I am a bit late in my reply, but I guess you haven't gone on your trip yet?
I just returned from a hiking trip ending at Abisko. The camping ground is beside the tourist station of Abisko (5 min walk) and the tourist station is very close to the train stationv of Abisko.
Camping at the campground requires a small fee (not one of my favourite campgrounds I have to admit, very small lots). Camping in Abisko National Park is only allowed in allocated areas as this is a National Park (so no wild camping here). The first campground is at the one end of the park (as mentioned, the Abisko campground), the second is on the south side of the National Park (Abiskojaure). The third one is somewhere inbetween these two at a place called "tältlägret". I haven't been at this place yet though, but I assume this third camping ground is free. The second one (Abiskojaure) is part of the Swedish Tourist Association and a fee needs to be paid. As soon as you get outside the bounderies of the National Park it is wild camping.
Will you be camping in Abisko and use this as a base for day trips, or will you be doing a long hiking trip backpacking with tent and so on? Abisko is the start of the famous Kings Trail and besides that many hiking possibilities are possible from Abisko.
Drinking water is plenty with many rivers and creeks with safe and delicious water.
I always hike with my hiking boots and when you stick to the Kings trail you won't have a lot of water obstacles on the way, but there are some! I normally take a pair of light weight walking sandals with me to cope with the wading of the rivers along the trails. Depending on the rain levels and the choice of trail you will come across easy to much more complicated rivers to wade.
To find hiking routes I would recommend buying a map of the area (can be bought online) where you can see all the hiking trails)
I hope this helps you a bit with your questions.
The hiking trip along the Padjelantaleden (Padjalanta Hiking Trail) started in Kvikkjokk, went a tiny bit through Sarek National Park and ended in Stora Sjöfället National Park. In total we hiked about 160 kilometres. There are no roads in the area, just hiking trails, and of course beautiful nature!
Padjelanta, or in the Sami language called Bádjelándda, means the "higher land" which is an appropriate name, as almost the whole national park is located above the tree line. It is Sweden’s largest National Park with an amazing 1,984 km2 in size. But the park is not on its own, it is surrounded by nature reserves. It is also connected to two other amazing national parks called Sarek and Stora Sjöfallet. Padjelanta is also part of an even larger area called Laponia, which is sometimes referred to as the "last wilderness of Europe".
There are no roads that lead to Padjelanta, only this hiking trail. No cars in sight, not even close. If you want to see this, you need to walk. The only way to get here is by foot, or, if you like, helicopter in to the Sami village of Staloluokta. But from there you have to make your way again on foot. The landscape is wonderful, large lakes, open mountain landscape and exceptionally varied flora and fauna. If you are lucky you might catch a glimpse of an Arctic fox, wolverine or moose. But without a doubt you will meet some reindeer, as Padjelanta is a valuable grazing land for reindeer. And with the reindeer come three tiny Sami villages, which are all located very isolated in this beautiful highland area. Padjelanta is a special place, but at the same time not demanding. The only way to get here is on foot, but everyone that is in a reasonable condition can make that walk. In short: Padjelanta is a place to fall in love with..... just as I did.
Kvikkjokk - Njunjes
Njunjes - Tarrekaise
Tarrekaise - Såmmarlappa
Såmmarlappa - Tarraluoppalstugorna
Tarraluoppalstugorna - Tuottar
Staloluokta - Arasluokta
Arasluokta - Låddejåkkå
Låddejåkka towards Kisuris
Kisuris - Akka
The Kungsleden is approximately 440 kilometres long and can be divided in several separate parts.
(I've hiked parts of the Kungsleden and the underlined words are links to my pages about that particular part of the trail.)
From Abisko to Saltoluokta
* start at the Abisko-Turiststation (easy to reach by train)
* Abiskojaure approx. 15 km
* Alesjaure approx. 20 km
* Tjäktja approx. 13km
* Sälka approx. 12 km
* Singi approx. 12 km
* Kaitumjaure approx. 13 km
* Teusajaure approx. 9 km
* Vakkotavaare approx. 16 km
* The hike ends at Saltoluokta (Kebnats). This last part of the stretch is done by bus. From Saltoluokta you can take the bus towards Gällivare and from there continue your trip by train.
A popular alternative is not to walk all the way to Saltoluokta, but take a sidetour from Singi to Kebnekaise Fjällstation (approx. 14 km) and finish the hike in Nikkaluokta (approx. 19 km). Nikkaluokta can be reached by bus.
This first part of the Kungsleden is by far the most popular, especially with the alternative route to Kebnekaise. A lot of people seem to think that this it 'the' Kungsleden, but as you can see below this is only the first part of the official Kungsleden and the trail continues to more of the beautiful Fjällen landscape towards the south. The total stretch from Abisko to Vakkotavaare is 110 km. The transport by bus from Vakkotavaare to Saltoluokta is 34 km.
From Saltoluokta to Kvikkjokk
* start at Saltoluokta (can by reached by taking the train to Gällivare and from Gällivare by bus to Kebnats. Crossing from Kebnats to Saltoluokta by boat)
* Sitojaure approx. 20 km
* Aktse approx. 13 km
* Pårte approx. 24 km
* Kvikkjokk approx. 16 km
From Kvikkjokk you can take the bus to Murjek and from there continue your trip by train.
