All you need to know to hike the Kungsleden

Aaron/ June 9, 2017/ Europe, Hiking/ 50 comments

One of my favorite places on earth, the Kungsleden, in Swedish Lapland, will be open for summer hiking from June to September this year. I spent a week on the trail and surrounding areas last September and loved (almost) every single bit of it. So just before the huts and related facilities start running again, I thought it’ll be timely to compile some resources that you might find helpful if you intend to explore this otherworldly arctic landscape.

Last updated 8 Apr 2018

Who is the Kungsleden for?

Everyone who loves nature and a good hike! The trail from Abisko to Nikkaluokta or vice versa, where most people visit, is approximately 110km (70 miles) long, and can be spread comfortably over a week.

Fairy tale like landscape, even when the weather is less than ideal. Kungsleden.

Fairy tale like landscape, even when the weather is less than ideal.

Love camping? There’re plenty of areas where you can pitch your tent and feel all alone in the wilderness. Hate camping/ carrying tents? Comfortably stocked huts run by the Swedish Tourist Association are spread throughout the hike, the distance between them ranging from 13 to 21km (8 to 13 miles).

Shrubs at the lower parts of the Kungsleden.

Shrubs at the lower parts of the Kungsleden.

Like it more leisurely? Complete a hut distance a day, as I saw many elderly hikers did. There are some uphills and rocky terrain but nothing too much for a day. Like it a little faster? Pack light and complete the trail in 3 days, as I saw a trail runner did. The options go on forever, but as you can see, the Kungsleden pretty much caters for everyone who wants to be out there in nature and be one with it.

 

When are the huts open for hiking in summer this year?

For 2018, the mountain cabins along the Kungsleden between Kebnekaise and Abisko (Singi, Salka, Tjaktja, Alesjaure and Abiskojaure) are open between 15 Jun 2018 and 30 Sep 2018.

Kebnekaise Mountain Station is open between 15 Jun 2018 and 23 Sep 2018 while Abisko Mountain Station is expected to be open all year round.

As for the other mountain cabins between Kebnekaise and Abisko that are not on the Kungsleden, Unna Allakas, Nallo, Vistas and Karsavagge are open between 21 Jun 2018 and 30 Sep 2018, Tarfala between 21 Jun 2018 and 23 Sep 2018, and Paltsa between 21 Jun 2018 and 16 Sep 2018.

For information on opening times for huts south of Kebnekaise, click on the individual mountain cabins’/ stations’ links from the pages below:

How long will I need to hike the Kungsleden?

As earlier mentioned, the northernmost section of the main trail is approximately 110km, with 6 huts/ mountain stations between Abisko and Nikkaluokta. Taking a hut a day would total to a week. Skipping huts is totally possible too. I wouldn’t consider myself in top fitness but I skipped huts in order to make detours to Kebnekaise and Tarfala (Tarfala IS magical) and still complete the hike in a week. The minimum number of days (more than average fitness required, but not superhuman standard) would probably be around 3, completing about 35km (22 miles) a day.

The magical Tarfala.

The magical Tarfala.

Have time for more? There are plenty of possible detours to stunningly beautiful landscapes throughout the trail, and you’d definitely not regret spending more time in Swedish Lapland.

 

Do I need a guide for the Kungsleden?

You will not require a guide to hike the Kungsleden. A guide may however add to the experience by providing additional tips and information along the way. If you’d like the time alone with nature, you’ll be glad to know that it is possible to do without a guide too. As explained below, main trails are generally well marked.

 

Do I need to bring a tent?

No. Huts and mountain stations can be found throughout the trail at comfortably spaced distances. You’ll need to bring sheets/ sleeping bag as sheets are not provided.

The sauna, or batsu, at Alesjaure Mountain Hut, down by the lake. The reception, bunks and toilets are in separate buildings behind me.

The sauna, or batsu, at Alesjaure Mountain Hut, down by the lake. The reception, bunks and toilets are in separate buildings behind me.

 

Is there electricity at the huts along the Kungsleden?

There are electrical plugs available at the mountain stations Abisko and Kebnekaise, but the huts between them have neither running water nor electricity. Fret not, as you’ll always be near one of the freshest sources of water on Earth, and there’ll be plenty of scenery to keep you busy.

"Northern

Are credit cards accepted on the Kungsleden?

Surprisingly, credit cards are accepted at major huts along the trail, as long as there is enough sunlight to power the solar generators. Maybe not so surprising considering how Sweden leads in terms of advancing towards a cashless society. Enough sunlight can be a challenge though. I met a Swedish guy who tried to get breakfast with his credit card, but as there was not enough solar power then, he had to run to the next hut (over 10km away) to get breakfast instead.

