Awakening to the sound of birdcalls, a misty shroud floating upon the waters of the lake opposite – this is something you only experience when you get far enough away from civilisation. The beauty of living in a rural area of Sweden is that you can get these experiences within just an hour or two. Glaskogen Nature Reserve is a place that is quite underrated. Unlike Tiveden National Park, it’s not mentioned in Lonely Planet’s guidebook on Sweden, for example. So you have to know someone who’s been there to let you in on the secret.
This trip to Glaskogen was my first time camping in Sweden and I found it to be a rejuvenating and magical experience. The reserve is located in the Värmland region of Sweden, about a one and a half hour drive from Karlstad. It contains 28,000 hectares of pure wilderness. There are around 300km of hiking trails that wind past lakes, over modest mountains and through forest inhabited by some of Sweden’s shy and retiring wildlife, including lynxes, wolves, foxes and elk. Norway has its majestic fjords and snow-capped mountains but in Glaskogen you find the simple kind of beauty that characterises the real Sweden: calm lakes, dense forests. You don’t come here to be awed beyond belief; but you do come here to feel completely free, at one with nature and at peace with yourself.
Norway has its majestic fjords and snow-capped mountains but in Glaskogen you find the simple kind of beauty that characterises the real Sweden: calm lakes, dense forests. You don’t come here to be awed beyond belief; but you do come here to feel completely free, at one with nature and at peace with yourself.
There are a multitude of lakes in the Reserve and we picked a relatively short loop of around 7km starting from Lerbråten that wound its way beside the shoreline of Lake Stora Gla. The undergrowth for the first half of the walk is overgrown and scratchy if you’re not wearing long pants, so I had to stop and change out of my shorts.
Eventually the path opens up more and takes you along the edges of lake Stora Gla, where you’ll eventually stumble across a couple of wind shelters and campfires where it’s possible to spend the night.
The place is relatively deserted. There were a couple of campers nearby when we arrived but they soon departed in canoes across the lake. Other than that, there was only a lone fisherman who called it a night as the sun began to set. Then we were alone with the wildlife.
It was during this trip to Glaskogen that I actually came up with the idea for Researcher Gone Rogue. I’d had the idea to start a travel blog for months (no, years) but I’d failed to come up with a good name. I’d been having a tough week at work and getting out into nature seems to be exactly what I needed to be inspired! As a researcher by day and avid traveller, Researcher Gone Rogue seemed like the perfect name for a travel blog. So if you’re facing writer’s block or just a general lack of inspiration in your life, I can recommend heading out to Glaskogen to cure your woes. The fresh air, the silence and living the simple life for a single weekend will do you the world of good, I promise.
How to get to Glaskogen Nature Reserve
Glaskogen is in western Värmland, not far from Arvika. There are a lot of turns so you’ll definitely need to use Google Maps to find your way. The easiest route is to take the E18 west from Karlstad towards Grums and then turn off onto route 61. Continue northwest past Kil and through Arvika, from which you will need to turn onto route 172 and head south towards the Reserve.
What to take with you
Comfortable walking shoes, camping equipment (if you plan to overnight in the park), your Glaskogen card (purchase one for 50SEK at a tourist or information centre in Karlstad or one of the nearby towns such as Arvika or Säffle), insect repellant. I’d recommend purchasing a map of the Reserve from the tourist centre in Karlstad or one of the information centres in a nearby county (such as Arvika), as it shows all of the trails, wind shelters, resting places and camping grounds in the area.