Abisko mountains looking lush in fog

Signature Trail Kungsleden Abisko

In the early 20th century, the Swedish Tourist Association created Kungsleden, a continuous hiking trail that runs through the mountains of Swedish Lapland. The intention was for the trail to pass through the most beautiful places the Swedish mountains had to offer, which is why it was given its name – the king of all trails. The now world-famous hiking trail is visited by hikers from near and far. Here we describe the northern section of Kungsleden, from Abisko to Nikkaluokta.

Signature Trail Kungsleden Abisko is one of STF’s 12 signature trails.

SIGNATURE TRAIL KUNGSLEDEN ABISKO IN BRIEF

DISCOVER NORTHERN KUNGSLEDEN

The very first day offers magnificent views as the hike starts in Abisko National Park. Initially, the trail is surrounded by dense mountain birch forest. The green-shimmering, fast-flowing water in Abiskojåkka can be heard and seen on the right, and off to the left you can catch a glimpse of one of the most famous silhouettes in the Swedish mountains, Lapporten. The further you hike, the more barren the surroundings become. Many kilometres of hiking on beautiful expansive views and rolling moors bordered by high alpine mountains now await you.

Both mountain stations and mountain cabins have kitchens and small shops (not in Tjäktja and Singi), so plan what food to pack based on that. The mountain stations also have award-winning restaurants. All accommodation is directly on the trail. On the last two days of hiking, you leave Kungsleden in order to reach Nikkaluokta, from here there are buses to Kiruna.

See and do along the trail
In Alesjaure, it is possible to hike via the cabins Vistas and Nallo instead of following Kungsleden to Sälka.

Don’t miss
Stay an extra night at Kebnekaise Mountain Station in order to climb Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise. Guided tours leave every day, advanced booking is required.

Show off your Kungsleden!

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STAGES NORTHERN KUNGSLEDEN

Day 1: Abisko–Abiskojaure: 15 kilometres, 4–6 hours of hiking.
Stay here: STF Abiskojaure Mountain Cabin

You hike into Abisko National Park on the first day. Dense mountain birch forest surrounds the trail in the beginning, but the longer you hike, the more open the landscape becomes. After a couple of kilometres, you reach a high limestone rock with a beautiful view of Abiskojåkka. From here, the trail continues slightly uphill before levelling off. There is a sandy beach near the cabin that is a popular spot to take a refreshing dip. Water can be taken from streams along the trail. STF Mountain Cabin Abiskojaure has a mountain shop with the Large selection.

Day 2: Abiskojaure–Alesjaure: 21 kilometres, 6–8 hours of hiking.
Stay here: STF Alesjaure Mountain Cabin

Along this stage, you leave the mountain birch forest behind and hike up above the tree-line. After a steep ascent of Kieronbacken, the trail continues on moorland covered with grass and shrubs. You walk past a number of mountain lakes with green-shimmering water and your view is of high mountain peaks. If you want to cut the hike short by six kilometres, you can take the boat that goes over the lake Alesjaure. The cabins are on the south side of the lake. Water can be taken from streams along the trail. STF Mountain Cabin Alesjaure has a mountain shop with the Large selection.

Day 3: Alesjaure–Tjäktja: 13 kilometres, 4–5 hours of hiking.
Stay here: STF Tjäktja Mountain Cabin

The stage goes through a lush delta landscape where the wide river Alesätno meanders. The trail continues slightly uphill over moorland and meadows. The terrain is easy to hike until the final few kilometres, where the landscape becomes steep and rocky. Water can be taken from streams along the trail. STF Tjäktja Mountain Cabin has no shop so you need to bring food.

Day 4: Tjäktja–Sälka: 12 kilometres, 3–5 hours of hiking.
Stay here: STF Sälka Mountain Cabin

After four kilometres, you cross the highest point of Kungsleden, the Tjäktja Pass, 1150 metres above sea level. There is a picnic cabin here. You leave the rocky terrain behind you on your way down from the pass. The further down the majestic valley Tjäktjavagge you walk, the greener and more lush the landscape becomes. The valley is 30 kilometres long and is lined with majestic high mountains. Water can be taken from streams along the trail. STF Mountain Cabin Sälka has a mountain shop with the Large selection.

Day 5: Sälka–Singi: 12 kilometres, 3–4 hours of hiking.
Stay here: STF Singi Mountain Cabin

The hike continues through Tjäktjavagge. The valley becomes wider and the stage is easy to hike. High mountains, impressive steep slopes and large glaciers line your path over the lush alpine moors. A picnic shelter can be found by Kuoperjåkka. You pass many watercourses and wooden bridges. Just before Singi, the trail becomes more winding and rocky. The stage could be one of Sweden’s most beautiful, depending on who you ask of course! Water can be taken from streams along the trail. STF Singi Mountain Cabin has no shop so you need to bring food.

Day 6: Singi–Kebnekaise: 15 kilometres, 4–5 hours of hiking.
Stay here: STF Kebnekaise Mountain Station

In Singi, you leave Kungsleden on your way to Kebnekaise Mountain Station. The day starts uphill with a hike into the valley Laddjuvagge. The surrounding nature once again becomes dramatic, with tremendous precipitous drops surrounding the trail. The trail heads slightly downhill and the further down you come the more the landscape opens up. After a few kilometres of flat, you see the view of the mountain Tuolpagorni, which you will find hard to take your eyes off. The last kilometres are slightly downhill in rocky terrain. Water can be taken from streams along the trail. STF Kebnekaise Mountain Station has both a shop, self-catering facilities and a fully licensed restaurant.

Day 7: Kebnekaise–Nikkaluokta: 19 kilometres, 5–7 hours of hiking
Stay here: Nikkaluokta (Not STF accommodation, which means your membership discount does not apply and you cannot book via STF).

The stage takes you down into the mountain birch forest again. Partially rocky terrain. There are occasionally footbridges over areas that are wet or would otherwise be difficult to hike. In summer, you can take a boat over the lake Laddujavri, which shortens the hike by six kilometres. By the boat jetty there is a coffee hut and Lap Dånalds which serves reindeer burgers.

After the boat ride, you have five kilometres of hiking left to the village of Nikkaluokta, where there is a shop and restaurant. Water can be taken from streams along the trail.

Recharge or relax before or after your hike at STF Kiruna Hostel and STF Abisko Tourist Station.

TRANSPORT TO THE TRAIL

The train stops daily opposite Abisko Mountain Station. From Kiruna, you can also take a taxi, bus and transfers (Visit Abisko and Visit Kiruna). From Nikkaluokta, there are buses and taxis as alternatives for getting to Kiruna.

BLUE SIGNS SHOW YOU THE WAY AT THE START OF TRAILS AND AT CROSSINGS. WHEN A SUMMER TRAIL AND WINTER TRAIL MEET, FOLLOW THE RED TRAIL CROSSES. CAIRNS ALSO SHOW THE WAY.

"I will never forget the view over Tjäktavagge at sunrise."