 

Is there mobile reception/ Wifi on the Kungsleden?

None at all. A tiny bit at Tarfala just for one of the operators, to serve the research station there studying glaciers and climate change. Wifi, like electricity, is readily available at Abisko and Kebnekaise mountain station but unavailable at the rest.

Hiking towards Kebnekaise Mountain Station, from Nikkaluokta, where the immense peaks start coming into view.

Hiking towards Kebnekaise Mountain Station, from Nikkaluokta, where the immense peaks start coming into view.

 

Do I need to bring food?

It is possible to get through the entire hike without bringing any food in for 2 reasons:

  1. Most huts on the main trail sell dried/ canned food (pricey, a trade off between having the same food everyday and needing to carry them throughout)
  2. Some people leave food items behind at the kitchen of the huts (not advisable to depend on, and not really nice to take all of it as it is meant to be an exchange)

Which bring me to the point on cooking. Gas stoves are available at all huts and water from nearby streams mean that you’ll most probably be able to cook almost anything you bring to the trail, without having to bring gas with you (not allowed to fly with those anyway, but you can get one at the shops for some outdoor cooking).

Kitchen at Tarfala Mountain Cabin. Kitchens in the other cabins are similar.

Kitchen at Tarfala Mountain Cabin. Kitchens in the other cabins are similar.

 

Do I need to bring water?

Nope, freshwater (apart from fresh air and breathtaking scenery) is probably the most abundant resource on the trail. Just look for clear, open streams, look around for possible sources of contamination, and if clear, drink up! A bottle would definitely be handy though for the stretches in between and to save having to leave the trail for the stream every time.

Can't get much fresher water. These flow straight from the glaciers at Tarfala.

Can’t get much fresher water. These flow straight from the glaciers at Tarfala.

 

How do I get to the start / end?

The nearest city to the northernmost section of the Kungsleden is Kiruna. Kiruna is about 1.5 hours away from Stockholm by flight, and a day by train.

Between Kiruna and Abisko, you can choose between the bus and train. Check train schedules here.

(Updated 3 Mar 2018) Between Kiruna and  Nikkaluokta, the Nikkaluokta Express runs twice a day (in season) between Kiruna Bus Station, Kiruna Airport and Nikkaluokta. Here’s the schedule for buses:

The arrangement seems a little different from when I visit in 2016, but it appears that you can get a ~6USD discount by pre purchasing your bus ticket online. Prices for one way range from 80-120SEK (~10-15USD) online, and 130-170SEK (~16-21USD) directly at the bus, depending on your age group.

 

At Nikkaluokta, a popular start/end point of a Kungsleden hike.

At Nikkaluokta, a popular start/end point of a Kungsleden hike.

 

Do I need to pre-book accommodation?

Nope. Though I did not pre-book my hut stays throughout the trail, I did not face any situations where bunks ran out. Even if they did there is an assurance that you would not be turned away. Not booking beforehand also allows for flexibility as to how long I want to spend on the trail and where I want to spend each day of it.

(Update 8 Apr 2018) It is possible to pre-book accomodation at a mountain cabin and also a good idea if you’d like to save some money (it should be cheaper to prepay). For cabins between Kebnekaise and Abisko, there are 2 kinds of prepayments – one for cabins on the Kungsleden (Abiskojaure, Alesjaure, Tjäktja, Sälka, Singi) and one for those off the Kungsleden (Unna Allakas, Nallo, Vistas, Pältsa, Kårsavagge, Tarfala, Abiskojåkka). You basically decide the total number of nights you need at each type of accommodation, set a date, and get 2 weeks validity before and after your selected date. With STF membership it will be 350 SEK a night for cabins off the Kungsleden and 450 SEK a night for cabins on the Kungsleden. Just remember to bring along your booking confirmation as the cabins may not be able to verify your booking without it. You can prepay for non Kungsleden mountain cabins here and the Kungsleden mountain cabins here.

Night falling over Alesjaure Mountain Cabin. Alesjaure is a popular base for people wishing to explore the nearby areas.

Night falling over Alesjaure Mountain Cabin. Alesjaure is a popular base for people wishing to explore the nearby areas.

Will there be others on the trail?

Yes, but few and far between. When I was there in September 2016, I’d go for hours without seeing a single soul, then be ridiculously happy to see someone else passing, greeting every passing person like an old friend. Maybe it’s a common experience on the trail that we don’t need words to express. If you’re there during the Fjallraven Classic between 11 and 18 August, prepare for a fully packed trail. The event is sold out already this year.

Other hikers, few and far between, but never too far away.

Other hikers, few and far between, but never too far away.

