Cleanest Air in the World: Snowshoeing at Sammaltunturi
Updated: Mar 21, 2019
Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park is a beautiful and easily accessible snowshoe destination. You can choose any of the mountains in the area and start your journey to the top. Guests are welcome to snowshoe throughout the park but it's recommended to use the snowmobile tracks and to avoid groomed cross-country trails - or at least respect the tracks and other fellow nature lovers. National Park Instruction and Rules can be found here.
Sammaltunturi is located 8 km from Lapland Hotel Pallas towards Village of Raattama (GoogleMaps). Parking area is quite small (10 cars as max) and guests are recommended to park their cars as tight as possible. Early birds are definitely rewarded at this spot!
Roundtrip will take about 3 hours but if you wish to barbecue sausages or take a little snacks&coffee break on your way back, please reserve minimum 4 hours. Mustavaara Hut offers on top of the nice indoor fireplace, also a toilet. It's recommended to bring your own toilet paper, matches and any food&drinks you wish to consume. There are no cafeteria nor shops around. The woods are on the house.
Once you reach the parking area, you have 3 options to choose from. On your left hand side you can see a small trail going into the forest. The trail will lead you to Lommoltunturi and it's 1,5-2 hour hike to the top and back (blog post 'here').
When you choose the trail on the right hand side you will find 2 different choices after walking 200 meters. By choosing the steeper hill continuing straight, you are actually hiking up the old road between Raattama-Pallas. The route will lead you on top of a smaller hill with nice views and small forest, and then down to the valley where you can start your final hike up to Sammaltunturi. While climbing, remember to turn around time to time to enjoy the view of Pallastunturi.
On top of Sammaltunturi you will find a small house with loads of antennas. It's Finnish Meteorological Institute's weather station where the cleanest air in the World has been measured. You can't visit the house but it's save to go around and enjoy the views.
After visiting the top, it's time for the easy part: go down. But depending on the weather conditions this might be tougher. You can basically choose any route down towards Mustavaara Hut but be ready for steep snow and some serious crawling despite of your snowshoes. But no worries - it won't be long before you reach the cross-country trail towards Mustavaara Hut and the walking will become easier. Sometimes you also get lucky and can use the snowmobile tracks done by local reindeer farmers or National Park employees. Keep in mind that Snowmobiles are not allowed for leisure purposes within the National Park.
Once you reach Mustavaara Hut, it's time for a little break. You're allowed to make fire inside of the hut's fireplace but please don't leave it unattended. After the break you have 2 choices to hike down. Depending on the Season and snow/weather conditions, you can either choose the small cross-country trail passing by the toilet directly to the valley (if available) - or choose the official cross-country trail route which can be found on the right hand side when standing in front of the hut and looking up to Sammaltunturi.
On your way down, you'll be able to enjoy the magnificent views of Pallas again.
Snowshoeing is permitted on all Pallas Ylläs National Park except the downhill slopes and cross-country trails. Please respect the weather conditions, fellow visitors, local homes - and reindeers. Always carry a map, compass, warm clothes, some snacks and water. Routes are not suitable for normal shoes during the winter months.
Check the guided snowshoeing tours: Tieva Travels