Nikkaluokta - STF Ritsem

The walk from the village of Nikkaluokta to the STF Ritsem mountain cabin is a route for people who prefer to leave the popular haunts behind and want to experience the mountains by the border with Norway. The eastern and western sections are completely different: you have the lush valley of Ladtjovagge to the east, via the ‘high-alpine’ Kebnekaise to the more rounded mountains furthest away to the west.

You start your walk in the village of Nikkaluokta where there is a restaurant and a little shop. On the first day, you will mostly walk in birch forest where the path is rough and there are often boarded walkways. STF Kebnekaise Mountain Station will be your first trail end. Here we have a restaurant, shop and other services for walkers. There are also guided tours to Kebnekaise’s southern summit every day (weather permitting).

On your walk between the mountain station and the STF Singi mountain cabins, you walk through the narrow and sometimes dramatic part of Laddjuvagge. When you turn off to the north at STF Singi on a section of the Kungsleden trail, the landscape becomes more open and your walk continues through undulating high moorland. Soon the trail runs westwards towards the Hukejaure mountain cabin on canyon-like terrain.

Up to this point you have been following the Kungsleden trail. But halfway to the Sälka mountain cabins you turn off westwards towards Norway on to the Nordkalottenleden trail at Čuhčavaggi. When you have left the Sälka massif behind you, the landscape becomes flatter, drier and more species-poor.

There is an STF cabin next to Lake Hukejaure, which is known for its excellent fishing. There are undulating plains, other lakes and an abundance of wetlands all around. This is also the type of terrain that sets the tone when the walk continues towards the mountain cabins by Lake Sitasjaure.

At Sitasjaure there is a Sámi settlement, the village of Baste Cearru (formerly Mellanbyn). The walk towards Ritsem is a mountain walk, parallel to a gated private road to Ritsem. The road does not get much vehicle traffic, but sometimes you can catch a lift if you want to avoid walking the last stretch.

Ritsem has both STF’s facility and the Sámi herding district Unna Tjerusj. As the entire route runs through a reindeer herding area, walkers are asked to treat it with respect and consideration.

DIRECTIONS

Take the bus from Kiruna to Nikkaluokta.
Take the bus to Gällivare from Ritsem.