Palkaskero fell belongs to the Pallastunturi fell group in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. Pallastunturi is the southernmost part of the 50-kilometer (31 miles) chain of Pallas-Ounastunturi fells. Palkaskero rises right behind the Pallastunturi Visitor Centre.
The route of the Palkaskero Trail is approximately 7 kilometers (4.35 miles) long. The peak rises to 705 meters (2,313 ft) above sea level, but only about 250 meters (820 ft) of ascent are accumulated. Palkaskero route is rated as moderately demanding. The route is not technical, but requires some physical fitness.
The Palkaskero Trail is nice to go around as a morning or afternoon run or hike, for example, in addition to the classic Hetta-Pallas hike. Palkaskero fell can be visited all year round, in winter the route is suitable for snowshoeing.
I did a trail run at Palkaskero Trail on a foggy September morning. I thought the fog would clear, but it didn't. So, I didn’t get much of the beautiful sceneries.
Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park
Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park has a landscape of great fells in the area of Muonio and Enontekiö, Lapland. The silhouette of Pallastunturi is one of Finland's national landscapes. Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park is one of the oldest national parks in Finland.
In addition to the fells, the Pallas-Yllästunturi area has many structures and culture related to reindeer husbandry and, according to research, the cleanest air in the world.
How to get to the Palkaskero Trail
The route of Palkaskero fell starts from the Pallastunturi Visitor Centre (address Pallastunturintie road 557, closed for the time being), when you take the route clockwise. The trail is a ring route that returns to the nature center.
The Palkaskero Trail can also be reached from Pallaskota Lappish hut and Orava Avenue trail. When leaving Pallaskota hut, you should go the Palkaskero route counterclockwise.
You should not take a direct route to the top of Palkaskero fell from Pallastunturi Visitor Centre, even if you can see a path in the terrain and the route seems easy. The route goes around the slopes of the fell in such a way that the terrain is not worn unnecessarily.
Orava Avenue, or Squirrel Avenue in English, is an environmental artwork by Mats Wikström that takes visitors to Pallaskota and Palkaskero. Along the wide gravel trail or road, there are seven different little squirrels cast in bronze on wooden pillars. Squirrel statues represent major world religions and the unity of creation.
Pallaskota Lappish hut and open Lappish hut
Pallaskota is a rental hut, the other hut in the area is open to everyone. There is a woodshed and a dry toilet in the yard. There are many good camping spots in the large yard.
There is also a fireplace behind the Lappish hut. At the beginning of the forest path leading to Lake Pallasjärvi and Punainenhiekka day hut, there is a stream where you can get water. It is worth boiling the water or using a filter. There are no water points on the Palkaskero Trail.
Palkaskero Trail route description
When leaving Pallaskota and Orava Avenue, the trail rises gently at first. The trail is muddy in places and rocky throughout, but not difficult to run on. After a few hundred meters, the trail forks to the right and begins a steep climb above the treetops.
The trail goes up to the saddle between Palkaskero and Pallaskero fells on the southern slope of Palkaskero and then makes an S-shaped bend to the top. The steepest meters that test your thigh muscles hit right near the top.
You may see white ptarmigans on the slopes of Palkaskero. It's difficult to distinguish a ptarmigan from its cousin willow grouse, especially in the fog, but I think I saw two ptarmigans dashing along the path.
The rocky trail ends at the pile of stones at the top of Palkaskero fell. Visibility was pretty close to zero on my run, but the pile stood out. In good weather, the Palkaskero peak would offer great views of the Pallastunturi fells to the north, the magnificent Lake Pallasjärvi to the southeast, and the Sammaltunturi and Lommoltunturi fells rising to the south.
From the top of Palkaskero, you descend a fast slope that makes a sharp turn to the left. In the direction of Palkaskuru gorge you may pass reindeer, whose bells can be heard far away. The rest of the way from the top back to the starting point is a wonderfully relaxed trail run, mostly downhill.
A gentle slope reaches a reindeer separation fence. At this point, it was a bit difficult to see the waymarks in the fog. In the area of the national park, you should stay on the marked paths, so that the valuable terrain is not eroded.
Lower down on the slopes, reindeer roamed in large numbers in the mist. A group of tourists, myself included, excitedly photographed the reindeer. The rest of the route goes along the Hetta-Pallas hiking trail in the lower part of Vatikuru gorge. If you take a wrong step in the fog, a wide gravel road also leads you back down.
The rest of the journey on the gravel road was fast, running first to the Pallas-Ylläs hiking trail and along it to Pallaskota Lappish hut to pack my tent and stuff. If you're not in a hurry on the Palkaskero tour, it's worth enjoying the warmth of the open Lappish hut campfire at the end of the run.
Although trail running in the fog is fantastic and exercising in nature always gives you a happy mood regardless of the scenery, I recommend the Palkaskero trail in better weather!
P.S. Please remember that the area is litter-free - don't leave gel packs or other waste in nature!
- Destination: Pallas, Muonio, Lapland, Finland
- Distance: 7 km (4.35 miles)
- Difficulty level: Medium
- Duration: 3h, trail running 1-1.5h