Summer in Kilpisjärvi: Day Trip Suggestions

Here are the “musts”, the most popular summer sights in Kilpisjärvi:  Saana Fell, the Three-Country Cairn and Malla Nature Park.  Quite easily accessible on your own, but if you prefer to have a local guide accompany you, feel free to contact us!  For guided activities such as fishing, river rafting and mountain biking, have a look at our Safaris & Tours.

Conquering Saana Fell

Saana Fell is undoubtedly the most recognizable sight in Kilpisjärvi. Its summit rises 1029 above sea level and over 500 meters above the surface of Lake Kilpisjärvi. The majestic silhouette of Saana Fell dominates the village and the vast vistas opening up from the top are breathtaking, offering views of Finland, Sweden and Norway.

The best and safest time to conquer Saana Fell is during the summer months. There is a marked 4-km trail leading to the top.  You’ll find the start of the trail in the northern end of the village, near the Kilpisjärvi Hiking Center (Retkeilykeskus). Take into account the quickly changing weather conditions when you plan your hike up to Saana Fell and dress accordingly – it may be sunny and warm with clear skies, but it may be frosty and stormy as well, even in the middle of July. Chances are you won’t be the solitary hiker, thousands of people visit the summit every summer. The only way to reach the summit is on foot – motorized vehicles are not allowed on the slopes of Saana.

Saana panoraama

Saana Fell in late summer.  Photo by Sinikka Niskanen.

Visit to the Three-Country Cairn

The Three-Country Cairn marks the point where Finland, Sweden and Norway meet, thus it’s an international tripoint, the northernmost in the world. It is also said to be the world’s most peaceful border – no border control, no guards, no customs lanes are anywhere to be seen. The monument itself, a cone-shaped block of concrete, approximately 4 meters in diameter, was erected here in 1926, on an artificial island in a shallow lake. It is by no account an attractive sight in itself, but the surrounding nature and the landscapes make the trip an unforgettable experience. The easiest way to get to the Cairn is by boat, the M/S Malla, which sails across Lake Kilpisjärvi three times a day. The boat trip starts in the immediate vicinity of Kilpisjärvi Hiking Center (Retkeilykeskus), crosses the lake in thirty minutes and docks at Koltaluokta bay. From there it’s a 3 km hike to the Cairn. The boat waits at its dock to take the visitors back across the lake. M/ S Malla sails during the summer months, normally from mid-June, when the lake is free from its ice cover, until the latter part of September. For further information, please check www.mallalaiva.com.

You can also reach the Cairn by hiking through Malla Nature Park, either round trip (see below) or one way, having first crossed the lake by boat.

Japanilaiset pyykillä

Guides Martti & Gareth with a group at the Three-Country Cairn.  Photo by Gareth Hutton.

Malla Nature Park

Officially called Malla Strict Nature Reserve, this is one of Finland’s oldest protected nature areas. Named after the two Malla Fells which rise from the northern shore of Lake Kilpisjärvi the Malla Nature Reserve is a botanist’s paradise, located in a unique year-round arctic environment and boasting rare plants produced by calciferous soil. Access to visitors is limited to the 11-km long marked hiking trail which runs across the park from the Three-Country Cairn to a parking area located by the main road at the northern end of Kilpisjärvi village. You can start the hike on this trail at either end. Do note that there are no services along the trail, camping is not allowed, nor are bicycles and motorized vehicles. The only shelter is found near the Three-Country Cairn where a wilderness hut is at the hikers’ disposal free of charge. The trail features a few rocky ascents and descents as well as easy walk paths. During the flood season in early summer and in the fall crossing the many brooks en route may pose a challenge. If you don’t wish to venture all the way through the park, a nice option is a visit to Pikku-Malla Fell, which offers panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding fell country. A marked 7 km trail leads from the roadside parking area to the summit of Pikku-Malla and back.

Mallan puistossa.JPG

Fell Guide Martti Niskanen accompanying a group of Japanese visitors on their hike across Malla Park.  Photo by Johanna Niskanen.

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