Enontekiö’s Wilderness Areas include:
Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area (1,280sq. km. Established in 1991) (part of the Enontekiö Highland Watershed area)
Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area (Area: 670sq.km. Established 1991)
Pulju Wilderness Area (Area: 614sq.km. Established 1991)
NB: Some websites refer to the Enontekiö Highland Watershed Area, when talking about hiking trails. However, this is essentially just referring to a combination of the Pöyrisjärvi and Käsivarsi areas, so don't get too confused!
Outdoors.fi has information about how to get to the access points for all of these areas both by car and by public transport. Outdoors.fi also highlights the relevant maps for each area and where you can purchase these from as well as the area's history and nature.
Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area (1,280 sq. km. Established in 1991) is a wonderful destination for experienced hikers who have the needed equipment and supplies. The wilderness area adopted its name from Lake Pöyrisjärvi, which is located in the north part of the area. Impressive sand dunes and ridges rise to the north of the lake. We say 'experienced' hikers, since there are no marked trails within the area and, whilst the rolling fell and forest landscape make for wonderful hiking terrain, the area’s large bogs are best to circle. Hence, you need to be able to navigate reasonably well to venture here.
Having said that, there are many old unmarked trails crisscrossing the landscape, as Pöyrisjärvi has always been an important fishing, hunting and reindeer husbandry area for locals. The Lapp villages of Kalkujärvi and Pöyrisjärvi are located within the wilderness area and are still inhabited for part of the year.
There are also great possibilities for canoeing excursions, fishing and mountain biking within the area. The two largest rivers - the Pöyrisjoki and the Käkkälöjoki - are especially good for canoeing and fishing.
Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area is nestled in the centre of several other protected areas. Saaravuoma-Kuoskisenvuoma Mire Reserve is to the south of the wilderness area and Pulju Wilderness Area and Lemmenjoki National Park are to its east and south-east. To the north of the wilderness area in Norway is Övre Anarjokka National Park. Pöyrisvuoma Mire Reserve is within Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area.
Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area is located on the north-side of road 956, which runs from the village of Hetta through Nunnanen to Kittilä, and on the east-side of road 93, which runs from Hetta to northern Norway. The northern boundary of the wilderness area runs along the Finland-Norway border.
The map below only shows a limited number of the extensive network of quadbike trails used by local reindeer herders which are suitable for hiking and biking across this area. One popular route which isn't shown goes from the roadhead at Näkkälä through to the roadhead at the far side of the park at Kalmakaltio and there is another relatively well used trail running north to south from the small lakes shown to the west of Valkamapää (due east of Pöyrisjärvi) and Vuontisjärvi in the south.
You can most easily access the park by car (eg from Näkkälä, Vuontisjärvi or Kalmakaltio) and you can, of course, start straight from Hetta and connect to Näkkälä via the designated hiking and snowmobile trails which run between the two.
Walk on Marked Trails
There are no marked hiking trails within the wilderness area, but there are many old well worn paths. They were used as a postal route at the beginning of the 20th Century. Info can be found here. There is a marked trail which passes just outside the boundary of the area.
Go Canoeing and Rowing
Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area offers wonderful possibilities for canoeing. The River Pöyrisjoki, which has its source at Lake Pöyrisjärvi, and the River Käkkälöjoki are both excellent canoeing routes.
Ski Cross-country off Trails
Skiing is permitted all over the wilderness area, but there are no maintained or marked ski trails.
Angling and ice fishing are Everyman’s Rights in the wilderness area. You can therefore practice them without having a permit. Angling with worm bait and ice fishing are forbidden in flowing waters. To fish in the wilderness area’s multiple rivers you must have paid the national fishing management fee as well as have a municipality of Enontekiö 1551 permit. Fishing permits are sold by Fell-Lapland Nature Centre, other Metsähallitus customer service points, local tourist enterprises and Metsähallitus netstore. To lure fish in the wilderness area’s lakes you will need a provincial lure fishing permit.
