I have hiked in summer in basically all the provinces of Sweden, not having any problems finding accommodation. Thanks to the Allmansrättan, giving anyone the right to enjoy outdoor activities respectful of the environment, including camping on any land (but for a few exceptions), I have pitched my tent along hiking trails many times, occasionally staying at a local bed & breakfast, or stuga (a small wooden cabin).
This spring, I am about to discover the High Coast (Höga Kusten) UNESCO World Heritage Site, formed by the last Ice age. The thick and heavy three-kilometre ice-cap started to melt away, releasing pressure on the weighted down land which has consequently risen by 286 metres over thousands of years, and is still rising by 8 millimetres a year. This terrain is perfect for hiking: the 129-kilometre long rocky High Coast trail (Höga Kusten Leden) offers spectacular views, canyons, caves, stone fields, and a unique coastline along the Gulf of Bothnia.
Stugas are scattered along the trail, but it is really hard to find consistent information while preparing the trip (specific locations, possibility to sleep, fireplace, etc.). This is why we decided to describe the ones we visited in the spring of 2015 to help out other hikers. As the weather proved to be unstable, we decided to drive towards the most interesting parts of the trail, skipping most of the parts on asphalt roads. The following is not an extensive list of all the stugas of the High Coast trail, but covers a good number of them. They are summed up in a table below with their specific locations.
Approaching the High Coast by car via the E4 you can’t cross the Höga Kusten Bron (High Coast bridge) unnoticed, with its dramatic views on the islands. We parked our car shortly after to spend our first night in a cabin at the southernmost point of the Höga Kusten Leden. After a short but intensive climb with ropes and stairs, we entered the Valkallen stuga, a very comfortable and cute cabin on top of the Valkallen rocks with a spectacular 360° view on the lakes and the Baltic Sea. Being completely off-season, we had the place to ourselves, enjoying a magnificent sunset.
After our first typical Swedish breakfast consisting of a fish spread from a tube on knäckebröd (crispbread), we set off for a nice 15-kilometre loop, before checking out the Fjärdboten stuga complex, comprised of about 6 basic sleeping cabins. The site must be nice in the summer as you can bathe in the lake if you are willing to share with the beavers which left quite a few traces on the trail!
We spent that night in the Nipstugan, a cute cottage situated on a mountain plateau with great views. As the chimney of the big open fireplace didn’t pull the air up as we hoped, it took a while to start the fire and we smoked the cottage. It felt like a homey stuga and we created our own bed with two benches, some chairs and our inflatable mattresses, as sleeping on the floor would be a bit cold. It turned out to be very cosy with a kettle in the fire to make some hot tea.
We woke up to a cloudy and rainy day, and after cleaning the stuga, we were back on the trail. We really enjoyed the truly beautiful hike up to Erikskojan stuga: a narrow trail winds up through the pine forest with green mosses around. The higher you get, the rockier. From the viewpoint on the left of the hut you stand a chance to see some moose feeding on small trees at sunset. During our hike here we spotted a big mountain hare, white with a few darker spots as it was turning brown again for the summer.
A bit further North on the trail, past Ullånger, Askjaberget stuga sits on the top of the rocks offering a splendid view on the city and the lake from its huge terrace, especially at sunset. We were soaked and this stuga was all we needed to get dry and warm, spending most of the day writing by the very nice stove.
As soon as it stopped raining, we walked about 500 metres further on the trail to Mäjabodarna stuga complex, set on the shores of a beautiful lake with about eight stugas to sleep in. These holiday-camp-style stugas were still closed and we were told that they needed to be booked and paid for. The mist slowly raised and revealed a serene and mysterious lake, appearing from the clouds.
The High Coast trail goes through the Skuleskogen National Park, we entered from its West entrance. Past the Norrsvedge-bodarna stuga by Skrattabborrtjärnen lake, and the impressive and narrow Slåttdalsskrevan crack, we reached Tärnätvattnen stuga at sunset, reflected in the still and cold waters of its homonym lake.
We explored the park further and visited the Näskebodarna stugas. The older one is surrounded by old private summer farms overlooking the beach, and a brand new one is located about 150 metres South on its own beach. We kept walking briskly in the rain for another twenty minutes to spend the night in the Tärnättholmarna stuga. Recently renovated, it turned out to be quite comfortable and warm thanks to its small stove and double-glazed windows. The main room overlooks the sea and the coast of the mainland. Sterns put up a morning show, using the strong winds to spot fish and dive vertically into the sea, coming off the water proudly with their prey. A walk around the peninsula allowed us to check out what we will call the island stuga which is a bit older but nicely located, further out on the quasi-islands.
Making our way back to the mainland we passed by Tärnättsundet stuga. We completely missed it on our way in and we could have easily stayed here as well as it is spacious and nicely located.
After hiking all the Southern part of the park, we headed north to sleep in Lillruten stuga for our last night in the park. We got the fire going to warm up, dry our shoes and boil some water from the nearby stream. However, the stove was not very cooperative and barely allowed us to enjoy a hot chocolate with whipped cream and an appreciated Jägermeister after our pasta-dinner. This was by far the coldest and the dampest night we had in a stuga, and most probably the coldest shower in the adjacent stream, as the outside thermometer indicated 1°C at 6:30AM…
Staying in stugas proved to be a truly unique and memorable experience: enjoying sunsets from stunning viewpoints in the heart of a UNESCO Word Heritage site with no one around, waking up with the first sunrays and to the singing of birds, going back to the roots making our own fires and washing in streams… and longing for that shower, the scent of shampoo and those first sips of wine or cold beer once back into civilization!
Marcella & Claire
- Please, help us keep this information up-to-date! If you visit these stugas and if the situation has changed, let us know or leave a comment and we will update the article. Thanks!
- In the Skuleskogen national park, you will have the nice surprise of finding mattresses on the beds of your stuga!
- Two terms are used to describe the cabins for hikers in Sweden: stuga or rastuga. Most of the time, the raststuga is meant to take a short break during the day, when a stuga is a bit more equipped.
- We found every stuga or rastuga supplied with firewood to operate its fireplace or stove, and dry toilets, pick-nick tables or seating areas and fire pits outside.
- We hiked the High Coast trail in May, and haven’t had any issues finding an available stuga. This may be a whole different story in July when you might have to fight against mosquitos and other hikers (first come, first serve)!
- Finding hotels or bed & breakfasts in this area in early May is hardly possible and surely depressing, as the season has not started yet.
- Below is the map of the stugas, including GPS coordinates and pictures. Refer to this short tutorial to download this map for free on your smartphone and use it without any roaming fees!