Abisko National Park with dog - hiking on the Kungsleden
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The Abisko National Park is certainly one of the most famous national parks in Sweden and so we didn't want to miss a stopover on our Sweden-Norway road trip. And in fact, for a long time we had been wondering whether we shouldn't even hike the Kungsleden - the well-known long-distance hiking trail that leads through the entire park. And completely. In this article I will tell you whether we have implemented our plan and what you can experience in the Abisko National Park with or without a dog.
Interesting facts about Abisko National Park: location, access, parking and more
No wonder the national park you find north of the Arctic Circle on the border with Norway is so fascinating. Snow-capped mountains frame the beautiful valley with moorland, blooming alpine meadows and birch forests. White water rushes through deep gorges. And while the Northern Lights dance in winter, it doesn't get dark anymore in summer because of the midnight sun. In autumn, the otherwise green landscape is bathed in soft orange and brown tones.
The best starting point to visit the national park is Abisko. This is where the Kungsleden has its starting point, and you will also find the Touristation, an information center for tourists, here. And if you want to see the park from above, you can take the cable car up the highest mountain, Nuolja. However, you have to hike up with a dog, as it is a chairlift that does not transport dogs.
By the way, parking is completely uncomplicated, you will find large parking spaces directly at the Touristation. Overnight stays are not allowed here, but you will find large parking spaces, which are marked as camper van spaces, about 15-20 minutes in front of the park directly on the E10. Toilets and mountain views included.
Kungsleden: Hike the King's Path
The Kungsleden is one of the most famous hiking trails in the world, even though there are no particularly high peaks to conquer here. Yet there are few places in the world where you are as exposed to the wilderness as here. On wooden floats you go over moors over extensive reindeer pastures, with the mountain ranges of northern Lapland always in view. There are also some lakes to overcome.
The Kungsleden, which translates as "King's Path", is Sweden's longest and most famous long-distance hiking trail. The whole route is around 460 kilometers long, the most famous and popular section between Abisko and Nikkaluokta "only" 105 kilometers. So if you needed a month for the whole way, this stage can be hiked in a week.
You can spend the night in one of the 16 shelters or in your tent. You should know that dogs are not allowed in shelters. If you look at the huts, you can divide the stage length between 10 and 20 kilometers per day. This makes the Kungsleden comparatively easy and, with a bit of fitness, almost anyone can do it. However, the challenge lies less in the route than in the circumstances. The weather changes quickly and can be extremely harsh. Wind, rain or even heat and sun without a chance to protect yourself in the shade can wear out the body. When it rains, the ground becomes muddy and difficult to walk on. And then there are the mosquitoes and horseflies that hikers literally love to eat.
Incidentally, we decided against hiking the entire Kungsleden, or rather the 106 kilometers, which was mainly because we hardly had any time left to explore Lofoten. Of course we still visited the national park, and we also hiked a section of the Kungsleden.
Visit Abisko National Park with your dog
You can of course take your dog with you to the Abisko National Park. However, you must keep him on a leash and you should only stay on marked paths.
Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed in the shelters, nor can you take them on the cable car up the highest mountain in the park, Nuolja.
Day hikes through the Abisko National Park
There we were, in the famous national park and full of motivation to get at least a little bit of that Kungsleden feeling. We parked at the visitor center and followed the conspicuous signs. Through a small wooden tunnel it finally goes on the hiking trail. We just followed the Kungsleden, which always follows a whitewater river. In the first section, the path leads through a birch forest. Again and again there is the opportunity to climb on stone plateaus and catch dramatic views of the blue white water. The mountains tower up on the opposite side. Really nice. The mosquito situation was not so nice. We were sprayed with mosquito repellent, but it didn't help at all. The brakes in particular were after us and even poked through my thick hiking leggings. Pretty painful. I admit that the hike wasn't that much fun under the circumstances, even though we had come to terms with the mosquito situation in northern Sweden quite well. (It's a must when traveling to northern Sweden in the summer.)
The good thing, though, is that you can just walk as long as you like and eventually turn back. By the way, if we had lasted longer, we would have been able to admire a waterfall, the Kårsafallen. Instead, we walked the short circular route from the visitor center to Abisko Canyon. The well-paved path literally leads across the deep gorge. You should definitely not miss the short hike.
Conclusion on the Abisko National Park
Abisko National Park is a must on a Sweden-Norway road trip. We found it a bit unfortunate that there are only a few useful circular hikes and that the park shows its full beauty especially when you hike very far into it. But maybe that will motivate you to hike the whole Kungsleden one day. You should also be prepared for many day visitors around Abisko, as we were. And be sure to wear long clothes to protect yourself from the mosquitoes and horseflies. Incidentally, they are most active when the sun is shining and the weather is calm. We had a day like that.
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