Leaving busy Rovaniemi behind, it wasn’t long before the road was the only thing slicing through the flat, snowy-white evergreen forests towering over on either side.
Occasionally, a house would appear with its brightly painted exterior and a thin plume of smoke rising from the chimney. Once we’d arrived at our cozy log cabin in Luosto, part of Pyhä-Luosto National Park, our remaining senses absorbed and enhanced what our eyes had already seen.
Snowshoeing in Luosto Finland was a must. It would be the best way to get outdoors, trek into the forest, and be totally connected to the surrounding winter wilderness.
Snowshoeing in Luosto Finland and Its Wonderful Winter Wilderness
While planning a trip to Finnish Lapland, our itinerary included 2 days in Luosto, Finland just over an hour’s drive from Rovaniemi. Pyhä-Luosto National Park is the highlight of the area. After spending the last several days snowmobiling and dog sledding, our top priority was to enjoy the forest on foot. Well, that and getting ample time in the sauna in our log cabin. 😉
We’d earn our sauna time on snowshoes and enlisted a guide from Kairankutsu- Call of the Wild to help.
Our guide, Kristiina, met us at the log cabin. I was already prepared with my winter hiking pants but she also came prepared with boots, arctic overalls, snowshoes, and poles.
Having the right outdoor gear in any season is vital! We know this from having packed the essentials needed for a ski trip.
After a few pointers about walking in snowshoes, we set off directly into the forest from trails just near the log cabin.
It was a thrill to realize it was just us 2 and the guide!
We would be able to stop, ask questions, and customize our time. The Finns have a deep connection with and respect for their natural environment. Enjoying the outdoors is part of everyday life regardless of the season. We knew we were with an expert.
So, as we trekked into the forest, the guide started by sharing a family story. Her relatives in previous generations had helped map the Luosto, and larger, Lapland area. Personally, I’m fascinated with how maps were first drawn without any type of birds-eye view.
She explained that while walking through the uncharted wilderness, mappers would tap on trees and wait for sounds, like a dog’s bark. Then, they’d follow the sound to (hopefully) a nearby house and ask the owner to draw out what they knew of the area.
Listening to the story and looking around at the endless forest, I couldn’t even imagine how complex of a task or even the detailed knowledge of the landscape you’d need to have for a project like this!
We had snowshoed well into the forest and could no longer see our log cabin or where we’d entered.
The silence of the winter forest made my ears ring. White covered the tallest pine and spruce trees down to the tiniest blueberry waiting to surprise a hungry reindeer pushing the snow aside in search of food.
The walk took us gradually uphill, all while the snowshoes crunched and gripped the terrain underneath. With snowshoes, you don’t need to stay on the path. You can move into the forest for a more intimate experience.
Unlike a snowmobile, you’re seeing the forest details as you take the time to let everything fill your senses.
The air felt fresh and smelled of evergreen. Our guide pointed out the icy-flecked lichen dangling from the tree branches. She explained it’s a sign of how pure the air really is, as well as easy reindeer food because it’s not buried by the snow.
We talked about the animal tracks in different shapes and sizes that trailed off in all directions across the fresh snow.
Finnish Lapland has the biggest rabbits on the planet, which change from brown in the summer to white in the winter. We didn’t see any. But, wherever the rabbits were headed, a fox seemed to always be not far behind!
Different types of birds also live in the forest, which was a surprise thinking that most birds fly to warmer climates in winter.
Amazingly, at night, one of the bigger birds dives down into the snow and burrows in for warmth! It uses its tail feathers to dust over the openings. Bears will also hibernate in a mound of snow that looks like an igloo.
Our guide explained how to look for a hole in the mound of snow with some iciness next to it. The iciness just might be a bear’s breathing from within. Lesson learned. Don’t snowshoe through dome-shaped mounds of snow.
More than an hour had passed and we had slowly climbed our way through the forest and up to the top of a hill. From this spot, we could look out over the National Park. From the top-down, the evergreen trees looked perfectly painted white.
The swamp area in the distance was frozen solid giving no hint of the cloudberries waiting to be picked next summer. To the east, you could even see the Russian border on a clear day.
We savored the spectacular view while sipping hot blackcurrant juice from a thermos. My lungs felt clear and my body pulsed from the workout. Even now, I don’t know if I’ll ever see a winter forest as beautiful as from the top of that hill in Luosto.
After a while, we descended down the hill. We snowshoed our way silently for longer stretches this time, as we knew we’d soon be back to the log cabin.
Through the trees, the late afternoon light turned the sky pink and we could see it through clearings in the icy tree branches. I wondered whether it just might be a perfect night for spotting the northern lights.
Looking around at the wild natural beauty, it’s easy to understand why a love of wilderness figures prominently in Finnish culture. I was so grateful for our guide, Kristiina, who shared her passion and knowledge about the forest.
Getting to experience that slowly on snowshoes, surrounded by a quiet winter forest, nourished my own appreciation and respect for the environment, too.
Planning a Visit to Luosto, Finland
You’ll need to rent a car or take the bus to get to Luosto from Rovaniemi. The bus runs on a set schedule. You’ll have more flexibility arriving to and departing from Luosto in your own car.
Luosto is a tiny village with only a couple hundred residents. You won’t find a town center, but rather a remote area in the Finnish wilderness.
During your visit, you can go snowshoeing, ice skating, snowmobiling, dog sledding, and visit nearby reindeer farms. The Visit Luosto website is a great tool for researching the area.
