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Kungsleden or better known as The King´s Trail is one of the best hikes in Europe.
It’s a 440km (270mile) hike through some of the last wilderness in Northern Sweden.
This is the second part of my trip from the Kungsleden trail; you can read the first part – hiking the Northern Section of Kungsleden trail here.
The Northern section of trail is pretty touristy with hikers, runners and even families with their kids and dogs. The central part is extremely quiet. If you are lucky, you 5-10 hikers on a good day, compared to the 50+ hikers a day at the northern section. You will still find STF huts on the way which are smaller and basic than the ones in the northern part.
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The Central Section of Kungsleden starts from Saltolukta and ends at Kvikkjokk. The distance between the two points is 74km (46 miles), and it normally takes four days (I did it in 3 days). You will only pass one STF huts a day on this section if you do the trek in 4days.
Day 1. Saltolukta Hut – Sitojaure Hut – Wind shelter 21Km. 6 Hours.
Saltolukta is a huge hut with three sections. It is similar to the Abisko hut at the beginning of section one where you can buy all kinds of equipment for your hike from clothes, backpack etc. It´s also the only hut in the second section where you get good food, so don’t forget to stock up.
The first day of the second part of the hike is not really hard. But it’s really long with all the upwards done in the first part of the trek.
After 12 km you will find a small wind shelter with an outdoor toilet.
Next shelter Sitojaure is after an easy 9 km hike.
N.B – There are very few places suitable for the tent during the last 2 Km before reaching Sitojaure.
Sitojaure is located next to the lake that you will have to cross. You can either take the small rowing boat across (free), or the hut warden at Sitojaure will drive you across for 250 SEK.
I highly recommend you to use the rowing boat to cross the lake and stay the night on the southern side.
There´s another wind shelter on the other side, and it has much better camping places. It´s a good idea to cross the lake and stay on the opposite side for the night.
Day 2 Wind shelter – Aktse Hut – Wind shelter 26KM. 10 Hours.
This hike is normally done in 2 days and not in 1 day as I decided to do. The reason?
The weather forecast predicted that the weather would be awful the day after.
NB. Remember to fill up with water early on the day today.
There´s nowhere to refill your water bottle after the first hour of walking till you reach the Aktse Hut.
If you spend your night camping on the southern side on the lake, then you will have about the one-hour easy walk before you start a one-hour steep climb to a big open “Plateau* where I came across tonnes of semi-wild raindeers roaming around freely.
The plateau takes about 30min to cross, but there is a steep and rocky descent for around 40mins. Once again, I came across a lot of reindeer.
You will come across a small interjection after 40min, which will reward you with a great view. If you continue towards Sarek National Park, you need to head towards the right. The first part is EXTREMELY muddy.
If you are continuing the Kungsleden trail, then continue straight ahead. It’s a VERY VERY steep downhill to the Aktse hut for the next 30min. If you are heading into the wild Sarek National Park, and you are already stocked up on all your supplies, then avoid going to the Aktse Hut. Do not head down. IT´s a nightmare to walk up again.
But if you are continuing the Kungsleden trail south, or just need to head down to Aktse. The view is amazing from the campsites. You will also find a well made cold shower from clean river water.
About 10min to the south of Aktse will you have to cross a big lake. Once again, you will have two options, a rowboat for free, or pay the hut warden to drive you across.
There´s at least two crossings done by the warden in a day, one in the morning at 9 am and the one I did at 6 pm. The price was 250SEK.
This is the biggest lake you will have to cross during the Kungsleden trail, and you should only do it by rowing boat if YOU ARE VERY FIT. The warden had to “save” a rowing boat while I was crossing. 4 people had gotten too exhausted to row across, and where helplessly drifting around the lake.
There´s a good wind shelter to rest if you are walking from South to North. You can also call it a day when going from North to South.
If you are going from south to north and you need the warden at Aktse to pick you up and shuttle you across, raise the flag at the flagpole at the pier. The warden at Aktse checks it often with binoculars.
