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 trough wilderness in Europe, in Northern Sweden.
This hike will take you through three different National Parks which are the first national parks that got established in Europe back in 1909, so you got some complete wilderness to explore that hasn’t changed in a century.
These parks are, from north to south, Abisko National Park, Stora Sjofallets National Park, and Sarek National Park.
Most people do the trek from North to South, and so did I. Starting at Abisko Tourist station.
If you do decide to visit Abisko outside the hiking, the season so is Abisko a great place to discover the Northern Light.
Planning to hike the famous “Trolltunga” Hike in Norway? Click here to read a great guide from Grace over at Fashionedible.com
This was the second time I tried to do the trek this year.
I arrived for the first time in Abisko at the beginning of June but had to give up after a few days because of a crazy amount of snow this year.
So I had postponed my plans and headed back home for not more than five weeks before it was possible to do the whole trek.
So on the 19th of July, did I take the train back to Abisko to continue my mission to do this hike.
The trek can be done in different stages, where you can walk off the Kungsleden trail to join other paths for another trek, make a side trip to Kebnekaise, the highest mountain in Sweden. After you have reached the summit, you can choose to continue on the hike or stop here and walk off to a bus stop and head home.
BTW. You will see on some photos that I used a cheap REI tent on this trip; the reason is, it was a Rodent year in the mountains in Sweden this year. There were lemmings everywhere, and I met quite a few hikers that got their expensive Hilleberg, Mountain Hardware and The North Face tents bitten by lemmings.
The starting point of the Kungsleden trail.
Day 1. Abisko – Abiskojaure. 14km. 3.5hours. 380 – 490Meters above sea level
The first day of the trek is the most relaxed day on the whole hike. It starts no more than 300m from the train station/tourist station and is very easy with only a few small hills.
There is a nice campsite set up after about 6km with outdoor toilets and wind shelter and a river passing by so if you want to have a straightforward start on the hike, then this is the perfect place to take it easy.
Not too much to write about the first day on the hike, most of the time you walk on the light forest before reaching a the Abiskojaure lake and the forest opens up a bit. The only hazard on the hike the first day was some flooded and some pretty muddy parts. Except for that, this day is a walk in the park.
After about 14km you reach the STF Hut (Swedish Tourist Organization), the hut is on the other side of a suspensions bride and offers: sauna, campfire, and kitchen, but it’s not free! Camping is 100SEK, and staying inside the hut is 400SEK.
You have to camp outside the Huts area if you want to camp for free, you can still use their toilets and get rid of your garbage if you decide not to pay.
Day 2. Abiskojaure – Alesjaure 20km 6-8hours. 490 – 780 Meters above sea level
This is probably the hardest day on the whole trek, it’s not only one of the longest days, but they’re a lot of deep muddy sections, flooded rivers and slippery stones on the way.
I also had nasty weather this day, with heavy wind and rain during the whole day.
While the two first km is very easy and mostly flat the next 3/4km not that much.
The hills are not too steep, but since there are no trees around, you will be very exposed to the wind, and for a while, you are just going to walk on the stones.
Luckily they have built a small wind shelter hut (with outdoor toilet) at about 15km.
This is also one of the first places where it is possible to pitch a tent, and I decided to do so because of the awful weather I had that day.
Day 3 Camping (Alesjaure) – Camping (Tjatka) 15.8km 6hours 780 – 1000 Meters above sea level
While day two was awful with rain and heavy wind, day 3 was beautiful, sunny and no wind at all, the perfect day for hiking.
The most significant hazard on day two is that you have to cross a few flooded rivers with knee-deep water where the bridges had been washed away plus some bottomless and annoying mud.
As you can see on the right side of the picture, some wooden planks were placed to walk over the wettest parts, unfortunate, the maintenance of this “roads” get worse after the two first days of hiking. In some sections, you will find that the walkway has fallen apart so you will get wet, very wet.
Most people stop at Alesjaure Hut, on day two and continue towards Tjatka on day 3, but since I decided to stop 5km earlier on day two, I had to catch up the lost time on day three and walk the extra distance to Tjatka.
The hike from Alesjaure to Tjatka is pretty straightforward, two knee-deep river crossings, by far the most significant hazard on day 3 is the endless amount of mosquitoes, I have never encountered this amount of mosquitoes anywhere else around the world.
I got 68 bites on my right leg in less than 10 minutes of resting!!!
It´s not much to say about day 3; it’s a straightforward day, can’t go wrong, I decided to camp about 1KM before Tjatka Hut,
Tjatka Hut is the highest elevated hut on the hike, and it lays just before the highest point, on the whole, trek, the Tjatka pass.
The place might look beautiful and relaxing, but there were a BILLION mosquitoes here, it was impossible to sit down and relax outside the tent, even with long hiking trousers, jacket, and mosquito spray, it was just unbearable.