Dogsledding in Oulanka National Park

8 days
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£2,699
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Trip code: 
CVF
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Dogsledding
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–5

Spend 5 days dogsledding in the remote Finnish wilderness

Using one of the oldest forms of Arctic transport we explore Finland's vast and beautiful wilderness. This exciting winter escape takes you to a region of pristine nature and remote accommodations providing you with a wonderful sense of accomplishment. This adventure starts at the Arctic Circle, passing through the Oulanka National Park and along the Russian border zone. On your first night you will be staying in a snow hotel built by our local partner. Its construction will take place this upcoming November meaning we will be the first to experience it, as few visitors venture this far north in Finland. Habitations are few and far between meaning there is little light pollution, giving us a great chance to see the Northern Lights when the weather is good.

Highlights

  • Sleep in a snow hotel
  • Explore beautiful Finnish wilderness
  • Dogsled into the Arctic Circle
  • Mush your own dog team
  • Chance to see Northern Lights

Key information

  • 1 night snow hotel, 4 nights wilderness huts, 2 nights wilderness cabin, all shared facilities
  • 5 days dogsledding through the Arctic Circle and the Oulanka National Park near the Russian border
  • Group normally between 4 and 5 people. Min age 16 years

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • Return flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Airport transfers (for group flights only)
  • All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners included

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Fly to Kuusamo; transfer to snow hotel (approx. 1 hour)

    Fly to Kuusamo; transfer to snow hotel by Karhunkierros Visitor Centre on Napapiiri (approx. 1 hour)

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Morning wilderness skills session.First husky ride in the afternoon.

    In the morning we are provided with all of the equipment needed. After breakfast we head straight out into Oulanka National Park where we get an introduction from the leader about what needs to be done in the wilderness. This will also provide us with some insights on how to spot wolverine tracks, along with other wildlife. At the visitor centre we learn the habitat of Napapiiri - the Arctic circle, by studying the Oulanka NP exhibition. In the afternoon we transfer to the dogsledding farm to meet our guide and dogs, who will be our family for the rest of the week. After a tutorial where we receive the basic instructions on how to drive the sled we head off into the woods on our first mushing adventure. In the evening we approach the Karhunkierros Huts, our base for the night.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Dogsled along the Karhunkierros Trail, in the evening chance to see the northern lights

    In the morning we pack our belongings and after lunch head to the farm to reunite with our huskies. We are responsible to prepare what is needed for the adventure including checking the sled and harnessing our own team as by now we will be familiar with them. The journey takes us along the Karhunkierros Trail through snow-covered forests, lakes and rivers to our accommodation for the evening; Kerojärvi wilderness hut in Oulanka NP. At the end of the drive we will take care of our huskies removing the harness, feeding them and finally let them rest in the stake-outs. Our evenings are spent enjoying a traditional Finnish sauna, and with a little luck seeing the Northern Lights. Due to our remote location, we will not need to travel far if they do show, instead we have only to wrap up and step outside.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Husky expedition along the Russian border to a remote wilderness lodge

    Today's dogsledding expedition will take us deeper into the pristine wilderness of Finnish Lapland towards the Russian border. We travel along a restricted area, accessible only during the cold winter months to get to our lodge, situated on the Oulanka River, right on the Russian border. Due to the remoteness of the area, this will be the only sight of human culture that we see on the day except for the signs marking the Russian border and the Border control. On arrival we will be making dinner and have some free time to enjoy the sauna. This will be our cosy home for the next two nights.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    We take a round trip to Saunavaara overlooking Lake Paanajarvi

    After breakfast we have a loop ride south following the River Oulanka and the Russian/Finnish border line to a beautiful viewpoint which overlooks Lake Paanajärvi on the Russian side, a wonderful spot from which to admire the pristine untouched natural surroundings. In the afternoon we can give our huskies a rest and enjoy a showshoe walk along the Russian Border zone through forest inhabited by elks. In the evening we can relax in the traditional Finnish sauna and head out to the frozen river for an amazing view of the night sky.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Return to the Arctic Circle through startling landscape

    Today is the longest day of the trip as we head north to the Arctic circle following the trail along the Russian Border and through Oulanka National Park. Our day will start really early to make the most of this magical territory before coming back to our hectic lives. In this surreal atmosphere we will be guided by the stars and moon reflections on the snow. On our arrival at Napapiiri we take our new friends to the farm, remove their harness off for the last time and say goodbye. At the end of the day we return to the Karhunkierros Huts, our accommodation for the remaining nights.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Free day Optional activities like snowshoeing or Fat biking

    There are variety of optional activities on offer today including the new and increasingly popular winter activity – fat biking; explore the winter wonderland with specially made bicycles with ultrawide tires that can run easily on the snow at very low pressure. Alternatively unguided cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are also available. As a farewell celebration, after having been outdoor the whole week we will enjoy a well deserved dinner in the warm and cosy restaurant.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 8

    End Karhunkierros Visitor Centre

    Our trip ends at the Karhunkierros Visitor Centre

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Finland

No visa required for UK passport holders visiting Finland.