From the wind shelter at the pier to the next wind shelter, there is 3-4 hours walk. You start off for about 2 hours, mostly flat and easy, where you will pass a few great campsites. One is next to a river where I walk past some hikers that had camped there for three days because of the great fishing.
While the two first hours are flat, the two last ones not. It´s just up, up and more up. When you finally reach the top, there is a wind shelter about 20min into the forest. There are great camping spots around the wind shelter as well.
You will also find a good stream/river for drinking water. The wind shelter here is the biggest one on the whole Kungslden trail. Because of the heavy rain at night, six of us decided to stay inside.
Day 3 Wind Shelter – Porte Hut – Kvikkjokk 34 KM. 13 Hours.
Another long day. Most people finish this hike in two days instead of one. The weather was still awful, and most of the hike is through the dense forest, but two other hikers and I went ahead and walked all the way to KvikkJokk. It was a long day; we started at 9 am and arrived at 10 pm.
I also took very few photos this day, because of the weather and most of the hike is only through dense forest.
When you leave the wind shelter will you walk through a small forest before you reach a flat but very rocky part. After about an hour will you start descending down and walk the rest of the day mostly through dense forest.
The Porte Hut is five hours from the wind shelter. The Porte Hut is a great little hut located right next to the lake. You can enjoy a nice swim out there. But what´s not great is the insane amount of mosquitos.
This area was the single most infected mosquito place I have been in my whole life.
But if your lucky and do not get infected by the mosquitos, then Porte is a great place to stay. From Porte, there’s another 6-7 hours hike down to Kvikkjok. This is also the last stop on the central part of the Kungsleden trail.
The part from Porte Hut to Kvikkjokk is not much to say about, more or less completely flat with only two small hills and the last one and a half hour downhill. There are tonnes of great camping spots on the last part. It would have been great to camp on the way, but with only a few hours left to Kvikkjokk, we decided to go all the way to Kvikkjokk.
Kvikkjokk is more like a small hotel than a hut. It has hot showers, a restaurant etc.
From KvikkJokk you have two options. Either to take one of the two daily buses to the town of Jokkmokk and finish the hike or continue south and do the southern part of Kungsleden.
There are also numerous other hikes starting from Kvikkjokk, most of them are remote hikes with no STF huts or wind shelters.
Day 4 Kvikkjok – Jokkmok, Bus.
There are at least two buses a day from Kvikkjokk to Jokkmok, one at 9 am and one at 3.45 pm. The trip takes around 2 hours.
Both buses will take another 2 hours to Murjek Railway station where you can catch one of the trains heading back north towards Abisko or one of the many trains that head south towards Stockholm.
Jokkmok is decent size town and not a bad place to spend a day; there are two big supermarkets here, a liquor store, a few pizza restaurants, bars and even an International Youth Hostel here to spend the night.
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Additional Information about the Kungsleden Trail.Cen
How’s the Central Section compared to the Northern Section?
The Northern Section is a lot more developed and A LOT more touristy than the central part of Kungsleden, but the Central Section is more scenic. Especially the two first days.
Is the Central Section hard?
No. The central section is not hard at all. There is one STF hut a day on this part, and there are also emergency wind shelters here to hide in if the weather gets bad.
I have no experience hiking, can I still do the central Section?
Yes. The path is very well marked. And there´s no need for a map. I would give the hike a 3/10 when it comes to make difficulty.
Can I get food on the way?
Yes the STF hut´s sells supplies, but just very basic ones. Like canned food, chocolate, coca-cola. Don’t expect much. During High Season the Hut´s Supplies can be very low and even empty.
Can I recharge my mobile or camera on the way?
NO. There´s NOWHERE to recharge your stuff between Saltolukta and Kvikkjokk.
What Should I Pack?
Read this post for an essential packing guide for the Kungsleden trail.