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  • Writer's pictureChase Davidson

Höga Kusten - 3 Day Trek | SWE



Prologue: 


Carrying straight on from one famous Swedish hike to another. After completing the Jämtland’s Triangle, I had myself one day to take it easy, recover and gather some more food for the next journey. 


The great thing about my recovery day was that it took place in Åre, Sweden. This is where I have lived or had been acquainted with for the past 3 years.  I was able to use this little downtime to see and say some goodbyes to a few of my friends.



After a quick stop at the nearby gas station to grab a Too Good To Go bag, my friend Annie dropped me off at the train station and we said goodbye. It was a bit of a full circle, her picking me up there back in November 2020 when I began my life in Åre.


By 6:44pm (18:44), I was catching another overnight train towards Örnsköldsvik which is a small Swedish town north of Sundsvall famous in the hockey world for legends such as the Sedin twins, Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund and even more recently Victor Hedman. My train however had to go south to Hudiksvall first where I’d change and come back north set to arrive at my destination for 6:30am the next morning.


I used the first hours of my train ride to finish off my blog for the Jämtland’s Triangle, mess around with some YouTube and then try to get some shut eye. Of course, there would be a baby crying on board per usual…


 

Day 1 - Örnsköldsvik to Balesudden


An hour before my train was set to arrive in Hudiksvall, I got a message via the train operator that the next train was delayed by an hour. Not really able to do anything, I arrived in Hudiksvall at 1:20am and then promptly found some space on the floor in the night waiting area for a little more sleep. Before long, my alarm went off and I went out to wait for the train to Ôrnsköldsvik. It seemed like the only delay would be getting to Sundsvall but the arrival time in Örnsköldsvik stayed the same.


Örnsköldsvik
Örnsköldsvik

Nearing the station where I’d be departing, I realized I forgot to buy gas for my camping stove. I looked on Google maps for camping supply stores but nothing opened till 11am but thought I’d take a chance at one of the gas stations nearby the station. When I arrived at 6:30am, I first went to Circle K but no luck. The lady at the counter suggested I walk to the other one 1.6km’s down the road but I thought I’d rather check their competitor across the street first. Bingo! Door opened at 7am; They had the gas (albeit only a large size), protein bars and even Starbucks coffee. Let’s gooooo!


Now fully ready and motivated, I aimed for the start of the Höga Kusten. I was a bit unsure of where the trail actually began so I used the PDF file from the Höga Kusten website accompanied with my trusty Maps.Me app and figured out that I could head up the mountain bike trail next to the ski jumps. 


Högakusten Trailhead
Högakusten Trailhead

Once I arrived at the top, I noticed the starting gate of the Höga Kusten. This area was accessible by car which makes sense I guess… But now I’m just going down the backside of where I just came up. For the contrary however, it was a whole different world! I descended the staircases and made my way across the rock fields and through the lush green trees.



The trail changed quite often throughout the beginning of the hike from rock slabs to well groomed trails, and then to trails under power lines to pebbled paths. Eventually, the trail would come out in a residential area which marked the first time I’d have to walk along the roads on this hike.


The Höga Kusten brought me through the town of Svedje and since I was walking right by a grocery store, I decided to pop in for some instant cappuccino packets. Figured I’d need to make the most of the excessive amount of gas I now have with me.


Höga Kusten x Coop
Höga Kusten x Coop

Back on the road for the next 2km’s that brought me by an old hockey arena that resembled more of a barn than an ice rink but it kinda reminded me of the one I grew up playing in back in Essex, Ontario. From here things got, let’s say… interesting.


Beauty of a Section
Beauty of a Section

I continued following the orange circles that demonstrated the Höga Kusten and these circles have been consistently every 20-50 meters or so since the start of the hike. Then came the intersection to go towards Småtjärnarna and at this point I was in the middle of filming but saw the orange circles and just kept following them.


The path became quite different and by different, I mean a bit more rugged and less used. I was thinking to myself “Dang, wasn’t expecting it to get like this.” and continued following the orange circles. I did happen to notice some other small markings that said Fyra Berg which meant Four Mountain but didn’t think nothing of it. After quite a while on this trail, I got to a summit of another mountain which was quite unexpected. I decided to take a lunch break here and check my maps. 


This trail wasn’t on my maps… This trail wasn’t on the official Höga Kusten maps either… Where am I?! 


Hating the idea of going back the way I came, I decided I’d just continue down the trail I’m on and see where it leads. I saw my location via GPS and figured no matter where I end up now, I’m in for a solid detour. I came out to a logging road finally and opted to take that until I reached a cabin I could see on my map that had trails leading off but most importantly, the direction I need to be going. After making it to the cabin, I ran into a couple of Swedes named Jonas and Martina that helped guide me to Småtjärnana via a local trail they knew about. Turns out they even knew Victor Hedman’s brother Oscar! Small world when it comes to hockey up here apparently.


