Riisitunturi National Park is world-famous for its stunning photogenic winter sceneries with snow trees and a true winter wonderland. I have been to many places in my life but Riisitunturi is literally something special and my favourite place in Lapland. The moment, we left our car and entered the national park, we were in complete awe of this absolutely breathtaking place with Jaw-dropping scenery all around. There are many stunning national parks in Lapland but Riisitunturi national park should be on top of the list of every visitor coming to Lapland.
We spent two days in Riisitunturi, did the relatively easy circular hike and stayed overnight in free open wilderness hut inside the national park. This blog is our own experience and has all the information that you should know before visiting Riisitunturi national park.
Riisitunturi National Park is 60km from Kuusamo airport which is the closest airport to the national park. Drive on road 5 (E63) towards Ruka and Kemijärvi for about 31 km. Drive pass Ruka and about 6,5 km after passing Ruka, turn left onto the road going to Kitka. There are signs to Riisitunturi National Park before the fork of the road. Drive on road 9471 (Kitka - Patoniemi) for about 11 km, and then turn to Tolva, which is about 9 km away. You can drive all the way up to the entrance of the national park where the hiking trail starts. The roads are cleared regularly in winter and shouldn't be a problem to reach the national park.
There is a park at the entrance for cars and buses.
The world-famous Riisitunturi hiking trail known as Riisin rääpäsy trail starts from the parking lot of the national park and takes you to the top of the Riissitunturi fell. Riisin rääpäsy trail is moderately easy and should be hiked in clock-wise. The trail offers the jaw-dropping scenic views to the surrounding nature of Riisitunturi. Along the trail is the Riisitunturi open wilderness hut which offers an open fireplace where you are allowed to prepare food.
At the entrance of the national park, there is a detailed map of the trail and other places of interest. It is a very popular winter trek among locals especially the Finns living in the greater Helsinki area and equally popular among foreigners but at no point, I felt it was crowded. The trek was well marked and maintained. We did it without Snowshoes as trek was properly maintained and there was not a lot of snow on the trek itself. But in other months with more snow, it might be impossible to do without snowshoes so it's always better to call the visitor's centre of the Riisitunturin national park to get the latest information. Almost all the national parks in Lapland have a Facebook page and if you have any query, send them a message and they usually reply within a few hours. I had a lot of questions, so I got all the information via chat on their Facebook page.
The trail is almost flat with only a few metres of elevation gain. The first section of the trek passes through big trees and as you gain only a few meters of altitude, the smaller frozen snow trees start to appear and especially on the fell, there are only small trees covered with snow. From my understanding, when snow sticks to the trees over time the big trees can't bear the weight of so much snow and fall down, this might be the reason, why on the top of the fell only smaller trees have survived.
At the top of the fell, instead of continuing to Riisitunturin open wilderness hut, we took a short alternative route and visited the nearby fell before getting back to the main trail. It is merely only a couple of Kilometres from the main trail and the most beautiful part of the national park. I would highly recommend taking this short route to see the incredible winter wonderland scenery.
We visited in December during our Christmas holidays and daylight was only 3 hours in Southern Lapland. During those hours in clear weather, light is incredible, we spent a couple of hours at the fell taking pictures and making videos. It was one the most beautiful day we had in Lapland during our holidays. The whole sky was lit up with orange and red colour.
We spent the night in open wilderness hut inside the national park which is year around open and is free to stay. The hut is very basic with a gas cooking stove, wood-burning heating, one dining table and space for up to 6 people to sleep. You should bring your own sleeping bag and sleeping mattress. My sleeping bag had a comfortable temperature limit of -5 degree Celcius and I slept very well. During the night, I slept comfortably and didn't feel cold in my sleeping bag, I was only wearing merino long sleeves under pant and shirt. We tried to keep the heating for as long as stayed and put some more wood before going to sleep.
There is usually enough wood to use for the heating and it is important to cut the wood and leave it for the next guests before leaving the hut. The wildness huts are intended to stay only for one night each. If you need more information regarding the Riisitunturi open wilderness hut, check out the website of Riisitunturi national park. There are no waste bins at the hut. Kindly bring back your own litter.
This is probably one of the best places to see the northern lights due to no light population and stunning location. You can stay inside the wilderness stay to warm yourself up or stay outside near the open fire. Unfortunately, while we were there it was very cloudy and we couldn't see the Northern lights but it is probably my favourite location due to unique frozen snow trees and perfectly away from the light pollution.
We came from Syöte National Park and stayed overnight near Posio in a small cosy hut before visiting Riisitunturi national park. There are a lot of options to stay either in Kuusamo, Posio and Ruka etc. We also found many cheap summer huts which can be rented on Airbnb even during winter. All these huts have heating and a sauna, so choose whatever is convenient for you.
Hi Abrar! thank you so much for your detailed description of your time at Riisitunturi National Park! We will be visiting Lapland next month and thought of visiting Riisitunturi on the 18/3/20. Would the tree still be covered heavily with snow then? also what is the name of the hut in Posio where you stayed at? It is possible to hike up to the TOP of the cell without a guide? What signs should we look for if we want to hike up to the TOP of the fell? thank you!
yes, March is the peak season for Riisitunturi and the trail is very well maintained and marked all along. Just follow the trail and you will be at the top of the fell going towards the Riisitunturi hut. There are just one trail and a small diversion near the top of the fell. No need to take any guide and since it is a very popular winter hike so you will meet many people along the way. Just keep an eye on the weather and in case of heavy snow (1 or 2 days before) you might need snowshoes which can be hired in Posio. We stayed at Holiday Village Himmerki (reserved via booking dot com). The owner is very nice and can help you get the actual information about the trail condition.
Very good post and information! Do you know if in the village of Posio you can rent a snowscooter? Also where can you rent snowshoes in Posio? I tried to search on the internet but could not found much information about that. Thank you!
yes, you can rent in Posio and just ask your hotel or apartment. Almost every hotel/apartment have snowshoes which you can rent. We stayed at Holiday Village Himmerki and we got it from them for a day but the trail in Riisitunturi so well maintained that we didn't use the snowshoes.
Hi thank you Abrar! I am not staying in a hotel over there but only go for the day. Will that be a problem? Do they also rent to people how are not staying in the hotel?
No it is not a problem just go to any sports shop/tourist information/hotel and they will rent it out to you if you are coming from Kuusamo then you can easily rent either in Kuusamo or at the Ruka Ski resort. Near Posio is Kiririnteet Ski resort they definitely have in case you don't find anywhere else.