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Kungsleden Trip Notes
Abisko to Nikkaluokta, southbound, 30 June to 4 July 2023. One of my favourite trips of all time!
In 2023 I quit my job and decided that I wanted to spend some time alone and as far away as possible from my usual life. The Kungsleden turned out to be a great place to do that. The trail is safe, clearly marked and mind bogglingly beautiful. If you need it, human contact is almost always at most an hour away. In the summer the sun never sets, and the daytime temperature when I was there was always a comfy 10 to 25 degrees celcius.
The Abisko-Nikkaluokta section is around 100km long, but in actuality I think I walked up to 120km because of how rocky certain sections were. Asides from this, the trail is not particularly challenging. It is very well maintained and its elevation gain is generally pretty subtle. I reached Nikkaluokta after four comfortable days of walking, although my weak, over-pronating left foot caused a bit of drama over the latter two days.
Mountain stations are located every 15 to 25 kilometres on trail, enough to ensure that you will encounter at least one a day. I never stopped for long at any of them but they seemed like good places to socialise, resupply and take shelter if necessary. I carried all of my food with me when I was hiking, but if you want to minimise pack weight then you can cut your load to one or two days' worth of food and resupply at a station every day. The stations are well stocked, and they sell luxuries like cans of coke. I didn't buy anything but I believe that they are cash only.
The bathrooms at the mountain stations are also free to use, so you can leave your trowel at the bottom of your pack!
The trail peaks around the middle. As you climb, the temperature drops pretty quickly. There was a lot of deep snow that I had to cross here, so this was one of the slowest sections of the trail. A solid pair of waterproof boots was a godsend.
There are many river crossings on trail. These range from planks of wood placed over small streams to suspension bridges that hang over roaring waterfalls. I ran into two large streams that weren't deep or fast enough to have bridges, but that were also too deep for my boots. Sandals were ideal for these crossings, which were a lot of fun.
Water can be drank directly from any running water source. I added chlorine tablets to my bottle every time I refilled on the first day, but I stopped doing this from the second day and was totally fine. The water is pristine and cool, perfect for a hot summer day. Just make sure to check upstream for animals!
Speaking of animals -- can you spot the reindeer? They don't come close, but you can see hundreds of them together in the distance. They're actually pretty derpy animals!
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