Vaccinations

Finland

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 evening meals are included.

The food provided covers a variety of traditional Finnish dishes. Breakfast will be continental, with bread, cheese, porridge, muesili and yoghurt available. Lunch will consist of warm soup, bread, cheeses, sausages, hot tea and biscuits. In the evening dinner will consist of traditional meat and fish dishes with vegetables. A vegetarian option is also available.

Weather

In the regions close to the Arctic Circle temperatures during the season range from -30ºC to +5ºC. Christmas will normally be the coldest (usually below -20ºC), but the temperatures rise as the days lengthen, and early April can see temperatures around -10ºC to +5ºC. Recent years have seen massive fluctuations in the space of a few weeks with lows of -40ºC and highs of +7ºC just a few days apart.
If the thought of such temperatures scares you, then think again. When dressed in the Arctic clothing provided, with insulated boots, woolly hat and large mittens, -20ºC can actually feel very pleasant. The Arctic cold is a dry cold, there is usually no wind. Remember, you will be kept active on this holiday!
Daylight hours
At extreme latitudes the days shorten and lengthen much faster. So while in mid-winter (December/January) the sun remains just below the horizon, by April there are more daylight hours than in the UK, and the midnight sun is only a matter of weeks away. Even in midwinter it is not dark, as the sun is just above the horizon and there is plenty of light reflected off the snow.


Northern Lights
The breathtaking Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are visible from September to late April on most clear nights at latitudes close to, and above the Arctic Circle. They can be seen further south, but will be less spectacular and less frequent. Solar activity is greater around the equinoxes (September and March), and at lower latitudes this can be the best time to see them. If weather is good your chances of seeing them are quite good as there is hardly any light pollution. 

Is this trip for you?

General Notes on Dogsledding
Dogsledders are given 4-6 dogs, depending on the snow conditions and weight of the driver. The dogs are normally Siberian huskies - many of the huskies are crossbred with various types of hound. The dogs love humans, but don't always love each other, and may need to be kept apart on occasions.
We tend to start on easy trails while we get our balance and the hang of the sleds. Travelling speeds can vary greatly, depending on the snow conditions and the temperature (dogs run better in the cold). On a good day the dogs can run up to 10 km per hour. In deep snow, or in hilly terrain we will travel slower and you may need to help push the sled, or at least walk behind the sled. When the trail goes downhill you will have to slow the sled down, so as not to catch-up with the dogs. We always try to keep the same speed: uphill, downhill and on the flat. But remember the number one rule is 'never let go' - the dogs will just keep running. It is important to have a sense of balance to keep the sled under control at high speeds. Steering is done by the dogs, who will be following the guide or a well-known trail, the driver just needs to keep the sled upright and follow the line of the dogs.
The grade for this holiday is 3: Moderate. This reflects the levels of fitness and physical coordination required to fully take part in the dogsledding. Part of your trip takes place into the Arctic circle where temperatures can be quite extreme; the exposure to such cold can be significantly tiring. The main luggage is transported from one place to the other but clients are expected to carry a 40ltr rucksack with their personal items during the rides.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Snow hotel, wilderness huts and cabin

Please note there is no running water and electricity in any of the accommodations and it is not possible to request a single room. We do our best to accommodate people as best we can within these sleeping arrangements, however it is not possible to pre allocate berths. Sleeping bags are provided through your stay. At the snow hotel twin rooms are on a shared basis and assigned by gender whilst in the other accommodations dormitories will be mixed.

Snow Hotel 

Like most snow hotels, the construction begins with the onset of winter, usually around November or December. 2018 will be the first time a snow hotel has been constructed at this location so Exodus groups will be the first to experience this new adventure. It is located close to the Karhunkierros Visitor Centre where you will find facilities such as restaurant, toilets, lounge and a lovely open fireplace. To build it several thousand cubic metres of snow are required. The twin rooms will be quite spacious but simple and include some snow decorations; there are usually 2 beds with space for 2 extra beds and include some snow decorations. Warm blankets will be provided and if needed, more will be available at reception. A handy hint from our local partners is to avoid taking a shower or sauna just before going to bed, as the body's natural oils help keep out the cold. You will be required to leave your luggage at the reception and take only essential items into your room. Electricity will be available at the reception and in the restaurant.

Kerojärvi wilderness hut

The Kerojärvi wilderness hut is a small wooden building located in a very remote area along the Kerojärvi river, it includes a small sauna and one room for eating and sleeping. The cosy accommodation is a dormitory consisting of a long bunk situated along the wall. There is no shower and toilets are in a separate hut about 20m from the cabin. In the room there is a stove which is used for making food and heating up the room. The group leader will show you how to keep the room warm if the temperature drops during the night. Due to the remoteness of the location, with no light pollution, it's the perfect spot to try to witness the Northern Lights.