The River Pöyrisjoki and several other rivers in the wilderness area are ideal for fly and lure fishing. Common catches from the river include the Whitefish (Goregonus lavaretus), Pike (Esox lucius), Perch (Perca fluviatilis) and Burbot (Lota lota), as well as, the Grayling (Thymallus thymallus) and Trout (Salmo trutta).These same species can be found in Lake Pöyrisjärvi. The lake’s dominant species is the Whitefish, which can weigh from 200 to 300 grams per fish.
There are no marked biking trails in Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area, but there are paths, which can be used both for hiking and mountain biking. These paths are extremely demanding and those attempting them with mountain bikes should have a map and compass with them.
Go on a Guided Group Tour at the Nature Centre and Outdoors
Tourist enterprises in the Enontekiö area (e.g. in the villages of Näkkälä and Nunnanen) organise guided tours in the wilderness area. For further information on tours go to the Enontekiö website.
Its possible to get a tour of the exhibition at Skierri, Fell-Lapland Nature Centre. The nature centre is located in the village of Hetta.
To hunt in Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area you will have to purchase permit to 1615 Näkkälä or permit to 1616 Nunnanen. Local game animals include the Willow Grouse, the hare and water birds. Hunting permits are sold by Skierri, Fell-Lapland Nature Centre, Siida - The Sámi Museum and Northern Lapland Nature Centre, andCustomer Service Ivalo. Permits are also sold by local tourist and activity enterprises. For further information see the Enontekiö website
A limited number of small game permits are sold for a day at a time. With these permits non-locals can hunt in the area. Reindeer husbandry is an important livelihood in the area, so the use of hounds is strictly forbidden even if you have a permit. In late winter those hunting with dogs must ask the reindeer herding groups where there herds are so the hunt can keep away from them.
Permanent residents of the municipalities of Enontekiö, Inari and Utsjoki have the right to hunt on state-owned lands in the municipality in which they reside. Locals also have the right to hunt the Willow Grouse(Lagopus lagopus) with traps. The Willow Grouse is an important source of income for many Enontekiö families.
Go Berry and Mushroom Picking
Picking berries and mushrooms is permitted in the area. The most popular berry for people to pick is the cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus), which grows in late summer/early autumn in the area’s mires. The blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) and lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) thrive in the southern part of the area and crowberries (Empetrum nigrum) grow even on the area’s sandy dunes. The forested parts of the wilderness area offer basketfuls of mushrooms. Even though mushrooms are a favourite food of reindeer there is such an abundance of them that great amounts are left in the forests to rot.
Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area is located on the north-side of road 956, which runs from the village of Hetta through Nunnanen to Kittilä, and on the east-side of road 93, which runs from Hetta to northern Norway. The northern boundary of the wilderness area runs along the Finland/Norway border.
•To get to the village of Näkkälä from Hetta, the municipal centre of Enontekiö, take road 93 north for about 25 km, then turn east onto the road to Näkkälä. Näkkälä is 14 km from this intersection.
•The village of Vuontisjärvi is located about 18 km from Hetta. It is on road 956, which comes from Hetta.
•To get to Kalmakaltio from Hetta take road 956 and drive for about 44 km to the village of Nunnanen. Then, turn left onto the road leading to Kalmakaltio. When coming to Nunnanen from the direction of Kittilä, take the road north to Köngäs and from there take road 956 to Tepasto and on through the village of Pulju to Nunnanen.
Many prehistoric artefacts have been found in what is now Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area. Some are settlements, hole-traps and seitas (places of worship in Lapland) from the Stone Age and from the early Metal Age. A majority of the artefacts found have been located around Lake Pöyrisjärvi.
The area’s prehistoric settlements have been used temporarily as hunting bases, and have not been lived in permanently. Evidence of this are spear heads and scrapers, which have been found in the area. Scrapers were most likely used for hunting and for softening animal hides.
So far 19 hole trap sites have been found in Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area. Hole traps were used for hunting Wild Fell Reindeer and in southern Finland Wild Forest Reindeer and Moose. Hole traps were dug into the ground, had straight vertical sides and were covered by a thin roof. Sharpened spears or rocks were often set up at the bottom of these pits. Today there is only a small remainder of each hole left.
