Early summer is the best time for paddling

In May, the flowing waters of the Ylläs region break free from the ice and offer exciting experiences for kayakers, canoers, and packrafters. Ylläs offers a diverse range of routes for paddlers, including fast-flowing rivers, calm small lakes, and combinations of both. The best experiences can be found on the long rivers, where paddlers can enjoy the adrenaline rush of turbulent rapids and, alternatively, relax while admiring the landscapes shaped by beavers in the calm waters. Dare to go with the flow!

Speed in the rapids, relaxation on the lakes

Äkäsjoki is one of the most popular paddling and canoeing spots and it offers varied water conditions and scenery. Along Äkäsjoki, you can paddle from Äkäslompolo to even to Muonio River, all the way to the Swedish border. The journey includes several exciting rapids (note: in finnish scale – they are nothing that crazy) as well as calmer sections where you can enjoy the surroundings.

If you’re unsure about the rapids, it’s easier to paddle the tranquil and winding Kesänkijoki, which is provides beautiful views to Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park’s fells.

When paddling on a lake, the best part is the possibility of a circular route, eliminating the need for a separate driver to pick you up at the end. Suitable places for this are Äkäslompolo, Ylläsjärvi, Pyhäjärvi, and Luosujärvi.

The best canoeing conditions are in early summer when the water level is still high. In late summer, the water level in rivers decreases, and paddling in shallow water becomes rockier. On lakes, you can go canoeing all the time as long as the waters are free from ice.

Spot beavers

In the waters of Ylläs, you can find European beavers, and see many trees cut by them along the canoeing routes. Lucky ones may spot a beaver’s nest during their trip or even catch a glimpse of the one-meter-sized rodent.

Enjoy the trip with a guide

The easiest way to enjoy kayaking is on a guided tour where transportation and safety are taken care of by professionals. This way, you can focus solely on being in the moment and the activity itself.

Guided paddling tours

Rent Paddling gear

Kayak, canoe, packraft, or SUP board?

You have plenty of options for watercraft.

A packraft, an inflatable kayak that fits in your backpack, is fun because you can take it on a hike or a longer bike ride and use it on waterways during your journey. Packrafts are suitable for small, shallow, and rocky water bodies where canoes might not go.

On warm, windless days, it’s enjoyable to take out a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) that you can paddle while standing or, if you prefer, on your knees. SUP boarding offers a calm experience on lakes and provides excellent balance training and core exercise. However, be prepared for the possibility of taking a dip!

In a kayak, you sit at water level, making it easy to control your movements. Even though a spray skirt protects your clothes from water, be prepared for your seat to get wet. A lightweight kayak might feel unstable, but it responds quickly to even a slight paddle stroke if you have the right technique.

In a canoe, you sit higher up, making it more susceptible to rocking in waves compared to a kayak. However, canoeing can feel easier for beginners than kayaking. Waterproof clothing and boots are advisable, as your clothes can easily get wet when the canoe’s bow takes on the rapids. Canoes usually accommodate two people at once – the person in the front paddles, while the one in the back paddles and steers.