The total length of this part of the Kungsleden is 73 km with 4 mountain huts on the way. Minimum time required to hike this stretch is 4 days. Some basic supplies can be bought at Saltoluokta, Aktse and Kvikkjokk (nothing available in Sitojaure and Pårte). A great sidetrip is a hike up the Mount Skierfe from Aktse. Here you'll have an amazing view over the Rapadalen (Rapa Valley) and the mountains of Sarek National Park.
From Kvikkjokk to Jäkkvik
* Tsielekjåkkå 15 km
* Piteälven 18 km
* Barturte 20 km
* Vuonatjviken 13 km
* Jäkkvik 8 km
This is the least popular part of the Kungsleden. This is probably not due to the beauty of the area, but due to the fact that the Swedish Tourist Organization doesn't have any mountain huts along this part of the trail. Some stops along the way have alternative accomodation, but some night you do need a tent. All in all it makes planning this hike more demanding, and therefore it is not the most logical option to choose for most. The total stretch from Kvikkjokk to Jäkkvik is 74km.
From Jäkkvik to Ammarnäs
* Pieljekaise approx. 8 km
* Adolfström approx. 14 km
* Sjnjultje approx. 15 km
* Rävfallet approx. 25 km
* Ammarnäs approx. 21 km
The total stretch from Jäkkvik to Ammarnäs is 83 km.
From Ammarnäs to Hemavan
* Aigertstugan approx. 8 km
* Servestugan approx. 19 km
* Tärnasjöstugan approx. 14 km
* Syterstugan approx. 14 km
* Viterskalsstugan approx. 12 km
* Hemavan approx. 11 km
The total stretch from Ammarnäs to Hemavan is 78 km.
Alternative routes and planning
This is the official Kungsleden, but there are many hiking trails crossing the Kungsleden, which you can combine into an endless combination of wonderful longer and shorter hikes. It might be worth your while to look into some is these endless combinations to make your plan perfect trip. The Kungsleden is the "highway" through the area as it is most well known; the side trails are in my opinion just as beautiful or even better. The side trails are maybe a bit more challenging but definitely less crowded (although you can hardly call this part of Sweden 'crowded'). Another famous and beautiful hiking trail in this part of Sweden is the Padjelantaleden
Keep in mind to plan in some 'extra' days as the weather is very unpredictable and you might need a spare day when hiking is difficult or even impossible due to severe weather conditions. Also a good idea is to plan in some extra time to make one or more daytrip in the area. Many mountain huts are starting points for beautiful day hikes, something I can really recommend considering.
I already mentioned the distances between the mountain huts before. They are about a days hiking distance from each other. Here is an overview of the mountain huts in this area: The first section of the Kungsleden from Abisko to Nikkaluokta and various side trails.
From Abisko to Abiskojaure it is about 15 kilometres. From Abiskojaure to Alesjaure is about 20 kilometres. An important note to make there though is that you can shorten this trip by 5 kilometres by taken the boat over the lake to the mountain hut (see my Alesjaure page).
Please take a look on the map to see on overview for the other distances.
P = provisions / shop
p = shop with small assortment
H = Hotel: more luxury, shop and restaurant
Note: the distances are approximately. Hahaha, strangely enough every map and every sign you see along this trail seems to give another number of kilometres. So please take this as more of a general idea.
So how much can you hike each day?
Distance is not the only thing to worry about when hiking in the Fjällen, also the type of trail you are following can influence a lot how much you can hike on a day. I rather plan my trip in hiking hours instead of in kilometres.
It all depends on the type of trail: up the mountain, down again, steep or graduate climbing, flat landscape, etc, etc. With use of a good detailed map and this table, it is rather good to predict how long a hike will take.
For example: 5 kilometres on a very easy trail (like a road) will take you an hour. The same distance, but climbing steep, will take 3 hours and 20 minutes. If cou click on the picture you can read the table much better.
When calculating hiking times I also take into account breaks, like short breaks and a lunch break. An extra time is also calculated for passing difficult objects, like a ford (wading across a river).
The Kungsleden (Kings Trail) is Swedens most famous hiking trail. It leads you through the beautiful mountain area of Sweden. And its most Northern point, and starting point for many people, is here at Abisko!
The trail is about 440 kilometres long and leads from Abisko, the most northern point, down to Hemavan. The total of 440 kilometres sounds very long, but please don't let that scare you away. It is possible to divide the trip up and just do part of this hiking trail. I think most people do that. A popular one is the oldest part of the trail, which leads from Abisko to Mount Kebnekaise (Sweden's highest mountain) and ends in Nikkaluokta.
Along the whole Kungsleden, you will find mountain huts where you can stay overnight, or use their facilities, like the kitchen. These Mountain Huts are a day trip apart from each other. Mostly around 15 kilometres, but in some cases this can be more. Quite a few of them have a little store where you can stock up on provisions.
The Kungsleden is not only the most famous, it is also the most popular and most visited trail, making it rather busy. But what is busy in Sweden? The part that I hiked on average you meet about 20 people a day on a 15 kilometres stretch. If you go off this main hiking trail and take one of the side trails, you will notice that the amount of people you meet will drop dramatically to 1 to 2 a day.
The best season to hike this trail is after 21 June until half of September. In the winter you can ski on this trail, best season: end of February until mid of April.
So how busy are these trails really? And which are the most popular ones?
On this map you will get a good impression of it.