Fishing and hunting have for centuries been the most important sources of livelihood in what is now Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area. Lake Pöyrisjärvi has been an important fishing base on the olden days, as it was one of the area’s largest and therefore most significant fishing lakes. Wild reindeer, as well as, beavers, foxes and bears have been hunted in the area. Hunting of wild reindeer and beavers ended during the 19th Century when the species became extinct.
From the time the Wild Fell Reindeer was domesticated, reindeer husbandry has evolved into one of the most significant sources of livelihood in the area. Reindeer husbandry spread to Finland most likely in the 17th Century. Before the border between Finland and Norway was closed in 1852 the Sámi from the Kautokeino area herded their reindeer in what is now Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area. After 1852 there were two reindeer herding areas with their own reindeer ear markings. One was the Pöyrisjärvi area and the other was the Kalkujärvi-Naltijärvi area. The Lapp villages at Pöyrisjärvi and Kalkujärvi are still inhabited for part of the year.
Sand Dunes, Ridges and Palsa Bogs
The natural features and landscape of Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area change as one travels from the southern boundary northward. The area’s south boundary is mainly covered by dry pine forests, but just a few kilometres north of there birch is the dominant tree type. On the other side of Lake Pöyrisjärvi in the northern part of the wilderness area there is a vast area of treeless fell tops.
The wilderness area’s sand dunes are one of the area’s most interesting natural sights. There are dunes in several parts of the area, but most of them are on the north side of Lake Pöyrisjärvi. Pillar-like junipers and even fell birch grow on the sandy plains around the dunes.
There are several long sets of ridges in the wilderness area. The grandest of these are a set of ridges stretching almost continuously from Lake Näkkäläjärvi to Lake Pöyrisjärvi on towards Maaterlompolo and finally into Suomajoenlaakso River Valley and the ones in the east part of the area, which follow the Suukisjoki and Käkkälöjoki River Valleys. These huge ridges are usually hundreds of metres wide and have level tops. They are mainly made up of coarse and fine sand.
Vast mires make up a large part of the wilderness area. Pöyrisvuoma in Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area is one the largest mires in the municipality of Enontekiö and one of Finland’s most valuable palsa bogs. Palsa bogs are mires, which have frost mounds that stay partially frozen even during summer. There are several frost mound areas at Pöyrisvuoma, which are generally around 2 km long and at their widest 1 km wide. There are around 50 frost mounds in this palsa bog area.
Pillar-like Juniper (Juniperus communis), Black Crowberry(Empetrum nigrum subs.hermaphroditum), and Lingonberry(Vaccinium vitis-idaea) are among the plant species that grow on the sand dunes in Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area. In autumn the bright red-leaved Bearberry (Arctostaphylos alpina) is one of the easiest species to recognise in the dunes. Different types of lichen, such as Green Reindeer Lichen (Cladina mitis) andCetraria ericetorum, also grow there.
The vegetation of the tree-less fell tops of Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area is diverse. There are abundant patches of black crowberry near the timberline. Higher up you can find Alpine Clubmoss (Diphasiastrum alpinum)and if you are vigilant you may spot some Moss Heather (Cassiope hypnoides). On top of the fells and on their wind-whipped slopes you can find a creamy white lichen called Cetraria nivalis, Alpine Azalea (Loiseleuria procumbens) and Lapland Diapensia (Diapensia lapponica).
The meadows on the river banks in the wilderness area have high grass and scrubs and the vegetation there is more lush than in other parts of the area. Some plants found in the meadows are the Wood Crane's-bill (Geranium sylvaticum), the Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), the Melancholy Thistle (Cirsium helenioides) and the very demanding Variegated Horsetail (Equisetum variegatum).
Small Predators and Mammals
The rarest mammal in Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area is the Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus). Its habitat is limited to the fells around Enontekiö and Utsjoki. Only a few individuals live in Finland. More common than the Arctic fox are the lynx (Lynxlynx), the wolverine (Gulo gulo), the wolf and the bear, although they are quite scarce as well. The most common small predators in the area are the least weasel (Mustela rixosa), the stoat (Mustela erminea) and the mink (Mustela vison).
