Want to reach two fell tops by maintained cross-country ski tracks in Ylläs area? There are two wonderful points you ought to visit if visiting the area in the winter season.
First, Kukastunturi fell which is close to village of Äkäslompolo, offers very beautiful views from the top to surrounding fells of Lainio, Pyhä and Kesänki. All of them, as Kukastunturi fell, are in the national park of Pallas-Yllästunturi.
Although the route near the top of Kukastunturi is marked as black (difficult), it is worth a visit if you are an more experienced skier. The suggested route is to go to Kotamaja ski hut first (and have a coffee break) and then reach the top from there. The first part of the route down can get pretty fast and has a challenging curve at the track after about 600 m from the top.
The other fell top is Iso Totovaara fell, the point called Haavepalo. It offers a view to the same fells as Kukastunturi, this time to their eastern side. Haavepalo is located a bit farther away from the villages of Ylläsjärvi and Äkäslompolo, the easiest way to reach the track of 22 kilometers is to drive to the parking place near Lainio River. From the villages the route can get to about 40 kilometers long.
Along the route there are two ski huts with outside fire places and shelter for breaks.
There is almost all time some wind at fell tops, the conditions can be very different what they are down at the village. That means also that signs of tracks might be swept away, so at least some orienteering skills might be needed if the area is not familiar. Both routes can be reached by skating style skis also.
Get your printed ski map from local stores and check the maintenance of tracks before going. Both fell tops are among the most special places in Ylläs area by x-country skis. The maintained ski tracks to fell tops are a luxury, thanks to those who keep them available and in good condition.
My favourites, two easy routes for snowshoeing in Ylläs area are Kuertunturi route and Pikkulaki route, both marked in ski maps and on ground. Kuertunturi route starts at the village of Äkäslompolo. See my post on Kuertunturi route.
The route to Pikkulaki can be started from several points, the longest one from the village of Ylläsjärvi and the shortest one near Iso-Ylläs ski area. See my post on Pikkulaki route.
The beautiful views from both fells gives to nearby taller fells. You do not have to follow the routes, can go anywhere with snowshoes, but for a easier return to the village bring the map with you.
There are several other routes in Ylläs, buy the ski map from local stores and see route descriptions (only in Finnish).
In the middle of hot July day, temperature reaching +30C, it feels nice to think of last winter’s trips in Lapland.
Kuertunturi is a small fell near village of Äkäslompolo in Lapland. In winter it is approachable by snowshoes or skis, the marked trail starts behind the chapel of the village. The trail is marked but to be sure of directions a skiing map can be obtained at the village.
Start of the trail.
Nice pine forest at the first part of the trail. It’s only under 3 kilometers to the top by the marked trail, going up might take a couple of hours, coming down is a lot faster.
Alternative to snowshoes, ski hoks that you can slide down the hill It has skins to help you to ascend.
The steeper part of the trail may make you want to have a break afterwards.
Visibility at the top was not the best. Pretty heavy wind at the last stretch. Only few small trees near the top.
Reaching the top.
A welcomed break neat the top beside a tree looking for a bit of shelter.
A limited view to the village of Äkäslompolo.
Soft snow for descending with ski hoks. Good place to practice for a few slides.
The day is short in December. Headlight were needed to keep you on the trail.
A day before 24th of Dec., Jouluaatto for Finnish is nice and snowy in Äkäslompolo, Lapland. Luckily escaped the wet and rainy southern Finland where winter has not really arrived. 175 km of ski tracks open, 38 km of them are lighted.
The sun does not really rise for a few days at all, the blue lightness of the day last only a couple of hours. To ski on tracks that are not lit one has to plan to go between 10 am and 2:30 pm.
The well maintained ski tracks go beside the Pallas-Yllästunturi national park. The weather is perfect, about -7C degrees.
The Kellostapuli fell is close by.
There are some skiers but one really can not talk about a busy route. Kesänginkeidas ski cafe and other ski cafes open for a few hours a day.
Beautiful, blue moments of the day.
The dipper on Kesänki river can be spotted by the ski track.
The Prey Trail is a short nature trail in Lapland, and it goes along the fell side of Yllästunturi. Iso-Ylläs is the best place to start for this easy 5 km trail, called Saalistusjotos in Finnish. There is Kahvikeitaan laavu, a lean-to shelter on the way up and after that you will enter the Pallas-Yllästunturi national park for a while.
Part of the trail goes in the forest across little streams.
Ascending terrain and leaving the forest behind..
Into the ravine..
A view to the fell.
A viewpoint to the east.
Mire and Aakenus fell on the background.
A closer look at rock plates.
Vast areas of the fell side.
Passing reindeer at a suitable distance.
Overall, these trails around Ylläs fells are very nice for short half day hikes. Of the many circle trails you can combine longer ones or go across the fells.