Europe’s Great Wild: Hiking In Sarek National Park

By travelnorth on 2013.08.22 In Hiking Sweden The Arctic

The Staring Contest

Sarek national park is rightfully cherished by Swedes as Sweden’s ‘pearl’ and ‘treasure’. Located far north in the Arctic mountains, between Padjelanta and Stora Sjöfället national parks, it contains Sweden’s most dramatic Alpine territory. Since the park has no well-developed trails, a mere 2 bridges to help you accross the many glacial rivers running into Rapa Valley, and no services it is some of the most inaccessible terrain found in Sweden.


If your perfect holiday idea is to enjoy nature and disappear in it for two weeks, this is most definitely your place to go. I always thought you needed to travel to far-away destinations to find places as remote and as wild as Sarek. I had been looking forward to it for over a year and in many ways the park still exceeded my expectations. After I arrived home, took a good hot shower and energized up, I actually couldn’t wait to go back and see more. 


Beforehand some friends asked why I chose to go to Sarek, instead of a comfortable trail where huts provide shelter for cold and wetdays and where trails help you along the way. I think the answer is simply because it is not as challenging. I go out there to get somewhere where I can challenge myself, where I can feel excited every morning because I don’t know what to expect.

Sarek Turquoise River

We chose not to follow the most common route along northern Rapadalen but set out along its challenging southern side and hiked into some of the more remote valleys of the park. From half a day after we left Kungsleden until we made it to the Skárja emergency shelter, we didnot meet anyone. For two consecutive days we walked right behind a bear and a moose, but (fortunately or unfortunately) never got to see them.

Camping in Rapadalen

On a nice day, Sarek can be such an idyllic, almost romantic place to be. Turquoise blue rivers run in the valleys, surrounded by mountains capped with shining glaciers. It just makes you want to have an eternal lunch break to enjoy the scenery. On other moments however, Sarek showed its teeth and confirmed its reputation as a harsh and dangerous place.At some times I wondered if we had not slightly overestimated ourselves. Progress could fall under one kilometer/hour, making for long days of walking over loose rocks, through swamps and dense forests, passing powerful rivers that asked for long detours to be crossed.

But as we walked from one scenic valley to the other, stumbled upon yet another reindeer herd, saw the evening sun color the grass on the hills gold and pitched our tent in a new panoramic place every evening, the pain was more than worth the gain. On some moments our surroundings were so unbelievably beautiful that it was almost surreal. And as we walked out of the park and laughed about the forests we got stuck in, the rock fields and ridges that terrified us or the driver I got dragged down in, a feeling of great satisfaction set in. And in the end, that is what you do it for. To feel satisfied after challenging and pushing yourself beyond your comfort limits, after pulling something off you doubted you would be capable off.


5 Responses to "Europe’s Great Wild: Hiking In Sarek National Park"

    Comments (5)

  1. Cottyn Johan wrote:

    Always nice to hear of experiances of others that crossed Sarek. Indeed it’s a unique place in Europe where one still can encounter real nature. We have been hiking in and around Sarek for several times and always we like to go back.

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Eef De Boeck

Welcome to Travelnorth, a blog about living and roaming around the north of Europe. My name is Eef De Boeck, I'm 26 years old and come from Belgium. 3 years ago I chose to move to Sweden and ever since I live in Northern Europe.

After finishing my studies last summer, I realised I wanted to have a different kind of life. One that would allow me to be active, be outside, be close to nature. I worked as a guide in Swedish Lapland last winter and now live in the fjords in Western Norway for the summer.

I'm fascinated about outdoor life and the world's northernmost regions. Through this blog, I hope to show you why I love this place of vast forests, tundra and ice.

More images on:

Absolute favourite hikes

Sarek National Park , Kvikkjokk to Ritsem over the Pårte massif, Sweden

Jostedalen National Park , Suppheller to Flatbrehytta, Norway

Folgefonna National Park , Sundal to Odda over the Folgefonna glacier, Norway

Blog roll

This October I am leaving on an expedition to hike 3000km across New Zealand. Follow me on:

Crossing Aotearoa

My hiking buddy and good friend Matthias challenged himself to reach the highest peaks in all 28 EU countries. Follow his progress here:

28 Summits

Everything you need to know to survive the outdoors:

Nordic Bushcraft

Amazing videos and pictures of stunning New Zealand:

Living a Kiwi Life

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