The small mammals inhabiting Pöyrisjärvi are those typical of all of Fell-Lapland. Vegetation plays an important part in how abundant mammal species populations are. The lusher an area is the larger the small mammal populations are there. The tundra vole (Microtus oeconomus) and the grey red-backed vole (Clethrionomys rufocanus) are common in the area while the populations of the water shrew (Neomys fodiens) and the pygmy shrew (Sorex minutus) are much smaller.
The most bird-rich areas in Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area are the mires. Of the 29 wader species found in Finland, 21 are present in the wilderness area. The Ruff (Philomachus pugnax), the Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)and the Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) thrive in the very wet mires. Waders found in the dryer mires are the Eurasian Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria) and the Common Ringed Plover (Charadrius hiaticula). Passeriformes found in the mires are the Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis), the Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava)and the Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus). The Common Redpoll(Carduelis flammea), the Bluethroat(Luscinia svecicus), the Brambling(Fringilla montifringilla) live in the meadows in the centre of palsa bogs.
Seventeen different species of water birds have been spotted in Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area. Along with the basic Anatidae (ducks, geese and swans) the Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis), Black Scoter (Melanitta nigra) and the Smew (Mergus albellus) also inhabit the area. The Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus)can be spotted when they are searching for food, but their nest tend to be in the parts of mires which are most difficult, if not impossible, to get to on foot. As you rise up the fells there are far fewer birds. On the tops of fells you can spot the Snow Bunting (Plecttrophenax nivalis), the Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus) and the Dotterel (Charadrius morinellus) and keeping watch on ledges the Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus). Some years the Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca)visits the area.
Most of the birds in Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area are migrating birds. As winter nears birds set off little by little for the south and only those species, which can withstand the harsh artic winter, stay behind. Some species that stay in Pöyrisjärvi for winter are the Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus), the Willow Tit (Parus montanus),the Siberian Tit (Parus cinctus), the Siberian Jay (Perisoreus infaustus), the Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus) and the Rock Ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus). The forests are very quiet in winter when the migrating species have left.
Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area is a perfect retreat for experienced hikers looking for peace and quiet as well as unforgettable nature experiences. The wilderness area and Lätäseno-Hietajoki Mire Reserve, which borders Tarvantovaara in the northwest, have an extremely diverse bird population. The wilderness area is still relatively unknown by the public, but experienced bird watchers have found it.
The famous Finnish nature writer Yrjö Kokko spotted his first Whooper Swan’s nests by a lake in the wilderness area’s fells. Tarvantovaara inspired Kokko to write a book about the swan in 1950. After the book was published the swan was declared a protected animal, and today they nest in large number in Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area.
Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area is located west of the village of Leppäjärvi and north of the village of Kaaresuvanto. The north boundary of the wilderness area runs along the Finnish-Norwegian border. The northern limit of pine forests runs at the southern boundary of the wilderness area. Fell tundra rises near the Norwegian border. The highest peaks in these fells are over 600 m above sea-level. The area’s forests are mainly dominated by fell birch and about a third of the area is mire. The mires are mainly palsa bogs, which are bogs with frost mounds rising from them.
Many of the rivers that flow into the River Muoniojoki have their source on the fell tundra or at the area’s lakes and mires. The largest of these tributaries are the Rivers Tarvantojoki and Harrijoki. There are plenty of new catches for avid fishers, who are looking for new challenges.
Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area is located in the middle of the municipality of Enontekiö. Main road 21 (E 8) runs just outside the wilderness area’s southern boundary. The village of Kultima is located next to the southern boundary. Road 93 (Hetta- Kautokeino) is to the east of the area and leads through the villages of Leppäjärvi and Palojärvi. All of these villages are good access points for this area but you need to start from Kaaresuvanto if you want to hike the Kaaresuvanto-Syväjärvi Trail. The northern boundary of the wilderness area follows the Finnish-Norwegian border and there is a wild hiking / biking trail which isn't shown on the map below which starts from Palojarvi and crisscrosses the Norwegian border between there and Salvasjärvi before turning south to Kuttanen.
Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area is the ideal destination for experienced hikers looking for peace and quiet as well as unforgettable nature experiences. The wilderness area has marked trails as well as established tracks. When trekking in the wilderness area, even on marked trails, you should always carry a map and compass with you.
There are two marked trails, the Kultima-Leppäjärvi Trail and Kaaresuvanto-Syväjärvi Trail, in the wilderness area. They are maintained by the Finnish Road Administration and marked with kilometre posts. There is also an old track from the village of Palojärvi to the village of Salvasjärvi. This track is not marked in the terrain. Whether hiking on the marked trails or the unmarked track you should always have a map and a compass with you.
Go Canoeing and Rowing
Both the River Palojoki, which travels along the wilderness area’s eastern boundary, and the River Tarvantojoki, which flows through the centre of the area, are good spots for beginners to canoe.
Go Bird Watching
The area has diverse natural features and for this reason a diverse assortment of bird species. The area is therefore a wonderful bird watching destination.
Go Back-country skiing
There are no maintained skiing trails in the wilderness area. There are a few old footpaths which can in winter be used for ski trekking or hiking in snow shoes. The track between the villages of Kultima and Leppäjärvi can also be used for winter wilderness treks. You can also ski along snowmobile tracks.
There are plenty of rivers in Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area, which are in their natural state and have a diverse array of fish in them. The most common catches are the Grayling (Thymallus thymallus) and the Whitefish (Goregonus lavaretus), but Trout (Salmo trutta) is also quite common at some spots.
Angling and ice fishing are Everyman’s Rights in Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area. This means that you will not need a permit. Angling with worm bait and ice fishing are forbidden in flowing waters. To fish in the wilderness area’s multiple rivers you must have paid the national fishing management fee as well as have the Metsähallitus recreational fishing permit 1551 for the Enontekiö area. Fishing permits are sold by Metsähallitus netstore, Fell Lapland Nature Centre, other Metsähallitus customer service points and local tourist enterprises. To lure fish in the wilderness area’s lakes you will need a province of Lapland lure fishing permit.
Mountain biking is permitted on the wilderness area’s trails. A day trip by bike is a wonderful way to see the area.
The Tarvantovaara wilderness area is divided into two hunting areas. The area’s eastern part belongs to hunting area 1614 Hetta-Karesuvanto and the western area to 1613 Käsivarsi. Species that may be hunted mainly include willow grouse, hares and water fowl. Hunting permits can be bought from Metsähallitus netstore and at the Fell Lapland Nature Centre.
A limited number of small game permits are sold each day. With these permits non-locals can hunt in the area. Reindeer husbandry is an important livelihood in the area, so the use of hounds is strictly forbidden even if you have a permit. In late winter those hunting with dogs must ask the reindeer herding groups where there herds are so the hunt can keep away from them.
Permanent residents of the municipalities of Enontekiö, Inari and Utsjoki have the right to hunt on state-owned lands in the municipality in which they reside. Locals also have the right to hunt the Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus) with traps. The Willow Grouse is still an important source of income for many families in the region.
Go Berry and Mushroom Picking
Picking berries and mushrooms is permitted in the area. Late July and early September is the best time to check out the cloudberries in the area’s mires. In the south part of the area there are blueberries and lingonberries in the forests. Mushrooms are also found in these forests.
The Hetta-Kilpisjärvi snowmobile track runs, via Palojärvi, through Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area. The Syväjärvi-Kaaresuvanto snowmobile track turns off of the Hetta-Kilpisjärvi one.
Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area is located in the middle of the municipality of Enontekiö. Main road 21 (E 8) runs just outside the wilderness area’s southern boundary. The village of Kultima is located next to the southern boundary. Road 93 (Hetta- Kautokeino) is to the east of the area and leads through the villages of Leppäjärvi and Palojärvi. The northern boundary of the wilderness area follows the Finnish-Norwegian border.