 

Is the trail well marked?

Yes. Most of the Kungsleden is generally clear and well marked (no signage but usually a red paint mark to indicate the right path). No water crossings are required as good bridges cross the water points. There is a segment around Tjaktja Pass that was a bit of an issue for me last year though. Thick fog covered the pass and visibility was at times less than 10m, and I nearly lost the trail on a few occasions, despite the red paint marks on rocks. Take precaution there or just stay the night at the emergency hut, if the fog gets too thick.

Well marked trails.

Well marked trails.

"If

Sturdy bridges across fast moving streams. Kungsleden.

Sturdy bridges across fast moving streams.

Simple bridges across slower/ gentler ones. Kungsleden, Sweden.

Simple bridges across slower/ gentler ones.

The emergency hut at Tjaktja Pass, in September 2016.

The emergency hut at Tjaktja Pass, in September 2016.

 

Where are the huts and what are the possible detours?

The main and commonly used route (in either direction) is as follows:

Abisko (Mountain Station) – (14km) – Abiskojaure (Mountain Cabin) – (21km) – Alesjaure (Mountain Cabin) – (13km) – Tjaktja (Mountain Cabin) – (13km) – Salka (Mountain Cabin) – (12km) – Singi (Mountain Cabin) – (14km) – Kebnekaise (Mountain Station) – (19km) – Nikkaluokta

As mentioned, I chose to do detours to Kebnekaise and Tarfala. Kebnekaise is not really a good idea to go alone/ without snow hiking experience, but Tarfala is an absolutely stunning place, located on the shore of a glacial lake, facing glaciers on one side and mountains and a wide valley on the other.

Other popular detours are to Nallo, Vistas, and Unna Allakas, all of which are around the Alesjaure/ Tjaktja area and all of which I’d love to visit some day.

This page provides a comprehensive and detailed list of the huts in Swedish Lapland.

 

Is there snow on the trail?

There was plenty of it on Kebnekaise and at Tarfala in September 2016, but keeping to the main Kungsleden trail you shouldn’t have to cross any snow during the summer hiking season, except occasionally at Tjaktja, the highest point of the trail.

Snow on the way to Kebnekaise. I was absolutely terrified, not having much experience with the snow, and would advise against making the same mistake of underestimating how fast weather conditions can change there.

Snow on the way to Kebnekaise. I was absolutely terrified, being alone and not having much experience with the snow, and would strongly advise against making the same mistake of underestimating how fast weather conditions can change there.

How much money will I need?

Mountain huts along the Kungsleden cost 520 SEK (60 USD) a night, or 420 SEK (48 USD) with STF membership. Huts not on the trail (e.g. Tarfala) cost 460 SEK (53 USD) a night, or 360 SEK (41 USD) with STF membership. STF membership can be obtained at the mountain stations (Kebnekaise and Abisko) for 295 SEK (34 USD), and as you can easily work out, you’d get back the cost of the membership with 3 nights on the trail. STF membership will also grant you access to use the kitchens at the huts along the trail, even if you’re not staying for the night, which would be really useful for a lunch stop if you’re planning to complete 2 hut distances in a day. More details on pricing of huts here. That’s basically all the necessary costs of the hike.

I can’t remember to exact price of meal packets where you can just add water and have a full hot yummy meal ready, but I think they’re in the range of 100-200 SEK. There might be some clearance items on offer which can be quite a bargain in the mountains.

Approx min cost for 7 nights on the trail:

295 SEK for STF membership

420 SEK x 7 = 2940 SEK for accommodation

Total = 3235 SEK (371 USD) ~400USD including transport to and from Kiruna, excluding cost of food

(Update 8 Apr 2018) Current rates for online prepayment (cheaper way to pay for cabins) of accommodation along the trail are 350 SEK a night for mountain cabins not on the Kungsleden and 450 SEK a night for mountain cabins on the Kungsleden. Dorm beds at Abisko are at 395 SEK while those at Kebnekaise range between 655 SEK and 805 SEK depending on travel dates. A closer estimate of total cost of accommodation (instead of 2940 SEK) would be 655 + 450 X 5 + 395 = 3300 SEK as of 8 Apr 2018. Refer to  ‘Do I need to pre-book accommodation?‘ section on pre-booking accommodation.

 

What do I need to bring?

There’s a gas powered drying room (torkrum) at the mountain cabins along the trail, sufficient to dry up shoes and clothes should they get wet during the day. As such, it is possible to get through the trail with just 2 sets of warm, comfortable clothes, a set to hike in, and a set to sleep in.

Same with shoes, a good pair of hiking boots for rugged terrain with snow grip, and comfortable footwear for use at the huts/ to the sauna while your boots dry in the torkrum should they get wet during the day.

