Pyhä-Luosto National Park in Central Lapland, is the southernmost great fell area in Finland. It includes the oldest national park in Finland: Pyhä was established already in 1938. During winter, you can admire beautiful crown snow loaded trees and white fell scenery. Pyhä is a popular destination for downhill skiing, but Pyhä-Luosto winter trails offer also amazing opportunities for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Karhunjuomalampi cross-country skiing tour is a magnificent day trip in winter!
Pyhätunturi fell has been a sacred place of the Forest Sámi people. The various names on the area refer to religion and ancient belief. Pyhä (= Holy in English) is a beautiful place for nature pilgrimage year-round.
Pyhä-Luosto cross-country skiing winter trails
There are around 150 kilometers of maintained cross-country skiing trails in Pyhä-Luosto area. The skiing trails are suitable for classic cross-country skiing as well as skate skiing. Around fourty kilometers of the ski trails are lit. In pyhä, there are around 14 km of lit ski trails. The tracks light up around 7 AM and dim out at 9:30 PM.
Pyhä-Luosto ski buses travel between Pyhä and Luosto and provide transportation from one track to another as well as serve the connections to the airport and train stations. Cross-country skiers can enjoy the many ski cafes on the skiing routes, and take a break on the lean-to 'laavu' shelters.
Karhunjuomalampi route via Luosto-Pyhä winter trail
Luosto-Pyhä winter trail is around 38 kilometers skiing trail that goes between Pyhä and Luosto. You can visit Karhunjuomalampi day hut from the Luosto-Pyhä trail. If you are in Pyhä area, you can reach the winter trail from Pyhä Visitor Centre Naava, or from Kiimaselkä, or from the western side of Lake Pyhäjärvi. Of course, you can reach the Luosto-Pyhä skiing track from a lodge somewhere along the route.
The Luosto-Pyhä skiing track is in use after it has been maintained, starting from week 8, until mid-April to the end of April, depending on snow. The winter trail is only for cross-country skiing, walking, snowshoeing and fatbiking is forbidden.
Luosto-Pyhä winter trail is a clear signposted route, that is based on summer trails. You can find many signposts along the route. At the crossroads, there are signposts, but they may be covered with snow.
It is popular to go the Luosto-Pyhä trail from Luosto to Pyhä, as you can enjoy longer downhills and a bit better sceneries then. But if you are staying in Pyhä, you probably go to the other direction. However, skiing the Karhunjuomalampi route, you'll be skiing to both directions.
Karhunjuomalampi winter trail from Visitor Centre Naava
A lit cross-country skiing trail starts from Pyhä Visitos Centre Naava. There's around four kilometers of lit ski trail toward Luosto. Then, the lit trail continues to the right toward Lake Pyhäjärvi. You will turn to the left to Karhunjuomalampi. There are some long uphills on the first trail leg.
For the first kilometers the trail goes near the road, but all you can see is the snowy forest. The trail passes by the beautiful Revontulikappeli (Chapel of the Northern Lights), that is open for visitors. Visiting the chapel and the Kairosmaja ski cafe is a nice break during the ski tour.
After the crossroads of Kairosmaja, you ski another 1.5 kilometers of lit ski trail before you arrive at another crossroads. There you take a turn to the left toward Kiimaselkä. The next easy stretch goes in a forest for 1.5 km. You arrive at a crossroads: straight forward continues to Kiimaselkä and Luosto, turning to the left leads you to Karhunjuomalampi. The crossroads are signposted.
The Karhunjuomalampi skiing trail is 2.5 km. The first part is easy, the trail goes through a forest and passes a mire. If it is snowing heavily, the trail may disapper under the new snow. After the mire, the trail starts ascending to the fells and to Karhunjuomalampi through crown snow loaded spruces. The last leg of the trail has been classified as moderate, as it is quite steep. But when you push yourself up, you will enjoy amazing downhills on your return trip too!
Just before reaching Karhunjuomalampi, you arrive at the border of Isokuru gorge restricted area. It is only allowed to go along the marked trails on the restriction area. During winter, there is avalanche danger on the area. There is no winter trail at Isokuru and it is not recommended to go there during winter. It is also forbidden to walk anywhere on the slopes of Isokuru year-round. Even if the scenery looks like a winter wonderland, do not go to Isokuru.
Karhunjuomalampi day hut and laavu shelters
Karhunjuomalampi day hut is one of the most popular huts in Pyhä-Luosto National Park. Karhunjuomalampi rests under Ukonhattu fell, on the northern side. Also during winter, you can spot the trail signs under snow: the red spots belong to Harhunjuomalampi trail and the green spots belong to Noitatunturi fell trail.
There are a stove to heat up the Karhunjuomalampi day hut, as well as table and benches to sit and a kettle for cooking. During the high seasons, such as winter holidays, a lot of people visit Karhunjuomalampi. It is likely that the hut is already warm when you arrive.
The two laavu lean-to shelters at Karhunjuomalampi are half Lappish huts with fireplaces. If you want to make a fire to grill for example sausages by the shelters, bring your own matches or lighter. When I visited Karhunjuomalampi hut, there weren't any matches (you can usually find matches in the huts). There are also a few dry toilets that are not meant for bio waste. Bring also your own toilet paper.
You may see some skiing tracks starting from Karhunjuomalampi hut and going up toward Noitatunturi fell, as it is a popular fell for off-piste skiers. Noitatunturi fell (540 m) is the highest fell of the chain of fells in Pyhä-Luosto. It is also an old sacred place of Sámi, called seita.
I climbed up to the saddle between Ukonhattu (Kakkonen) and Noitatunturi (Kolmonen) with skis just following some random ski tracks. Suddenly the forest disappears, and you arrive at fell highland with scenic open views to Lapland wilderness.
When I got back down to Karhunjuomalampi, a group of off-piste skiers passed by. You can climb the fells with fell skis or even classic cross-country skis to see the views, but getting down is not as smooth in deep snow.
Outdoor safety on Cross-Country Skiing Tour
Cross-country skiing is safe, when you pay attention to outdoor safety. Especially, if you are going solo on a cross-country skiing tour, make sure to follow these tips:
- Take a backpack and take some food and warm drink with you.
- Remember to pack enough warm clothes. Learn how to layer for winter hiking.
- Charge the battery of your mobile phone and keep the mobile phone warm inside a pocket.
- Take a head torch with you. Cross-country skiing may be slower than anticipated, the days may be short and coming back to the lit trails may take long.
- Check the route from a map in advance. Avoid areas with avalanche danger, especially if you are not a seasoned off-piste skier.
- If you go solo on a cross-country skiing trip, tell at least one person where you are going and when you will be back.
Pyhä Karhunjuomalampi Cross-Country Skiing Tour
- Destination: Pelkosenniemi and Kemijärvi, Central Lapland, Finland
- Difficulty: easy, a short moderate leg
- When to go: from February to April for cross-country skiing
- Duration: a day trip