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.

Canoeing in Rogen Nature Reserve

About 7 hours car ride from Stockholm is Rogen nature reserve with the lake Rogen at its center. There is plenty of opportunities to hike here but this is also a great place to explore by canoe. The trip described below became a 4 day tour, exploring Rogen and some of Femundsmarka on the Norwegian side.

For more information about the area, follow this link:

The trip started at Käringsjön which you find at the end of a very bad road. This is the place where we hired our canoe. For more information look at Käringsjöns Facebook page.

Canoeing in Rogen Nature Reserve

Before you reach Rogen you have to navigate through all the little lakes. Around 7 places you have to lift your canoe from one lake to another to reach Rogen. These lifts can be quite hard and breathtaking so remember to not overpack your gear. The distance between the lakes are usually short but at some places the terrain is very hard to walk with a canoe on the top of your head. Worth mention is that it is not necessary to go all the way to the lake Rogen. We found that the best places where to stay in the small lakes.

mirror like lake

Our first day we got used to the canoe and to the lifting between lakes. The weather shifts very fast here and we were happy that we got some sun. The water is very clear and drinkable so water shortage is never a problem. We were surprised that it was so quiet here. The nature around here inhabits almost all of Sweden’s animals. The chance that you will encounter bear , wolverine or some other of Sweden’s big 5 is small though. Most of the time we didn’t hear any birds singing either which made the surroundings absolutely quiet at most times.  

After 6 lifts with the canoe we made camp. The lakes was most of the time completely blank and mirrored the sky. After some food and evening fishing we went to bed and made ready for the next day when we where to reach Rogen.

Fresh Trout

The second day started with a short paddle to the last lifting point to reach Rogen. This lift was also the hardest. It is quite long and the terrain is made out of big rocks.
Rogen can be a quite treacherous lake and the conditions can change very fast. It is very wind sensitive and it can easily form waves which makes it impossible to paddle an open canoe. We were lucky on our way towards Norway with the weather, even though it quickly went from blue sky to heavy rain. We made one coffestop on the way and reached the Norwegian border around 3 hours later.

We were quite happy to leave the rather big lake Rogen and enter the smaller lake systems again that is more suitable for open canoes. There is no problem finding a good campsite here. More or less any spot is a good spot.


Third day started by heading back towards Sweden and crossing Rogen again. This time we had hard wind against us the entire time and at one point we thought we had to break since the waves started to become too big. We kept going and were very happy when we reached the end point for Rogen. Even though we took the same way going back it didn’t feel too much like we repeated ourself. The lake system is windy and there is so many coves and islands to explore. We found a nice campsite in a small lake and made a fire and swam in the clear, but cold water.


Our last day was more or less just a travel day to get back to Kärringsjön. This time it was lots of wind even on the smal lakes so we were happy we had left Rogen behind us.

Rogen Map

The picture above shows the most common route, including the 7 lifts, to reach Rogen from Kärringsjön There is possible to reach Rogen i 2 lifts but the second becomes quite long.

Rogen and its surrounding lakes is really a great place for canoeing. The lifting between the lakes can be a bit hard at times but it is definitely not a showstopper. The wilderness feeling here is absolute. In the high season you will probably encounter other people but most of the time you have the feeling of being all alone.
The surrounding is also suitable for hiking and there is trails here leading to Grövelsjön with cabins on the trails if you want to leave the tent at home.

Want more inspiration about canoeing in Scandinavia? Read more about canoeing in Malingsbo-Kloten or canoeing Svartälven.