Kungsleden runs for about 440 kilometres (270 mi) between Abisko in the north and Hemavan in the south. The hiking trail is well marked and many sections are well equipped and maintained by the Countyboard of Norrbotten (Länsstyrelsen i Norrbotten) with plank walkways covering swampy or rocky ground, but other sections further from the trailheads are eroded and rocky, increasing the difficulty of hiking some parts of the trail. There are bridges across non-fordable streams and during the summer season lakes and rivers could be crossed either with rowing boats provided by Countyboard of Norrbotten or STF or by taking a local charter boat.
The hiking trail is separated in four portions which each represent approximately one week of hiking. The most practiced part is by far the northernmost, between Abisko and Kebnekaise. The season, when the huts are open usually runs between mid-June and the end of September, rowing boats are usually at place in the end of June or beginning of July, but the weather can be very treacherous, including late or early snow. The winter season runs from mid February to the end of April.
HOW TO GET THERE
It is most common to start in Abisko (Abisko Turiststation). It is possible to reach Abisko with the night train from Stockholm. With airplane it is possible to reach Kiruna from Stockholm and continue with train or bus to Abisko.
Hemavan has an airport with connection to Stockholm. Reaching Stockholm with bus and train is also possible. Lapplandspilen is a direct route between Hemavan and Stockholm.
Helicopters are common in the Kungsleden area, some days it is possible to see more helicopters than people
WHAT TO DO THERE
While the Kungsleden trail is one of the most popular hiking routes is Sweden, as August passes to September and the end of the short arctic summer nears, the crowds begin to thin and the trail grows quiet as the land awaits the coming of winter. The arrival of September sees the birch forests turn a golden yellow and the blueberries glow bright red, while the wide valleys rise to snow-capped mountains. The days become cold and the air crisp as snow flurries blow over you. The nights become dark again and northern lights once again dance in the sky. Autumn is a wild, colorful, lonely, exhilarating, adventurous, time to experience the wilds of Sweden’s north.
Access to the wood shed, a saw and axe should be available and all the shelters have wood burning stoves which provide plenty of heat after a cold, wet day on the trail. Water buckets for fetching fresh water, cooking and cleaning supplies are also provided. One or two toilets will be left unlocked, but don’t depend on there being toilet paper. There might be a small amount of leftover food available as well, but be sure to bring enough for the entire trip.
Besides the proper STF huts, there are also several emergency shelters at several points along the hiking trail. These typically consisted of a single room with wooden benches along one or two walls. Some have wood burning stoves, yet by the end of the season, there is often no more wood available. Still, if the weather is bad, better to be inside and out of the wind, even if a little cold.
From Abisko to the bustling mountain lodge at Kebnekaise, near the foot of Sweden’s tallest mountain, the walk is generally level or rolling. Marshy areas are crossed with two-plank walkways, and streams have bridges or steppingstones.
That almost relentlessly stony path is challenging, especially while carrying a backpack with a week’s worth of food. But a good number of Kungsleden hikers were middle-aged, including a lanky 70-year-old man from Denmark and a pair of Swedish women in their 60s.
Near the shelter at Salka, located in a vast bowl formed where valleys meet, I stood still for several minutes as a small herd of reindeer wandered across the trail. Their leader snuffed in seeming impatience, and the younger ones butted and played.
It is possible to stay by the cottages with tent. The price is 80 kr (member) and 100 kr (non-member) or if the cottage has a sauna 110 kr (member).Price 260-290 kr (2011) depending on dates.
Though the crowds of summer will be gone, one will not likely be totally alone on the trail, especially the last few nights the huts are open. But for the most part, you will cross a couple people on the trail each day and have a few people in the huts each night. If the huts haven’t yet closed, sometimes the warden will put you in the emergency room with several other people, other times you might get a room to yourself.
Be sure to have enough food and cloathes. Leave the hut in the same condition as you will found. because many other people will used after you gone.Most of the huts are small with 2-3 beds but there is one or two with more beds .