•When going to the villages of Leppäjärvi and Palojärvi take road 93 from the village Hetta; the municipal centre of Enontekiö. Leppäjärvi is approximately 20 km and Palojärvi a bit under 30 km from Hetta.
•To reach the village of Kaaresuvanto from the south take road 21 which follows the Finnish-Swedish border. Kaaresuvanto is 90 km north of the village of Muonio, which in turn is 230 km north of Rovaniemi and about 80 km from Kittilä.
•To reach the village of Kultima on the southern boundary of the wilderness area take main road 21 from the village of Muonio to the village of Kuttanen and turn onto the smaller road which leads to Kultima.
Little is known about the wilderness area’s prehistory as hardly any archaeological research, such as listing artefact and excavating, has been done there. Only three artefacts from the area have been catalogued. It is possible though that the area was used for hunting and fishing already in the prehistoric times. Many ruins of Stone Aged settlements and hole traps have been found in the Pöyrisjärvi Wildernesss Area, just east of Tarvantovaara.
The Earliest Forms of Livelihood
Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area is located where the Lapp village of Suonttavaara was situated. The earliest settlers there were hunter-gatherers. As well as hunting wild reindeer and fur-bearing animals, settlers hunted birds, fished and gathered berries. Game and fish were the primary sources of nutrition but plants were also eaten. The wilderness area is still today a popular hunting and fishing spot for locals. Today fishing, reindeer husbandry and berry picking are important sources of livelihood.
The Struve Arc
In the Tarvantovaara wilderness, at the top of Stuorrahanoaivi, sits one of six points in Finland of the Struve Geodetic Arc a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The point was marked at the top of the fell for the first time in 1850, and again two years later. Both points are marked in stone with a cross-shaped engraving.
The German-born astronomer Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve helped determine the shape and size of the Earth with his survey triangulations in the 1800s. The chain of triangulations, consisting of 258 main triangles and 265 main station points, was named the Struve Geodetic Arc. In 2005, thirty-four well-preserved triangulation points of significant cultural heritage were accepted onto UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Read more about the World Heritage Sites in Finland. Finland was elected as member of the Unesco World Heritage Committee at the election held in Paris on 19th November 2013.
From the Limit of Pine Forest Distribution to the Fell Upland
Just outside the southern boundary of Tarvantovaara Wilderness Area is the northern limit of pine forest distribution, after which there are only a few individual pines growing. The pine forests are for the most part rugged looking and are covered with lichen. Trees here are not more than ten metres high. To the north of the pine forest zone there are fell birch forests and vast mires. The northern-most part of the wilderness area consists of a fell upland.
The vegetation in the wilderness area varies from the lichen and dwarf shrub undergrowth in pine forest to the resilient shrubs on treeless fell-tops. Some rare species such as the Scapania uliginosa, the Marsh Saxifrage (Saxifraga hirculus) and the Trisetum subalpestre grow in the wilderness area.
An Abundant Bird Population and Diverse Animal Species
Because the other natural features in the area are very versatile so is the range of animal species. Moving north in the area one will first encounter pine forests, then mires and finally fell tundra. The area is very important for birds. Many threatened species, such as the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) and the Broad-billed Sandpiper (Limicola falcinellus), live there.
All of Finland’s large predators can be found at least occasionally in the area. The bear (Ursus arctos) and wolf (Canis lupus) are rather rare there, but the lynx (Lynx lynx) and wolverine (Gulo gulo) populations are at times quite abundant. The otter (Lutra lutra) inhabits the area in small numbers. The most threatened mammal in the wilderness area is the Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus).
Pulju Wilderness Area is c. 40km from Hetta. It is known for its large mires and its numerous hills and fells. It is a perfect destination for experienced trekkers. During late summer the area’s abundant cloudberry crop attracts day trip visitors to its mires. A rather large road runs through the centre of the wilderness area so it is a very convenient and easy-to-reach target for those cloudberry pickers with orienteering skills. A road and snowmobile track run through the area from the village of Nunnanen to the village of Pulju.
