Hiking in the Grövelsjön Mountains

Grövelsjön is situated in Sweden right at the Norwegian boarder. This is where the Swedish mountain range starts and a popular starting point for hikers. The Grövelsjön mountains are not the highest or most dramatic but still visitors come back here year after year for many reasons.
This post is describing a 3 day tour into the Grövelsjön mountains that took place in July 2020.

Too much text? Just watch the video instead.

As most hikers we started this tour at the STF Grövelsjön mountain station. A little bit rain in the air but the mood is on top. The hike starts upwards and it doesn’t take long until the trees starts to get scarser and the views starts to appear. We follow the trail towards lake Hävlingen which leads us towards our desired direction. After a bit more than an hour one have come to the lakes of Fosksjöarna. The lakes are part of a smaller lake system and one can stop here and explore the surroundings and fish in the lakes and streams if one had the time. Here we deviated from the trail and started to walk off the beaten track towards Töfsingedalen national park.

Now we also pass Storväteshogna which is Dalarnas highest peak. The peak is a simple hike to the top and can be done as a day tour starting from Grövelsjön mountain station. Deciding to leave the hike to the top for another time and went on our planned tour.

After some time we started to move down into the valley towards Töfsingedalen. Now the notorious mosquitos started to appear as well. First only some but when we where down in the valley and followed the stream of Storån they were swarming around us. No chance to stop and rest now but tried to move on to not get eaten by the mosquitos.

Storån is a very popular fishing destination. The water is quoted and only few lucky fishermen get permission to fish here and only fly fishing is permitted.

When crossing the river we now enter Töfsingedalens national park. Töfsingedalen is really something different compared to other national parks. Here there is a modest sign that indicates that you entering a national park but nothing else. There is no other sign of human impact at all like already walked trails or similar. We didn’t know much about Töfsingedalen previously but especally two things stood out. First there were all the dead trees that still stands everywhere. Old silver likes trees where the tree has been twisted over time. And the other thing that stood out was the miserable terrain with boulder fields that stretch over large parts of the park.

These boulder fields showed to be more of a challenge than we expected. Since we already had been driving the whole day and walked around 13 km we started to be a bit tired. To enter the boulder fields was testing us a bit since we needed to stay fully focused on every step one take especially since the rocks were slippery from the rain. In the beginning there is no big problems. But the fields just go on and on and one realize that this will take much longer than expected and there is no indication that one will leave this rough terrain, quite the contradictory, it’s just keep on coming.

Inside Töfsingedalens National Park

On the way through the park one is passing some neat small lakes. And after some more time we finally we reach lake Töfsingen which is just outside the national park boarders. Now we had to round the lake and start head up towards the mountain again to find some place where we could set camp. Rounding the lake once again includes to move through some rough boulder fields. On the north side of the lake there where some huts and a few 100 meters north again another cabin where we stayed to make some dinner and dry up.

On the next day we where once again filled with optimism, forgotten everything from the tough day we had behind us. Slowly start to hike up towards the mountain again and for now happy to leave Töfsingedalen behind us. The temperature was around 10 degrees and no rain which was welcome. The views starts to appear once again and we could see the cabin of Storrödtjärn at the distance. We set course towards the north point of lake Hävlingen where we would cross to the other side and then start hike back towards Grövelsjön.

When heading down towards the lake the boulder fields started to appear again and, just as the previous day, our progress went much slower than anticipated. A bit later than expected we crossed to the west side of Hävlingen. Here we found that there was some cosy cabins one could use. Still had some kilometers to hike until we felt we would be ready for the day so we kept on moving. Since the next day would include a long drive we didn’t want to have a too long hike the last day. Ended up setting camp at a nice lake about 7 kilometers from Grövelsjön mountain station. The timing was perfect since there was some heavy rain coming in.

The next day there wasn’t too much to do other than take down camp and hike the last kilometers towards Grövelsjön. A bit sad that the trip was coming to an end but very happy for the time we had spent in the Grövelsjön mountains. When getting closer to the mountains station one could see how the trails are getting wider and starting to meet other hikers. Most of them where daytrippers with base at the Grövelsjön mountain station.
The trip had been a bit harder than we first had anticipated but those are often the most memorable.

