Wildlife Expedition in Sarek National Park

This is the trip that I am looking forward to the most each year. The remote feeling, the vast landscape, the silent mountains and the impressive wildlife. It is like visiting another world. Be prepared to experience raw and pure nature. Expect to make friends with the guides and the other guests around the dinner camp in the evenings.
— Marcus Eldh, founder of WildSweden
 
 

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Sarek is often called Europe's last true wilderness. A dream adventure for any true nature enthusiast!

This vast national park in the northernmost part of Sweden has no road access and can only be reached on foot or by helicopter.

You'll find yourself in awe of the stunning Arctic landscape - high, jagged mountain peaks, glaciers and endless tundra. It's remote wilderness on a gigantic scale, and the sense of isolation and peace is profound.

This grand hiking and wildlife adventure begins with a helicopter ride. Hiking into the most dramatic parts of the park takes several days, and flying in gives us more time to explore. We're surrounded by hundreds of mountains over 1,800 meters, and the contrast between rocky mountain sides, fractured glaciers and lush valleys makes for really adventurous hiking.

There will be no marked trails, no access to cabins and no cell phone coverage. Until the helicopter picks us up five nights later, it's just you, a few fellow adventurers, nature and the wild animals.

The ultimate season for wildlife in Sarek is August and September. The valley of Rapadalen is home to brown bears, lynx, wolverines, golden eagles and other large carnivores.

But most of all, this is where the largest moose in Europe roam. And with just a bit of luck we can get really close to these majestic animals.

SAREK NATIONAL PARK - THE MOST REMOTE PART OF SWEDISH LAPLAND

Sarek is part of Laponia, a huge mountainous expanse in northern Sweden that became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. With a total of 9400 km², it is the world's largest wilderness area that is still cultured by natives, the reindeer herding Sami people.

The most popular hiking trail in Laponia is the King's Trail. It's fantastic trail, however, it sees an increasing flow of hikers from all over the world. With its cabins one day apart, the King's Trail touches on the outskirts of Sarek, but it does not take you all the way in. This expedition does.

SÁPMI - THE LAND OF THE SÁMI

Known as Lapland, the native name of this area is actually Sápmi. The indigenous Sámis inhabit the region of Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola peninsula of Russia.

The plan

  • Helicopter drop in Sarek National Park, to be picked up again 5 nights later.

  • Sneak up on moose and find fresh bear tracks along the river

  • Be part of a small group of likeminded nature lovers far into the wild

  • Peek out from your tent and see the Northern Lights dance across the sky

For who

This is a hiking trip for active people who are not afraid to spend a few nights in a tent. Be prepared to carry your own backpack with only the most essential equipment such as camping gear, clothing and foods. All in all your backpack may weigh 18-20kg depending on your personal equipment such as camera equipment. Good news is that fresh water is available in the streams along the way, so there is no need to carry water.

SAFETY & COMFORT

Our local guides are very experienced, and trained wilderness first responders. They will take great care of you. They provide necessary equipment like high quality tents and warm sleeping bags, and bring a portable satellite phone so that, in the event of a serious accident, any injured person can get evacuated by a helicopter.

How hard will this be? The amount of walking each day is adapted to the group's abilities as well as the current weather conditions. We mainly hike on animal trails along a river in a lush valley. Not so much in the mountains.

You need to be fit and in a generally good condition. Still, this is not a survival expedition. After all, we are here to enjoy nature and with some lucky weather, it can be very easy and enjoyable!

We treat ourselves to several coffee breaks each day, pick berries, take time for photography and spend lazy evenings at our camp for the night. On some of the days we just do day trips and leave our backpacks behind. In this way we're able to experience Sarek in a relatively easy way.

Day 1: Arrival & introduction

We all meet up at Jokkmokk guesthouse in the late afternoon. We share a welcome dinner, followed by a few hours equipment check to make sure we are all ready for our hiking expedition.

Enjoy your bed, our grand adventure starts tomorrow!

Day 2: Helicopter drop - into the wild

After an early breakfast, we pack into the van and off we go! An hour and a half later, we arrive at Stuor Muorkke in Stora Sjöfallet National Park. We're greeted by our friendly helicopter pilot. Sit back on the wooden bench, turn off your phone and have a some coffee while the pilot prepares the helicopter for takeoff.

The short helicopter flight (20 minutes) takes us to the Rapadalen valley at the border of Sarek. It saves us a whole day of hiking and gives us more time to explore the actual park. We're sure you can imagine the views from the sky, yet again, we're quite sure you can't. Nothing prepares you for the spectacular scenery we're about to experience.

Once we are all on the ground we begin our hike to enter the park on foot. You'll be amazed how crisp the air is, the low sunlight so icy blue. On this first day we only walk a few kilometers before we set up camp.

We pitch our tents by Rapaätno river and enjoy our first dinner in the wild surrounded by crooked birch trees and majestic snow-capped mountains.

Day 3: Along the river Rapaätno

After breakfast we pack up our tents and hike along the gushing river in search for wildlife. Hiking here is fairly easy over flat terrain, with an ever-changing view of the surrounding mountains.

We follow animal trails along the river through lush birch and willow forest. We are not in a hurry and we take many breaks to watch for wildlife. This is where moose gather up at this time of the year to mate, or for the "rut". It's pure joy getting to observe the fascinating rutting behaviors of these beautiful massive animals.

We search for tracks and move in silence. Chances are really good for some exciting up-close encounters with the moose. We may also see reindeer, golden eagles, rough-legged buzzard, and for the lucky few even wolverines and brown bears through binoculars.

