Kungsleden (the Royal Trail) is a 430-km-long walk from Abisko to Hemavan in northern Sweden, through Sápmi, the region inhabited by the Sámi people. The trail passes through the Laponia national parks, the largest wilderness area of Europe.
At Sälka, the trail passes Kebnekaise, the highest mountain in Sweden.
|Stage||Distance (km)||Stage Goal||Other|
|2||19||Alesjaure||Food, sauna, bath|
|8||14||Vakkotavare||Food, boat 60 kr (2011, member), bus|
|9||-||Saltoluokta||Food, sauna, WiFi, bus 47 km 55 kr (2011), boat 2 km 100 kr (2011)|
|11||9||Aktse||Food, boat 200 kr (2011)|
|12||20||Pårte||Bath, boat 200 kr (2011)|
|13||17||Kvikkjokk||Food, sauna, WiFi, bus|
|14||12||Tsielekjåhkåstugan||Boat 150 kr (2011)|
|18||18||Jäkkvik||Food, sauna, boat 300 kr (2011), boat (only rowing), bus|
|23||24||Ammarnäs||Food, sauna, bath, WiFi, bus|
|24||8||Aigertstugorna||Food, sauna, bath|
|26||14||Tärnasjöstugan||Food, sauna, bath|
Abiskojaure - Alesjaure
Boat option to Alesjaure, 240 kr (2011)
Tjäktja - Sälka
The pass somewhat before Sälka is the highest point of Kungsleden, at 1100 m. From Abisko to Sälka the trail coincides with Nordkalottleden, which then turns to the Norvegian Narvik fells and ends in Kvikkjokk farther on Kungsleden.
Vakkotavare - Saltoluokta
Saltoluokta, kayaks for rent.
Sitojaure - Aktse
Near Aktse is Skierffeklippan. Skierffeklippan is popular to climb.
Pårte - Kvikkjokk
Don't miss the classic camping ground Rosbacken in Kvikkjokk.
Gasaklahko - Vuonatjviken
On this stage the polar circle is passed.
Vuonatjviken - Jäkkvik
From Saudal Kungsleden has a rather new route. Be careful and follow the signs. In Jäkkvik it is possible to tent by Kyrkans Fjällgård.
Jäkkvik - Adolfström
Campsite Adofström, Adolfströms camping.
Adolfström - Barasjuhka
Boat option to Bäverholmen, 150 kr (2011). Restaurant in Bäverholmen, open 12:00-18:00.
Laddiebakttie - Rävfallsstugan
On this stage the border between Norrbotten and Västerbotten is passed. To stay in Rävfallsstugan one has to reserve and pick up a key in advance - cost 150 kr (2019). The cabin also has a sauna, for which you have to chop wood yourself.
Rävfallsstugan - Ammarnäs
Food Ammarnäs, Ammarnäs Livs. At the bus stop in Ammarnäs there is a free toilet and at the lawn behind the bus stop it is possible to camp for free. Guidecentrum close to the bus, Ammarnäs Wärdshus and Ammarnäsgården for eating. Ammarnäsgården also hosts Naturum, with tourist information and nature guides. Fjällvilt sells local reindeer and game products.
Ammarnäs - Aigertstugan - Servestugan
Possibility of skipping Aigert stretch by taking boat taxi over Tjulträsk with Thorbjörn (Ammarnäs Båt-Taxi), who also offers taxi between Ammarnäs and the lakeshore (about 8 km). Cash only. This leaves about 15-20 min walk inland to Servestugan. Servestugan doesn't have a sauna, but a good platform in the stream for washing. Camping on the Aigert stretch if one doesn't want to stay by the cabin is best done at Vuomatjåhkka in the narrow valley west of the shelter - the rest of the stretch is either without water nearby, exposed, or very rocky. Around Servestugan, one can walk a little further along the path westwards and camp in the stream delta.
Servestugan - Tärnasjöstugan
Good camping options by the lakes.
Tärnasjöstugan - Syterstugan
Boat option over Tärnasjö no longer operational (since 2017). Syterstugan takes card payments. Good tenting spots close to the cabins (pay small fee to use kitchen and facilities, as with all STF cabins). Eastern trail up to Sytertoppen accessible from here.
Syterstugan - Viterskalsstugan
Good tenting spots through all of Syterskalet, especially closer to the meeting with Viterskalet. Bridge over stream at the western mouth of Syterskalet now built for easier access to Sytertoppen from the west.
