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The Northern Section — European Divide Trail

European Divide Trail

The Northern Section — European Divide Trail

Mountain Biking Collection by European Divide Trail

13

Tours

181:51 h

1,742 mi

70,350 ft

From Grense Jakobselv in Norway to Cabo St Vincent in Portugal, the European Divide Trail is the longest predominantly off-road bikepacking route in the world at over than 7,500 kilometres (4,660 miles), put together by Andy Cox, aka Doubletrackfanatic.

Starting from the most northerly point of the European Divide Trail, the first section takes in Norway, Finland and Sweden, spanning 2,884 kilometres (1,792 miles) from the Arctic Ocean to the city of Gothenburg. These countries are dominated by forests, lakes and rivers, and many kilometres of dirt roads. Compared to the other two sections, it is less mountainous, with the highest point at 700 metres (2,297 feet).

This section has by far the longest distances between services, at a maximum of 250 kilometres (155 miles) between grocery stores. Make sure you're prepared for every weather condition, as even in high summer it can be surprisingly cold if it's overcast or raining. It's also a wise idea to be prepared for biting insects as that can get really bad at times.

It's recommended to start in the far north at the beginning of June, as there could still be snow about if you set off any earlier. If you're heading up from the south, aim to finish at the northern tip by the middle of September. You can take flights from Oslo to Kirkenes, 60 kilometres (37 miles) from Grense Jakobselv at the northern tip.

Check out the full European Divide Trail Collection and other sections here: komoot.com/user/europeandividetrail/collections

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European Divide Trail (North)

1,738 mi

70,125 ft

70,150 ft

Last updated: December 8, 2021

Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Stage 1: Arctic Ocean to Väylä — European Divide Trail

    Difficult
    13:08
    130 mi
    9.9 mph
    5,150 ft
    4,750 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    This first section takes you from the Russian/Norwegian border and the edge of the Arctic Ocean into the interior of Lapland.

    

    Characterised by bare rock, scrubby trees, bogs and lakes, and the magnificent Fjords it's a surprisingly diverse area. Also even though you are way up into the Arctic Circle

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    12:05
    116 mi
    9.6 mph
    3,500 ft
    3,250 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    This is the longest stretch without services on the whole European Divide Trail, and while there a couple of small hamlets where you might find a meal or accommodation, there's not much in-between except trees, reindeer, mosquitoes and more trees.

    

    This is a national highway in Finland, but there's not

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    12:30
    122 mi
    9.7 mph
    3,450 ft
    3,100 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    Once reaching Kittilä, the coldest place in Finland (-51.5°C), the gravel begins, and so do the hills.

    

    Enjoy the amazing dirt roads climbing over ridge after ridge with views across to higher ground to the south and west, towards the Swedish and Norwegian borders.

    

    There's a few wilderness cabins you can

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    12:45
    127 mi
    9.9 mph
    3,700 ft
    3,400 ft
    Ferry
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    Stage 4 is another long section with no services but with a free ferry crossing, and this one involves quite a

    lot of dirt road riding, so expect a slower pace and not much passing traffic.

    

    With bigger climbs and valleys, huge rivers run off the border mountains towards the Baltic sea, which are often

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    12:47
    119 mi
    9.3 mph
    4,950 ft
    5,175 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    You'll ride along some wild roads and trails on Stage 5. Big rivers, hydroelectric power plants and their accompanying reservoirs, and some beautiful country.

    

    Then it's into the first proper town in Sweden, Jokkmokk. It's a relatively bustling town just inside the Arctic circle with plenty of services

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    15:13
    154 mi
    10.1 mph
    4,675 ft
    4,725 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    There's more wild country and off-road riding between towns optimises this area of Sweden, climbing over ridges, descending down to rivers, then repeat.

    

    Services are relatively frequent now, so no need to carry more than a couple of days of food with you.

    

    Look out for signs by the side of the roads marked

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    15:54
    135 mi
    8.5 mph
    7,775 ft
    7,475 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    An extended period of dirt roads heading towards the mountains of Jämtland now. This is a particularly empty area of Sweden with a minimal population and some of the harshest weather and wildest landscapes.

    

    In places the trails become vague, but they always link back onto hard packed tracks eventually

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    12:17
    125 mi
    10.1 mph
    5,250 ft
    5,600 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    There's more of the same type of terrain, with seemingly endless dirt and gravel roads, forest, hills, lakes and rivers on Stage 8.

    

    It gets a little monotonous after a while but a change is coming soon, as the next sections are some of the prettiest and most interesting, so just keep going!

    

    Once again

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    15:37
    132 mi
    8.5 mph
    6,125 ft
    6,125 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Ride through more forests and past lakes and rivers, and finally find a few large settlements with more than one grocery store to choose from. There's also numerous accommodation options and other services you might require.

    

    With some excellent trails and reasonable views, why not keep things interesting

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    16:04
    134 mi
    8.3 mph
    5,625 ft
    5,100 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The end of the most tedious stretch of the whole route is near at hand, as you're almost into the Swedish ski areas next to the Norwegian border.

    

    Sveg is the largest town with all the services you need and even a bike shop, of sorts. It's not on the route but you can easily make the detour there and back

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    13:45
    126 mi
    9.2 mph
    5,425 ft
    5,425 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Wild and empty lands, mountains and ski resorts, and hunters searching for moose are what you'll find out here. The Norwegian border is really close and while there's a fair bit of road riding across this area, the dirt roads and mountain views make up for it. Rörbäcksnäs is a pretty little town with

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    13:13
    130 mi
    9.8 mph
    6,350 ft
    7,425 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The last stretch of high country is crossed on Stage 12 before dropping down into an almost lush valley with a huge river, the Klaräven, and proper farmland for the first time on this route.

    

    You are out almost out of the rain shadow of the Swedish Norwegian border mountains, so the humidity is higher

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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  • Difficult
    16:32
    195 mi
    11.8 mph
    8,425 ft
    8,800 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    The last stretches of true wildness seem to end around here, but you'll be surprised how wild the higher areas are as you get closer to the first big city of the route.

    

    Plenty of open farmland and a relatively high population nearby mean that this area is more difficult to find go quality tracks that

    by Doubletrackfanatic

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    13
  • Distance
    1,742 mi
  • Duration
    181:51 h
  • Elevation
    70,350 ft

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The Northern Section — European Divide Trail

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