- Sweden's most famous skiing trail
- A challenging tour in stunning mountain scenery
- Requires previous touring experience
- Good chances for Northern Lights
- Stay in mountain stations and cabins
- Ski equipment available to hire
A classic cabin-to-cabin ski touring adventure on Kungsleden
Ski Touring on the King's Trail is one of the world's "classic" ski touring routes - challenging, spectacular and dramatic. The tour is physically challenging and requires previous experience of hut-to-hut skiing with a backpack, but the network of mountain cabins allows you to access this very remote area without extensive expedition experience or extreme levels of fitness.
The tour is led by local guide and is suitable for those with an intermediate-advanced level of ski touring experience.
The tour offers an expedition feeling staying in simple cabins along the route. Photo: Valerie Reynard.
Sweden's most famous trail
The King's Trail (known as "Kungsleden" in Swedish) is a long-distance path in the far north of Swedish Lapland, deep inside the Arctic Circle. An excellent destination for hiking in the summer, the King's Trail also offers marvellous opportunities for ski touring in wintertime.
The Abisko-Kebnekaise trail is probably the most famous section of the King's Trail, running from Abisko Mountain Station on the shores of Lake Torneträsk south to the base of Mt. Kebnekaise, Sweden's highest mountain at 2105m.
Ski between mountain stations and cabins along the route
Your tour begins with a night at the fully-featured Abisko Mountain Station.
During the tour itself you will be staying in mountain cabins along the route, taking part in the preparation of meals, fetching water from ice holes in the lakes and helping with other duties around the cabins.
The cabins are heated by wood-burning stoves and offer simple but comfortable accommodation - welcoming havens after a long day on the trail. Some of the cabins even have a sauna to soothe those tired legs!
Your last night in the mountains is spent at Kebnekaise Mountain Station, which offers sauna, showers and a well-earned restaurant meal as you prepare for the final day's ski touring towards Nikkaluokta.
Each day you will be covering 12-20km between the cabins, carrying provisions for max. 2 days at a time. You should count on a pack weight of around 10-14kg (including 2-3kg for provisions/safety equipment on top of your personal packing).
Abisko's microclimate favours clear skies and gives very good chances for Northern Lights. Photo: ST Bildarkiv.
Ski Touring on the King's Trail from Abisko to Kebnekaise offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the dramatic scenery of this remote region in the full glory of a Swedish winter!
For those with a special interest in the Northern Lights, this tour offers very good chances to see a display for tour dates up to around early April. The microclimate in the Abisko area means skies are often clearer than elsewhere and during the whole tour you will be far from light pollution. What better way to round off a day's skiing than with a display of the Aurora illuminating the night sky!
By later in April, the nights are becoming too light for the Northern Lights to be visible, but on the other hand, the period from mid-April onwards is considered by the locals to be the best time of all to enjoy a ski tour in the mountains, with spring sunshine and long hours of daylight.
Ski touring or ski mountaineering?
This is not a ski mountaineering tour. When skiing on this tour you are travelling in a hilly landscape in between the peaks (that is, not normally doing peak tours), on mountain plateaus and the borderline between woods and mountains.
The skis ideal for ski touring in this region are a little thicker than cross country skis and have boots which are warmer and more substantial, while still being comfortable for use over long periods on flattish terrain. Like cross country skis, they have a camber and always have a loose heel.
Ski equipment intended for ski mountaineering/alpine skiing in off-piste conditions will normally not be suitable, as the additional width of the skis, heavier boots, etc, would make for very heavy going on a tour of this type.
Gather at Abisko Tourist Station in the afternoon around 16.00-17.00 after the last connection arrives from Kiruna. Dinner in the station restaurant and information about the tour.
The start of your tour. The route takes you through Abisko National Park to lake Abiskojaure and your cabins on the south side of the lake.
Distance: 15km. Height difference: +100m.
This day takes you up into the high mountains to the cabins at lake Alesjaure, with the chance for an evening sauna to soothe your muscles!
Distance: 20km. Height difference: +300m.
A shorter section than the previous day, taking you to the mountain cabin at Tjätka.
Distance: 13km. Height difference: +200m
Today you will cross over the Tjäktjapass at 1140m with views of the Tjäktjavagge valley. From here, it is easy skiing down to the cabins at Sälka, where the opportunity for a sauna awaits!
Distance: 12km. Height difference: +150m, -300m.
This day offers easy skiing along the Tjäktjavagge valley towards Singi, where accommodation for the night will be in dorms with gas or wood-fired heating.
Distance: 13km. Height difference: -100m.