Pulju Wilderness Area is surrounded by several protected areas. Lemmenjoki National Park lies to its east and Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area to its northwest. The northern boundary of the wilderness area follows the Finnish-Norwegian border. Øvre Anarjohka National Park is on the Norwegian side of the border.
Reindeer husbandry is a significant source of livelihood in Pulju Wilderness Area. The reindeer of three herding co-operatives graze in the wilderness area. The boundaries of the municipalities of Enontekiö, Kittilä and Inari meet up at Korsatunturi Fell. This is also the place where the boundaries of the Näkkälä, Kuivasalmi and Sallivaara herding co-operatives run. The northeast boundary of the Kyrö herding co-operative runs on the lower slopes of Korsatunturi Fell. Herders often meet each other at Korsatupa wilderness hut.
Hiking and Biking
There are no marked trails within Pulju Wilderness Area, but there are some clearly visible old tracks.
One such track which leads to Lake Pahtajärvi in Lemmenjoki National Park starts at Kalmakaltio Spring. The trail is c. 10km long and you can get to its start at Kalmakaltio by car from the village of Nunnanen. The track is not marked in the terrain, but it is clearly visible. There are bridges for crossing the River Kalmakaltionoja. When setting off the track leads northward towards Pöyrisjärvi Wilderness Area. Before entering Pulju Wilderness Area a separate trail to Jorpavaara turns off the track to Lake Pahtajärvi. The track then turns east, and follows the southern slope of Peltotunturi Fell near Lake Katsapulijärvi and finally to the shore of Lake Pahtajärvi in Lemmenjoki National Park. The reindeer herders’ cabin near the lake is locked. You can continue on from the cabin, but the track is not as clearly visible after it. The track is drawn on the Lemmenjoki 1:50 000 map.
Sights: A reindeer round-up site in Lemminjoki National Park.
Services: Kalmakaltio open wilderness hut. There are also private lodging enterprises around Kalmakaltio Spring.
You can set out canoeing from Lake Korsajärvi into the head waters of the River Ivalojoki, which flows through Lemmenjoki National Park.
If the water in the stream leading to the River Ivalojoki is too shallow for canoeing, you will have to transport your canoe across land. A good end point for canoeing excursions is Ivalon Matti, which is by road 955 between Kittilä and Inari.
Skiing is permitted in the wilderness area and you are free to ski where you wish, but there are no maintained or marked skiing trails in the area. However, you can ski along the snowmobile track, which runs between the villages of Nunnanen and Pulju.
Angling and ice fishing are Everyman’s Rights in Pulju Wilderness Area. This means that you will not need a permit. Angling with worm bait and ice fishing are forbidden in flowing waters. To fish in the part of the wilderness area in the municipality of Enontekiö you must have paid the national fishing management fee as well as have the Metsähallitus recreational fishing permit 1551 for the Enontekiö area. Fishing permits are sold byFell-Lapland Nature Centre, Kellokas Visitor Centre and local tourist enterprises. To lure fish in the wilderness area’s lakes you will need a province of Lapland lure fishing permit.
In the part of Pulju Wilderness Area situated in the municipality of Kittilä you must have paid the national fishing management fee as well as having 1401 lure fishing permit. Permits can be bought from etsähallitus netstore.
In the part of the wilderness area, which is in the municipality of Enontekiö a valid hunting permit 1616 Nunnanen is needed if you wish to hunt. The Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus), the hare and waterbirds are the most common game in the area. Hunting permits can be bought from Metsähallitus netstore and at Fell-Lapland Nature Centre at Enontekiö. Local tourist enterprises can also sell permit packages.
In the part of the wilderness area, which is in the municipality of Kittilä, you will need a valid hunting permit 2611 Pokka-Pulju. Permits can be bought from Metsähallitus netstore and at Fell-Lapland Nature Centreat Enontekiö. The Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus), the Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), the Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) and many waterbirds are the most common game in the area.
Picking berries and mushrooms is permitted in the wilderness area. The road running through the area makes picking easier as there are mires on the sides of the road. There are plenty of cloudberries to be found there during good years. The area is a good place to pick blueberries and lingonberries and the wooded parts of the wilderness area are bursting with mushrooms. Although a favorite of reindeer, many are left each year in the forests to rot.
