Overview: Trails and National Parks

An overview of northern Scandinavia can be found in a separate window. You should compare it with this description

The biggest cities in this map are Kiruna and Narvik. They are connected by a railroad and the E10 street. About halfway between both cities is Abisko Östra, a small village, and 4 more km west of it, the Abisko Touriststation.

The most famous hiking trail in Sweden is Kungsleden (Royal Trail), which leads from Abisko in southern direction for 420 km to Hemavan.

The most popular part of this trail is the northern section between Abisko and Kebnekaise Fjällstation (79 km). From Kebnekaise a trail leads to Nikkaluokta with a bus station, where you can go to Kiruna. This is possibly the most beautiful part of Kungsleden, because it has very impressive alpine landscapes.

For a longer tour, you can hike south on Kungsleden to Vakkotavare cabin. From Vakkotavare you have to take the regular bus to Kebnats, where you can to change to a boat for Saltoluokta Fjällstation. A highlight on the Saltoluokta - Kvikkjokk section is the Skierfe mountain view a beautiful view on Rapa valley. All of Kungsleden between Abisko and Kebnekaise is marked very well, and there are cabins in short distances of 11 to 22 km.

From Kvikkjokk, you can proceed further to the south for 250 more kilometres. This part is not so frequented as the northern part, and there are fewer cabins available. The southernmost part between Ammarnäs and Hemavan, however, has cabins in short distances.

There are many side trails, some of them more difficult. If you have less hiking experience, it will surely be easier, if you stay on the well known and marked trail.

The Padjelantaleden öleads from Kvikkjokk in northwestern direction to Staloluokta and then to Vaisaluokta or Änonjalme (appr. 140 km), and from there a boat connects with Ritsem. This trail is very beautiful and leads to many different landscapes, from forests in river valleys to alpine highlands. It is marked very well, and there are cabins in short distances. From Staloluokta, a trail leads to Sulitjelma in Norway.

The Nordkalottleden with a length of 800 km leads through the north and changes between the three countries Norway, Sweden and Finland. Its different section have very different trail conditions. There are some sections without cabins, so you will need a tent there.

Three National Parks, Padjelanta, Sarek and Stora Sjöfallet Park, fill the area between Staloluokta and Ritsem in the west and Saltoluokta and Kvikkjokk in the east. No other country in Europe has protected areas of that size. "Laponia" is listed in the World Heritage List of UNESCO.

Along the trails, there are smaller cabins (stugor) in distances of 10 to 25 km and bigger ones (Fjällstations) in youth hostel syle at the end of the trails. Most of them are owned by the STF, the Swedish Tourist Association. Provision sales are available in all bigger cabins and many smaller ones. Of course, you can do any tour with a tent and without staying in cabins.

Usually hikers use the "Fjällkartan" maps in 1:100000 scale. Bigger regions are covered by the BD series, like the BD10 Sarek map, smaller ones have numbers and a letter, like 28I , the map of Abisko. You can get them everywhere in cabins and tourist informations as well as stores. You probably can order them in your local bookstore at home. To understand the maps better, you should know a few words of the native language. To mention the most important endings: a -ätno is a river, a -jaure is a lake, a -jåkkå a rapidly flowing stream. A -jekna is a glacier, and a broad valley formed by an the ice age glacier is a -vagge.