Kiutaköngäs in Oulanka National Park is no doubt one of the most impressive waterfalls in Finland. Located 50 kilometres north of Kuusamo and 40 kilometres south of Salla, this natural attraction is worth seeing when visiting the eastern part of Lapland or even if you’re only passing by.
Kiutaköngäs waterfall is very easy to reach all year round, thanks to its convenient location. From the parking lot of Oulanka Nature Centre, the official tourist information point of Oulanka National Park, you’ll find a 1 km nature trail that leads directly to Kiutaköngäs following River Oulankajoki.
Interesting facts about Kiutaköngäs waterfall
Kiutaköngäs waterfall inherited its name from the Sámi word ‘giuuhta’ that stands for a steep gorge. The second part of the word Kiutaköngäs refers to ‘keävngis’, meaning a large waterfall.
In reality, Kiutaköngäs isn’t a uniform waterfall but a series of steep rapids. Along the total length of 325 meters, the water in Kiutaköngäs falls 14 metres from its highest point. The first fall with an abrupt drop of approximately 4 metres is the biggest one of the rapids of Kiutaköngäs.
Below the first fall, visitors can spot a pothole or ‘a giant’s kettle’ that was born more than 9500 years ago as a result of the melting ice sheets after a glacial period.
Admire the unique surroundings of Kiutaköngäs waterfall
Besides its majestic water masses, Kiutaköngäs is famous for the red-glowing rocks on the north side of the gorge. The unusual red colour origins from dolomite mineral, which is related to limestone. In the foreground, Kiutaköngäs visitors can spot quartzite mineral. The streams of River Oulankajoki flow in the joint of the two rock types, which makes Kiutaköngäs waterfall an exceptional natural attraction in Finland but also in the Nordics.
Visiting Kiutaköngäs in winter
Kiutaköngäs waterfall is one of the many year-round attractions in Oulanka National Park. Thanks to a large number of visitors, Kiutaköngäs is easy to access also in winter. Kiutaköngäs Trail is well-guided, and it’s a part of Karhunkierros Trail, the most famous hiking trail in Finland. Along with this short path, visitors can walk along wooden steps and bridges that in winter are most likely covered in snow. Only 100 metres further from Kiutaköngäs, visitors will find a wooden lean-to with a campfire place, firewood and an outhouse.
Kiutaköngäs in winter is a spectacular sight; the running water is steaming in the frosty weather, and the red-glowing rocks in the background create a stunning contrast against the white surroundings.