Way up north in Lapland, you can do the Bear’s nature trail. The whole trail is 82 kilometres long, but if you are short on time, there are shorter trails along the main trail you can do. I put the Bear’s Trail on my summer bucket list and it ended up becoming a family affair. My parents wanted to tag along and then my sister and my nephew wanted to come as well. We ended doing the Small Bear’s Trail which is only 12 kilometres while my sister and nephew spent the day swimming.
The Small Bear’s Trail is in Oulanka National Park which is roughly 40 kilometres from Kuusamo. There is a bus service from Kuusamo to the start of the trail but it only goes once a day so we drove to the starting point. We had the best luck with the weather. Surprisingly there weren’t so many people on the trail so we got to enjoy the scenery without the crowd.
As soon as we got to the forest we had to take our jackets off as it was so warm. There was still some snow on the ground in some places and a couple of lightly frozen lakes that were surrounded by huge trees blocking the sunlight.
There weren’t that many mosquitos, but when you stopped to have a snack, they managed to find you in mere seconds. The trail is easy to follow as it is marked clearly on trees and there are signs. Despite this we managed go the wrong way when we were finishing the trail. My dad lost his sense of direction and we went the wrong way and ended up doing a twenty-minute detour.
The Small Bear’s trail takes four to six hours to walk, but we did it just under four. My dad seemed to be on a some sort of mission, so he was walking way ahead of us and I was trailing way behind my parents so that I could actually take pictures and enjoy nature. The trail wasn’t that challenging, but you did have to keep your eyes on the ground when walking to avoid falling over. Make sure you wear proper hiking boots on the trail. There were surprisingly lots of stairs along the trail. Some of them were too narrow or set too wide apart at least for me, which made mee climb them in a weird way. The next day my thighs were screaming in agony!
The best part of the trail was the view along the way, naturally!
We decided to take a smaller trail with the whole family the next day (despite our leg muscles strongly protesting). We drove to the Oulanka Visitor Centre and walked as much as my nephew wanted to walk. The best part in his opinion was when we grilled some sausages in one of the campfire sites.
The most fun part of the trip? Teaching my nephew to spot reindeer along the road. It was a game my family played every time we drove to ski in Lapland and the first one to spot a reindeer got a small prize.