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What you Need to Know for the Kebnekaise Hike (Updated)

Herds of reindeer pranced out of the forests and across the paved road, as if there was nothing speeding towards them. We slowed down and stared at the reindeer that were losing their winter pelts. They weren’t bothered by us and gobbled up the newly green grass. This happened to us several times as we drove to the Kebnekaise hike.

Trees were scattered in groups and the farther up we traveled, the smaller they seem to become. It’s maybe because wintertime in northern Sweden has barely any sunlight for about a month or so. Small towns are spread out with the wilderness in between. We drove from Karlstad to Nikkaluokta in Sweden and it took around 18 hours. If you do decide to drive, look out for reindeer! They don’t care at all about vehicles, so you have to pay attention.

Hiking Sweden
Sweden Map
Nikkaluokta is the Starting point, shown on Google Maps

This article will tell you the ins and out about Kebnekaise, Fjällstation, and the activities that are offered in the area. You’ll get to learn about places to stay, what to bring with you, and how long the journey is. This trip is best to stay prepared for since it can take days to get up the towering mountain. It just depends on the way you decide to get to the Fjällstation from Nikkaluokta. I explain the options you have in this article as well! Enjoy traveling to northern Sweden!

Start at Nikkaluokta, Kiruna

We made it to Nikkaluokta, Kiruna, the beginning of our journey to start the Kebnekaise hike. As we rolled in, we saw several campers sprawled out around one of the parking lots. The sun’s rays were beginning to disappear in the horizon. We came when everything was still closed. But if you plan to come when things are open, they have a lot to offer. Even if it’s closed, they have a bathroom that you can use, as long as you have 10 kronor (it’s a Swedish coin, Swedish money). This is near the main triangle red building.

If you want to learn more about the money in Sweden, check out Hiking Sweden. In that article, I explain more about it along with the dos and don’ts when it comes to hiking in Sweden. Check it out here!

Swedish coins Needed
Insert Coin for the Bathroom

Accommodation

If you’re planning on going to the Kebnekaise hike or wandering to the Fjällstation (the mountain station) you might want to rest up first. They have a variety of accommodations from camping, to a 6 bed apartment. Just make sure to book it in advanced since it can get pretty busy. Check out Nikkaluokta.com and make a booking for a place to stay. Our first night involved sleeping in our tiny car, which we prepared and had a mattress rolled up just for this trip. Once we rolled it out, sleep quickly overtook me, and I had imagined soaring above Kebnekaise and looking down at the splendors of nature. The snow glistened and acted as though it had a story to tell about the trails. But then suddenly, the dream ended.

Campers for Sleeping
Campers for Sleeping

Restaurant

The restaurant Skáidi is where you can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner while you enjoy a beautiful view. This restaurant uses local ingredients in their traditional cuisines. If you’re traveling with a big group, it may help to book here. There’s a café if you just want to relax after your journey or before you even start. Take a warm sip of some coffee and take in the wonderful views. Learn more about the food and drinks offered here.

Activities

They offer a lot of activities that you can do. You can take on the Kebnekaise hike, go canoeing, enjoy fishing, day tours around Nikkaluokta, Kungsleden, or a river safari. Check out their activities here for more information.

Nikkaluokta Information Center
Nikkaluokta Information Center

Contact Nikkaluokta:

E-mail : info@nikkaluokta.com

Number : (+46)980-550 15 (call with international phone)

0980-550 15 (call with Swedish phone)

Tours

There are different kinds of tours you can go on in this area and at the base of the mountain. There are boat tours, canoeing, hiking, quad riding, snowmobiling, and safari tours. You can check out a nice hike, where you get to see the Kebnekaise mountain from a different view. This trail doesn’t go up it, but near it, so you get great views of the tallest mountain in Sweden. There are tours in the Fjällstation that are offered as well! Scroll down to read more about the Fjällstation.

Visit Kebnekaise Mountain

Transportation

My backpack was cinched up to my back and I was ready for us to begin our journey to the Kebnekaise hike. I didn’t think about a method of transportation to reach it. I had my feet, plus, when we started our trip to Kebnekaise, all the restaurants, transportation, and other activities were closed. We were on our own, which is nice, no crowds. But now after trying it out, if we do decide to venture to the Kebnekaise hike again, I want to try out the helicopter.

Helicopter

This was something that wasn’t even on our radar. We thought, “Oh yeah, no problem hiking it all!” Boy, were we tired by the end of the Kebnekaise hike. I thought about how much I wanted to ride in a helicopter, listening to the blades roar to life as I get to see the views from high above and then I wouldn’t have to worry about each step that I would have to take. The helicopter is open now, so if you want to just skip the hike from Nikkaluokta to the Fjällstation this would be it! Check out Kallaxflyg.com to learn more. You should be able to book it on there as well.

Or give them a call: (+46) 980-81 00

Boat

In the summertime, they have boats running. It wasn’t open when my hubby and I hiked, but I know that they are open now. This would have you only walk ¼ of the trail to the Fjällstation. The place where you can get on the boat is near Enoks Restaurant and the water makes this area filled with tranquility and peace. This is a nice place to walk to just to see the mountains from afar and see the glacier water. The boat doesn’t bring you directly to the Fjällstation but it cuts your time a lot with walking to it since taking the boat goes over 10km. Check out the times for the boat here. Enoks.se will tell you the prices and the timetable for it.

Boat for Kebnekaise hike

If you’re planning on traveling with more than 10 people, then you’ll have to book it. You can email or you can call them.

Contact Enoks:

info@enoks.se
Andreas Sarri +46 (0)73-031 70 27

If you’re thinking about a River Safari, you can find more info. at this website. Check it out here.

Onward to the Fjällstation

First step to get to Kebnekaise, is that we need to hike to Fjällstation. This trail was at first, a nice flat road. But as the trail goes on, there are obstacles in the way. If you hike to the Fjällstation from Nikkaluokta, it’s 18.6km one way. It took us around 6 hours with stops for resting and taking photos, breakfast and lunch break. Once we hiked to Enoks Restaurant, I was blown away by the reflection in the translucent water. You could see the mountains perfectly reflected in the glacier waters. This is the place where the boat is as well.

We hadn’t hiked the trail for too long, before the mountains came into view in the distance. We turned a corner and walked to a tranquil spot that I will never forget. The pebbles were several vibrant colors and could been seen in the clear water as the snow covered mountains reflect in the still water. It felt like something out of a painting. It was almost too beautiful to be real. A calm breeze with a chilly bite picked up and cooled me down from our journey. As I sat there, I contemplated what life must have been like here long ago before this place was known by man. I could imagine a thriving wildlife and as animals visit the water, they would have a feeling of peace as they would relax here in their utopia.

Enoks Kebnekaise hike
View at Enoks

Difficulty: Hard – Distance: 18.6 km- Duration: Approx. 6 hours one way

After we finished our breakfast, we began our journey towards the Kebnekaise hike once again. The trail started becoming a little harder in areas. It would jut upwards and downwards with loose stones taking over the path. We even had to hike through 1 meter (3 feet) of snow in the middle of June! But it really depends when you plan on taking on the Kebnekaise hike. You may have a lot of snow or a lot of water. Be prepared with the right gear! Learn more at Swedish Tourists Association’s website where they will tell you more about the Kebnekaise mountain station, Fjällstation. This site will let you know how the weather is in the area and help guide you on what kind of gear is essential.

kebnekaise hike
Hiking to the Fjällstation

Camping

Setting up a tent is free! You just need to be at least 150 meters from the station due to a fire hazard. It’s 350 kronor for a day fee if you want to be able to use the service building, which has a kitchen, toilets, showers, sauna, and a nice drying room. The views of the mountains surrounding the valley are spectacular! We found a great little nook surrounded by trees but still near the station where we set up our tent for the night. After a long day with aching legs, I was ready to sleep. But the allure of the town had me in awe. I ventured around and took in the mystic streams running under bridges and the comfy and inviting apartments on the side of a hill.

The place was enchanting and made me feel overwhelmed with freedom being in such a tiny town that’s fully engulfed in nature. Overall, we stayed two nights in our tent. One night before heading up the mountain and one night once we completed our goal of taking on the mountain. We kept the tent there so that we didn’t have to carry it with us and it worked out well. No one messed with it and you’re allowed to camp in the same spot for up to two nights.

Cabins

There are a few options to choose from when it comes to accommodation. They have a hotel, hostel, cabin, or a guesthouse. The prices vary along with what is offered. You can learn more at the STF website. Some have huge windows, so you can be fully surrounded by the beauty of the area, and some are more just a room to rent.