In total, I went about 2 hours and close to 7km’s out of my way. I needed a break by this point and to fill up my water after running dry. I used my BeFree 1L bottle with a built in filter to take the lake water and filter it into my backpack camel bag. I said thanks to Jonas and Martina before getting back on track.


Småtjärna
Småtjärna

Once past the small lake, a logging road descended down to a road which would then be walked for the next 9km’s. Normally, I wouldn’t be such a fan of road walking but since I’m now ridiculously far behind, I’ll take it and hopefully gain some ground. The thought of gaining ground was great and it was much easier to walk at a higher pace. Although, after already covering 20km’s, the idea was much better than the practice.


I kept looking at my maps while walking to see if it would be better to set up camp somewhere closer but every time I thought about that, I knew it would make my next day that much more difficult. With lots of road walking time, I figured the best bet would be to try and aim for Balesudden Nature Reserve and set up camp right at the intersection where you can do a side hike up to the Balesudden viewpoint. It was suppose to be a nice location on the beach with a stream running nearby.


Balesudden Nature Reserve
Balesudden Nature Reserve

I reached the Balesudden Nature Reserve at 5pm (17:00) and only had 4km’s to go. I tried my best to keep a steady pace in between filming and taking some photos. The hardest part of keeping that pace was that the elevation went up to 50m and then down to sea level, back up to 50m and down again… Just for good measure, it did it once more before finally making it down to the beach. At least on the final up and down, it had the freshest running stream of water and the coldness was an absolute delight.


When I reached the beach, there was a couple set up with their tent for the night as well. I introduced myself and then quickly set up my tent on the beach seeing that the lighting at this time was stellar. Thinking I had just walked 30km’s, what’s 5km’s more? I put together my day bag and practically sprinted to the Balesudden viewpoint in order to fly the drone.



I’m content with saying that the shot could be arguably one of the best shots I’ve had the pleasure of taking in 2024. After all was said and done, I managed to get back down to my tent by 8:30 (20:30) in time for a lovely couscous dinner. During dinner, I got to chat with the couple I had met earlier; Their names were Janna and Leonard, both of them from Germany. We spent some time getting to know each other and then went our separate ways for the night.


It took me about 30 seconds to fall asleep after the longest day ever. 


 

Day 2 - Balesudden to Kälaviken (Skuleskogen National Park)


How do you follow up a long day like yesterday? Follow it up with nearly the exact same! Since I didn’t quite manage to make it as far as I had expected to yesterday due to the unforeseen detour, I knew I had to get a jumpstart on the day early to give myself enough time to get back on track.


Balesudden Campsite
Balesudden Campsite

I woke up initially with the sun in the early morning but went back to sleep until 7am and then started prepping a double cappuccino with the packets I bought yesterday while passing through Svedje. While I waited for the water to boil, I started to pack down everything in the tent and checked the weather once again for the day. Looks like we are in for a bit of rain come 5pm (17:00) and that will coincide with the same time I’m passing through Skuleskogen National Park.


Once the coffee was ready to go, I drank it along with a cinnamon bun I still had from my Too Good To Go bag. I honestly can’t believe how much they packed into that bag for only 39kr (€4). By 8am, it was time to get the show on the road and just as I began to walk away, a slight drizzle began.


Early Forest Hike
Early Forest Hike

Early morning forest walks here were a delight for the mosquitos but managed to avoid any bites… somehow. For the next 4.5km’s, I’d be in the Balesudden Nature Reserve making my way quickly up to 153m which brought me to the summit of Täcksklippen. I left my big hiking bag at the intersection that split off the Höga Kusten trail and just went to the summit with my camera to snag some quick shots. Back on the trail it became much easier knowing the highest part of the trail was behind me now and it would be all downhill for a while until I reached Hålviken which marked the end of the Balesudden Nature Reserve.


For the next 12km’s I would be walking on roads to the entrance of Skuleskogen National Park. The first half of the road walk brought me into Köpmansholmen, a small little town on the seaside. While walking through the town, I ended up striking up a quick conversation with a wonderful local named Mari who offered me some suggestions for the rest of the hike and then we wished each other farewell. She also had the most adorable little cat that I couldn’t help but take some videos of.


*Make sure to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube Channel to see the hiking videos I put together!


Next quick stop in town would be the COOP grocery store. Figured I’d take advantage of it and get myself a solid lunch before the next half of the day. A sweet chili chicken wrap, iced cappuccino and a kex bar, yes please! 



The next bit of the long road section awaits… Only 6km’s to go until I hit the national park. The moment I walked past the entrance, I felt as though I walked into a whole new world. A lush green forest filled with streams, lakes, beaches and more awaits. The main attraction of the park is called “Slåttdalsskrevan“ and that was where I was heading first. What I wasn’t quite prepared for was that I would once again be going from sea level up to 254m putting my earlier summit hike to shame.


