Not to be missed along the Wilderness Road!

The Wilderness Road (Vildmarksvägen) is one of Sweden’s highest and most spectacular roads, extending almost 500 kilometres between Jämtland and Swedish Lapland across the Stekenjokk mountain plateau towards Vilhelmina and back southwards again. This amazingly picturesque route, one of the few where you can tour the mountains by car, takes you to beautiful alpine areas frequented by bears and featuring Sami culture and fabulous waterfalls.

Sweden’s Grand Canyon
The first part of the Wilderness Road, which runs along the Ströms Vattudal water system and onwards to Gäddede, is a beautiful stretch with a string of large and small rivers that attract anglers from around the world. In winter ice fishing for char, a typical fish of Norrland, is a prime attraction. A couple of hours by car way is Sweden’s answer to the Grand Canyon – the mighty Hällingsåfallet falls, where the Hällingsån river plunges over a precipice nearly 45 metres high. It’s a fantastic natural phenomenon. Seeing the powerful waters cascade over the rocky cliff is an unforgettable experience. For the adventurous eager to experience something out of the ordinary, make your way down into the depths of the canyon accompanied by a guide.
The underwater cave
Located near the Hällingsån river is the cave known as Koralgrottan. A truly unique and special experience consisting of six kilometres of limestone passageways, making it Sweden’s longest underwater cave.  During the summer, you can explore the cave equipped with a helmet and headlamp on a guided tour. Observe sinter formations, stone curtains and stalactites. Did you know that they grow as slowly as one centimetre every thousand years? The cave is bordered by Bjurälven, which also is known as “the invisible river” because parts of it are underground. Next to Bjurälven, there is also a subterranean cave system that has not yet been fully explored. The explored portion alone extends for about 2,200 metres.
Explore the mountains by car across Stekenjokk
The most spectacular part of the road goes across the Stekenjokk mountain plateau, which is open only from early June to mid-October. During the rest of the year, snow accumulations are too great to permit travel. Usually you can ski in the area until late June. The road is plowed at the beginning of June, and snow depths of several metres at the side of the road are not unusual. Depths up to six metres have been measured. The Wilderness Road across the Stekenjokk plateau is one of the few places where it’s possible to explore the mountains by car.
From hiking in enchanting forests to helicopter tours above the mountains
As far as activities are concerned, there is something for everyone who likes to mix adventure and the outdoors. Discover nature on a mountain bike, from a canoe or on skis. You might choose to travel by dogsled or on horseback. Or would you prefer to hike on foot? For the bold, there are detours, both on road and on hiking trails. Fatmomakke is the starting point for hikes in Marsliden that can take you up 1,600 metres to the top of Marsfjäll mountain.
Explore the surrounding area and pick nature’s delicacies, such as mushrooms and berries, or pitch your tent by one of the many small lakes. In most streams and lakes, the water is fit to drink and tastes good. You will be astonished by the most fantastic nature experiences there – both encounters with wildlife and rushing rivers. Tranquillity merges here with adventure and natural beauty. This is paradise for lovers of outdoor life. Feel free to enlist the services of a guide who knows the forests, their history and treasures. Take the opportunity to go on a wildlife safari and see animals such as beaver, lynx, wolves, moose, Arctic fox, eagles and especially brown bears in the municipality with the world’s highest concentration of bears, Strömsund. The forests are enchanting, with their giant trees, crystal-clear lakes, rock formations and lots of mushrooms and berries. If you want to see the beauty of nature from a bird’s view, then book a helicopter ride. If the weather upsets your outdoor plans, there is also lots to do indoors. Along the road there are museums, local community centres, farm shops and artisans where you can both see and buy locally produced items.
Meet Sami culture
Ankarede at Stora Blåsjön (Big Blue Lake) and Fatmomakke along Kultsjön lake are two areas where the Sami people have gathered since prehistoric times. Today you can find historical sites here dating back to the 18th century, with Sami huts, log church cottages and wooden chapels. During the year many Sami traditional celebrations and festivals are held. Midsummer and the summer solstice are commemorated with dancing, food and socialising all night long. Autumn is celebrated in Fatmomakke, and the annual Christmas market takes place in Ankarede in December.
If you tire or become hungry – no problem!
Cottages, comfortable hotels, camping sites, hostels and bed & breakfast accommodations with a hospitable atmosphere are located along the road. There is definitely a place to stay for every taste. If you prefer to sleep under the starry skies, you can take advantage of allemansrätten, the right of public access that allows everyone to spend the night in the great outdoors, as long as this is done with consideration and respect. Imagine waking up to the call of the cuckoo and taking a refreshing morning dip in a clear mountain lake. Unforgettable!
If you have forgotten your packed lunch at home, you don’t need to starve. On the contrary, along the road there are many places serving local taste experiences to calm your hunger. Imagine a tender fillet of elk, freshly caught char, reindeer salami or chanterelle mushrooms from the forests. Maybe a classic like freshly baked flatbread with local goat cheese, or waffles with cloudberries topped with a magical view. At small, local farm cafés and delicatessens, you can both taste and buy local delicacies and see how they are made. But call before your visit.

 

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