Well you might have guessed it – it´s Hetta-Pallas, which all Finns need to hike at some point in their life. Located in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park, this hiking trail goes through the national park all the way, if you combine it with hike to Ylläs. The most popular trail from Hetta to Pallas is 56 km, and Ylläs part adds additional 69 km to it. You may hike it in both directions but it seems most popular to start from Hetta – but in my experience start from Pallas was an excellent choice leaving the hot sun behind my back and thoughts headed to north – and in my opinion it was much more nicer to end the hike on a lovely beach rather than hotel parking place.
Trail has many nice huts and lean-on shelters which you may use free of charge, you may even rent one from the visitor centres in Ylläs, Pallas or Hetta – and they are anyways a worth a visit. Camping is also possible in your own tent nearby the huts and shelters. Most busiest time in the trail is autumn time: August and September. Trail is not the most easiest one, but if you reserve enough time for it – more than usual 50 km hike needs, maybe even three overnights – you will be able to do it even if you are not a professional hiker. There are plenty of spots to have pure drinking water and the area is very safe all in all. Take a look at my hike with details below!
So there I was, living and working and hiking around this area for years – and still this one not marked as done. Felt already a bit shamed about it, so when opportunity came, I took it – even though I had not had so much experience hiking overnights on my own. At least I had my dog with me and trusted to have help on the way if needed – and the weather forecast was looking very good. Last summer in July someone had needed to rescue from the trail in sudden snowstorm so this trail needs a bit of respect!
Well the weather did get me though, with the heat. Even though I was born in Lapland and lived here many many years, this was exceptional in early days of July – three days of +30 Celsius and clear skies. Allthough I can´t complain, it was still very nice to hike and imagine being somewhere in Greece! And the mosquitos were apparently dead as well as I felt like. It was something we usually have in August, except that in early July the sun really does not set at all. But the views in the midnight time take your breath away!
As I mentioned the huts and lean-on-shelters were placed nicely on the route without any rush on site – you may easily cook your meal inside an open hut with a gas-heated system and have a bath in nearby stream or pond. All water-areas provide drinkable water, if you should boil the water there is a mention about it, but otherwise I had only my 0,5 litre bottle with me and we got all needed water from the nature.
I had my tent with me beacuse I had my dog with me, but it turned out that I got to stay inside the huts by ourselves for the both nights we stayed in the trail. I think due to the good weather, most of the hikers had also their tents and wanted to stay in them. I did meet about total of 15 couples hiking the trail – no-one by their own.
I managed to hike around 18 km in a day quite steadily, so all days were quite nice to hike and I still took my time to rest once in a while. The trail is basicly nothing but either going up the fell or coming down but the terrain is most of the time very nice to walk on. Last part towards Hetta is also nice forest area, which provides totally different kind of experience after the open views of the fell area. And what a joy to reach the Lake Ounas beach and have a last swim in it! Notable is that you need to call (or book in advance if you wish) a boatride to Hetta village, or if you start from Hetta, first thing is to reach the starting point by boat. There are plenty of companies in Hetta that will arrange this and it´s very easy to organize on the spot. Also they offer possibility to arrange your car from Pallas to Hetta or other way round if needed. But as said, I highly recommend to try the trail from Pallas to Hetta and then staying in Hetta for visiting the area.
Hope you liked my hiking story and want to do it yourself as well! Here are some links for you to use:
Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park – site provides all information about visitor centres and trails.
The True Lapland – site with services in Enontekiö municipality, including Hetta village.
Lapland Classic – if you want to do this trail with guide and staying overnight in comfort, take a look at this!
Likely Gone Hiking – site and blog offers you the complete guide for Hetta-Pallas trail and many more – also in finnish!