Quiet roads, fell views, a real sense of wilderness, small Lapland towns and reindeer: that's what this weekend-friendly bikepacking route in Finnish Lapland is all about.
The route follows a mixture of paved roads and wide gravel roads which makes it easy to ride and suitable for all skill and fitness levels. The only section where you really need wider tires is the final part to Hietajärvi on the first day, where the gravel was soft and loose but it's a beautiful part where you get to ride in the wilderness so I highly recommend it.
You get to travel in your own bubble since there's basically no traffic, only some occasional cars passing by. There are fun rolling hills but nothing too steep, and it's all rideable which makes the riding smooth and relaxing.
One of the highlights of the trip is the loop from Raattama to Vuontisjärvi. This follows smaller gravel roads and includes one slightly more technical section. At this part, the route goes close to Pallastunturi which guarantees epic views. All in all, the daily distances are easy which leaves plenty of time for enjoying the views and the company.
The only grocery store is on the last day at Raattama, so make sure you bring enough food with you. I'd highly recommend stopping at the store for an ice-cream break because there's not too many of this kind of small stores left here anymore.
We filled our water bottles from the streams and rivers and the first evening from Hietajärvi. We didn't have any problems with the water but I would be careful with it and either use a filter or boil the water first if you feel at all hesitant.
The first day in Lapland started with easy ride past a couple of typical Lapland towns. The final part after Kalmankaltio was a gravel road all the way to Hietajärvi where we camped.
The final part is maybe more of a sand road than a gravel road, which made for more technical riding, but with a 37mm tire it was still rideable.
This part is stunning though and gives you a true sense of wilderness, with some really unique views.
The longest day was the middle one, but after the ten kilometres it followed quiet paved roads until crossing the Ounasriver which made it a smooth ride with fun rolling …
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On the third and final day we followed the gravel road until Raattama for ten kilometres, where we stocked up on snacks at the grocery store and enjoyed an ice-cream break.
After that there was a fun gravel section all the way till Vuontisjärvi.
Riding by the Pallastunturi offers stunning views the whole time.
I'd definitely recommend enjoying lunch at Vuontisjärvi before riding the final part back to Ketomella on a paved road.