Speaking of which, a towel can come in handy! Make use of the wood fired saunas that can be found in many of the mountain cabins on the main Kungsleden trail to freshen up and soothe those tired muscles after a long day. Check the timings though, there is usually a women’s session, a men’s session, and also a mixed session, each for about an hour and a half. Of course, bring toiletries along to to keep fresh throughout the hike.

Sheets/sleeping bag are essential for hygiene purposes as there are no sheets at the bunks, though beds are comfortable enough.

Never forget your torchlight/headlamp, as there is no electricity along the trail and everything is absolutely pitch black once the last bit of sunlight slips behind the mountains.

A lighter or matches can also come in handy, as there are wood fireplaces in the bunks and matches are not always available. Learning to start a wood fire can be very useful, but I learnt it the long way on the trail, first looking at an experienced Finnish man do it, and the next day spending hours attempting to start it myself (and accidentally finishing up quite a bit of wood).

If you don’t intend to spend lots of money on food bought along the trail (they cost much to bring in, given the inaccessibility by roads), don’t forgot food! Easily cooked, high energy, lightweight stuff like oats make a good choice. You can add some flavour to your oats with wild blueberries or lingonberries, which can be found in many places along the trail. Be sure that your food is not just purely functional, but also taste good enough. You wouldn’t want to end off a full day tiring hike with some bland tasting (or worse, foul tasting) food. Make full use of the stoves and pots available to make every meal more enjoyable, and don’t forget to do your dishes!

Other essentials: cash/ credit card (to pay for the huts/ food), map (can be bought at Abisko or Kebnekaise Mountain Station), good hiking backpack, raincoat/ waterproof jacket and rain pants, camera and sufficient batteries (or just soak in the view), water bottle, mug, enough underwear and socks, books or some comfort items (e.g. earphones to listen to music), a positive attitude, and you’re all set to have the most memorable time on the trail!

Typical fireplace in the bunks at the cabins along the Kungsleden.

Typical fireplace in the bunks at the cabins along the Kungsleden.

 

Compiled useful links:

These wooden planks are the easiest to walk on. Kungsleden, Sweden.

These wooden planks are the easiest to walk on.

Any other questions you have about the trail that I didn’t cover? Drop me a message in the comments below!

 

Kungsleden information

 

Kungsleden information

50 Comments

  1. Hi there, thanks for all the info. Planning to complete the whole trail this summer, but was wondering if you think its necessary to get the TBE vaccine? Also, as you went alone, did you use personal locator beacons, or is it unlikely to get into difficulty making them unnecessary?

    1. Hi Joshua, thanks for visiting and glad the info is useful. Unfortunately I’m not sure about TBE vaccine as I did not get the vaccine. I just went to read up a little and it seems that TBE affects the southern parts of Sweden more. I’d think that if it is just between Abisko and Nikkaluokta it might not be necessary, but you should definitely get an expert opinion on this.

      Regarding your second question, I think it is unlikely you will get lost if you’re hiking on the main trail between Abisko and Nikkaluokta. The trail, while not always well marked, is well trodden, so it is quite visible. Vegetation is short at this latitude so you can usually see the next cabin hours before reaching it, making it less likely that you will get lost. Something I can think of that might get you into a difficult situation/ off trail is poor weather or nightfall. There are emergency huts (usually around midway between cabins, unmanned but with firewood and a fireplace) along the way which I’d recommend using in case of bad weather or poor visibility, it is possible to stay the night there (with the appropriate sleeping bag). Getting lost in the dark shouldn’t be an issue as long as you ensure there is sufficient time before setting off to the next check point, as the spacing between cabins is comfortable. I nearly missed making it to the next cabin before nightfall twice due to poor estimation (or very good estimation depending on how you look at it haha). That said, a map would still be essential, and any additional equipment for personal safety, if not too inconvenient, is a good idea.

      Hope you’ll have an amazing time, and please let me know if you feel there’s other information I should add here!

  2. Absolutely great summary, thanks for sharing your thoughts. You actually saved me a huge headache mentioning that hiking event mid august, because I was planning hike in that timeframe.

    Which leads me to my question: do you know if prebooking the huts is neccessary if you go there early August? What happens exactly if the hut is full when you arrive.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Istvan, glad you enjoyed the article. I think the cabins should not be affected by the Fjallraven Clasic, as participants are not allowed to sleep in the cabins (http://classic.fjallraven.com/sweden/camping/). From what I’ve read, you’d not be turned away even if the huts are full but instead provided with a mattress to sleep on the floor in the cabin. However, if you wish to prebook for a peace of mind (and save some money), you can simply book accommodation for a set number of days on the Kungsleden, and these bookings can be used at any hut along the Kungsleden (between Abisko and Nikkaluokta) from a period 2 weeks before till 2 week after the selected start date (https://book.stfturist.se/en/to-do/a1137116/accommodation-in-a-mountain-cabin/showdetails). Let me know how it goes!

