The course is following the classic Swedish trekking trail called Kungsleden (the King’s Trail) between Nikkaluokta and Abisko. The 120 km class has a detour up to Tarfala. Total course length is 107 km, 1600 vertical meters for Kungsleden and approximately 125 km and 2500 vertical meters for the Tierra Artcic Ultra 120 km course.
GPX files for the short course (please note that as this is created from earlier particpants, we take no responsibility for any errors). GPX-file for the long course is not available because the oourse is slightly altered since last year.
After the start in Nikkaluokta, the trail winds through mountain birch forests and over plank-crossed bogs. At the six-kilometre mark you will run along side lake Ladtjojaure. After a few more kilometres, the trail becomes much more narrow and more rocky. The view of the craggy top of Tuolpagorni with its characteristic snow-filled bowl dominates a large portion of this stretch. An almost magical view. The trail crosses so many streams that you do not have to run long to reach the next spring. You will see the Kebnekaise Mountain Lodge in the distance. Those who run the long course turn right, up along the Tarfala valley, about 1.5 km before the lodge. The course continues with an 8 km long climb up to the checkpoint, at the northern edge of Tarfalajaure. Four glaciers are located on the west side of Tarfala valley, of which Storglaciären is the most well known and one of the best studied glaciers in the world. After the checkpoint in Tarfala you return the same path and reconnect to the trail to Kebnekaise Mountain Lodge.
This is where the fantastic mountains start to rise majestically into the air and you enter into one of the most beautiful valleys of the race. Only one kilometre after the Kebnekaise Mountain Station you start to feel that you have entered into the wilderness and you pass Tuolpagorni.
Toulpagorni is the most impressive peak of Kebnekaise and is probably Sweden's most photographed mountain. It stretches 1,662 meters above sea level and not only has a prominent position, but also resembles a large bowl, which is often filled with snow.
The path winds along the slightly sloping foot of Kebnekaise. The massive sides of the mountains frame the trail along the stream in the valley. At first, the path is easy and the stream runs quietly alongside, but the terrain soon becomes more and more rocky. The path continues slightly uphill until about 3 km before the Singi Mountain Hut. Here the longer and the shorter course split into different directions.
The long course: Run to the right and the uphill will continue almost 200 meters of altitude up to the lake at 980 MASL. After that follows a long and initially quite steep descent down to Kungsleden (The King’s Trail), roughly 2 km north of the Singi Mountain Hut
The short course Continues straight to the west, first a short uphill and then downhill to the Singi Mountain Hut. Singi lies open and bare in the shadow of Ladtjovagge and Tjäktjavagge. Singi is the crossroads for trails that lead in all four directions. You are arriving from the east and Kebnekaise; Hukejaure lies to the west. Kungsleden runs south to Vakkotavare and Saltoluokta and, to the north, in the direction Tierra Artcic Ultra turns, to Abisko.
At the Singi Mountain Hut, you will merge with the main Kungsleden trail. This spot is passed by many trekkers every day during the high season in July. Face the north and continue running. At first the path twists and turns, but once you come up over the crown at the reindeer enclosure, the valley opens with an expansive view. From here, the longer and the shorter course go together. The run from here is easy with soft uphill and downhill terrain. On a cloudless day, you can catch a glimpse of the snow-clad northern peak of Kebnekaise to the right.
Once you reach the Koupertjåkka lean-to, you are halfway to the checkpoint at the Sälkastugor cabins. From the bridge, you can see the unique characteristics of the Drakryggen (Dragonback) mountain. The last stretch into Sälka seems like it never ends. The landscape does not change very much and the path crawls forward in zigzags. But here there are plenty of streams to drink from and wonderful spots to take a rest. Take a moment to enjoy the mountains at their best! The Sälka Mountain hut easily lands on the top ten list of the most beautiful STF cabins.
The stretch to the Tjäkja Pass offers nice running. The Tjäktja Pass is one of the more strenuous parts of the run. The Pass's highest point, which is also the Kungsleden trail's highest point, reaches 1,140 m.a.s.l. On the other side of the Tjäktja Pass stretches a fascinating and very unique moonscape. Stay on the planks. Balancing on the stones wears down your feet. The trail does not pass the Tjäktja Mountain Hut, which is on the left side of the creek. The trail continues approximately 1.5 km to the checkpoint, not far from the Sielmmajiira stream.
From the checkpoint, the path heads down through grassy moors to Alisätno. The entire stretch to Alesjaure and the cabin is easy running that is surrounded by greenery. There are many streams to drink from and already at the halfway point you can see the cabins up in the distance at the entrance to the lake Alesjaure.
Follow the signs to Abiskojaure and stay on the left side of the Alesjaure lake. Otherwise you will inevitably end up at a ford with a strong current at the edge of the lake, which we do not recommend.
Here the terrain is flatter than before and the interlocking lakes on the right-hand side dominate the landscape. Willow shrubs and mountain moors edge the trail. Immediately before the reindeer enclosure you can fill up your water bottles. This is the last opportunity for about six kilometres, not counting the creek just after the enclosure that may or may not have running water.
The path along the side of the Kartinvare mountain is slightly at a slant and many find the hill down to the birch forest difficult. The checkpoint is situated just after the bridge over Siellajåkka.
About one kilometre after the checkpoint, you will arrive at the Abisko National Park. When you arrive at Abiskojaure, follow the trail to the lake's south-eastern shoreline. For anyone interested in botany, the surroundings are overflowing with both well-known and less-well-known flowers. The shady birch forest is a wonderful break from the mountain moors and the ground is well trodden and flat. The path follows the Abiskojåkka river. The finish line is not at the wooden arch marking the end of the Kungsleden trail. You need to take a sharp left and run under the road, even though the station and the finish line can be glimpsed straight ahead. Hang in there. At the finish line, cheers, a medal and something to eat are waiting for you. At Saturday morning, after a well-deserved rest, a brunch is served.