Abisko Mountain Station to the Saami Village of Nikkaluokta
Round-Trip: 65 miles, 3 to 5 days
When to Go: The Europeans do it in August, when they get holiday time, so be bold and go in early September for authentic solitude and no bugs.
A hundred miles inside the Arctic Circle, Sweden’s legendary 275-mile Kungsleden (the “The King's Trail”) begins its traverse of the last great wilderness in western Europe. This mind-blowing northernmost section penetrates the vast Arctic landscape of Sweden through birch forests, open tundra, and big glaciers before crossing the shoulder of Sweden’s highest peak, 6,926-foot Mount Kebnekaise. Using the comfortable huts placed about a day apart assures you have refuge in bad weather. Sturdy suspension bridges take the danger out of the big rivers. The vibe here is “far north,” with palpable emptiness and low-angled light that stirs the soul.
Insider Tip: The route can be done in either direction, but do it north to south, as that keeps the sun on your face—no small consideration in the Arctic.
Explore Sweden on a dogsledding expedition with National Geographic Adventures.
- Best Of
World's Best Hikes: 15 Classic Trails
Over the past decade, author Peter Potterfield has hiked more than 10,000 miles over six continents to research this list. He here tells us his picks for the world's 15 best hikes, including Patagonia, Tasmania, Newfoundland, and Petra. Read more in his best-selling book Classic Hikes of the World or his forthcoming book Classic Hikes of North America (to be released in 2012).