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The Kungsleden Hiking trail – Sweden
Text and watercolors by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org
The Kungsledan Mountain hiking trail ( 270 miles – 440 km. ) in Northern Sweden from Abisko in North to Hemavan in South. Kungsleden trail is both open summer and winter, where it is a skiing trail. It takes about a month to hike the whole Kungsleden Trail, but most just walk the first week. Recommended time for hiking Kungsleden is mid-June – September ( February-April for skiing)
The feel and landscapes of Kungsleden
Kungsleden is a well-marked and very popular hiking trail almost entirely above the tree-line in Northern Sweden going through an mostly open and flat tundra landscape. The trail never reach higher than 1,150 m (3,770 ft) in altitude. The Kungsleden trail goes through a classic North Scandinavian mountain (“fjell” landscape, with wide views and panoramas. More of a challenge is the many streams and small rivers the trail cross, but there are good facilities in place in many places.
Especially the most Northern part ( first 110km. / 70 miles ) is very popular with hikers from around the world and it is also the part of Kungsleden recommended by most. It is also the most safe part to solo-hike, as other hikers will often be near by for help, at least in July and August.
Mountain huts along Kungsleden
Kungsleden is often mentioned as one of the famous hiking trails of the world, it is free to hike and it is also free to camp in most places. There are also small mountain huts along the trail, situated at day distances. (a bed: 60-80 USD/night/adult). It is possible to pinch a tent by the huts and use the facilities (toilets and cabin at day-time) for a smaller fee.
But even when relying on the huts for sleeping, a tent or similar is still recommended in case of emergency or bad weather, preventing one from reaching the next hut along the trail in the isolated tough cold climate of Northern Sweden.
History of Kungsleden
Kungsleden is one of the classic Scandinavian hiking trails, it is both one of the oldest, dating back to before the Second World War, and still today it is also one of the most popular ones. The name “Kungsledan” means The King’s trail, a name nobody really know why the trail was given as there was no ceremony, and the Swedish king had apparently never walked or known about it. But the name helped make the trail more popular in the old Kingdom, and made it easier to raise money for the trail, facilities and mountain huts along the path.
TrailDino – Good info and maps: Kungsleden online maps and description
Practical info: Article: Aaron Teoh