Kiruna V, Sweden

Hike on Lake Torneträsk

5.8 Miles Total - 0 ft gain - Loop Trail

Originally added by Jonathon Reed

Spend a day wandering on the ice of Lake Torneträsk beneath the Gates of Lapland and the tundra of northern Sweden. Take in the stillness of winter on a glacier-carved lake in the Arctic Circle.

Lake Torneträsk lies near the western fjords of Norway in the heart of the Scandinavian Mountains. It is best known for being a destination to view the northern lights, but is also a beautiful area to explore during the day.

Begin at the Abisko Östra train station and follow one of the many snowmobile tracks downhill to the lake. The ice is frozen from December to June and can get to be a metre-and-a-half thick. On any given day you're likely to have solid ice and clear conditions, making this an easy, beautiful hike. If you have cross-country skis or perhaps snowshoes feel free to use them, but really you don't need anything more than winter boots to navigate the flat, windswept ice of the lake.

Where you go is up to you. There's a small unnamed island north of Abisko that makes for a good spot to check out, as well as the canyon and waterfall of the Abiskojåkka River near Abisko Turiststation. Ask some locals or fellow travellers if there's a break in the ice anywhere—when I visited there was a well-known stretch of ice that had shifted and frozen a metre-high shelf that was very cool to see.

While you're on the lake, it's not uncommon to hear cracking and shifting sounds as the lake continues to move and freeze underneath your feet. If you're visiting in the midst of winter, however, the ice is very thick and there is no danger.

If you decide to stay for sunrise or sunset, be prepared for a very long wait. When you're so far north, the sun moves almost horizontally, rather than the vertical movement you might be used to at lower latitudes.

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