The importance of topographic microvariability in influencing shallow (10–50 cm depths) soil temperature regimes in arctic–alpine Kärkevagge, northern Sweden, from August 1999 to July 2000 is demonstrated using six sites. The ground microclimate on the tops of very large boulders forming an extensive boulder field in the central valley bottom is more comparable to that at an alpine ridge–crest site 300 m higher than it is to the microclimate at the base of one of the boulders. The boulder crests also differ substantially from the more generalized valley–bottom conditions outside the boulder field. Assuming that chemical processes may be active at temperatures at or above 0°C, sites in the valley experience favorable conditions from 159 to 324 days of the year. Aside from the annual cycle, freeze–thaw cycles are infrequent within Kärkevagge.