The adventure of a mountain dogsled tour with the added dimension of sleeping under canvas
Driving your own dogsled team through the mountains is a very special experience. Winter camping adds an extra expedition feel and sense of adventure to any winter activity.
Put these two together, and locate them in one of Europe's most stunning mountain areas along Sweden's best-known long-distance trail, the King's Trail ("Kungsleden") in Swedish Lapland, and you have a very special dogsled holiday indeed. This is a challenging adventure yet suitable for adults with a good level of fitness and a yearning to answer the call of the wild. No previous dog sledding experience is required.
The King's Trail offers a spectacular setting for a dogsled adventure. Photo: James Padolsey.
As a winter camping tour, the itinerary and route taken is variable depending on weather and snow conditions. You will normally being sledding along the King's Trail either from Abisko (or from Nikkaluokta, taking the mountain route in the opposite direction) or from Raustas on the way up to Abisko. Whichever route you take, the landscape is stunning and an unforgettable dogsled adventure awaits!
The challenge of camping with the convenience of cabin facilities
You will be driving your own team of Siberian Huskies, normally with the end point at Nikkaluokta, near the mighty Kebnekaise, Sweden's highest mountain. You will carry with you 2-person tents for overnight accommodation and, if conditions are suitable, a "lavvu" (tipi) for the group which you will set up each night for eating and socialising.
When sledding along the King's Trail, the intention is to pitch camp on some nights near the mountain cabins spaced along the trail, which gives you the opportunity to take wood-fired sauna in the evening and to make use of some of the facilities at the cabins. If weather conditions make it necessary, these cabins also serve as a reserve option for overnight accommodation.
There is a lot of work to do when making camp for the night! Not only do the dogs need to be cared for, but walls of snow will normally need to be dug around the tents and often also a large hole in the snow, which provides shelter from the wind while cooking and spending time at camp.
The addition of winter camping brings an extra dimension to the tour. Photo: James Padolsey.
Sleep soundly beneath the stars
Full specialist winter clothing and camping equipment is provided, including thermal sleeping bag. The dogs and equipment are fully suited to winter conditions in the mountains, and while the tour is adventurous and challenging, you should also find that you sleep well and feel comfortable.
Just 15 minutes from the kennels lies the world-famous Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, making an Ice Hotel visit a popular option to arrange on your arrival or departure day (entrance charge payable locally). Transfers from/to the Ice Hotel on arrival/departure days can be offered as an alternative to transfers from/to Kiruna.
On this tour you will be travelling far away from sources of light pollution, offering very good possibilities to see the Northern Lights. Displays are typically visible until around early April.
Even if you decide to crawl into your sleeping bag early after the day's mushing, you can keep an eye out for the Northern Lights shimmering in the night sky from your tent!
Snowmobile tours (daytime or evening) are available to add as optional extra activities on your arrival/departure days.
As with all our dogsled tours, you will be involved in all aspects of the trip, and this is very much part of the experience. You will assist with caring for your dog team, including harnessing, feeding (and, yes, picking up poo!), as well as tasks around camp such as fetching water, chopping wood, preparing food, washing up, etc.
As a mountain tour, and particularly as a winter camping tour in the mountains, the itinerary for this experience is flexible and subject to change depending on weather and trail conditions. The tour will, in part, typically follow the King's Trail between Abisko and Nikkaluokta and include some sections off the main trail. Conditions in these sections in particular can be very changeable - passable one day, not passable the next, and so the itinerary will not be fixed in advance.
Arrival time is flexible depending on your travel plans - transfer (approx. 20 mins) is included from Kiruna airport or train station, from accommodation in Kiruna if staying locally before your tour, from the Reindeer Encounter experience mentioned below, or from the Ice Hotel if you are visiting there before going to the kennels.
Guests will normally arrive at the kennels anytime from early afternoon onwards.
If you are arriving in Kiruna early in the day (for example with the night train from Stockholm), there are a number of ways to spend time in the area before having transfer to the kennels:
- Reindeer Encounter and Sámi Experience in Lapland is just nearby and makes an excellent option for an afternoon activity on your arrival day. Tours start with pick up from local accommodation in Kiruna or the Tourist Information Office at 13.10, or from the Ice Hotel at 13.30 and your dogsled hosts will collect you from the Reindeer Encounter for transfer to the kennels.
- Visit the Ice Hotel or spend some time in Kiruna town. More information on these options will be provided in booking documentation.
Once at the kennels:
- There are no organised activities as part of the tour this day (sledding begins on Day 2), but cross-country ski equipment and snowshoes are available to borrow free of charge for self-guided activities in the surrounding forest. Please ask your local hosts on arrival if you would like to borrow equipment.
- Evening snowmobile tours are available to add as optional extras in connection with the start day of your dogsled tour. Morning snowmobile tours also make a very good choice for an activity on your departure day. See under "Prices > Optional Extras" for details.