      Thanks!

  3. Excellent post!! We hiked the Kungsleden in 4 days this past summer and are writing a post on our blog all about how we did it. I included a link to this post of yours because we found it so helpful 🙂

    1. Thanks Brittany! Please send me a link to your article when it’s done 🙂

  4. Hi, very informative post. I was looking into more information on several websites and was just wondering, in terms of expenses other than equipment, food etc. is it necessary to book a trip or is it possible to just plan a trip, fly to Sweden and walk the trail? (sorry if this seems like a silly question)

    1. Hi Luca, yup that is absolutely possible. I did not book my accommodation on the Kungsleden beforehand, and no guides/ pre-arranged permits are required. Thanks for dropping by!

  5. We are hiking trail in late Aug.
    Do we need sleeping bag for huts or just liner?
    Are there blankets on bunks?

    1. Hi Wayne! I got through the huts with just liner, no need for sleeping bags. Blankets should be provided too. I remember feeling warm and comfortable in the bunks 🙂

  6. Hi Aaron – very informative thank you. I was planning on hiking the Abisko to Nikkaluokta from 16 – 20 Sept, however I did not anticipate hut closures before the end of Sept. As such I have now emailed the STK to get confirmation of hut opening and closing dates. Good shout!!
    Paul Morton

    1. Hi Paul, glad you found it useful. Please let me know how it goes! Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  7. Hi, I am a student from Germany who wants to complete the Kungsleden this summer. I have some decent hiking experience from hiking in the Himalayas. I plan to hike solo. But my major concern is that hiking the entire 440 kms will take more than 2 weeks and there is no way I can afford the ~50 USD per night at the huts. If I have my own camping equipment, do you think I can avoid the huts altogether? The cost of the huts is prohibitively expensive for me. I am seasoned in pitching my own camps. Please let me know your thoughts! Awesome article by the way!

    1. Hi Ritwik!

      Yup I agree that the huts don’t come cheap! From my experience it is possible to skip the huts altogether as you can camp along the trail (there were hikers doing). There’s a really cool law in Sweden protecting the right to camp (https://visitsweden.com/about-the-right-of-public-access/)! At some parts of the Kungsleden, especially at higher elevations (eg Tjaktja, Tarfala), it might not be a good idea to camp as the conditions can be harsh.

      Glad that you enjoyed the article and have fun on the hike!

      Aaron

  8. Hey Aaron,

    I just discovered this trail today when looking for a new long trail to hike in Europe. Fantastic summary by the way and I do have two questions that would be wonderful if you know the answers to.

    1. Do you know if dogs are allowed on the trail?

    2. And, are there places to hang hammocks throughout the trail?

    Those are pretty much my only requirements for picking a new trail to hike, hoping the answer is yes to both!

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Taylor,

      Thanks for reading, I’m happy that you’ve discovered this amazing trail! Regarding your questions:

      1. Yes, dogs are allowed on the trail and cabins have separate rooms for hikers/runners with pets. From STF’s facilities page it seems that pets are allowed on most if not all of the cabins on the trail https://www.swedishtouristassociation.com/discover/?facilities. I came across hikers and runners with their dogs on the trail, though it was not common.

      2. I’m not too sure about that though, as the most of the trail from Nikkaluokta to Abisko is quite barren (except the part near Abisko).

      Hope this answers your questions!

      Aaron

  9. Hi,
    Thanks very much for the summary and advice. I am interested in doing the hike at a leisurely pace, 1 hut a day, this July with my 12 year old daughter. I was thinking about joining an organized tour, but they are all giving a minimum age of 16. I am not sure this is because of the social nature of the tours (oriented towards adults only), or if it is too physically demanding for a 12 year old. I like the idea of the trail because it does not seem too difficult, we can skip carrying a heavy tent, and know that we are guaranteed a space in a hut any night. It really seems that we could just fly/train in and pretty start right in. Is this reasonable to do with my daughter?
    Thanks
    Ken

    1. Hi Ken,

      Thank you very much for your kind words. I do not remember seeing many children (at least 1 from memory) on the Kungsleden but I think if your daughter has done some hiking before the trail may be manageable. As you’ve mentioned, the trail is generally comfortable (except for some rocky sections and the occasional short uphill stretches) and you can do without carrying a heavy load. However the northern section of the Kungsleden it is still approximately 110km/70miles over a week, so the fatigue may accumulate. That may be something to consider. If you’ve more time on your hands taking extra nights at a hut you like might be a good idea too, to recharge and to enjoy nature!

