Much of this section of Kungsleden runs through Birch forest, alongside the rapid river Abiskojåkka, often as a low canyon with some impressive rapids.

01 - Abisko to Abiskojaurestugorna

Much of this section of Kungsleden runs through Birch forest, alongside the rapid river Abiskojåkka, often as a low canyon with some impressive rapids.


Trail Information

Distance: 14km

Difficulty: Very Easy. Good trails, limited change in altitude.

Transport: The train stops a few meters from the start of the trail. Otherwise, there is a regular bus service from Kiruna which has a range of transport options.

Resupply: Abisko tourist station has one of the largest selections of hiking gear, camping equipment and foodstuffs along the trail. Additionally, Abisko itself is reasonably nearby. You'll be paying a premium for anything you pick up of course. Additionally, as a Mountain Station, you can ship a parcel here for collection, though as it is the start/end there is parhaps little point. (Make sure to contact ahead to ensure you get the OK and any information on the postal services to use as many in Sweden won't deliver to the door, but to the nearest collection point which may be Kiruna.)


Accomodation & Shopping

STF Abisko Turiststation/Mountain Station

Bordering somewhere between hostel and hotel, the Abisko Mountain station offers ensuite rooms, one of the most fully stocked shops on the trail and a genuinely excellent restaurant. Dinner needed pre-booking due to Corona, but they were able to accommodate me with a late sitting despite only calling that afternoon. The breakfast is great, fresh baked warm loaves of bread, coffees and locally sourced cheese and meats.

The shop in the station sells various food options for the trail with a wide choice from dried meats and cheeses to pre-packaged meals. Its also has perhaps the largest range of camping equipment to buy of any point on the trail, as well as clothes, underwear, gloves and tools. There are also a range of souvenirs.

Hotels in Abisko

There are also several hotels in the nearby Abisko village, the Guesthouse, Hostel and Mountain Village. This is about 2.5km away from the start of the trail, however.


Campgrounds

A few KM before Absiko is a well-stocked campground with drop toilets, tables and fire pit and easy access to the water. When I passed at around 10:30, there were quite a few people still camping there from the evening before as its close enough to the end of the trail if walking north to finish and get the train without spending money on hotels. If thats your plan, be aware you're unlikely to be alone at this spot.


Sights

At various points along the trail, you come close to the Abiskojåkka, which has some really impressive rapids. As a starting view, it really sets the scene for what you come to expect.


Side Trails

Abisko Hikes

There are a number of hikes that run from Abisko to explore. Once simple one runs down to the huge lake and offers lovely views acros into Norway.

Abiskojaure

The STF Station of Abiskojaure, which marks the end of this section of trails is actually about 1km off of the trail itself. Follow a short plank walkway to a metal bridge over the river, then a walk through birch trees to find the cabins.


Day 1

I started this trail at 9:33, the beginning of my month long trek to Hemavan. I stood at the start when you first turn off gravel and onto a forest path feeling nervous but ready. My bag was the heaviest it would ever be on the trail, carrying six days worth of rations, more water than I would discover I would need and a few sundry items that would end up left for others or posted home at various stages.

The river runs to your right for much of the day, sometimes out of sight, but always in earshot. There are several overlook points which give spectacular views, but it's worth cutting off the trail and seeing for yourself at various points for less commonly seen views of the water.

I also got my first sense of how the mosquitos, who would become my constant companions, would behave. When walking briskly, they were of a limited nuisance, especially with repellant spray on. When you stopped for food or just a break, they seemed to materialize around you. It was only a few KM in when I saw the first of the hikers in a full mosquito net hat.

One thing you notice quickly is how some hikers will be laden down with a great deal more than you and others will seem to be carrying almost nothing at all. Ironically, the more you carry, the longer you'll take and so the more you need. Finding a balance for yourself is a challenge.

I was moving faster than I had planned. I ate lunch only 3.5km from Abiskojuaure Station and 5km from my final destination for the evening. It was my first indication that I'd been overly generous on my estimations for daily distance.

After lunch, I tried some meditative walking, which helped make me more aware of the noises of the outside, and helped me realized how much I am inside my own head when walking. From this observation, I started noting down the songs that got stuck in my head as I walked.

Another thing I learned on this first day is the strange game of leapfrog you start to play with others hiking the same direction as you. If you walk faster than then, you see them catchup and pass you when you stop for a break or a meal, then catch them again and pass. This gets repeated until the distance finally exceeds what can be caught in a break.

The hike passes some incredible open spaces full of distant Norwegian mountains. As you walk, beside the trail you pass thick rocks with layers like slate, but the colour of granite.