In the Värmland region of Western Sweden, in Kil County, about a half hour’s drive from Karlstad, next to a carpark overlooking Lake Södra Hyn, begins a fascinating walk. We found it from a Värmland walks guide book, which told us it would take around 3.5hrs. The 12.9km trail ended up taking us 4.5hrs but it was worth every minute.
The walk begins at Grava Hembygdsgård, a collection of old buildings from different eras, including houses, a storehouse and beehives. The walk takes you up to these houses and to the right to a viewing platform with a surrounding view of the boggy ground and Lake Södra Hyn. There was also an unmissable climbing opportunity for the little explorer among us (that would be me).
The walk takes you through a variety of different landscapes: forest, farms and pastures, the shorelines of two different lakes, the sandy shores of the Klara River and along the embankment of Sweden’s oldest railway track. The 8km Frykstads railroad was opened in 1849 and was initially traversed by horses, before the first locomotive was introduced in 1855. The railway transported materials such as iron from Lake Fryken to the Klara River. Its life was short-lived, as the railway stopped being used in 1871 when the new Karlstad-Arvika line was constructed. Even though it’s been out of use for almost a century and a half, you can still make out where it would have been as you walk along the elevated embankment, and picture the trains that would have made their way through the forest so many years ago.
At the time we were walking (during late September) there were excessive numbers of moose flies in the forest parts of the walk. Moose flies are possibly the most annoying of insects, as they do not brush away easily and you need to pick them up between your fingers and throw them away (if you’ve read my blog on Tiveden National Park then you’ll know I’m not the biggest fan of insects). We got covered in – no joke – hundreds of these things, and they even found their way underneath our t-shirts. My partner joked that these irritating little insects deserved their own blog post! It was a relief when we finally made it to a more open area. By the Klara River and the farming fields nearby, there were no moose flies at all.
The walk also takes you past some picturesque farms and fields, such as the ones pictured here. These would look pretty idyllic during the summer, but the Autumnal colours also made for a pretty picture. Autumn is my favourite season in Sweden for a reason.
Towards the end of the walk, the trail takes you through Lake Södra Hyn, on an elevated embankment that helps you navigate the muddy ground beneath. We spotted a group of five swans in the field, and two of them who were swimming serenely in the water took flight as we approached. Below is an abandoned hut housing an old well that we passed, an unanticipated site as it stands seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
In some places the ground was to boggy to walk through so wooden planks had been constructed to help navigate the trail.
Like most trails in Värmland, wooden pegs and trees with orange markings provided guidance along the route of the trail.
We had read that the walk took 3.5hrs to complete, so we were anticipating to be finished just after lunch time. But, as often happens on walks such as this one, I stop to take pictures, we pause for a snack break or simply to admire the surroundings, and the clock kept on ticking until it ended up being the late afternoon. Not that it bothered us though, it was lovely to be out in weather like this all day. Plus the reeds and flowers in Lake Södra Hyn looked beautiful in the afternoon light.
The trail was a plentiful one, and we came across lots of berries, including blueberries and red currants. It was quite late in the season to discover raspberries, but we spotted a number of them towards the end of our walk as we were heading back towards Grava Hembygdsgård. Here are a few before they were eagerly gobbled up.
I’ve written about a few of my favourite walks in Värmland, including The Chicken Trail and trails in Glaskogen Nature Reserve, but I think this one has to be my favourite so far. It was relatively flat and easy to walk but it took us through so many different kinds of terrain and we learned something new about the landscapes we were walking through. I think it’s definitely one to add to my list of beautiful Autumn walks in Värmland.
Where do you like to walk? Where are your favourite walking trails, in Sweden or abroad? Let me know in the comments, I’m always after new suggestions.