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paikkatieto ikoni


457 km


69 %




1 %


6900 m




291 m


100 %

Savotta Gravel Loop is 478km and 5-7 day route in southeast Lapland, which links together the old logging (savotta) cabins and saunas on some old logging roads with visits to the gates of Salla National Park and Pyhä-Luosto National park. Combining the wilderness saunas with some great services in the villages and towns of the area, the route could be paced to finish all the riding days with a sauna. The route starts from the Kemijärvi railway station and links together the villages of Pyhä, Pelkosenniemi, Savukoski and Salla, making the route very easy logistically despite some long and remote sections between the villages. The route is yet another unique and pleasant one week route in the Eastern Lapland area offering a mix of great services, splendid riding, national parks, traditional wilderness shelters and saunas, high-quality camping and glimpses of the 100-year-old Lappish logging culture.

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The demand for timber and wood based products increased significantly in the late 18th century, which eventually led to turning Finland into a forest based economy. Despite the extremely slow growth of the trees above the arctic circle, demand of the gold of the arctic taiga increased and eventually large-scale logging started around a century ago. Workforce arrived all over the country and the trees were cut during the winter and then transported in the spring on canalled creeks and rivers for further processing. 

The conditions of the workers were very poor and men often slept by a fire or in very simple shelters  even during the mid winter months, when temperatures dropped down to -30 C and beyond. The working conditions improved a lot in the 1920’s when the kämppälaki (the law of the logging cabins) was passed. The law ensured that the workers had proper lodging at the site and the old logging cabins from the early 1900’s can still be found all over Lapland, and elsewhere in Finland.


The 478km and 5-7 day Savotta Gravel Loop provides a glimpse into the hard-on forestry and farming based wilderness life in the southeastern Lapland by visiting three old logging cabins, historic  Tarkkala  wilderness farm and multiple old wilderness shelters in the area. 69 per cent of the route is on gravel and forest roads and 31 percent of the route is on fast and straightforward mostly trafficless paved roads, which connect larger gravel road sections to each other. The route has a couple of rougher roads as well, which do slow you down, but simultaneously are rather welcome change to otherwise  easy and fast riding on hard-packed gravel.


If you pace your progress right, you can do a full week of riding having a sauna every single night. The old refurbished open wilderness saunas are an amazing treat especially toward the end of the season in late September and early October, when the temperatures start to drop toward zero. A wash and sauna after a cold day on the bike is a feeling hard to beat. The route is also logistically very easy as it connects the towns and villages to each other, so traveling stays fairly light. Despite the partial remoteness of the route it is very easy to get onto from Kemijärvi, the end station of the eastern branch of the arctic train line. 


The Savotta Gravel Loop also makes a visit to the gates of the Pyhä-Luosto National Park and the recently founded Salla National Park, making it easy to add visits to both of the national parks on the way. Overall, it’s hard to imagine a better way to get familiar with the East Lapland logging culture and old-time wilderness working life than touring the Savotta Gravel Loop. 


Read more about what the route has to offer as well as our take on riding the route in the Trail notes below…

Late June till first snow (late September to early October)

There are no limitations to the bikepacking season requested by the local reindeer herding community. As a rule of thumb mtb rules are dry enough to ride from early July and the season continuous till first snow, if not effected by the local reindeer herding work. Howevever, the single track sections of the Pyhä-Luosto National MTB Loop is usually dry enough to ride already in the second part of June, due gravelled, rised single tracks of the national park. 

More about the annual rhythm of reindeer herding work here and general guidelines for trekking and camping in the reindeer herding area, check here.


Photos: Taneli Roininen

  • Saunas available in the end of each riding day, if you pace your progress right

  • The old savotta cabins along the route, telling the story of the early forest industry in Eastern Lapland

  • Camping and rental sauna at the Tarkkala erämaatila wilderness farm, one of the few wilderness farms which survived WWII. Camping on the historic farm yard is free of charge, but using the sauna by the river is for a fee. The access code to sauna lock can be purchased here. 

  • Pyhä-Luosto National Park and Salla National Park are along the route, making it easy to add a visit to the reserves 

  • High quality services along the way in villages and small towns in otherwise wild and remote Eastern Lapland taiga

  • Riding on traffic-free endless gravel roads of Central Lapland

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