Grums Kommun, dominated by the sight (and smell) of its paper factory, is perhaps not the first place that a visitor to Sweden would associate with natural beauty. But they’d be mistaken. Grums contains what I’d consider to be some of Sweden’s most spectacular scenery – fjords, sounds and pristine forest inhabited by rare wildlife. It’s also located on the shore of western Europe’s largest lake. So while it may not appear at first glance to offer much to those who prefer the modern and innovative Stockholm or the quirky and cultured Gothenburg, what Grums lacks in hustle and bustle it makes up for in a myriad of opportunities to enjoy some peace and quiet. One such place is Kycklingleden, or The Chicken Trail.
The Chicken Trail (Kycklingleden)
Walking in Värmland is often a very serene experience and you may only encounter a couple of other walkers along the route. Often, you’ll be lucky enough to feel as though you have the entire landscape to yourself. The Chicken Trail is one of my favourite Värmland walks because it combines a little of everything. You’ve got views of Vänern, a good hike to the top of the hill, varying landscapes and lots of flora and fauna to keep an eye out for. It’s also very well sign-posted and contains several stops with information plaques explaining the different areas you are passing through. The anecdotes and fast facts are a nice little addition to the surrounding scenery that fellow history enthusiasts will appreciate.
The 5.7km trail begins in Liljedal and passes through hazel groves, birch and pine forests, wetland and forest rejuvenating from a forest fire that swept through the Dale in 2004. You’ll climb up a steep hill, assisted by ropes that have been fastened to the rocks if you need some help, and reach a lovely picnic area where on a clear, sunny day you can stop and take in the view of Lake Vänern.
What’s in a name?
The trail and the Dale itself get their names from some very lucky passengers that managed to survive a shipwreck back in the eighteenth century. Their farmer got caught in a storm but the chickens escaped and now their memory lives on. It sounds like a fairly ridiculous story, so here’s some proof I’m not just making it up:
A well offers a refreshing stop for thirsty wanderers beside the information plaque. You can take a drink while you learn about the history of The Chicken Dale.
Chickens aren’t very populous along the trail these days but according to the sign at the beginning of the trail, 38 rare species of flora and fauna make their home in The Chicken Dale. We spotted a squirrel high up in the trees and many birds flitting about during our walk.
How to reach The Chicken Trail
It will take you about 25 minutes to reach Grums if you’re driving from Karlstad. Continue towards Liljedal and pass Eds Kyrka (Eds Church). Make sure you stop there and walk around as there are some lovely views on a good day. You’ll eventually cross a river and take the first road to your left after the bridge. Then look out for the signs to Buda badplats and you’ll reach the carpark where The Chicken Trail begins. Don’t be afraid of the tiny roads!
What to take with you
Some snacks and a thermos for a picnic at the top. Comfortable shoes (preferably hiking boots) that you don’t mind getting a bit muddy.
You can find trail maps and some more info about The Chicken Trail on the Värmlandsleder (Värmland trails) website.