Hamra National Park – 2 days in Hamra

Ormtjärn at Hamra

Hamra national park is one of Swedens smallest, and quite possibly, most anonymous parks in Sweden. The original park was founded 1909 together with 8 other parks. These were the first national parks ever founded in Europe. The original national park is tiny and can be seen in just a matter of hours. But 2011 the park was extended and became almost 50 times bigger even though it still one of Swedens smallest national parks. The park consists mainly of old forrest and wetlands.

Don’t want to read the full text? Just watch the video instead.

This trip started at the main entrance of the park. One thing that instantly stood out was how few visitors there was and how few cars where at the parking lot. A good start for any wilderness trip. Compared with other national parks like Fulufjället where one could expect a minor traffic chaos in the year of 2020 this was a refreshing turn to the better.

Hamra is part of one of the bear densest areas in Sweden but it is still quite rear to actually see a bear. But when hiking in the area the knowledge that a bear could be around next corner is ever present.

When leaving the main entrance one quickly got the feeling of being in the wild rather at a tourist attraction. Appart from a well marked trail there weren’t really any other signs of human impact. Since it mainly goes through wetlands it is nice to have the trail supported with boards to walk on. The mosquito situation was not great but nothing out of the ordinary. The little buggers where there, as one could expect in the wetlands, but not in a way that made the trip unpleasant.

After about 30 minutes down the Hamra trail you find yourself in an area affected by bushfires. I later found out that this area had deliberately been put on fire to attract new animals and growth. After the fire many new insects arrive and the woodpeckers comes after.

At Ormtjärn there is a shelter that can be used with a fireplace provided. It is only at these designated fireplaces one is allowed to start a fire and firewood is provided. One thing that surprised me about Hamra is the amount of cloudberries. These berries are very popular for picking and good spots are hard to find. But here in Hamra there where cloudberries everywhere but they weren’t quite ripe yet for another week or two. Cloudberries, along with most other berries too, can be a bit seasonal and can shift from year to year but guessing 2020 was a particularly good year.

It seemed as i had Hamra national park all by my self and i continued deeper into the park. Nice wether, views and lots of birds made the whole hike very enjoyable. And still surprised about the absence of other people. In fact i didn’t meet another person on the two days apart from where i started and finished. Instead it was mainly the little birds that kept me company.

I went to check the other shelter that exist in the park near one of the other entrance to the park. Since it was empty and i felt that i most likely would be there by myself i decided to set up camp there. This is the second spot in the park, apart from Ormtjärn, where you are allowed to start a fire which can be nice. Again firewood is provided.

When done setting up camp it was time for some dinner and relax. But when it got towards dusk it was time to get out on an evening hike which followed the loop trail “långa myrslingan”. This part was for me the most enjoyable on the trip where you got the best views over the wetlands. Continuously looking to see if you can get a glimpse of a bear but without luck.

Along the trail “stora myrslingan” there is a lookout tower. A perfect place to get the full overview and enjoying the sunset.

After the evening hike it was time to get back to camp and see the last rays of sun disappear. This was during July and the days are long with short nights. I wasn’t expecting it to be as cold as it became during the night. I wasn’t expecting the temperature to go down as much as to 4 degrees and i got a bit colder than i expected during the night. But since the nights are short i knew that the sun was on its way to help out soon again.

The next morning i woke up warm and to nice weather again. Put down the camp and started to hike back to where i started. It was almost the same way as walked the previously day. Hamra continued to show up it self from its best side and enjoyed all the little birds that one saw along the wetlands.

When i got back to the main entrance where i had started the day before i took a tour into the original national park from 1909. Now there were some other visitors around visiting the parks for a day trip. The original part of the park is made up of forrest and it was protected to save a part of forrest that had not been affected by humans.

On this trip i had seen about half of the Hamra national park. The part that i had missed out on is the eastern part which follows the small river of Svartån. So next visit in the park it will be from the eastern part and follow the stream towards the wetlands.