      Hope you’ll have a great time!

      Aaron

  10. Great information. We’re wondering if it’s possible to hike any part of the trail in March? We’ll be in the northern part of Sweden from March 22-March 27th and we’d love to do some of the Kungsleden.

    1. Hi Molly,

      I think there would still be much snow on the trails in March and might not be a good time to hike. I’m not entirely sure if there are parts that are ok to hike during that time so you might need to check with someone on the ground there. From what I understand weather conditions vary wildly from year to year too. (E.g. in 2015 the snow didn’t clear at Tjaktja for the entire year). Looking at weather trends, seems that the average temperature stays below freezing till May and the snow stays till June. It might be possible to walk around Abisko.

      More details on past weather trends:
      https://www.yr.no/place/Sweden/Norrbotten/Nikkaluokta/statistics.html
      https://www.yr.no/place/Sweden/Norrbotten/Abisko_Nationalpark/statistics.html

      Btw the projects on your site are really cool! Have a good time in northern Sweden 🙂

      Aaron

  11. Hi Aaron. Thanks for your information, very useful. I’ve got some question if you allow me:
    1) How was the weather? what was the temperature?
    2) Is easy to lost the track? How is it marked?

    1. Hi Jorge,
      Thank you for visiting. Regarding your questions:
      1) When I visited in September 2016 the temperatures along the trail was about 0-10 degrees, with a little rain on some days, nice sunny days on others, and strong winds near Kebnekaise area. There was no snow along the main trail during that period but it got very foggy around Tjaktja pass.
      2) There were not many signage along the trail then, but it is quite easy to identify the main trail, either from the wooden boardwalks, the red paint marks on rocks, or a much more clearly trodden path. The closest I got to losing the trail was at Tjaktja during the fog, where visibility was probably less than 10m and I could barely find the red paint marks on rocks. As most of the main trail between Nikkaluokta and Abisko is in a wide open valley with low vegetation it is not so easy to get lost.
      Cheers!
      Aaron

  12. Hi Aaron,

    Thanks for the information, those are definitely very useful! I am going to hike the pass this July, I’ve just bought the airplane tickets. What do you think is it recommended to buy the bus tickets in advance (online)? May it happen that I will be left in Kiruna without it?

    Thanks for your reply in advance! I hope you all the best!
    Tünde

    1. Hi Tünde,

      Glad you’re going to do this hike! I think if you’ve got the dates confirmed it might be a better idea to buy bus tickets in advance as there is a discount for purchasing online (in addition to securing your seat). I’m not sure if there is a chance you’ll be left in Kiruna without buying tickets in advance. During my trip in September 2016 the bus was quite empty, and it was not possible to buy tickets in advance then. Enjoy the hike and thanks for visiting!

      Regards,
      Aaron

  13. hi Aaron, Thanks for an excellent post. I am hiking from Abisko to Kvikkjokk this July and I have given myself 9 days to do it (roughly 13 miles a day). I was planning on staying on Kungsleden throughout but you have mentioned a detours to Tarfla, Nallo, Vistas, and Unna Allakas.

    May I ask
    1) If I can add one or two of these detours without adding significant mileage as I need to be in Kvikjokk by end of day 9
    2) Which detour would you recommend based on scenery/distance added
    Thanks

    1. Hi Arun, thank you for visiting. I’d only be able to accurately comment on Tarfala as it is the only one I’ve visited out of those options. Tarfala is possible as a day trip (although I stayed for 2 nights) from Kebnekaise Mountain Station (10 miles round trip). While I was at Tarfala there were a couple of people each day who arrive from Kebnekaise Mountain Station around midday, have a break then head back to Kebnekaise Mountain Station. I may be a little biased in saying that there’s nothing quite like Tarfala.
      The next most popular option seemed to be Unna Allakas, which you can do as a detour between Alesjaure and Abiskojaure huts. This would allow you to visit Unna Allakas without adding too much mileage (10 more miles).
      For Nallo and Vistas, there is a possibility to skip Tjaktja altogether and connect between Salka and Alesjaure via Nallo and Vistas, which was one of the options I had considered. This would add just 7 miles compared to the main trail.
      There are other trails that add more options to these huts (eg Tarfala to Salka/ Vistas, Nallo to Tjaktja, etc) but these trails may be more difficult and less safe.
      Based on my limited knowledge, for a balance between scenery and mileage I’d recommend in this order 1) Tarfala 2) Nallo + Vistas 3) Unna Allakas.
      If you happen to do any of these detours please let me know how it goes so that I may share this information to other people who may be interested here! Thanks again 🙂

  14. Fantastic information, thanks. As Grand Poohbah of the Arctic Brotherhood (www.arcticbrotherhood.org), I am researching ideas a trip above the Arctic Circle. Since 2005 we’ve done 17 adventures from Alaska to Patagonia and everywhere in between. Our group of guys are fit but are aging and we are looking to a final big, physical trip before we start scaling it back. The notion of going above the arctic circle is a big goal. However, we still want to see spectacular backcountry. Your information here was outstanding and this may be the place that delivers both.

