Salla
Salla Ski Resort
Restaurant Revontuli, Salla
Restaurant Kiela, Salla
Papana Pupi pub, Salla
Salla Reindeer Park
Consider your skills and the weather conditions when choosing your route.
Follow the markings and signposts. Always keep a map and a phone with you.
The weather can change rapidly. Always prepare for cold and rain; you should be prepared for wintery conditions in spring and autumn even if the weather is warm when you set off.
Download the 112 Finland application free of charge and activate it before starting your hike. Remember that mobile phone batteries run down quickly in cold conditions.
Tips and hints
The greatest part of the trail follows a wide ski track base which has a lighted ski track in winter. The trail is uneven in places and has some slightly steeper parts, mainly in the Kaunisharju-Wilderness Park-Sallatunturi section. Kaunisharju observation site for natural phenomena is located on top of the esker on the Salla–Kuusamo road, not on this trail.
Read the instructions and rules for the national park at Nationalparks.fi/sallanp
Free trail map are available at Retkikartta.fi
For hiking instructions, rules and tips, go to Nationalparks.fi/hikinginfinland
Starting at the Resort Centre, the Kaunisharju trail follows a path leading on to the right from the information signs, turning left at the following junction after 100 metres. The trail meanders along parallel to the Salla–Kuusamo road (Road 950) almost half the way, initially along the edge of a mire through old mixed forests. Turn right at the next two junctions. Soon you cross a small stream and also the boundary of Salla National Park. In a while you come to a junction where you can turn right towards the Wilderness Park or go left towards Kaunisharju lean-to shelter and enter deeper into the National Park’s old-growth forests. The first rest stop of the trail is the lean-to shelter of Kaunisharju, which is located in a little valley with a stream and a pond.
From the lean-to shelter, the trail starts to climb towards the denser old-growth spruce forests of Kontiokangas and the second rest stop of the trail at Tunturilampi lean-to shelter. Slightly before the lean-to shelter, the trail leaves Salla National Park.
From Tunturilampi lean-to shelter the trail continues to the right through an old spruce and pine forest, following a wider ski track base. On the way back, you can select one of several alternative trails back to the Resort Centre.
You can embark on the Kaunisharju trail from the Resort Centre, in which case the distance will be 11 km, or the Wilderness Park, which will give a total length of 11.6 km. This trail was previously called Erakon polku (the Hermit’s path).
The nearest airports are at Kuusamo (1.5 h) and Rovaniemi (2 h). There are shuttle buses connecting Kuusamo Airport and Salla, which link with almost every flight.
The nearest railway station is in Kemijärvi (1 h). There is a bus to Salla, which is timed to connect with the night train, Mon-Sat.
Getting thereSalla National Park is located in Eastern Lapland, about 150 km from Rovaniemi and 65 km from Kemijärvi. The closest airport is in Rovaniemi and the closest railway station in Kemijärvi.
ParkingFree parking near starting point.
Author’s map recommendations
Book recommendations for this region:
Visitors should bring hiking gear suitable for the weather conditions, consisting of proper hiking shoes, weatherproof clothing, spare clothes, a map, a charged phone, and enough to drink and eat. There are natural water sources along the trail, but as the water quality in them is not tested, the water should always be boiled before use. In rainy weather, we recommend rubber boots or waterproof hiking shoes, as the trail may be wet in places. You should bring matches if you intend to light a fire, and your own toilet paper.
- 8 Waypoints
- 8 Waypoints
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