NB: Please note that the below is an example itinerary and may vary in a number of ways due to factors such as weather conditions, access to trails, seasonal changes and local reindeer herding activities. For example, if weather conditions are unsuitable for crossing the Tjäkta pass, alternative routes are available via Vistasdalen or Hukejaure. Cabin accommodation may be used on some nights during the tour as an alternative to camping if weather conditions make this necessary. Daily distances are typically around 15-40km depending on the terrain for the day's sledding.
An early start with breakfast at the kennels around 07.00, followed by packing preparations for your tour and loading the equipment and dogs into the transport vehicles for transport to the start point. Depending on the planned itinerary for your tour, start point with normally be at either Abisko or Nikkaluokta (the road access points for the start/end of the northern section of the King's Trail), or at Raustas on the way to up Abisko. Transfer time from the kennels typically around 1.5 hours.
Once at the start point, you will have an introduction to harnessing your dogsled teams and handling the sleds and equipment. Each participant will drive own dog team, typically with 5-6 Siberian Huskies per team.
You're then ready to begin your dogsled adventure! Typically sledding distance on this day will be around 15-25km. Once you have reached a suitable camping spot for the night, you secure your dogsled teams and pitch camp - erecting the tents and communal lavvu and taking part in the various tasks required such as feeding the dogs, fetching water and preparing dinner.
Your first night under the stars! The lavvu will normally be used as a socialising/eating tent. When it's time for bed, sleeping accommodation is in shared 2-person tents.
Your dogsled tour continues, normally following a combination of route along the King's Trail and some off-trail sections. On at least some nights during the tour, the intention is to camp near the mountain cabins along the King's Trail route. Here you are able to make use of the cabin facitilies such as kitchen areas, dry outside toilets and, at some locations, sauna.
Cabins which you may pass/camp near along the main trail during your tour include Alesjaure, Sälka and Singi. Detours which can be taken include to the areas of Unna Allakas, Hukejaure, Kaitumjaure and Vistas.
Typically you will also cross the highest point on the King's Trail during the tour, the Tjäktja pass at 1,150m above sea level - this can be a challenging day's climb!
You leave the mountain world and take your dogsled team through the valleys at the base of Kebnekaise, Sweden's highest mountain, to the end point at Nikkaluokta, normally a distance of around 35km depending on where you have camped the previous night, where you will be met for transfer with your team back to the kennels. Accommodation in cabin as per Day 1 and a chance to reflect on your adventure, swap photos and share memories of your husky expedition!
Breakfast and departure transfer. Alternatively, why not take the opportunity to add a morning snowmobile tour before departure? See under "Prices > Optional extras" for details.
You may wish to visit the nearby Ice Hotel (see under "Transfers" below) before travelling to Kiruna airport or train station.
Dates & Prices»
- February: 22.02-29.02.24, 29.02-07.03.24
- March: 07.03-14.03.24, 14.03-21.03.24, 21.03-28.03.24, 28.03-04.04.24
The Northern Lights can be seen anytime from around September to early/mid April. While the "spring winter" in March and April has longer hours of daylight and shorter nights than the deep midwinter, on the other hand these months can also have a greater incidence of clear skies.
Groups of minimum 6 can also book private tours on other dates at standard prices - smaller groups also possible. Max. group size for standard tours is 6 persons, but for private tours larger groups can be accommodated. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
|Optional Extras per person (see description below)|
|Snowmobile morning or afternoon tour 2.5 hours (shared one per two persons)|
|Snowmobile morning tour 3.5-4 hours (shared one per two persons)|
|Snowmobile evening tour 2.5 hours (shared one per two persons)|
|Snowmobile evening tour 3.5-4 hours (shared one per two persons)|
|Supplement to drive own snowmobile (all snowmobile tours)|
- Snowmobile tours: An ideal extra activity for your arrival or departure day in connection with the start/end of your dogsled tour (depending on your travel plans), or on another day if you are staying extra nights locally before/after your tour. Evening tours give good possibilities to see Northern Lights if conditions are suitable. When booking your snowmobile tour, please specify:
- Date and time (morning, afternoon or evening). Typical start (pick-up) times are: Morning tours 10.00, Afternoon tours 14.00, Evening tours 18.00 (up to 25th March) or 20.00 (from 26th March onwards).
- Duration (2.5 or 3.5-4 hours - note that afternoon tours are 2.5 hours only). Duration given is approx. total tour duration including pick-up, initial instruction and breaks. 2.5 hour tours include snack/coffee, 3.5-4 hour tours include lunch (daytime) or dinner (evening).
- Whether driving own snowmobile or sharing per 2 persons (if 2 or more adults). Solo travellers must choose drive own snowmobile option. Participants wishing to drive must be min. 18 years, hold full driving licence and be able to show licence locally.