You can also downhill ski on the small hills just beside the hotel and cabins. If you’re looking for more varied downhill skiing on your Finland trip, Ruka Ski Resort not far from Rovaniemi is a great choice.
We had such a cozy stay at the Lapland Hotel Luostotunturi. We did not stay in the main hotel building, but rather one of their log cabins a bit further off. Each log cabin has its own fireplace, sauna, and mini-kitchen. They are perfect for a relaxing stay on the edge of the forest.
The main hotel building has other amenities like a spa, a pool, and several dining options. Food orders can also be brought back to the log cabins.
As with Rovaniemi, we looked for small tour operators and private guides for snowshoeing. Our guide, Kristiina, from Kairankutsu-Call of the Wilderness was fantastic.
It was simple to book a tour via email with this family-run tour company. They’ll provide whatever gear is necessary for the activity and to guard against the Arctic cold. Having just us 2 and the guide made for such a personal and special experience.
Have you been snowshoeing? Would you like to go snowshoeing in Luosto, Finland?
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28 thoughts on “Snowshoeing in Luosto Finland and Its Wonderful Winter Wilderness”
I’ve never been for snowshoeing, but after reading your experience I really want to try it out. It really sound exciting!
Thanks for reading, Ratheesh. I hope you can try out snowshoeing. It’s such a great way to connect with nature.
So nice to discover Luosto at just one hour away from Rovaniemi! We opted to stay in Saariselka during our recent Finland trip because we heard Rovaniemi is full of tourists. Now I am wishing we did both! And I agree with you that its so amazing how the locals love to go out and be active even in those weather conditions!
I hope you had a great trip, Claudia! I considered Saariselka, too. I thought Rovaniemi was great, but we also were there in February and not in December when everyone comes to visit Santa.
What a great experience to have your own guide. I think visiting a reindeer farm would be interesting. But most importantly — Those trees are so beautiful!
The guide was fantastic, Sherianne. And, I’m with you, I just couldn’t take my eyes off those trees!
The only time I’d even considered snowshoeing was when I was 6 months pregnant and in the Alps…..I decided against it! Plus, I didn’t have a sauna to relax in afterwards! However, I’d still love to next time I get back to some worthwhile geography for it!!!
I don’t think I would have done that either, LeAnna! But, hopefully, you get another chance some time soon! 😉
I’ve only visited Finland in summer and would love to explore in winter. Snowshoeing is fun but hard work! I think I’d prefer snowmobiling or dog sledding if I had the choice.
Why not all 3, Christina! I tried them all out in Finland and they each have their fun. Lapland in summer is gorgeous, too. I was in Swedish Lapland last summer and it was idyllic.
I tried snowshoeing in Quebec last year and found it great fun. It’s so surreal walking through the forest with all that silence.
Yes, Anne! The silence is amazing. 🙂
This sounds like an incredible experience! I’ve never gone snowshoeing but would love to! And Finland is definitely the place to do it. Sadly didn’t travel to Luosto while I was in Rovaniemi – only traveled north for a couple of days, but I loved my time here so would definitely head back.
Pyhä-Luosto National Park looks stunning – and Kristiina from Kairankutsu-Call of the Wilderness sounds great! How amazing to have had your own private tour – so great having a knowledgable local to guide you too. I can imagine the silence once you got into the forest would have been incredible – and that view from the top!
What an adventure!!
It was really amazing, Meg! The private guide really added such a personal detail to the experience. So glad you’ve made it to Finnish Lapland, too. I’d love to go back and go further north, too. 😉 Finland is such a beautiful country. It’s hard not to love no matter where you are.
Oh my gosh, this would be an incredible getaway! There’s nothing more magical than the sound of silence in a snow-blanketed landscape! Snowshoeing through that beautiful scenery would be awesome — your photos are gorgeous, by the way. And the log cabin? Isn’t that the perfect place to warm up after a vigorous hike?
Thanks so much, Tami. 🙂 The log cabin was truly the icing on the cake.
I have been snowshoeing in Steamboat Springs Colorado. While we are out, it started snowing, a gentle fall with huge flakes. It was so beautiful. However, your experience with the guide sounds wonderful. How fascinating, and a bit scary, that they tapped on trees to listen for dogs. What if they heard nothing? Your photos are lovely.
I thought the same thing, Rhonda! What happened if you never heard anything? How would you find your way out?! It would have been amazing if it started to snow! 🙂
What a cute cabin! We did a snowshoeing trip last winter in Ontario. I love snowshoeing and would adore doing this in Finland! I just hope it isn’t TOO cold 🙂
We got lucky and had a really “mild” day, Lauren. 🙂 I’d love to do some more snowshoeing up in Canada, too.
Wow! I’ve only ever gone snowshoeing in California. It looks like Luosto is another great place to give it a go. I love the view and those breathtaking colors in the sky. Thanks for the inspiration
California has so many things to offer, Megan! I always think warm with California. It’s a good reminder of all the winter sports, too, in the mountains.
I think you enjoyed a lot. Pics are amazing
Thank you! Easy to take great pics when the setting is so spectacular.
Really an amazing place. One day definitely wants to visit Finland. I already added this place into my bucket place.
Thanks for reading, Ajeesh. Hope you make it to Finland someday. 🙂
Amazing pictures, Thank you for sharing.
Thanks so much for reading, Pratheesh. 🙂