Viterskalsstugan - Hemavan
Gondola finished in 2019 (after closing of old lift) for transportation into valley if one doesn't want to walk down. 125 kr single journey for an adult (2019), running 10:00-17:00 in the summer. Several restaurants open at various times throughout the year. Bar at Hemavan Vandrarhem stocks craft beer. Hemavans Wärdshus open 18:00-21:00 weekdays and 18:00-22:00 weekends.
It is most common to start in Abisko (Abisko Turiststation). It is possible to reach Abisko with the night train from Stockholm. With airplane it is possible to reach Kiruna from Stockholm and continue with train or bus to Abisko.
For those not going to hike all the trail, there are bus connections to Vakkotavare (the bus to Ritsem), Saltoluokta (boat from Kebnats, which has bus from Gällivare via Porjus), Kvikkjokk, Jäkkvik and Ammarnäs. Nikkaluokta, near Kebnekaise, is also a popular starting point although not on Kungsleden by itself; the trail reaches Kungsleden by Singi (the next cabin after Sälka if coming from Abisko).
Helicopters are common in the Kungsleden area, some days it is possible to see more helicopters then people. Two operators are:
There are free digital maps available. Download them, as you will not have fast data (or even any mobile phone coverage) available at all places. And do not drop the device, have it drenched in rain or a river, have it stop working because of moisture, or have the batteries go flat. A paper map is recommended.
Price for a night in a hut is 360–420 kr/person (children 50 kr) for members, 460–520/150 kr for non-members (2017). Shared rooms, outhouse, cooking facilities. Own linen or sleeping bag. Household duties (such as firewood chopping and carrying water) are shared by the guests.
The cabins are closed off season, still with at least an unlocked emergency room and an emergency phone available.
It is possible to stay by the cottages with tent if one wants to use the facilities. The price is 100 kr (member) or 200–250 kr (non-member). Children 6–15 years half price. Day visit free/100 kr.
Allemansrätten allows you to legally camp in most places for free, except within 100 m of a house. At this trail the main exception is in certain protected areas, such as the Abisko national park. It is also inadvisable to stay close to main reindeer pastures if herds are nearby, since this disturbs a vital economic activity in the area.
There is some food at sale in many cottages on the trail, and at some Sámi camps. The assortment is not the best, so you should carry some of your food. Picking berries and mushroom (with the ordinary caveats) is allowed at most places along the trail.
Fishing by the trail is mostly allowed, but requires paying a fee to get a permit. Check details.
- Fjällfiske [dead link].
Plenty of water is available along the trail in most areas. Higher plateaus can be devoid of good sources especially in dry years, so it is worth checking with locals if conditions are drier than normal. It is fine to drink as long as the water is either moving (streams should be at least half a meter in width, as a thumb rule), or large/deep enough to not get stagnant. Special care should be taken in lemming years, since dead carcasses may contaminate the water.
- Berggren, Annika, Vandringsturer på Kungsleden: Abisko - Kvikkjokk, Vildmarksbiblioteket, Växjö, 2008.
- Berggren, Annika, Vandringsturer på Kungsleden: Kvikkjokk - Hemavan, Vildmarksbiblioteket, Växjö, 2009.
- Feldt, Kjell-Olof. Vår bästa tid är i fjällen. Stockholm: Norstedt, 1993.
- Grundsten, Claes. Kungsleden The Royal Trail Through Arctic Sweden. Herefordshire: Carreg Ltd, 2009.
- Grundsten, Claes. Abisko, Kebnekaise : [leder, utflyktsmål, bestigningar, stugor]. Stockholm: Norstedt, 2010.
- Hennemann, Michael. Schweden: Kungsleden. Welver: Stein, 2011.
- Karlsson, Bo. Sareks fyra årstider. Stockholm: Norstedt, 1982.
- Magnusson, Lars, Vandra i Sverige: en vägvisare till sevärdheterna längs Sveriges vandringsleder, Prisma i samarbete med Svenska turistföreningen, Stockholm, 2002.
- Neregård, Fredrik, Fjällvandra längs Kungsleden: Abisko - Kebnekaise, Calazo Förlag, 2011.
Fjallflora [dead link] - ebook of some of the most common flowers along Kungsleden.
- Södra Kungsleden
- Nordkalottleden: from Abisko to the north for some more 380 km, to Kautokeino in Norwegian Finnmark
Nordkalottleden coincides with Kungsleden to here, then goes over the Narvid mountains instead
At Kvikkjokk, changing over to Padjelantaleden is possible.