I wonder if all those people who once shouted, “There’s gold in dem dar hills!” in the U.S. during the Gold Rush knew that all the way across the ocean in Finland there was gold as well. Lemmenjoki National Park was founded in 1956 and is located in Inari and Kittila municipalities in Lapland. With the area it occupies this is one of the biggest national parks in Finland and among the largest in Europe. It is named after the river which flows though it the Lemmenjoki River.
Here in the summertime people can be seen digging for gold on forty claims. The park gets about 10,000 visitors annually and most of them are backpackers. The national park has many marked paths and there are also some bridges. Boats are available for those who want to travel on the river. Backpackers can stay here for awhile as there are over ten free wilderness huts available and three special ones which have to be paid for and can be booked.
Within the park is the Sallivaara Reindeer Roundup Site just southwest of Inari. It was used by Sami reindeer herders two times a year until 1964. In 1997 the Sallivaara reindeer corrals and cabins were reconstructed and now visitors can stay overnight in one of the huts. Lots of visitors come here in the spring and summer as the nearby wetlands provide great opportunity for bird-watching.
For those who enjoy trekking there is a 4km nature trail that starts at Njurgulahti and is great for families with children. Between Kultala and Ravadasjarvi huts you’ll find an 18km loop which takes visitors to some of the most interesting gold-panning areas. There are boat services available in the summertime and visitors can cruise the Lemmenjoki Valley taking them from Njurgulanti village to the Kultahamina wilderness hut at Kultasatama or Gold Harbor. The course of the river can also be followed along a 20km marked trail so some visitors prefer to take a boat one way and hike back the other.