Hiking guide to Skierfe – Sarek National Park

Have you always wanted to go to Sarek, but don’t want to do the full into-the-wild 10 day hike? Then you’ve come to the right place. This is a guide that takes you into Sarek and up to Skierfe over a weekend. Skierfe is an iconic cliff and a mountain famous for the magnificent view over Rapaätno and Sarek from the summit. The mountain is situated in the south-eastern part of Sarek National Park, but reachable in a three day hike.

We went here on a weekend, Friday to Sunday, and it was absolutely stunning – a great way to spend a weekend. If you haven’t been here yet, it should definitely be on your ”go-to” list. A lot of people make the hike up to the summit of Skierfe as a day trip, while hiking the King’s Trail between Kvikkjokk and Saltoluokta.

Here’s a hiking guide to Skierfe – the 3-day weekend version.

How to get to Skierfe and STF Aktse

For this three day hike, the easiest way to get to Aktse and Skierfe is to drive. You follow the road from Jokkmokk (or Gällivare) towards Kvikkjokk. In Tjåmotis you turn right onto a smaller road (we almost missed the sign – keep your eyes open!) that lead to the bridge over Sitoälven. You pass a water power station on the road, and it feels like you’re on the wrong road. You’re not – just stay put.

Road to Tjåmotis

The small road after you’ve turned right in Tjåmotis. 

You have to park your car before the bridge, there’s a large parking space available. From the parking lot you can either walk the 10 km to the lake, Laitaure, or you can bring bicycles. We chose to bike which was great! It took about 90 minutes for us to bike. The road is rather big and in good shape so you can bike easily.

Once you reach the lake, you have to leave your bikes. There is boat transportation available over the lake, but as with all boat transportations in the mountains it’s rather expensive. The boat leaves two times a day in summer time, here you’ll find more information for the summer of 2018. We chose to walk the last 6 km to Aktse. It was a nice path through the forest, not so much to see but plenty of good places to stop. The walk took another 2,5 hours.

 

Where to stay – tent or cabin

In Aktse you can stay in the Aktse mountain cabin hosted by the Swedish Tourist Association. The cabin is rather big and looks like it’s been partly renovated not so long ago. If you are a member of STF, I think the rate is somewhere around 300 SEK per night. It’s always cheaper to buy your nights online, but beware that even though you pay for your night before you go, you’re not guaranteed a spot in the cabin.

Read more about how to book and what rules apply here.  

We chose to stay in tent and put up our tent close to the cabin. We payed the service fee to use the kitchen so that we could cook inside and dry some clothes. Perfect for us since it was raining when we got here, and also when we came down from Skierfe on Saturday.

Sitting inside a warm cabin, in the mountains, after a long days hike, drinking wine (yes, we brought wine), while the rain is pouring down outside – is one of the most satisfying feelings ever.

tentspot in Aktse

The cabin was rather quiet when we were here, only a handfull of people who stopped to sleep for the night, but if you go later in the season it’s probably more busy (after all, it is right on the King’s Trail).

If you want to get away from the trail and the people, there was plenty of beautiful places to camp up on the mountain. I didn’t see so many jokks higher up on the mountain though, so it might be a good idea to bring some extra water if you’re planning on camping there.

View from the mountain cabin at Aktse.

Hiking to the summit of Skierfe

We arrived to Aktse in the afternoon on Friday and slept for a good 10 hours. When we were here, it was supposed to rain all day but we put our rain clothes on, packed a little food, our kitchen and some extra clothes in our daypack and headed up the mountain.

The start of the hike is steep and goes through birch forest. Once you reach the top and get above tree level, you take a left onto a trail into Sarek and to Skierfe, off the King’s Trail. It was easy too find and easy to walk this far. We’re talking maybe 20-30 minutes through the forest. The trail then goes along the ridge of the mountain for a couple of kilometers until you reach Sarek National Park. This is where it get’s steeper and you begin the climb towards the summit.

If you are experienced hiker, this is an easy hike. There’s a lot of rocks at the end when you get closer to the summit, so be careful you don’t hurt your wrists. The hike took us around 4-5 hours in total, including a short stop for lunch. It’s 7,5 km from Aktse to the summit, with a total elevation of 770 metres according to information on Wikipedia. The last kilometres are rocky and can be tricky to walk in bad weather.

Posing on the summit of Skierfe

view from skierfe into sarek national park

View into Sarek National Park.

view from skierfe over Rapaätno

View from the summit over Rapaätno.

Experience Sarek and the Swedish mountains over a weekend

The view from the top was truly amazing and we stayed here for about an hour, even though the wind was strong. We made lunch right below before we returned back down to Aktse. When we got down we used the kitchen in the cabin to make dinner, had a glas of wine and then went back to our tent to sleep. On Sunday we packed up an walked back to Laitaure, took our bikes and went home. 

This is a perfect way to experience the mountains, hiking and Sarek National Park without going for the full adventure with all the preparations it takes. If you want to make it easy – you walk the whole way, sleep in the cabin and just focus on enjoying and exploring. A couple of days in the mountains without cellphone coverage is better than most therapy!

 

passing over sitoälvsbron

Passing over Sitoälvsbron, the bridge over Sitoälven.

The road from Sitoälven towards Laitaure.

The trail from the lake Laitaure to Aktse goes mostly through forest.

sign to Skierfe

This sign is right on Kungsleden, this is just above the hill from Aktse and it’s where you turn left to get to Skierfe.