    1. Wow I do hope to be able to get on as many adventures as you guys some day! Thank you very much for your kind words. I think the main trail is manageable physically but there are some detours that can offer a good challenge and great views. Hope you’ll have an amazing time exploring the area!

  15. Hi! I had a great time reading your journey! Thank you for sharing your experience!
    I am very interested in hiking the Kungsleden this year (since I will be in Sweden for work), more particularly from Hemavan to Ammarnäs, though I have a question : do you think it’s possible to hike during May (from about 16th of may)? Will the huts be open? How about the weather?
    Do you know where I can find these information?

    Thank you for your answer, and again, thank you for this post!!

    1. Hi François! Welcome and thanks for reading 🙂

      For 2018, it appears that the huts between Hemavan and Ammarnäs will be open from 21 June to 30 September, while Hemavan Mountain Station should be open all year round. More detailed information on the huts between Hemavan and Ammarnäs can be found at https://www.swedishtouristassociation.com/learn/our-accommodation-types/stay-stf-mountain-cabin/ under KUNGSLEDEN VINDELFJÄLLEN, and information Hemavan Mountain Station can be found at https://www.swedishtouristassociation.com/facilities/stf-hemavan-mountain-station/.

      Weather may still be cold, around 5 degrees Celcius on average in May according to https://www.yr.no/place/Sweden/V%C3%A4sterbotten/Hemavan/statistics.html and https://www.yr.no/place/Sweden/V%C3%A4sterbotten/Ammarn%C3%A4s/statistics.html.

      It might be a better idea to schedule your hike later in the year, nonetheless hope you’ll have a great time. Cheers!

  16. Aaron, This is such helpful information, especially the updates for 2018. We are in the U.S planning a holiday to hike and would like to hire a guide. Do you have any local referrals/recommendations? Thank you! Sabrena

    1. Hi Sabrena, glad you found this useful! Unfortunately I do not have any local contacts or recommendations. I’ve found some companies offering tours but I won’t be able to comment about their services. Here they are:

  17. Aaron

    Thanks for a wonderfully helpful site! I have been thinking of this trip for some years having done a lot of hut to hut in Norway – but always thought it too hard due to one long day at the start and having to carry food! I now see how wrong I was so hope to walk is this summer if I can. I had also found the walking companies who organised it too expensive and inclined to have rules ( maximum age and having to go in pairs!)

    1. Hi Colin, glad you enjoyed the writeup, and hope you’ll have an amazing time on the trail!

  18. Hi Aaron,

    I am thinking about hiking The Kungsleden from mid-July to early August.. I would like to ask you, in case if you remember, what was the level of waterproofing ( in mm) and breathability (in mm) of your jacket. Do you think rainfall is a serious problem and it is advisable to invest in a good waterproof jacket?

    Thanks for all the precious information in your website!

    1. Hi Pedro, to be honest I was not well prepared for the rain when I did the hike and the jacket I brought did not have good waterproofing. I got quite soaked on the day I attempted to cross the glaciers at Tarfala (due to rain) but did not encounter much rain on the other days. However as there are drying rooms available in most cabins I was able to get most of my gear dry before starting to hike the following day. From what I gather there is likely to be more rain during mid-July to early August but nowhere near the rainfall of the tropics (even in the month of the highest rainfall in Nikkaluokta the average rainfall is still less than the month with the lowest average rainfall here in Singapore). A good waterproof jacket can add more comfort on those days (assuming it is not too heavy to pack) and keep you from falling sick, but I’d say having a basic waterproof jacket should be sufficient for this hike 🙂

  19. Hi Aaron,
    What are the temperatures like during summer months?
    Thank you,
    Jenny S

    1. Hi Jenny,
      The temperatures in summer should be around 5 to 15 degrees Celcius (41 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit), a little warmer towards the south (Nikkaluokta).

      Aaron

  20. Hi Aaron

    Thanks for sharing your experiences and all that info so helpfull thanks again.. I plan to hike from Abisko to Nikkaluokta in early July. My question is.
    Are boots needed and neccessary? or can i hike with trailrunners with out problems?
    Thanks.

