Canoeing Svartälven

Svartälven, which translates to black river, is a river that runs through parts of Dalarna and Värmland in Sweden. The river is around 125 km long but is part of a larger water system so the total waterway is much longer. The surrounding area is rich with iron which makes the water get a blackish colour and hence its name.

There are multiple routes you can paddle in Svartälven but the most common choice is to take the 4 day tour between Tyfors and Hällefors which is 51 km long. On this route you paddle on lakes as well as small meandering water surrounded by forrest. Even though it is a river there is no current what so ever. The most natural way to paddle is in the direction of the flow but it could be done just as easy the opposite way.


Preferences could of course differ but most would agree that the best parts of the paddle are when the river narrows and starts serpentine. Here you get closer to the forrest and the wilderness feeling increases. Since you are surrounded by forrest there is little wind in these passage so the river is most of the time flat as a mirror. There is chance to take a detour into an even smaller river, Tvärälven. If you choose to explore Tvärälven then it is best to extend the trip a day.


There is big chance to see beaver at svartälven. On dusk or dawn you will most likely see one and you will see traces along the river. The area has a big population of moose so there is always a good chance to spot one as well. You can fish if you buy a permit for a few SEK. Expect to get some pike or perch.

Passing through a smal community.

There is a road that more or less follows the river. Even though it very little traffic on the road you still get reminded of civilisation from time to time. There are some houses on the trail, especially at the lakes, and you will pass one smal community (Älvsjöhyttan). Here you can fill up your water reserve and visit the privy.

Short compilation from a 4 day tour on Svartälven.

The upside of this canoe trail is that it is close to Stockholm and in many ways easy accessible. There are some camping grounds on the trail and shelters to sleep in. There are a few lifts on the way but they are quite easy and if you have a canoe wagon then there is no problem at all since the lifting ports goes on gravel roads. All in all canoeing on Svartälven is a a fun end easy adventure that even beginners can enjoy. If you are a more experienced paddler or looking for a wilder experience then there might be better options.

Want more inspiration about canoeing in Scandinavia? Read more about canoeing in Rogen or the Malingsbo-Kloten area here.