We enjoy lunch and pause for several coffee and photo breaks. It's an indescribable feeling simply being here, in one of the wildest and most isolated places on the planet.

In the afternoon we choose a scenic spot for our camp, with a wonderful view over the valley. We cook dinner under the stars and share our stories. There is always a chance for Northern Lights if the skies are clear.

Day 4, 5, 6: Each day a little wilder

We spend three more days of hiking, tracking, watching, photographing and having fun.

Each morning you will revel in the privilege it is to be here. But moist boots and cold temperatures may also remind you that you are far away from your comforts at home.

There will be plenty of time to just be. And we can always boil som more coffee.

If everything goes as planned we may leave the camp behind for one or two days and go for hikes without having to carry our backpacks. And if weather permits, we hike up the famous Nammatj mountain for astonishing views of the Rapa valley and the river delta. From up here we can usually spot moose grazing along the river.

Day 7: Return to civilisation

Who wants to leave? Anyone? Perhaps we're all wet and tired and can't wait for a hot shower. Perhaps we wish we had another week, or two, or three...

We use our last day to enjoy Sarek as much as we can before it's time to go. Suddenly we hear a chakk-chackk-chak-chak fill the air. It sounds strange, the noise of civilisation after so many days of silence. It's the helicopter that's come to bring us back home.

We return to Jokkmokk guesthouse, take off our hiking boots and enjoy a well-deserved shower. Then dinner with wine and beer. Soft beds, oh heaven!

DAY 8: DEPARTURE DAY

Breakfast and goodbyes. We then drive you to the train station in Boden or Murjek, or Luleå airport.

Hopefully words can't describe what we've just been through together. We started out as strangers, by now we're all good friends who will share this life-changing experience in our memories forever.

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • Experienced naturalist guides with trained eyes for spotting wildlife, that’s Matti and Marcus :)

  • Two nights at guesthouse + five nights in tent, with all meals

  • Helicopter transfer to Sarek National Park with return

  • Outdoor equipment: tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, outdoor kitchen utilities

WHEN CAN I DO THIS?

This tour has only one departure since this is the best time to do be in Sarek for wildlife, see calendar. However you can request this tour at other dates if you are a group of at least 4 persons.

ACCOMMODATION

  • We stay our first and last nights at Jokkmokk guesthouse, with standard single/double/twin room with shared bathroom.

  • Five nights in tents, single or double. To reduce weight you may choose to share tent with other participants of your own gender, if you like. We provide the following top-quality outdoor sleeping equipment: Lightweight tent, sleeping bag (3-season Nordic climate) and sleeping-mat.

FOR WHO?

Recommended minimum age is 18 years, or 15 years in company of parent. Participants should be able to walk in uneven terrain without difficulties. Walking level is medium but remember that you have to be able to carry a backpack of at least 18 kg. Walks include many stops along the way.

SMALL GROUPS FOR A MORE GENUINE EXPERIENCE

There will be max 7 persons with one guide. With two guides there may be up to 12 participants on the same tour.

LOCATION & HOW TO GET HERE

We all meet up at Jokkmokk guesthouse in Jokkmokk at 5pm.

TRAIN/BUS: I can highly recommend the night train with connecting bus, departing from Stockholm the day before the tour begins, and arriving in Jokkmokk on the next day. Note that the train ticket is not included in the rate for this tour, but we are happy to help you out. This may sound like a long way to travel, but it is a great trip and a good start of your adventure. Train travel is also much better for the environment. The train has a restaurant with basic meals, snacks and drinks. If you are unsure you can travel by train in one direction and fly in the other direction. Purchase your train tickets online at www.sj.se. The cost of the train ticket depends on which comfort you choose. The approximate rate for a bunk bed in a shared 6-bed compartment is about 2500 SEK for a return ticket if you book a month in advance. 3-bed compartment or private compartment are also available. Let me know if you need any advise. Note that the tickets for these trains are not released until about 3 months prior to departure. Before the tickets are released it may look as if everything is sold out.

AIR: Fly via Stockholm (ARN) to Luleå Airport (LLA) with SAS or Norwegian.

If you choose to fly we can arrange to meet you at Luleå airport at a surcharge. The fee is 1500 SEK per person for the transfer from Luleå with return. We will then meet you at Luleå airport at 2:30 pm for the two hours drive to Jokkmokk. You will be back at Luleå airport at around 11am on departure day, so don't plan for any return flight earlier than 1pm. You can also choose to stay an extra night in Luleå town before you return home. In that case we will take you to your hotel.

Starting point of the tour:

Jokkmokk Guesthouse, also called Villa Åsgård Address: Åsgatan 20, 962 31 Jokkmokk WGS 84: 66°36’13.8″N 19°50’3.1″E WGS 84 decimal: 66.60382, 19.834206

BOOKINGS & CANCELLATIONS

Our booking procedure is simple. Just fill in the booking form at this page. You pay a 20 percent deposit at the time of booking and the rest 45 days before you arrive.

We will manually review your booking to make sure that we still have availability. If everything is okay we will send you a confirmation by email within 24 hours. Until your booking is confirmed no payment or charges will be applied, and credit card details are held for security purposes only.

  • Cancellations can be made at no cost up to 7 days from the time of booking until 14 days prior to the start of the tour. We will provide a 100% refund.

  • Cancellations between 8 days from the time of booking and 46 days prior to the start of the tour will be charged at 25% of the booking’s total amount.

  • Cancellations between 45 days and 15 days prior to the start of the tour will be charged at 75% of the booking’s total amount.

  • Cancellations within 14 days prior to the start of the tour will be charged at 100% of the booking’s total amount.