The Ounasvaara Nature Trail is 2.9 km east of the city centre of Rovaniemi. It is an ideal day-trip destination because of its easy accessibility. Ounasvaara, or Ounas Hill, is not only a famous sports centre but also a year-round recreation area right by the city centre, with marked and maintained trails and several great vantage points. Ounasvaara offers the opportunity to practise almost 50 different sports, and the selection keeps growing. In the winter, Ounasvaara is a great destination, for example, to downhill or cross-country ski, to speed down the toboggan track, or go snowshoeing. In the summer, Ounasvaara offers a great setting for hiking and golf, not to mention the thrilling summer bobsleigh track. SantaSport – Lapland Sports Academy, on the hillside of Ounasvaara, is a true centre of sports and well-being.
The Ounasvaara Nature Trail goes around the southern edge of the hill eastward to a lean-to. At the start, the trail passes through herb-rich forests and a wetland area. After the lean-to, it climbs over outcrops and dry pine forests to the northern side of the hill, where there is a vantage point with fantastic views over Saarenkylä and the Kemi River. The trail continues along the shore of an ancient lake. Then it turns downwards via dry pine forests to the starting point. Traces of the previous ice age are clearly visible in the grooves on the rocks and outcrops along the trail and in the shore rocks of the ancient lake. Information boards introduce northern forest and bog types, wood species, plants, bedrock and ground, as well as the history of Rovaniemi.
The difference in altitude of the trail is 45 m. However, there are no steep climbs, only around 10 degrees. Here and there, the trail is rocky and covered by roots. Wet spots have duckboards. You can also take a 600 m shorter route by cutting past the additional loop before the lean-to. The trail is well-suited for hiking and Nordic walking. The circular trail is 4.4 km long, ideal for day hiking. The difficulty level is medium.
There is a log-built lean-to along the trail under some high cliffs, with a campfire site and a woodshed. There is a clear, bubbling spring 100 m down to the left from the lean-to.
Directions: drive 1.1 km out of the city centre of Rovaniemi along Kajaanintie; turn left on Ounasrinteentie; drive 350 m; turn left on Hiihtomajantie; drive 850 m; turn right into the parking area (100 m), where the nature trail begins. There is a regular daily bus connection to Ounasrinne. The Sports Academy bus stop is around 1 km from the parking area via Hiihtomajantie. The trail is open in the snow-free season, from May to October. Despite the duckboards, rubber boots are recommended in the spring and fall. When walking on bare outcrops, always remember that they are slippery when it rains.