    Gøkhan

    1. Hi Gøkhan,
      Boots are not absolutely necessary, I came across a few people who did the Kungsleden using trail runners, they seemed to be doing fine. The trail is quite rocky and slippery at some parts so just need to take more care! If you’re keeping to the main trail you should be fine. Have a good hike 🙂

      Aaron

  21. Hi, thanks so much for writing this blog, its been really useful! I’m going to take your advice and go to Tarfala.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, and hope you’ll have a great time!

  22. Hi, I will be hiking the trail with my 12 year old daughter in the next couple of weeks. I will be finishing at Nikkaluokta. The last boat trip we can make across lake Ladtjojaure is at 215pm, since we have to be on the 450pm bus trip back to Kiruna. How long do you think we need to hike that last leg to the lake by 2pm? I want to make sure we leave early enough in the morning from the Kebnekaise mountain station.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Ken,
      I’m not too familiar with the boat and did a quick lookup, it’s 19km between Nikkaluokta and Kebnekaise, approximately 5km between Nikkaluokta and Ladtjojaure and 6km across the lake, so I suppose it is about 8km from Kebnekaise to Ladtjojaure. At a really comfortable pace of 2km/hr that should be about 4 hours. I think you should be able to complete it in less time than that as it is a gradual downhill/ flat. But I am not 100% certain that it is 8km from Kebnekaise to the lake though, you may want to check with the company doing the boat trips at [email protected]. Alternatively at Kebnekaise the staff there should definitely be able to provide information on that. If you find out more information about the boat trip please let me know. Thank you!
      Extra resources:
      http://nikkaluokta.com/en/about-us/faq
      http://www.enoks.se/en/boat-departures/

      Regards,
      Aaron

  23. How many hours of walking each day if need to complete in 4 days.
    25k??

    1. Hi Ranbir,
      If you need to complete the trail in 4 days, a possible split could be (assuming a walking speed of 2-3km per hour):

      • Nikkaluokta to Kebnekaise – 19km (7 – 9 hours) – Easy.
      • Kebnekaise to Singi, Singi to Salka – 12km + 14km (8.5 – 13 hours) – Easy.
      • Salka to Tjaktja, Tjaktja to Alesjaure – 13km + 13km (8.5 – 13 hours) – Uphill to Tjaktja, rocky ground around the Tjaktja Pass could be slower to traverse on, likely to be on higher end of time range
      • Alesjaure to Abiskojaure, Abiskojaure to Abisko – 21km + 14km (12 – 17 hours) – Downhill to Abiskojaure, flat to Abisko. I completed this in one day, leaving early in the morning and arriving just before it got very dark (did it in September, will have more daylight hours in summer).

      The last 2 days are likely to be the more tiring one, 3rd because of the uphill and 4th because of the distance. If you’re very fit you’ll probably be able to complete the distances in less hours than described. Also possible in reverse.

      Have a good hike!

      Aaron

  24. Dear Aaron,

    Thanks a lot for your insights. With a friend I am planning to hike the Abisko Nikkaluokta trail mid September. We were wondering if there are other options to reach Kiruna from Nikkaluokta then the bus? are taxis available? would you know the costs approximately? We will walk the Kebnakaise to Nikkaluokta part of the trail on the Friday and we have to be in Kiruna that same evening (otherwise we miss our flight on Saturday in kiruna in the morning). I am afraid we will miss the last bus at 4.50pm.
    Thank you for your help!

    1. Hi Camille,

      I’m not 100% certain, but I think you can call for a Kiruna taxi when you arrive at Nikkaluokta (or when you get cellphone reception), though it is likely to expensive. From the Kiruna Taxi page (http://taxikiruna.se/priser/), there isn’t a given price for Nikkaluokta to Kiruna (70.3km), and the longest trip with a listed price is Kiruna to the Icehotel (18.7km) at 495 SEK (48 EUR/ 56 USD), so I guess the price for Nikkaluokta, if available, will be significantly more than that. You can confirm the prices with them at [email protected] or 0980-12020.

      From this forum (https://www.utsidan.se/forum/showthread.php?t=86102) it is suggested that the Airport to Nikkaluokta by taxi is 1300 SEK (125 EUR/ 146 USD) so I suppose the reverse might be similar.

      I think if you leave early from Kebnekaise perhaps at 7am or earlier you should have more than enough time to arrive at Nikkaluokta before the last bus.

      If you happen to find out more about the taxi/ prices please let me know so that I can share the knowledge. Thank you!

      Have a good hike 🙂

      Aaron

  25. This is a very useful site, thank you so much

    1. Welcome! 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>
*
*