Feeling like a hike on the coast of Sweden?
Look no further than Skuleskogens National Park, established in 1984, and located along the beautiful coast of Sweden. This 3000 hectare park is also known as the High Coast, or Höga Kusten in Swedish, and was named a World Heritage Site in 2000. It has a diverse landscape, formed dramatically from the last glacial period in Northern Europe. Sitting under a sheet of ice three kilometers thick, the land was shaped by pressure, land upheaval, and wave action of an ancient sea. Today, the region is comprised of cobble fields, expansive red Nordingrå granite plateaus, and plunging chasms. Lush pine and spruce forests spread over the surrounding rolling hills. What beautiful landscape for a hike!
How do you get there?
There are several ways to access Skuleskogens; the western, northern, and southern entrances. Coming from Umeå, it took me around two hours to drive the 150 kilometers to the southern entrance of the National Park along the main E4 highway. From Stockholm, it is a bit more of an adventure, since it is about 500 kilometers away, and takes around five hours on the road.
Time for some trails!
A series of trails meander through the park, one of them being the High Coast Trail, which passes through its center. This trail, moving to the interior of the country, spans 126 kilometers between Hornöberget and Örnsköldsvik. It is a stunning hike that gives way to a dramatic landscape, and has cabins to sleep in along the way.
Where did I hike?
Entering the National Park from the south entrance, we took the Avstickare trail, a small detour from the High Coast trail, up the Slåttdalsberget mountain to get spectacular views of the coastline and forests. The trail began on a densely forested path with a boardwalk zigzagging between the trees. Gradually it turned into a scramble past fields of wave washed rocks and up a series of granite plateaus to the flat topped summit of Slåttdalsberget.
A little adventure….
It had snowed the night before our hike, it but warmed slightly over the day, and consequently was it was a bit icy. As we made our frightening descent down the backside of the mountain, we slipped and slid to the base, desperately hanging on to lone spruce trees that dared to grow through the granite outcroppings.
Into the deep
Wedged in between the base of the mountains is the famous Slåttdalsskreven chasm. Its opening revealed at the last moment by a set of stairs, the crevice plunges downward, sheer rock walls diving into the earth below. It was silent, except for the occasional drip of the icicles hanging on to the edge high above. This particular chasm grew in fame after it was alluded to in the 1984 movie Ronia the Robber’s Daughter, or Ronja Røverdatter. This movie was based on the well known Swedish fantasy novel by Astrid Lindgren.
Get your hiking shoes on!
My loop took only around four hours at a leisurely pace, with many photo stops, and a fika break or two. I would highly recommend taking a trip to Skuleskogens. It is a wonderful National Park with manageable trails that let you enjoy the landscape, the views and wildlife, and fresh coastal air!