Stunning views over mountain peaks and glaciers as you head for Kebnekaise Mountain Station, which offers sauna, showers and restaurant dinner.
Distance: 14km. Height difference: +150m, -150m.
Your final day of ski touring takes you to Nikkaluokta, where you have a meal in the local restaurant and take a shower. Bus to Kiruna (will connect with the latest available night train departure to Stockholm). Earlier transfers for guests departing by flight can be arranged as an optional extra.
Please note that the programme is subject to change depending on weather and snow conditions.
NB: While tour dates are published below, bookings for this tour are not yet open for 2021.
- March: 08.03-15.03.22, 15.03-22.03.22, 22.03-29.04.21, 29.03-05.04.22
- April: 05.05-12.04.22, 12.04-19.04.22, 17.04-24.04.22*
*The Northern Lights can be seen anytime from around September to early/mid April. The "spring winter" in March and April has longer hours of daylight and shorter nights compared to earlier in the winter, so displays will be visible later in the evening, but on the other hand these months can also have a greater incidence of clear skies, increasing the chances for a display.
Important: Prices for this tour are based on membership of Hostelling International (or an affiliated organisation) and you should bring proof of membership with you on your tour. If you are not already an HI member, please join before travel or membership can also be purchased on arrival (295 SEK/person, about £28).
NB: Please note that ski equipment is not included. Please see "Optional extras" below.
|Optional Extras (see description below)|
|Ski equipment/person (skis, boots, poles, not skins)||GBP|
- Ski equipment: See image below. Includes skis, boots and poles (not skins). Sizes must be advised latest 60 days before tour start to guarantee availability. Please advise height and shoe size in advance. We recommend that participants opt for "wax-free" skis. If choosing skis requiring waxing, please note that wax is not included. Please also note that climbing skins are not considered necessary for the King's Trail tour and are not included in the equipment package.
Typical equipment provided for hire/suitable for the tour. Photos: ST Bildarkiv.
What's Included »
Accommodation in shared multi-person rooms at Abisko Tourist Station, Kebnekaise Mountain Station and mountain cabins along the route. Abisko, Abiskojaure, Alesjaure, Sälka and Kebnekaise have sauna and also provisions stores.
Cabins: The beds are fitted with mattresses, pillows and blankets. During the winter season you should bring a light sleeping bag (the interior of the cabins is warm once heated - a dedicated winter bag is not required). The cabins are comfortable but of basic standard and there is no electricity or running water. You will all need to help each other with domestic duties, cleaning, cooking, doing the dishes etc. Wooden fires or gas heats the cabins. The cooking is done on gas stoves. The cabins you will visit during this tour have 20-78 beds (rooms with 4-10 beds, male/female mixed). There are also extra mattresses and blankets in case the cabin gets full. Everyone will get shelter - in the event that all the beds are occupied you will get a space on the floor and a mattress. It is not possible to reserve beds in advance.
Typical mountain cabin accommodation during the tour
Full board accommodation at Abisko Tourist Station and Kebnekaise Mountain Station. Meals along the route and final meal in Nikkaluokta.
Food for sale (for additional snacks): In Alesjaure and Sälka there are small shops where you can buy dried and canned food, drinks and snacks, etc. There is no fresh food for sale in the mountain cabins. There is also a small shop at Abiskojaure where you can find some food, but the range is not as wide as in Sälka and Alesjaure.
Experienced and knowledgeable local guide.
- Travel: We do not arrange flights or domestic travel, but are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey. See under "Getting There" for general travel information.
- Alcoholic drinks.
- Luggage transfer between Abisko and Nikkaluokta for items not needed during the tour (can be arranged for additional charge payable locally).
- Bus transfer from Nikkaluokta to Kiruna at the end of the tour.
Good To Know »
For this mountain tour you should have a good level of fitness, previous ski touring experience and be comfortable skiing with a pack weight of around 10-14kg. The distance between the cabins varies from 13-20km, with a maximum altitude difference on a single leg of around 400m.
Minimum age 16 years.
What makes this "Hard"?
The tour takes place in a very remote area with simple accommodation on most nights and as a point-to-point tour you are committed to covering a certain distance. Skiing with full pack on all days, both physically and in terms of controlling stability when skiing, is the aspect participants normally find most challenging and in general the majority of persons find the tour more rather than less challenging than anticipated. However, trail/snow/weather conditions as well as the efficiency of your skiing technique can significantly affect the actual level of challenge.