Russian End

The Russian End cabin is a traditional elk hunting camp. There is one small room with a twin and single bed, a small kitchen area where our leaders will prepare your food, and the main living area. This is quite simply one big room, with a large table down the middle and one long bunk along the wall. Warmth is never an issue, with a roaring fire, warm sleeping bags to keep us warm and candles to provide light. We may also make use of a second sleeping area in the same cabin as the sauna. The sauna is in a separate building close to the river. This space also doubles as a washing area. There is no shower, instead we use the hot and cold water provided to wash – pouring a mix of these over your head constitutes a real ‘Arctic’ shower and is certainly effective! The toilet here is in a separate hut about 30m from the cabin. The location is unbeatable, in our cosy cabin on the river bank the combination of the cleanest air in the world, the sound of silence and the shining stars will create unforgettable moments. 

Karhunkierros Hut

This accommodation is located near to the Karhunkierros Visitor Centre, close to the snow hotel, and is relatively basic. Each hut is about 3 metres high and 4 metres wide. They are organised in dormitories, each hosting 4 people and normally consist of 2 beds with the possibility to add 2 extra beds. No kitchen is available, the heating is provided through a small heater and the guide will show you how to keep the room warm during the night. Facilities are shared and sauna and showers can be found in a separate building. Toilets are in the visitor centre. If you feel like you need to reconnect with the outside world, free wi-fi and electricity will be available at the reception and in the restaurant, here you will also find a comfortable lounge to relax.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Bobsledding

Celebrate the 2018 Winter Olympics by taking part in a challenge of your own.

  • Reviewed February 2017
    Jan Hanock

    Dogsledding at Basecamp Oulanka

    This holiday was a wonderful experience, one of the best we have had and one that we plan on doing again next year. Having stayed at Basecamp Oulanka last year on the snowshoeing holiday, also a great trip, we wanted to return there again as we could find no faults with the place. The staff are always so willing and helpful, the accommodation is great, the food is Finnish and of a very high standard and the range of activities offered make for a fantastically varied and full week. Having experienced one day of dogsledding last year we couldn't wait to return for a week's worth of it. We did and we were not disappointed. Sledding through the countryside, which was like a scene from a Winter wonderland, hearing nothing but the hiss of the sled runners on the snow is a very moving and wonderful experience as is the thrill of traveling at speed through the forests or over the frozen lakes by 5 huskies. The quietness contrasting with the excitement and noise of the dogs as they are harnessed and straining to be on their way because they really do want to run, it's stopping them that is the problem. You still though have the opportunity to do other things as well so you can go for a walk in the woods, cross country skiing, relax in the inevitable sauna or hot tub or simply sit and read whilst having a pint. We experienced a whole range of weather, from stunningly clear days to a day when we crossed a frozen lake in a blizzard, in the dark at a temperature below -20C, both extremes beautiful in their own ways. The welcome that we received at Olilla, the camp you go to on your 3 day expedition, was equally friendly and welcoming with the owners, as well as providing wonderful food always joined us for 'apres sled' drinks and a chat.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Dogsledding through the forest on a beautiful crisp, cold day with the sun shining on frost on the trees giving the appearance that the forest was lit by millions and millions of fairy light. Truly magical as was the Northern Lights, still not at their best but still better than anything we have seen anywhere else. Another moment to remember is eating lunch that had been prepared on a bbq, in a blizzard at -20C but feeling as warm as toast in all the clothing that was provided.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Peritta was extremely helpful to our group, particularly when a member was injured. Her care,attention and help was over and above the call of duty. Unfortunately we didn't get too many chances to interact with her as the dogsledding adventure takes you away from Basecamp where you are expertly led by Mari and her team. Here again we were made welcome and our safety and enjoyment were their top priority, after looking after the dogs!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The only clothing that you need to take for the daytimes are thermals, socks and headwear. I wore three pairs of socks at the same time, the best thermal socks you can buy would not go amiss. Basecamp provide 2 layers of fleece, an outer waterproof layer and a further insulated outer, outer layer, 3 glove layers and good boots which all keep you toasty warm. Balaclavas are not supplied as we had been led to believe and the beanies provided would not have been warm enough. Take all headwear including, snood/neck warmer, balaclava and the warmest hat with ear flaps that you can find. We also highly recommend taking ski goggles as the day that we were out in the blizzard would have been very unpleasant without them. If you don't like the idea of eating vendace (Whole little fish) soup, elk(moose) or reindeer than you may wish to go vegetarian for the week, the both the veggy food and the main menu being of a very high standard.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The price of some of the optional activities seem a little high but to be honest they are well worth it to be able to soak up and enjoy all that the region offers. As we were out on 5 of the days dogsledding there are not too many opportunities to fit in many of the optional extras, so for us the extra expense was not too great. The holiday in general working out as very good value when you consider what is being charged for a single day of dogsledding. All in all it was a wonderful holiday, one that we would do again and therefore one that we highly recommend.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on 0208 772 3936