Hemavan Tärnby

Our packrafting adventure in the Hemavan Tärnby area started where the Kungsleden ends or begins. Over 8000 years old artefacts have been found in the Vindelfjällens Naturreservat and it is one of the largest protected areas in Europe.

We planned five days, of which we hiked two days and paddled with our packrafts in the Ältsån and Tärnaån rivers for three days. On this trip we saw reindeer, eagles circling in the sky and a packraft falling down a waterfall without a paddler.

Hiking in the Hemavan area

After driving our car past Hemavan on Blå vägen, we made a brief stop at a waterfall where one of our group wanted to paddle down on the last day. We continued driving a few kilometers, parked our car, packed our things and started hiking.

We took our first break after hiking 3km and were immediately attacked by mosquitoes. That day we had to hike through swamps, bushes, birch forests and streams. We also found reindeer antlers just before setting up our first camp.

Camping on a fell in the Hemavan Tärnby region.

From our first campsite we had a scenic view of the fells and the sunset.

The next morning I woke up at 7am. We had fantastic sunny weather again. For breakfast I ate a cup of tea and Lapland bread with cheese.

After I packed my gear and cleaned my dishes we started to climb the fell. When we got to the top we had a great view of the area. On the way up we also found some remains of a lemming and lots of frogs.

The distance to a nearby waterfall seemed quite short, but it was a long walk to get there. When I go packrafting in Lapland, I usually wear sandals when hiking, as they are lighter and can also get wet. The hiking boots always stay at home.

Great view in the Hemavan Tärnby region.

On our way streams provided us with fresh drinking water. As we reached the top of the fell, a new landscape opened before us. On a patch of snow we spotted a herd of reindeer. As far as I know, the reindeer stand on the snow to protect themselves from mosquitoes. When we reached the lake Nedre Ältsvattnet, we then paddled along the river Ältsån, where we set up camp in the afternoon.

Hemavan Tärnby
Reindeer in Hemavan Tärnby

The next morning the sun was hiding behind the clouds and we were waiting until later in the afternoon to dry our gear, hoping for better weather.

We were lucky and the sun got pretty intense in the afternoon while packrafting. Then we saw a beautiful sandy beach in front of us where we pitched out tents. Some of us went swimming, others made a campfire. This was the best campsite of this trip.

Hemavan Tärnby
Sand beach in Hemavan Tärnby

We also had a brief rain shower but were rewarded with a beautiful rainbow afterwards while listening to country songs around the campfire.

Hemavan Tärnby
Rainbow in Hemavan Tärnby

The next morning our tents were covered with fog. The night was bitterly cold, but moments later the sun came out again and we had a beautiful day on the river.

Hemavan Tärnby
Packrafting in Hemavan Tärnby

Eventually we reached the end of a long lake where we saw newly built bridges, a few hikers and fishermen. The lake was about 12 km long and at the end there was a rapid where we also discovered a cottage of the Swedish king.

I asked the housekeeper if we could take a break here. He agreed and we started preparing our lunch. The landscape with the mountains was beautiful again, but after an hour we continued our journey.

Hemavan - Sweden
Fantastic view towards the snow covered fells

As we approached the waterfall, one of our group got unlucky and couldn’t paddle back to the river bank. He had to drop his packraft and backpack to save himself from the waterfall. Luckily we found his packraft right under the waterfall circling. One of our group was also a keen climber and helped recover the packraft. A few kilometers further down the river we found the backpack.

Hemavan Tärnby
Hemavan Tärnby

At the end of this adventure we rented a cabin for 800 Swedish kroner at Tärnaby Camping, where we dried our gear and looked forward to the sauna. We had really great days behind us!