A snowmobile track between the villages of Nunnanen and Pulju, leads through Pulju Wilderness Area. The track continues from the village of Pulju as a marked snowmobile route to Levi and Kittilä. It also continues from the village of Nunnanen as a marked route to Hetta. Snowmonile permit can be bought from Fell-Lapland Nature Centre.
Pulju Wilderness Area is located in the municipalities of Enontekiö and Kittilä. Road 956, from Nunnanen to Pulju, runs through the wilderness area. Good starting points for trips into Pulju Wilderness Area are the villages of Nunnanen and Pulju and Kalmakaltio Spring. You can get to all these locations by car.
•Road 956 cuts through the centre of the wilderness area. It runs through the village of Nunnanen in Enontekiö and leads to the village of Pulju in Kittilä. Nunnanen is about 44 km from the village of Hetta; the municipal centre of Enontekiö. To get from the village of Kittilä to the village of Pulju take road 79 north and turn onto road 956 at Sirkka.
•A snowmobile track runs by the road from Pulju to Nunnanen and on from there to Hetta.
•To the west of Pulju Wilderness Area there is a road, which runs from Nunnanen to to Kalmakaltio Spring. To the south road 957 runs from Peltovuoma to Raattama.
•To get to Kalmakaltio from Hetta take road 956 for about 44 km to the village of Nunnanen and turn onto the road to Kalmakaltio.
•To get from Hetta to Peltovuoma drive 30 km east along road 956.
•When going to Raattama from Kittilä one possible route is to take road 79 to the village of Rauhala and turn onto road 957 which follows the northern shore of Lake Jerisjärvi
Prehistoric Hole Traps and Settlements
Some assorted prehistoric sites have been discovered in the Pulju Wilderness Area. In the part of the wilderness area, which is situated within the municipality of Enontekiö, hole traps and an old Lapp pole tent site have been found. In the part situated in the municipality of Kittilä there are also hole trap sites and a pile of stones thought to be a fireplace in a Lapp pole tent. In the vicinity of the wilderness area’s Enontekiö side several prehistoric finds have been made. Most of these are old hole traps.
Wilderness of Mires and Hills
There are vast mires and spruce covered small hills on the southern edges of the wilderness area. When crossing over to the municipality of Enontekiö you see northern growth distribution limit of spruce. North of the spruce forest pines and fell birch still grow. As well as hills, there are also some low fells in the area. Puljutunturi Fell in the south rises to 471 m. Other fells which are over 400 m high are the Kätkätunturi, Korsatunturi, Kieritunturi, Avisuoratunturi and Peltotunturi Fells, which are located in the western and northern parts of the area.
Predators and Birds
Many small predators, such as the stoat (Mustela erminea), the American mink (Mustela vison) and the Least weasel (Mustela nivalis) live in the wilderness area. Larger predators, such as the wolverine (Gulo gulo) and the bear (Ursus arctos) inhabit the area. The wolf (Canis lupus) and the lynx (Lynx lynx) are also occasionally seen.
Pulju Wilderness Area’s large mires make it an ideal habitat for waders and other mire dwelling birds. A solitary visitor picking cloudberries will be followed by the monotonous sounds of the Eurasian Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria). The male Ruff (Philomachus pugnax) is quite a sight in early summer as his plumage is impressive for mating season. Other birds which can be spotted in the mires are the Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola) and the Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus). Occasionally a Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) can be seen gliding above the mires.
The two tetraonids which inhabit the wilderness area are the Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus) and the Western Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus). There are also many waterbirds, such as the Black Scoter (Melanitta nigra), the White-winged Scoter (Melanitta fusca) and the Greater Scaup (Aythya marila), which nest in the area. With luck you may even spot the Smew (Mergus albellus), which has been called the most beautiful waterbird of Finland. Of the birds of prey the Merlin (Falco columbarius) is easy to distinguish, as it chases its prey with short sharp wing movements, as is the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), which circles high in the sky.