What's Included »
NB: Note that due to the nature of the tour, accommodation used along the route may vary, with cabin accommodation an alternative to camping if required by weather conditions.
Two nights in cabins on Day 1 and Day 7, five nights' winter camping along the route in 2-person tents, normally with communal tipi depending on conditions. Camp on some nights is normally made near the mountain cabins along the King's Trail and at some of these locations sauna is available. Typically sauna is available on 1-2 nights during the tour when camping near the cabins along the King's Trail.
Accommodation for the first/last night is normally in simple one-room cabins at the kennels, which have four bunk beds and electricity/electric radiator. There is a communal hut for meals/socialising. Dry outside toilets.
Example cabin accommodation at the kennels normally used for first/last night
Standard of accommodation along the trail is simple (no running water or electricity). The tipi (when used) is heated by wood-burning stove. Water is drawn from nearby rivers and lakes.
Everyone assists with tasks such as caring for the dog teams, pitching/breaking camp, chopping wood, fetching water and washing/tidying up.
Sleeping accommodation on all nights during the tour is shared. Cabins will typically have one or two sleeping rooms, each with bunk beds.
Camping and example cabin accommodation (where used) along the route.
All meals from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day (breakfast, lunch, dinner + coffee/snacks, etc). Please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements.
Equipment and Clothing:
- All necessary equipment during dog sledding tour including sleds with own dogsled team. Each participant drives their own sled, typically with 5-6 huskies per team.
- Warm winter clothing for all activities: snowscooter overalls, winter boots, hat, gloves, inner and outer socks.
- Sleeping bag, sleeping sheet and pillow case, foam sleeping mat (reindeer skins are also used in the tipi for extra insulation).
- Tent (shared per two persons).
- Lavvu (tipi) for common use for eating, socialising, etc (weather conditions permitting).
- Thermos for hot water (there is no need to bring a separate water bottle).
- Bag for personal items and clothing.
(additional items such as long-johns may be available on request - please ask if there is a particular item of clothing or equipment you require)
Winter clothing provided
- Instruction in harnessing and sled handling.
- Services of local guide.
- Return transfer between Kiruna airport or Kiruna station (or from accommodation locally) and the cabins in connection with your tour. For guests, wishing to visit the Ice Hotel on arrival or departure day, pick-up from the Ice Hotel on arrival day or drop-off on departure can be offered as an alternative (guests will then travel independently between Kiruna and the Ice Hotel).
- Local transfers to/from start/end point for activities during the experience as required.
- 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.
Good To Know »
Dog Sledding and Winter Camping is a challenging experience. You should have a good level of fitness and enjoy the outdoors. You should also be comfortable living in close proximity with others. Minimum age 18.
No previous dog sledding experience is required. Dog sledding can be physically demanding, especially in the mountains. You must be able to brake the sled when going downhill, which can be hard when you are working against gravity and the pull of your team of huskies, and also assist the dogs during uphill sections by stepping off and running behind the sled. Tasks around the camp (building snow walls, etc) can also be physically demanding and the element of winter camping will add to the challenge level compared to a tour with cabin accommodation.
If weight >95kg, please contact us to discuss suitability.
What makes this "Hard"?
The tour takes place in a remote mountain landscape where weather and trail conditions can be changeable. You may need to work hard to assist your teams when going uphill, especially in deep snow. The experience of winter camping adds considerably to the overall level of challenge and setting up camp takes time and energy.
While the itinerary for the tour is flexible depending on conditions, the tour will typically include sections outside the main King's Trail route. In these areas away from the main trails, conditions may be particularly challenging and subject to change, perhaps encountering icy sections, areas of open water which must be detoured around, etc.
As a camping tour, the weight of sleds used will typically be heavier than on a cabin tour, perhaps 60-80kg. Participants should be prepared to assist their dogsled teams when going uphill, sledding through deep snow, etc, in a wide range of conditions during the tour.
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.
A total of minimum two persons is required for scheduled tours 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:
- Aurora Lodge Escape in Lapland (4 or more days, one hour by transfer)
- Lapland Sámi Retreat at the Reindeer Camp (15 mins by transfer, ideal for extra night(s) locally before and/or after your tour)
- Reindeer Encounter and Sámi Experience in Lapland (afternoon activity for arrival or departure day, 15 mins by transfer)
Maximum group size 6 persons for scheduled tours.
There may also be other persons staying at the overnight accommodation used during the tour.
This experience is also available as a private experience for groups. For private tours, larger groups can be accommodated. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
This provider has a detailed environmental policy and has received Swedish Tour Quality certification.
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. 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 day of adventure on the trail!
Getting There »
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 then onward to Kiruna by night train or domestic flight connection. Transfer from Kiruna airport or train station is included.
Ferry Dover-Dunkirk or Newcastle-Amsterdam for onward train connections to Kiruna.