Sarek the alpine region
So vast, so wild, so breathtakingly beautiful!
You will also find characteristic traces of an ancient Sami culture and a unique plant and animal life, with big game such as bear, lynx, wolverine and the towering Sarek moose. Sarek is not for the beginner perhaps, but for the more daring type who prefers the open wilderness, a rich reward a waits…
Sarek National Park was founded in 1909 and is an extensive area of trackless wilderness sporting unique beauty situated east of the Norwegian border in West Lapland. Together with the adjoining Stora Sjöfallet and Padjelanta National Parks, Sarek forms Europe’s largest national park with an area covering more than 3,355 square miles of unspoiled wilderness.
Sarek is an alpine region with dramatic mountain massifs and narrow valleys, glaciers and free-flowing watercourses. There are no less than 200 mountains over 5,906 feet high, and over 100 glaciers in the national park.
Sarek’s “artery” is the famous and beautiful Rapadalen, with the river Rapaätno that carries a huge flow of green glacier water from around 30 glaciers. Sarek is characterized by the unparalleled variety of the natural surroundings, from open views with undulating mountain plateaus and marshy moorland, gentle mountain ridges, dense primeval forests and expansive areas of surface water to the sharp peaks and narrow ravines of the high mountain region.
The great valleys provide rich animal life, with excellent chances of encountering the particularly grand Sarek moose along with predatory animals such as bear, wolverine and lynx. Sarek is also home to the unique remains of an ancient Sami culture, which show evidence of centuries of reindeer herding. Together with four other national parks, Sarek is included in a gigantic area of more or less unspoiled wilderness that goes under the generic name of Laponia and is considered by the Sami population as their own nation.
Laponia was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, for its nature conservation value and for its status of being a region of native Sámi. Due to its inaccessibility, lack of roads, bridges, and overnight accommodation cabins as well as its quick, dramatic weather changes, Sarek is not recommended for beginners. Hikers should have hiking experience and the correct equipment. Reaching Sarek is easiest via Kvikkjokk from the north or Saltoluokta from the south. You can also reach northern Sarek by boat from Ritsem.