Kungsleden; The King’s Trail

A Tundra Wilderness Tour

The Tundra is a magical place. We offer Tundra Wilderness Tours, where you will experience a raw and magical world, which is outside most people’s experience and comfort zone. We do this in a safe way that is suitable for beginners in the wilderness, and we utilize Scandinavia’s amazing network of trails and mountain cabins to do so.

Our Tundra Tours take place in the Swedish Arctic, where we hike along a long distance hiking trail passing through Sweden’s highest mountains, passing through Sweden’s most famous National Park and Preserve, hiking up through the national forest and out into the Tundra above.

The Kungsleden is one of the most famous long distance hiking trails in Europe, and passes through some of its last wilderness areas, and one of its most spectacular mountain ranges, it is a 270 mile long trail, divided up into sections where mountain huts are a day hike apart.

Our tours are along the northern section of the Kungsleden, where we experience the most impressive and popular parts of the trail. Our tour takes place in Swedish Lapland, and the whole tour is inside the Arctic Circle.

Kungsleden is ranked as one of the best hiking trails in the world, ranking alongside the Triple Crown Trails in the US: the Continental Divide Trail in the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Crest Trail with its famous views of the Pacific Ocean , the Appalachian Trail which passes through North Carolina. It also ranks alongside the Daikiretto of Japan where the goal is not to die. Like the Daikiretto, the Kungsleden is a hidden gem, off the beaten-track and less well known, but no less spectacular.

Kungsleden

The Kungsleden trail is a 270km long hiking trail in Swedish Lapland, dotted with Svenska Turistföreningen (Swedish Tourist Association / STF) huts along the way. These cosy mountain cabins are a day hike or day’s ski apart, making this a wonderfully accessible wilderness, and a little-known gem outside of Scandinavia, despite the trail ranking as one of the world’s best long-distance hiking trails.

One of the wonderful things about Kungsleden is it is perfect for beginners, there is running water everywhere, so we don’t need to carry much, and we can use a Swedish kåsa or cup to scoop it up and drink it right from where it trickles past or bubbles out of the ground. The mountain huts are so well equipped we can travel light, we don’t need a tent or sleeping bag, just a change of clothing, a day or two of food and a sleeping bag liner.

There are five main sections of the trail:  Abisko to Nikkaluokta, Nikkaluokta to Vakkotavare, Saltoluokta to Kvikkjokk, Kvikkjokk to Ammarnäs, and Ammarnäs to Hemavan. In the summer season a boat service connects Vakkotvare and Saltoluokta, as a huge lake needs to be crossed. The Kvikkjkk and Ammarnäs section is the least hiked section of the Kungsleden.

Abisko and Kebnekaise to Nikkaluokta

Abisko to Nikkaluokta is the most northern section of the trail, all of it north of the Arctic Circle, with 24 hr darkness in the summer months, and 24hr darkness at the height of the winter. This is the most spectacular part of the trail, passing past the highest mountains in Sweden, and passing over Tjäktja pass, the highest point of Kungsleden at 1150m (3,770 ft).

The hike begins in the village of Abisko, and follows a spectacular canyon through the birch forest, before emptying out onto the tundra a day later after your stay in Abiskojaure hut. This is one of the smaller mountain huts on the trail, and it has a new sauna where those tired muscles can be relaxed, and cooled off in the adjacent lake.

Once out on the Tundra we travel to Alesjaure then Tjäktja, Sälka and STF Singi, before descending once again to the STF Kebnekaise Fjällstation (Kebnekaise Mountain Station), nestled on the edge of the forest. The final day of this section takes you from Kebnekaise down to Nikkaluokta.

Before then you have the chance to do a day hike up to Tarfala Research Station surrounded by glaciers, or you can attempt to climb Kebnekaise, the highest mountain in Sweden (2,099m above sea level, 6,886 ft), by the easy southern route (about 19 km), or with a mountain guide by the Eastern Route which requires some ice climbing before arriving at the spectacular Southern Peak. The Northern Peak is just a little way distant, and interestingly if the snow on the southern peak melts it will become the highest point in Sweden. The western route is possible, but not on this hike as it requires a diversion from Singi hut. This extra day at STF Kebnekaise can also be taken as a rest, a chance to enjoy good food and relax in the sauna with beautiful mountain views.

You can read about our hiking tours here, or our ski tours here.