As a Swedish company, we pride ourselves on sharing our most beloved outdoor spots with our community, so we’d like to introduce you to Kungsleden. (English: The King’s Trail) Boasting well-marked routes, comfortable accommodation, rich indigenous history, views of the northern mountainscapes and accessibility for hikers of all levels, Kungsleden is rightfully Sweden’s most popular and biggest hiking trail.
Kungsleden starts in the small, northern town of Abisko and goes all the way down to Hemavan. It is home to four national parks along its trail, these are Abisko (the starting point!), Stora Sjöfallet, Sarek and Pieljekaise, additionally, it even hosts Sweden’s highest peak - Kebnekaise.
If you were to tackle this 440km long trail in one go, it’d take you around a month to complete, however, we’ve divided the trail into five handy hikes. Let us take you page by page through the hikes, so you can tailor your hike around your needs and abilities.
If you are looking for a popular, well-travelled hike Abisko and Nikkaluokta could be for you! It also boasts a trip to the mountain of Kebnekaise.
• Total distance: 108km
• Duration: 5-7 days, 6-8 hours of hiking per day.
• Length of sections: 12-21 km per day.
• On the last day, the trail passes Kebnekaise - Sweden's highest mountain.
Whilst part of this trail isn’t actually a recognised part of Kungsleden, it is still extremely popular as it passes Kebnekaise and boasts great wildlife, such as reindeer.
• Total distance: 102km
• Duration: 5-6 days, 4-11 hours hiking per day.
• Length of sections: 9-30 km per day.
• Passes both Kebnekaise and Stora Sjöfallet/Stuor Muorkke national park.
This trail is appealing as it starts off in the beautiful Stora Sjöfallet/Stuor Muorkke national park. Part of this hike is also by boat, so please be aware of this before travelling!
• Total distance: 73km.
• Duration: 4 days, 3-9 hours hiking per day.
• Length of sections: 10-22 km per day.
• Possible detour to Skierfe – a mountain in Sarek national park with spectacular views.
This hike is the most challenging one due to its uneven terrain and need to set up camp outdoors.
• Total distance: 165 km.
• Hiking days: 8 days, 4-12 hours hiking per day.
• Length of sections: 13-31 km per day.
• Passes the bird sanctuary Tjålmejaure.
This hike is a Swedish Tourist Association (STF) signature trail, passing through Vindelfjällen nature reserve and over seven suspension bridges!
• Total distance: 78 km.
• Hiking days: 6 days, 6-8 hours hiking per day.
• Length of sections: 8-19 km per day.
There are several points along Kungsleden where you need to cross lakes or streams. In some sections, it is possible to shorten your hike by going part of the way by boat, if wanted. Some of the boats are arranged by STF and some are privately run. It is good practice to have pre-booked your boat travel and to keep a physical copy of the timetable handy, just in case you are unable to use your mobile phone. We also recommend you bring cash with you, as many of the boats can’t accept card.
At some trail points, the County Administrative Board have provided rowboats to help travellers cross the waters. Before use, you need to make sure there is always at least one boat left on each shore, so you may need to tow a boat with you to leave at the opposing shore. You can find out more about boats along each hike on their individual pages. For more general information about boats along Kungsleden.
All STF mountain stations have restaurants where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner and a traditional Swedish fika. Self-catering kitchens are also available. In the mountain cabins, there is no electricity or running water, but there is often a wood stove available for cooking.
The mountain stations, and some cabins, have a store available where you can stock up with food for the hike.
It is permitted to take water from streams and lakes along the trail, but the mountain cabins and stations provide wells for water where you can refill.
The waste disposal service is very limited on the mountain, so whatever you pack in needs to be packed out. Prepare before your hike so you can minimise your waste as much as possible.
In the mountain cabins, you can leave some recycling like metals, glass, hard plastics, batteries, and disposable cans and bottles. Remember to clean and compress this waste thoroughly. Anything combustible, such as soft plastics and paper, needs to be packed out.
Plan your meals in advance to avoid unnecessary food waste. You are not allowed to dispose of any food waste along the trail, as this will disturb the wildlife and natural environment. If you must leave food waste and small paper towels anywhere, do so at the mountain cabins.
An emergency can happen at any time, so it’s best to be prepared with all you need and more. The Ten Essentials list provides a checklist of items every hiker needs when out on the trail.
There are some dry toilets available along the trail, but remember to also bring toilet paper and a small shovel in case you need a bathroom when one is not available.
If you are going to be camping along the trail, bring a sleeping system. It can also be good to bring cooking supplies and some kind of stove if you want to heat water for cooking or something hot to drink along the way. It’s also good to have a stove as a backup in case you are not allowed to make a fire.
Since hiking Kungsleden is usually a longer trek over several days, it is good to bring multi-functional, all-weather clothing. This includes proper ventilation, a zip-off function, and a jacket that provides versatile weather protection – to name a few key products. Remember, it can be cold in the mountains, even at the heart of summer. Shop our Shop our hiking clothes.
Our guides for hiking in summer and hiking in rain inform you in detail of the appropriate layers needed for whatever the weather may bring.
Underwear made from natural bamboo fibers helps prevent chafing
A wind-resistant, waterproof shell layer
Appropriate footwear, such as hiking shoes
Socks - Remember to bring extra pairs to prevent walking-based injuries!
A mid layer, such as a fleece or a lightweight down jacket
Weather appropriate accessories - for example, a hat and gloves for colder weather
A base layer for those colder climates
A change of clothes! - Quantity will depend on duration of trip.
With this detailed guide to Kungsleden, any hiker no matter what experience they have can make informed and confident choices in which trail they want to take. Explore our other hiking guides here, and we hope to see you in Sweden soon to experience our beautiful King’s Trail with us!