The outdoor guide to Urho Kekkonen national park in Finland

The Urho Kekkonen national park is one of Finland’s 40 national parks, located in the far north of the country in Lapland on the border with Russia.

The main feature of the park is its mountains; indeed, it is the most mountainous national park in Finland. There are 99 named peaks in Urho Kekkonen national park, including Korvatunturi Fell (486 m / 1,594 ft), where, as it said, Finland’s Santa Claus lives. But the highest and the most prominent mountain is Sokosti (718 m / 2,355 ft).

It is also the second-largest (2,550 km² / 984 mi²), and second most popular park in the country (almost 300,000 people annually).

Ivan Kuznetsov
Outdoor writer from the Dolomites, Italy, and Karelia, Finland

— Urho Kekkonen national park was founded in 1983 and named after Urho Kekkonen, Finland’s sixth president, who led the country for 25 consecutive years from 1956 to 1981.

As the author of this article, he was a journalist. He continued to write in local newspapers and magazines even after he became president. Kekkonen was also a great athlete, when he was young: He ran and participated in the high jump, and he was even a national champion that set many national records.

Urho Kekkonen also loved fishing and skiing, and in 1969 when Urho was already 69 years old, he hiked 200 km (124 mi) through the Caucasus Mountains, meaning he also loved adventures in the mountains. I would even go as far as to say that he was a strong man by all reasons and certainly one who deserves to have an entire national park named after him.

However, the symbol and logo of the park is not a famous president, but a golden eagle, which characterizes its rugged nature and plentiful wildlife spotting opportunities.

Read more in my outdoor guide to Urho Kekkonen national park on the website of the PeakVisor app — leading AR (augmented reality) app for mountain peaks identification with tens of other great features for outdoor enthusiasts.


Cover photo: Ugur Arpaci / Unsplash.