Our camping spot close to Aktse mountain cabin. 

Happy dogs. Here they’re taking a swim and drinking some water on our way to Aktse on Friday.

 

Hope you enjoyed this shortcut hiking guide to Skierfe – Sarek National Park. I try to keep this post updated with new information so that you can have use of it for a long time! 

Happy Hiking! ♡

 

Update summer 2020

Due to the Corona virus outbreak, hiking in the Swedish mountains will be different this summer. For those who are planning to come here (read the regulations from your government as well as the Swedish government before you plan any vacation!) the mountain huts will only be open for bookings (no drop-ins as it usually is). This is a precaution to make sure there is not too many people in the same place at the same time. Read more about how STF handels the virus outbreak and how this will effect your hike

Other changes and/or cancellations may occur (boats, buses etc) since the situation is what it is. If everything goes well, the mountain hut in Aktse will open on July 3rd 2020. Remember that there is still lots of snow in the mountains all of June. And also, remember to check and double check every part of your hike. This is only a guide of how you get there, all information about timetables, weather and regulations needs to be checked directly.

 

 

Want to read more about hiking? You find more of my hiking guides and trail reports here

You might also want to read:

Trail running on Kundsleden from Vakkotavare to Nikkaluokta

Preparing for a trail running adventure

Trail running in Padjelanta

Experience Lofoten with kids

Hiking with kids – Ahkka along Padjelanta trail

This post was last updated 2020.05.15

Preparing for a trail running adventure – part one

Time really flies! I have written about this summers adventures before, and now the biggest of them is on only 1,5 weeks away! Woah.. Where did this spring and summer go? We will be heading out on a trail running adventure in the Swedish mountains on July 11th. A lot of people have asked me where we are going and what we’re doing, so I thought I would do a mini series on the subject. I’ll share the preparations, my expectations and fears, the gear I’m bringing and then the actual adventure.

And since the preparations comes first, let’s start there!

 

What I am preparing for – the trail and the distance

We will start from Vakkotavara, about 2 hours west from Gällivare, running north on the Kings trail. Our plan is to run to Kebnekaise Mountain Station in four days. We will take the bus from Gällivare on Tuesday and get out on the trail around lunchtime. The first day we have 15 km to go and our first stop is Teusajaure. While out on the trail we will spend our nights in small mountain cabins hosted by The Swedish Tourist Association.

Day 2 will be the easiest day with 10 km to Kaitumjaure. Glad that the distances are varied so that the body can recover from any possible fatigue and damage. I’m thinking a sauna and some mountain yoga here in the afternoon will be suitable..

Day 3 is a little bit longer with 13 km to Singi. This is supposed to be relatively easy to run with not so much difficult terrain and only 700 meters in height difference between the two. Day four from Singi to Kebnekaise holds 15 km in a rather narrow valley called Laddjuvagge. When you reach the end of the valley and come out close to Kebnekaise, it’s by far one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen so far.

view from Kebnekaise
Mountains around Kebnekaise and Laddjuvagge

 

In Kebnekaise we’ve booked a room and a three course dinner at the mountain station. I have two possible scenarios that can come into action here.

  1. We arrive, have a sauna and a shower and the dinner is be the best we’ve ever had.
  2. We’re so tired when we arrive that we don’t even make it to dinner..

On day 5 we will continue from Kebnekaise to Nikkaluokta and complete our 78 km /48,5 miles trail running adventure by getting picked up by car from Nikkaluokta and head back home.

Kebnekaise mountain station summer
View from Kebnekaise Mountain Station

 

Running long distances before heading out – is it really necessary?  

When it comes to physical challenges I am not really a person who prepares. I like to just throw myself out there and try things, not really knowing what lies ahead of me. With okay physics to start with, most challenges are okay that way. But since this one includes mountains (and I have large respect for mountains) I’ve actually done some preparations. I started running longer distances already 8 months ago. But as if the universe knew I had done something right – I hurt my foot and couldn’t run for 8 weeks.

My foot got better and I started running again in early May. My plan was to run at least 15 km more than five times in mountain terrain before we head out.. I have this far made ONE 10 km run in the proper terrain.. Not at all what I planned. But on the other hand, I feel strong and light and since this is not a race, we have time. Even if we might need to walk longer distances.

Doing Strong by Zumba has been my savior

Those of you who have been following me for a while knows that I am a Strong by Zumba instructor. I have my Strong classes to thank for still being in shape even when there hasn’t been much running. Since I started doing Strong in August last year, I have become a much better runner, too. I do 1-2 classes a week on top other workouts and it has really improved my over all fitness. And I am not saying this because I’m an instructor, but if you’ve been searching for a fun and good cardio workout – stop looking. This is it.

 

Pictures from a previous hike around Kebnekaise – totally love this place ♡

bridge swedish lapland
There will hopefully not be so much snow left when we set out, but maybe a lot of water. Luckily most places where you need to cross have bridges.
Kebnekaise
Ending our trail running by coming through this valley feels like a dream.

If you have read my first blog post about this adventure (also on Instagram), you know I have never considered myself a runner. I have always done sports but always told myself ”I am not a runner” as an excuse for not running. This whole adventure is my way of redefining my picture of myself with the goal of becoming a runner. 

Stay tuned for upcoming post about what I fear the most about this adventure, and why.