NB: Perception of difficulty is very subjective. What is hard to one person may be easy for another and vice versa, depending on factors including level of fitness, age and previous experience. Weather conditions/temperatures can also dramatically affect the actual level of challenge encountered.
For information on any equipment and/or clothing included as standard for this experience, please see under "What's Included".
A detailed recommended packing list for personal items to bring will be sent with your booking documentation.
NB: We advise you not to buy equipment or clothes for your trip or to incur other non-refundable expenses such as flights until you have received confirmation of your booking from us in writing. Note of course that the most appropriate clothing to use as well as the level of challenge experienced during any outdoor activity may vary significantly depending on factors such as the time of year and the particular weather/temperature conditions during your trip.
Preparing for your trip:
For further reading, we also have a number of general information articles to get you ready for your trip, covering a wide variety of topics from what to do on a city break before/after your tour, advice on packing, eyewear for winter and considerations for female travellers.
Minimum total 6 persons required for tours to be confirmed to run. You are of course welcome to book as a solo traveller.
Combine This With
This experience makes a good combination with the following:
Maximum 12 participants. This experience is open to travellers from all over the world. Groups may be made up of participants from a number of countries, around 60% of whom are likely to be from Scandinavia.
For groups wishing to book private tours on other dates by arrangement, please contact us to discuss your requirements.
This tour has received a prestigious Swedish Ecotourism award for its commitment to high standards to cultural and environmental sensitivity.
Kungsleden - The King's Trail:
Created by the Swedish Tourist Association at the end of the 19th century, the King's Trail (or "Kungsleden") was made to introduce hikers to the beauty and majesty of the Lapland scenery.
The trail runs 440km from Abisko in the north to Hemavan in the south, passing through some of the world's most spectacular mountain landscapes. In summer, taking day-tours from the main route allows for an ascent of Sweden's highest mountain, Kebnekaise, or excursions into the pathless wilderness of the mighty Sarek National Park.
Despite the remote ski touring possibilities afforded by the trail, altitude differences are relatively small, which makes the King's Trail an ideal long-distance path for extended tours.
Will I see the Northern Lights?
This experience is located in the far north of Sweden, one of the world's best locations for seeing the Northern Lights, and offers good chances to see a display during your tour for dates up to around early/mid-April. Wonderful displays are regularly seen on the tours. However, it is important to bear in mind that the Aurora is a natural phenomenon and sightings can never be guaranteed in any location - it is not possible to search for a display. The skies may be cloudy, there may be no activity, or you may be fast asleep after a hard day's skiing!
Getting There »
NB: As a participant, it is your responsibility to ensure that you have a suitable level of fitness and experience and bring clothing and equipment appropriate for the tour. Participants judged by the guide to have an insufficient level of fitness/unsuitable equipment which hinders the operation of the tour may be excluded. In this case, or if a participant chooses to leave the tour of their own volition, no refund can be offered and any additional costs incurred by leaving the tour are the responsibility of the participant. If you have any questions regarding your suitability for the tour, please don't hesitate to ask and we will be happy to advise.
See below for a summary of travel options. To learn more about how to travel to this experience, please get in touch!
Detailed information on travel will be provided in response to your enquiry. We are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey.
NB: Please ensure that you make a booking with us first and wait for confirmation that your spaces are reserved before making any travel arrangements.
Fly to Stockholm. For outward journey, night train to Abisko Turiststation or domestic flight to Kiruna plus train to Abisko Turiststation. The tour ends in Nikkaluokta for bus transfer to Kiruna (not included in the price). Return from Kiruna to Stockholm by night train or domestic flight connection. Tours are timed to meet night train connections and we recommend this as the best option.
Ferry Dover-Dunkirk or Newcastle-Amsterdam for onward train connections to Abisko Turiststation and return from Kiruna.
Gallery & Reviews »
"I had an amazing time. Our guides were very knowledgeable and all the people on the tour were lovely. The weather was fantastically sunny (other than one day where everything was a bit white!) and the scenery was beautiful. I saw reindeer, ptarmigan and lots of paw prints, but sadly no elk. Many thanks for your help and answering my questions." Catherine, April 2019
"[The best parts were] the views, the guides, the fellow holiday makers." Trevor, March 2019.
"My team of ten returned from the King's Trail ski tour yesterday. It was outstanding. As you had predicted it was "hard", but very satisfying. We encountered the spectrum of weather from sunny calm, to whiteout and strong head wind ground blizzard. Our guides were excellent. Thanks for helping us put together a private group on this program! All in all, it was outstanding. I highly recommend it to those with lots of Nordic skiing experience and love of wilderness!" Chuck, private group tour, March 2019