Tours and Activities

Take in the wonderful views as you dine on traditional dishes at Elsa’s Restaurant. They have course meals that you can book. Or if you want a guide on the Kebnekaise hike, they can make that happen. They even have tours on the King’s trail/ Abisko. Check it out here!

Kebnekaise Hike

As we made it to the Fjällstation, we could see the tall mountains in the distance. Kebnekaise hovered above us as we began our hike to it the next day. Loose rocks became a common thing on the path as we took on the Kebnekaise hike. Each step brought us closer to the top. But once we made it to the top of it was so foggy, we could barely see in front of our hands. Luckily, at the “Old top Stuga”, the view was breathtaking! Charming mountains spattered with snow could be seen and, in the distance we could see the valley that we hiked from.

Kebnekaise hikes Map
Green trail is the Western Trail & the red is the Eastern Trail

Eastern Trail (Ice Gear Needed)

This Kebnekaise hike involves glacier hiking, so you’re going to need the right gear for that. You can rent the gear or it might be included in your tour. This just depends on what kind of tour or how you decide to hike the trail. But it’s highly recommended to do this trail with a certified tour guide. The Western and Eastern trail start at the same place, then they split and there’s a sign to show that, so you know.

This trail is a steep hike near Kebnetjåkka glacier and then it flattens. Once this happens, you must cross Björlings glacier. Go with your gut feeling and watch where you put your feet. There can be snow covered crevices in the glacier and that wouldn’t be good to step in one of those. There’s Gudhjohnsens hylla, a shelf that is awaiting you at the end of the glacier. Watch out for loose rocks as you’re on this trail as well.

Difficulty: Strenuous – Distance: 14 km- Duration: Approx. 10 hours roundtrip

Kebnekaise Hike

Western Trail

This trail is the longer one, but it’s a little easier than the Eastern Trail. Plus, you can do this one without a guide. There are red painted stones on this trail, but they’re only in the trail partially and not always so visible. It really depends when you decide to go up Kebnekaise hike since they could be covered in snow. This is the trail that we took, and good thing since we did it as just the two of us. Plus, I have never glacier hiked and doing it without a guide would be asking for trouble.

Kebnekaise Hike
I’m Hiking up Kebnekaise

Difficulty: Strenuous – Distance: 18 km- Duration: Approx. 14 hours roundtrip

As we ventured up one of the Kebnekaise hikes, it became strenuous with the stones that felt as though they would slip from under your feet. I looked at the trail in front of us, and my gut dropped. The trail went straight up the side of the mountain, in SNOW! My nerves felt like they were on end. But I pushed forward and once my hubby and I made it to where the trail began zigzagging, rain pelted down on us. The higher up we got, the more the rain turned into icicles. Both of us were just about to give up and turn back.

Just then, the blue sky started to peak out and the crazy weather cleared. We were given some luck with the crazy weather. My toes were in excruciating pain from the hike. I hadn’t thought about it before, but my toenails should have been shaved down below my toes. Pain welled up in my feet with every step and only became worse as we hiked. But I forced myself forward. It’s not everyday you get a chance to hike a mountain.

Kebnekaise hike
Red Paint on Stones for the Trail

New Top and the Old Top Stuga of the Kebnekaise Hike

The weather can become even more unpredictable the higher up the mountain you get. That’s why they built these cottages called, “Stuga” in Swedish. So, if you see a sign that says “Stuga”, that’s what it means. There is one at the old top and there is one at the new top of the mountain. They give you shelter if the weather is not on your side.These little structures are just a room with benches and flat areas off the floor. It offers shelter if necessary.

Kebnekaise Hike
View from Kebnekaise

If Help is a Need

Before you even begin your journey onto the Kebnekaise hike, stop at the office and make sure you have the local emergency phone number. Below is the Mountain Safety Council. They have an email and a phone number. Here are several different contacts depending on where you’re at in Sweden. Check it out here.

E-MAIL

fjallsaker@naturvardsverket.se

TELEPHONE

+46 (0)10-6981053

Best Gear for the Kebnekaise Hike

Kebnekaise hike started out relatively warm. But as we progressed to the top, a chill ran through my body. The wind picked up and gave a icy bite to my face. Having the extra layers and waterproof pants saved me! I highly recommend wearing a waterproof jacket, waterproof pants, and a must, waterproof boots. I would have been soaked the whole hike if I didn’t have these. Luckily, I was only soaked my one foot a little bit on the way down. The heaps of snow had turned into streams and one was so wide we couldn’t easily jump to the other side without getting in it.

