Kungsleden

       
Credits:Staffan Widstrand/imagebank.sweden.se

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Kungsleden ("The King's Trail") is a hiking trail in northern Sweden, approximately 440-kilometre (270 mi) long, between Abisko in the north and Hemavan in the south. It passes through one of Europe's largest remaining wilderness areas. In the winter Kungsleden is a ski trail with approximately the same route.

Kungsleden was created by Svenska Turistföreningen (STF) at the end of the 19th century, in order to allow more people to experience the beauty of Lapland. It runs for about 440 kilometres (270 mi) between Abisko in the north and Hemavan in the south. The trail is well marked and many sections are well equipped and maintained by STF, 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 STF or by taking a local charter boat.

The 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 and rowing boats available, usually runs between mid-June and the end of September, but the weather can be very treacherous, including late or early snow. The winter season runs from mid February to the end of April.

Huts have been constructed along the trail, separated by a distance that a walker could expect to cover during the day, about 9-22 kilometres (6-14 mi). The huts are primarily operated by STF. For a small fee, it is possible to pitch a tent outside and use the facilities. Some unguarded shelters can also be found between these huts. Supplies can be bought in some of them (Alesjaure and Kebnekaise Fjällstation for example).
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