Urho Kekkonen National Park is a national park in northern Lapland in Finland. It is near the cities of Savukoski, Sodankylä and Inari.
Urho Kekkonen National Park was founded in 1983 and is one of the largest national parks in Finland.
The Suomujoki river flows through the northern parts of the diverse park. The marked paths in its western part are an easy destination even for the inexperienced backpacker, whereas the wilderness is good for long and demanding trips.
Over 20 species of mammals live in the park. Large carnivores, such as the brown bear, wolverine, wolf, and lynx, keep to the more remote parts of the park.
Urho Kekkonen National Park is located in the boreal forest zone. The uninterrupted boundary of the spruce forest in Eastern Lapland is located in the area of Vongoiva-Sokosti-Lupukkapää.
Urho Kekkonen National Park is named after the former President of Finland Urho Kaleva Kekkonen (“UKK”), who was an eager hiker and cross-country skier and often came here.
There are traces of human activity in the area starting from 3000 years ago. The Forest Sami had four winter villages in the area and pitfalls and fences can be found from their era.
The park is partly in the Sami native region. There are exceptions in the park regulations for the Sami and for other locals.
Urho Kekkonen National Park is the second-largest national park in Finland and was visited by 289,000 people.
The park borders Russia and there is a border zone, which should be strictly respected. To climb Korvatunturi you, therefore, need a special permit, but there is a trail to Korvatunturinmurusta, where you get a view.