Pulju is a small village in the north of Kittilä municipality, near Enontekiö. Close to the village there is Pulju wilderness area, where the Puljutunturi fell is located. Pulju means ‘ridge’ in local dialect. The Puljutunturi fell has great views to the Pulju wilderness area and it is easy to reach because of the close promiximity of the road. The road 956 from Tepasto to Nunnanen actually cuts through the wilderness area. There is a small car park by the road where the trail to the top of Puljutunturi begins. A small Varkaanvaaranjärvi lake near the top provides a nice setting for a lean-to shelter.
The Pulju wilderness area is suitable for experienced hikers because it doesn’t have many clearly marked trails. It is in fact one of the less known and less visited wilderness areas in Lapland, often overshadowed by places like Kaldoaivi, Lemmenjoki National Park and UKK National Park. But that doesn’t take away the beauty of Pulju.
The Pulju wilderness area has vast mires and spruce forests, and small fells such as Puljutunturi, Kätkätunturi, Korsatunturi, Kieritunturi, Avisuoratunturi and Peltotunturi rising over 400 meters above the sea level. The Puljutunturi itself is 471 meters high. At the top of Puljutunturi there is an old forest ranger’s cottage. Puljutunturi was a good place to spot fires in the old days.
The Puljutunturi lean-to shelter
The Puljutunturi lean-to shelter by the little Varkaanvaaranjärvi lake is located less than 2 kilometers from the road. The trail is relatively easy, ascending gradually to Varkaanvaara hill and providing nice views behind your back to the Pulju wilderness area. From the Varkaanvaara hill you should be able to spot the Pulju village and Puljujärvi lake in a distance. The lean-to shelter is not at the top of the fell, but rather in half way.
The first time I ever came to this lean-to shelter, I was carrying my own firewood because I didn’t know if there was any. I was delighted to see that the locals had brought firewood to the shelter, and I later learned that they bring it by snowmobiles in the winter. There is a guestbook at the shelter to thank them for that.
N=7573935.457, E=408843.011 (ETRS-TM35FIN)
The parking lot coordinates are approximately 68°15’55.4″N+24°47’33.0″E.
The map below shows the trail (black dotted line) at the top departing from road 956 (red) near Varkaanvaara hill, ascending steeply to the Varkaanvaara hill and taking you to the lean-to shelter (laavu) by the Varkaanvaaranjärvi lake.
If you walk from the parking lot near Varkaanvaara to the lean-to shelter, then up the Puljutunturi fell, turn back and descent the fell straight back to the road, you have hiked approximately 6,4 kilometers. Then you will have another 1,8 kilometers on the road back to the parking lot. You can of course continue hiking in the Pulju wilderness area around the Puljutunturi fell, or on the east side of the road. The trail departing from the parking lot to the east of the road leads you to old hunting pits (pyyntikuoppia in Finnish). The pit hunting was one of the earliest deer hunting methods in this area.
Accessibility: There are no services for the disabled in the area, but the area is suitable for families with children.
Special to remember: Everyman’s rights apply in the Pulju wilderness area. Do not leave any trash behind, and remember to check the forest fire warning at the Finnish Meteorological Institute’s website before making fire. For fishing in flowing streams you will always need a permit, only fishing with a rod and worm is allowed without permits in lakes. Fishing permits can be purchased for example at Fell Lapland Visitor Centre in Hetta or Eräluvat website.
When to visit: Hiking in this area is possible during summer months from June to October. Don’t forget mosquito repellent. Autumn colors are quite spectacular in this area in September. In winter you can ski or snowshoe to the top of the Puljutunturi fell, but there are no official tracks. Nor lights.
Also visit in the area
The Fell Lapland Visitor Centre in Hetta, Enontekiö, provides information on the natural features and hiking possibilities in the area. It also showcases pit hunting by a special trail with hunting pits. Perhejärvi nature trail in a nearby village of Tepasto south of Pulju has interesting Gnomes’ rocks and few lean-to shelters as well. Yrjö Kokko bird watching tower is located along this same road approximately 50 kilometers north of Puljutunturi fell.