Skuleskogens National Park
Skuleskogens National Park

Another unexpected sight was Skravelbäckens Waterfall and even with the lack of rain lately, it was still flowing nicely. Ouuu, I love me a good waterfall! I spent more time here than probably most people would but you know… Waterfall. Back to ascending once again one step at a time breaking a sweat as I worked my way up towards Tärnättvatten lake. Once there, I used the beautiful vista as a place to rest the feet a little bit.


I was pretty beat by this point in time but knew I had to press on if I wanted to get back on schedule and with it being 4pm (16:00), I was expecting rain to begin soon. As I was climbing higher and higher, it seemed like the sky was doing quite the opposite with sun even beginning to shine through once in a while. Could I be in luck?



I made it to the north side of “Slåttdalsskrevan“, shot a few quick photos but didn’t like the lighting at this angle with the sun directly against me so I hiked up and around to the south side. Worth it! This angle really put everything into perspective of just how large these sheer edges were and how narrow this crevasse was. Already at 254m, I couldn’t pass the opportunity to push on for the highest point, Slåttdalsberget which sat at 266m. It was a bit steep at parts and lugging the 21kg bag up with me wasn’t the easiest but the view from the top was the best reward yet!


Top of Skuleskogen NP
Top of Skuleskogen NP

It was getting close to 6pm (18:00) now, and I just had a little under 3km’s to go to my intended beach campsite for the night. I was super motivated by the recent sights and feeling energized. That changed suddenly on the decent as I forgot how much descending can take it out of you. Going from 266m down to sea level once again was intense. On the descent, I also ran out of water but luckily, there was a small stream not far on and I used that as an excuse to refill and take a mini pause. 


With just over a kilometer left to go, there became a substantial amount of boardwalk that helped the legs out tremendously. When the path eventually forked to either go to the south entrance or down to Kälaviken, I was blessed with knowing it was just 500m to go and the path was a nice mellow downhill to the beach. I could tell I was getting close from the amount of noise coming from below. There must have been some kind of school overnight field trip happening because there was well over 20 kids playing sports on the beach.


Campsite Day 2
Campsite Day 2

I wanted to be away from the festivities so I set my tent up in a little pocket that still had a nice view of the sea. Tonight’s dinner was a delicious pulled pork and rice but gotta admit, the couscous yesterday still takes the win. 


Getting into bed knowing that tomorrow’s hike will be nearly half the distance is a great feeling. 


 

Day 3 - Kälaviken to Skuleberget


It’s been so easy to fall asleep after these long days and with the sun shining early, it wakens you up pretty quick as well! I was awake by 6:50am and began the usual routine to get ready for the day.



By 7:50am, I was on my way towards a new waterfall. It seemed to be a little bit off the Höga Kusten trail but nevertheless, the term waterfall was enough to get my attention. Not long of a walk through the forest from my beachside campsite led to the inevitable road walk until I reach the tiny settlement of Käl. From here, I’d split off the main trail and head up one of the back roads that according to my maps leads quite close to the waterfall. 


Things got a bit dicey at this point because the road abruptly ended where it was not suppose to. I had a couple choices to make here; I could either go back to the main trail or start bushwhacking. At this spot, I was only 600m away from a road and I decided to just send it. I managed to handle it all quite well by avoiding a little stream, overgrown bushes and dense brush before eventually linking up to a cut out in the trees that led me up beside an old farm where a man was cutting his grass.


Dalsjöfallet
Dalsjöfallet

Once on the road, I was just a few meters from the start of the waterfall hike so I took off my hiking bag and placed it a bit off in the woods. Knowing I didn’t need much, I once again just took my camera and tripod out to the waterfall. Being the beginning of June, and the fact that it’s been quite dry recently, the waterfall was only flowing gently. Still worth the adventure to get out here and can imagine during the spring how much it would be gushing.


I headed back to my bag and started heading down toward the main trail. My plan today was to do some via ferrata when I arrived at Skuleberget so I chose to skip a certain section of the trail to save my feet and time by staying on the road. Just as I was coming up in the main road, a man in a white pick up truck pulled over to me to tell me that I missed the Höga Kusten trail a few hundred meters back. I explained my intentions and then he asked if I’d like a ride to the Naturum at the base of Skuleberget. Boom! That was an even better way to save time and my feet but hitching a ride for the next 6km’s.


We had a great chat about his life growing up in the area and how he gradually got into tourism with the development of the High Coast Trail. He pointed out some history on the way and then dropped me off right where he said he would. There is still good people in this world!


