In the remote north-western part of the little known province Dalsland, wedged between the large agricultural areas on Dalboslätten and the border with Norway lies one of the last remaining wilderness areas in southern Sweden. Tresticklan National Park could be taken straight out of a fairy tale, with its low, curly pine trees and rocky ridges intercepted by glittering lakes and streams. It is a hiker’s paradise, and a nature enthusiast’s dream.
Although over half of Sweden is covered by forest, there are very few areas that are untouched by modern forestry interventions. In the southern half of the country, Tresticklan National Park is the third largest wilderness area (close to 3,000 ha). Since the last settlement was abandoned in 1904, the area has been left almost untouched by human hands. Rocky outcrops lay like ridges from north to south, covered in parts by meager vegetation such as small pine trees, moss and lichen, and in-between are little lakes, streams and bogs. The area was declared National Park in 1996 and a similar sized area on the Norwegian side of the border is also protected as a Nature Reserve.
There are several hiking trails through the National Park, and it is also possible to cross over to the Norwegian side for even longer routes. Just across the border (indicated by a small stream), lies Budalsvika – a wonderfully well-equipped overnight hut. For SEK 100 pp, you can overnight and make use of the simple facilities. There is a gas stove, inside and outside fireplaces (and plenty of firewood), bunk-beds with mattresses, duvets and pillows, and longdrop toilets. There is no running water, but the stream is only a few meters away and there are buckets for fetching water. The water is crystal clear and perfectly clean to drink.
Some of the hiking trails follow a 300-year old route between the settlements in the area, and the largest town Halden (situated in Norway). The farmer/hunters that lived here would walk the 30km road a few times a year to sell their goods in town. It was not without danger, as the area was home to the feared wolf and also infamous robbers like Tomte Elias (Elias the Goblin). When you hike along this ancient road, Hallevägen, it is easy to imagine what life would have been like in these remote areas hundreds of years ago. You don’t need to worry about robbers these days, but there are rumours that the wolf is once again stalking the forests. There are also moose, deer, fox and some larger land birds like grouse. If you are really lucky, you may spot one of them but you are most likely to just see some of the signs that they left behind.
Hiking along lakes and through open forests
Tresticklan makes for a wonderful day-hike, but to truly immerse yourself into this unique landscape go for at least one night. Entry to the National Park is free, and the border with Norway requires no formalities. Budalsvika hut can be booked through the Tourist Office in Dals-Ed: