The King’s Trail, Sweden

8 October 2015 | 0 comments

A remote trek way up in the Arctic Circle in early July 2015.  Went on a 10 day wander with my good friend Andi, and what a fine time we had.

IMG_6321The 18 hour journey north on the Arctic Circle train from Stockholm to Abisko was our first taste of things to come.  Hours and hours and 1330 km later, we reached latitude 68.3 deg. News was buzzing around the carriages that trekking was difficult with the unusually late snow melt, many passes were closed and bridges had not yet been put in.

Having heard stories of eye-watering food prices and with a determination to be self sufficient especially in dodgy conditions, along with our full camping gear, we carried food for 7 days.

So, a brief summary of our hike.  The trail is a well marked path, often with beautiful standing stones in miniature. Other than a couple of sami settlements used at reindeer round up time, there are only the Swedish tourist board huts every 15 or so km, with bunks, sometimes a small shop, cooking facilities and just occasionally a sauna.  Wood has to be chopped and water fetched from the stream in buckets. No electricity of course, it is the middle of nowhere.

IMG_6375We walked the most well known section of the trail, from Abisko to Nikkoluktau, some 120k, camping in the wild, as and where we found a good spot, sometimes staying next to a hut and using the facilites (especially the sauna).  We abandoned our original plan of taking some longer loops away from the main trail, it would have been impossible in the deep snow. As it was, about 40km of our trek was on snow, which, without snowshoes, was hard going at times.  The going was quite firm and trodden down, especially in the mornings, but when you did sink down through the crust, thigh deep, inevitably, it was hard work.  Most of the bridges we needed where in place, we just had one bracing knee deep river crossing where I was thankful of my crocs, or it would have been wet boots.  The main route was adventure enough, with very few other hikers (not least because it was so uncertain at the outset whether the route was passable) and spectacular icy lakes and rivers.


Remote Tarfala hut, nestled among the glaciers

We reached the ‘resort’  of Kebnekaise,(one hotel, but a very very nice one) in 7 days, giving us time for an extra hike , up to Tarfala and back.  This little lake, surrounded by glaciers cascading into it, with the most lovely mountain hut, was a real highlight of the trip. We bedded down in relative luxury after 8 nights of camping, we didn’t fancy camping on the snow, which we weren’t quite kitted out for, thinking July….  It would have been great to summit Kebnekaise, the highest mountain in Sweden, and really just a walk at 2160m, but the snow cover had turned it into a far more serious winter expedition requiring all the kit we hadn’t brought.   Tarfala more than compensated.









Submit a Comment

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