Skuleberget Visitor Centre
Skuleberget Visitor Centre

I headed inside the information centre to get an idea of where I could camp and the lady at the counter suggested I could go north 5-10 minutes and just post up somewhere kind of hidden and I should be fine. While walking, I noticed a forested area with a building that didn’t look like it was being used so I went around back and found a great spot to set up completely out of sight from passerby’s and also near a small stream for water.


After I was all set up, I fixed up a bag I’d need for the via ferrata and then went to get the gear necessary. The young woman at the centre named Jasmine was a huge help in getting me setup and suggesting which route I should take. Out of the four levels ranging from 1 to 4 being the hardest, she recommended number 3 (red trail) since I had previous experience and it offered the most rewarding views.


All set up and ready to go, I headed to the starting point which was also the same starting point as the white trail (#1). After only a few minutes, the paths changed and I was climbing for the next hour and a half. Jasmine suggested that I buy some gloves at the shop before going up but I was like nahhh, but by the time I was halfway up, I was regretting that decision now having blisters beginning on both hands.



Eventually I made it to the top with 6 mini blisters in total but it was all worth it! At stages, it was a full on workout and would love to do more one day. On the steep descent down the mountain, I stopped by a cave which used to be where a thief lived and robbed unaware people passing by back in the day… Or at least that’s how the story goes. When I got back down to the via ferrata shop, I ended up chatting for a bit and learned about a unique spot nearby that I could hike if I still had the energy.


I debated it for a little bit but then Jasmine showed me a photo and I was instantly sold. Back to the tent to grab my tripod, refill my water bottle and I was off up another mountain yet again. This one was called Getsvedjeberget and it was just a short walk and hike away. Good thing I caught that ride earlier…



Eventually making it back to my tent, it was time to whip up my last meal of the trip, a kebab stew. This one had the most calories of all my choices and I could use it after the third intense day in a row. This area was also mosquito alley so I made my food as fast as possible and then snuck into the tent to eat and get ready for bed.


The final night along the Höga Kusten!


 

Epilogue:


Waking up on this final day, there was no rush knowing I only had to walk 4km’s in total to get to the bus stop where I’d be starting my journey back towards Stockholm. I slept until 9am and thanks to my location being in the shade, it was a nice temperature with no sun beating down on the tent. I gathered my stuff together eventually and headed off towards the Frilyftbyn Campground 2km’s away for a nice welcomed shower before the overnight journey. Figured the other passengers I’d be travelling with would also appreciate the gesture.


What I didn’t expect was that I’d be walking up in elevation 100 meters on the way to said campground. It’s one thing to have mentally prepared for it but at this point, I had done the exact opposite to myself. It was a slight struggle and my hands were hurting from the blisters I gathered by doing the via ferrata the day prior but eventually I descended to the campground. Except, it was nearly empty… It also hadn’t opened for the season. I got lucky and some workers were busy in the area where the showers were so I was able to sneak in and ugh, so good!


From there, I made my way towards Docksta but to my surprise, that white truck from the previous day happened to honk at me as it drove by. I gave a quick wave and Jacob quickly pulled a u-turn to see how I was doing. We chatted about what I got up to after he dropped me off at Skuleberget and then got talking about his little cabin called ‘Jacob’s Stuga’ next to the campground I showered at. I saw it when I was walking through but it didn’t even click that it was really his cabin. Will definitely have to stay there next time I’m in the area!


He ended up getting a call, so I continued on to the town where I’d be catching the bus but not for another 6 hours. I looked up coffee shops in the area and there was one that happened to also be a chocolate shop where they even make their own chocolate right in house. Yum! I had my base picked out for the afternoon. As soon as I arrived, I ordered a cappuccino, a Dutch sausage roll and some chocolate. I tend to attempt my best Swedish when ordering but since I have been practicing German quite intensely lately, I get my words mixed up at times and the owner ended up asking me “Sprechen Sie Deutsch?” after I asked to pay by “Karte” instead of “Kort”. My immediate response was “Nein” instead of speaking English and we both started laughing. Him and his wife ended up being from the Netherlands which explained the Dutch sausage roll and he was use to a lot of Germans passing through this time of year.


Jeltsjes Chokladpraliner
Jeltsjes Chokladpraliner

I asked if it would be alright for me to leave my hiking bag in the cafe while I go for a walk and he happily obliged. With so much time to kill, I ended up finding a geocache nearby and taking in the sun. Eventually I made my way back for another cappuccino and some banter before catching the bus to Örnsköldsvik.


With a couple hours before my overnight train to Stockholm, I made my way to the Hägglunds Arena which was home to the Modo Hockey club. For some reason I find seeing the different arenas fascinating. After which, I picked up a Too Good To Go bag for the trip!


Looking back on this trip, it was seriously amazing! Albeit lots of road walking that I wasn’t really expecting. The beauty of the National Park and Skuleberget adventure made up for it. The first beach camping spot in Balesudden Nature Reserve was also a highlight! 


Tack så mycket Sverige!

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