Take Care of YOU, Dress for the Weather!

Bringing two or three pairs of socks and gloves are worth it as well. Another must as you hike this trail is a hat to keep your head warm when you get closer to the top. Don’t forget to bring a water bottle that holds at least, 1.5 liters of water. It would be best to bring a thermos or a small propane with a burner. We had this with our two metal cups! It was great getting to the old top and being able to have tea in the little cabin there while we rested and I put my aching feet up.

My Meindl waterproof boots were bought just for this trail! I broke them in before wearing them for the Kebnekaise hike. They were the best investment for this hike. Since they go over my ankles, I didn’t have to worry about rolling my ankle and they are warm! Check them out here!

Check out my article, Hiking Gadgets to see some of the gear I have used on hikes.

Best Outdoor Gadgets

fjallstation
Near Enoks on our way to Fjallstation

Check out some of the best gear I have used when I go hiking in this article.

Delicious Food

The best food to bring would be dry and dehydrated food. My hubby and I had two bags of premade pasta. All we had to do was add hot water to each bag and let it sit. A banana or an apple is a great thing to have in your pack as long as it can be in a safe place and not get squished. Otherwise, you can bring a bag of dried fruit and nuts. That’s always good to have since it helps you gain energy and get some of the vitamins and nutrition that has depleted from your body.

Best Time to Go

The best time to go really depends on the weather and what kind of season you’re thinking that you want to take on the Kebnekaise hike. People have ventured up there in all the seasons. My hubby and I hiked up it in the middle of June this year. It felt like a good time for us since there wasn’t so many people. But that’s probably because they just recently said that you can travel within Sweden again.

Kebnekaise Hike
Bridge to Cross on the Hike

As we hiked up Kebnekaise, there was a couple of shallow streams we had to get over. Parts of the hike still had deep snow, but it was quickly melting away. On our way down the mountain, we did some sledding to ease the pain in our knees. If you plan on doing this, make sure to do it where you see other tracks. It wouldn’t be good to fall through the snow and into the streaming water below.

Check the Weather

Always check the weather. In this area, it drastically changes, so try to stay prepared. The two of us hiked to the Fjällstation and camped there for the night. The next day, we checked the weather and then decided to start our journey up the Kebnekaise hike. If it had been bad, we would have waited it out in the valley. So, we took off a few days extra just in case we ran into bad weather.

How to Get There

You can drive to Nikkaluokta, like we did, or you can take the public transportation. From Stockholm central, driving would take about 15 hours and the public system would take a whole day to get there. Renting a vehicle or going with some friends in Sweden is probably better if you’re on a time crunch.

Click here to see google directions for driving

Google Map
Google Maps

Click here to see google directions for public transportation.

If this is your first time visiting the wonderful Sweden, then you can learn more information from Hiking in Sweden article.

Hiking Sweden

Kebnekaise hike top
Kebnekaise Old Top

Kebnekaise Hike

Kebnekaise Hike

Kebnekaise Hike tips

If you want to find other information on hikes, check out Top 100 Hiking Blogs.

Mostly all of the links are affiliate links, which means I can make a commission. But don’t worry, it doesn’t affect your price. Your price will be the same.

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Misfit Wanders

About Me

Misfit Wanders

Misfit Wanders

I´m a kooky girl that likes to travel. I grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA. Then moved to Northern California for about 5 years. But now, it's going on 5 years living in Sweden with my hubby and our furbabies, plus our little boy and my mom has joined our crew! Over the pandemic time, it has been hard to travel. Thus, my travel blog had been at a stand still. I started going to a University and I had a baby. Now I'm on a different kind of adventure. But my family and I plan on traveling when we can still. Traveling is something I cherish. New adventures is what keeps me moving, that and a stubbornness. I have a weird sense of humor if you haven´t figured that out from my posts. My writing can be perplexing, but I like to tell stories, and the best way is from my own experiences. So sit back and relax, as you take a spin through my hikes or enjoy following my footsteps as I wander in different countries! Most of my writings will be focused on hikes and the outdoors in Sweden.

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