Sarek Overview

Sarek National Park, nestled in the heart of the Swedish Lapland, stands as one of Europe’s last true wilderness areas. Established in 1909, it is one of the oldest national parks in Europe, covering an impressive area of approximately 1,970 square kilometers (about 761 square miles). The park is part of the larger Laponia area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site recognized for its unique combination of natural beauty and cultural heritage, particularly its significance to the Indigenous Sami people who have used the land for thousands of years.

Sarek is famed for its rugged and remote landscape, which includes over 200 peaks rising above 1,800 meters (5,900 feet), of which 100 are virgin summits, never having been climbed. The park is also home to nearly 100 glaciers, adding to its dramatic alpine scenery. Sarek’s wild rivers, deep valleys, and extensive network of trails offer unparalleled opportunities for experienced hikers and mountaineers seeking adventure in an untouched natural environment.

The biodiversity within Sarek National Park is equally remarkable. It serves as a sanctuary for a wide range of Arctic flora and fauna, including large populations of reindeer, which are central to the Sami way of life. Predators such as bears, lynxes, and wolverines roam freely, while the skies are patrolled by golden eagles and gyrfalcons.

Access to Sarek National Park is intentionally kept limited to preserve its pristine condition. There are no marked trails or accommodations within the park boundaries, making it a destination for those who are well-prepared and experienced in wilderness travel. The challenging conditions and lack of facilities are part of what makes Sarek a haven for true wilderness exploration, offering a sense of solitude and connection with nature that is increasingly rare in today’s world.

Sarek National Park is not just a natural wonder but also a cultural treasure, embodying the deep connection between the land and the Sami people, Europe’s only Indigenous people. For visitors, it offers a profound experience of the Arctic wilderness, where the majesty of nature can be seen and felt in its most raw and powerful form.

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Park Map
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Sarek National Park Pictures

Sarek National Park Trails

Rapadalen Valley Route

Rating: Strenuous

Distance and Elevation Gain: Varies, typically around 60 miles (97 km) for full valley treks, with significant elevation gain depending on the route

Description: This challenging route takes hikers through the heart of Sarek, featuring breathtaking views of the Rapadalen Valley’s deep gorges and meandering rivers.

Hikers will navigate unmarked terrain, cross glacial rivers, and may encounter diverse wildlife.

The area’s stark beauty and isolation provide a profound wilderness experience.

Pårte to Aktse

Rating: Moderate to Strenuous

Distance and Elevation Gain: Approximately 25 miles (40 km), with variable elevation gain

Description: Linking the eastern edge of Sarek with the Laponia area, this trail offers stunning views of the Skierffe cliff and the Rapa River delta.

Hikers can experience a mix of terrains, from mountainous paths to dense forests. This route requires good navigation skills and river crossing techniques.

Sarek Alpine Traverse Trek

Rating: Strenuous

Distance and Elevation Gain: Varies, up to 100 miles (160 km) or more, with significant elevation gain across alpine terrain

Description: For the ultimate Sarek adventure, this traverse covers some of the park’s highest peaks and largest glaciers.

Hikers will encounter challenging conditions, including steep passes and snow fields, requiring advanced mountaineering skills and self-sufficiency.

The rewards are unparalleled views and solitude.

Mount Skierffe Hike

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: About 8 miles (13 km) round trip from Aktse, with an elevation gain of 1,800 feet (550 meters)

Description: Although technically just outside Sarek in the bordering Stora Sjöfallet National Park, the hike to Mount Skierffe offers one of the most iconic views of the Sarek wilderness, overlooking the Rapa Valley.

The trail is more accessible and marked compared to Sarek’s interior routes, making it a popular day hike.

Sarvesvagge Valley Hike

Rating: Strenuous

Distance and Elevation Gain: Varies, typically 30-50 miles (48-80 km), with variable elevation gain

Description: This route explores the remote Sarvesvagge valley, known for its diverse landscapes, from open valleys to sharp peaks and glaciers.

Hikers can experience true wilderness, with opportunities to see reindeer and enjoy the solitude of one of Europe’s last great wilderness areas.

Advanced navigation skills and preparation for river crossings are essential.

  • All Trails, Best Trails in Sarek National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Backpacker, Sarek National Park, Sweden,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Britannica, Sarek National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Sweden, Sarek National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • The Hiking Life, Sarek National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • UNESCO, Laponian Area,, retrieved April 2024.