The Kings Trail
This is the most convenient trail to hike in Swedish Lapland. It is also
the most popular. A 10 day arctic experience deep inside the mountains between
Abisko and kebnekaise, with cabins to stay in every night and a sauna every
Potterfield at Great Outdoors shares his hiking experiences of the King's
Trail in this
article from June 2005.
From Abisko the trail start in the subalpine birch forest region, but little by little we get higher up on the mountains and occasionally the trees disappear and the scenery gets more alpine. On the second day the birch forest gives way to a more open landscape. We walk down in the valleys, but because of the barren arctic nature, the scenery is open and we can enjoy all the peaks around us. The highest point during this trip is 1150m, which we will reach on day 5.
The distances to walk each day are not very long, so if you are looking for more hiking or climbing there will be time to make short trips in the surrounding area away from the trail. There will be good possibilities to observe arctic species of birds and flowers.
At the end of this hike we will stay two nights at the Kebnekaise Mountain Lodge, and for the ones looking for a little bit more excitement, you could try to reach the summit of the highest peak in Sweden - Kebnekaise - with its 2114 meters.
We will spend every night in cabins along the trail. We have to share the
cabins with other people and it is not possible to book beds in advance. If
all of the beds are already occupied when we arrive, we have to sleep on the
floor on mattresses. But that would be something exceptional at summers, even
during the high season.
Some of the cabins are very basic, but every second night there is a possibility to have a sauna.
What to bring
Comfortable shoes to hike with. This can`t be stressed enough. Do not buy
new shoes right before you come. That would more likely than not result in
chafed feet and a very painful holiday experience.
I hike with sneakers, or maybe sandals if the weather is real nice and there is no mosquitoes. If it's cold and rainy I put on water proof socks. Others use special hiking boots, high legged rubber boots or whatever they feel comfortable with. But whatever you choose, try to find something with a good grip on wet stones.
See a more detailed list of what to bring.
Although this trail is easy to hike you shouldn't choose this trip if you have doubts about your physical condition. We hike in a slow pace but you have to be able to walk 20km carrying your own small backpack with change of clothes and other personal equipment. The total hiking distance is about 86 km + optional day trips.
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