After arriving in Finland we had received a recommendation that climbing to the summit of Kiilopää was a beautiful hike. Maps were available but they weren’t very detailed (this map doesn’t even appear to have the trail that we hiked on it). When traveling with the kids I get nervous not knowing exactly what kind of situation we are getting ourselves into but we decided to just drive up to the trail head and see what was there.
If you are heading north on E75 take a right when you reach Kakslauttanen on 9695 (it’s the only option in Kakslauttanen) and it will be very clear where to go. Follow 9695 all the way to the end of the road, which is slightly more than 6km. When you reach the end of the road there will be a very nice paved parking lot on your right. Pull in and walk over to the Suomen Latu Kiilopää/Fell Centre Kiilopää, which is a large restaurant/shop/hotel/information building at the end of the road. There will be a covered trail head with very detailed maps of the options available.
The terrain is very family friendly and Wesley (age 6) was able to tackle the entire 6km hike with no issue. The hike is a loop and we began by hiking to the left (clockwise). I would recommend hiking in this direction as it is a long, gradual climb to the summit. If you hike to the right (counter-clockwise) the hike to the summit is much shorter but it is directly up the summit with a much steeper vertical climb (while we were there they were in the process of completing a set of stairs, I would imagine that has been completed now).
The hike begins through a slightly forested area that is a mix of gradual path and boardwalk. At the very beginning the trail follows a stream and the landscape is quite stunning. As the trail begins to gain elevation and you begin to head up the fell towards the summit the trees disappear and the landscape becomes very barren and rocky. The term fell itself comes from the Old Norse term for mountain and is used to describe a a high and barren landscape feature (exactly what you will experience when you hike to the summit of Kiilopää, read more about fell landscape and the ice age ).
The views from the summit are spectacular with a complete 360 degree view the includes a glimpse of Western Russia and sweeping views of the Lapland countryside. The descent from the summit is an easy climb down a set of newly constructed stairs back to the Suomen Latu Kiilopää/Fell Centre.