Stunning locations for cross-country riding in Sweden
© Per Eriksson
Peaceful archipelagos, dramatic mountains and quiet bright forests – here are some stunning Swedish trails you simply cannot miss.
The Swedish countryside is as varied as it is breathtakingly beautiful. Sweden is famous for its many open spaces – from its dramatic scenery up north with rolling hills, mountains as far as meets the eye, and many miles in-between cities and towns, to its rolling fields and moorlands down south with deep-green forests that never seem to end. Its shorelines equally as stunning with small islands scattered all over the archipelagos both on the east and west coast and on the Baltic Island of Gotland the limestone columns rise dramatically from the sea. A countless number of lakes and streams are dotted all over the country, as well as the many, endless pine and birch forests. Add the Right of Public Access – Allemansrätten as it is called in Swedish – allowing people to roam freely on the countryside, and it truly becomes a mountain biker’s paradise. It is easy to explore the many hiking trails by bike, engulfing the stunning scenery as you pedal along. It often makes for a perfect day out.
As it would take a book to collect all the beautiful fun trails that are scattered all over Sweden, here is a short list of some stunning locations for cross-country riding.
Remember: Respect the trails and the people on it. Don’t alter nature, don’t leave anything behind and be nice to other hikers, bikers and people using the trails.
Valådalens nature reserve is a stunning part of Sweden, only 35 minutes south of Åre, with awe-inspiring views over beautiful fell landscapes, historical sights and 75 km of trail riding. It’s truly a place to escape big-city-stress and appreciate and reflect on the wonders of Mother Nature. There are various trail rides to choose from with something for both beginners and expert riders, from wide gravel paths to technical singletracks.
Valådalen’s maybe most famous MTB route is the one through Issjödalen and up and around the Pyramids – a trail ride that takes you through stunning fell landscapes marked by the ice age, over moors and past an old Sami settlement. The pyramids themselves are formations from the Ice Age and are stunning and unique geologic features (NOTE: It is NOT allowed to trespass onto these formations due to the wear on the land).
Close to the Norwegian boarder and 35 km west of Sälen is another little MTB paradise called Rörbäcksnäs. A quiet village surrounded by 115 km of flowy cross-country trails and beautiful scenery. The fast-rolling trails take you alongside lakes, up and over fells, moors and through patches of white moss - a unique feature giving the trails a “snow-like” feeling. There are plenty of XC rides to choose from – from easy, fast gravel roads to smooth singletracks. It is a place for all levels of riders to enjoy riding and taking in the scenery. Thanks to a big push by the local community back in 2007, a lot of the trails are signposted and easy to find.
Further south, and about 100 km east from the Swedish mainland, is the Baltic Island of Gotland. Once again, another unique and different part of Sweden – surrounded by water, Gotland’s coastline is famous for its limestone bedrock that has, in many ways, laid the foundation for the plant- and animal life on the island. There is close to 200 km of trails on the island – from easy green ones to more difficult red and black ones – that meander along the shorelines, lakes and past bays. They take you through unique bird life, beautiful barren heaths and bright forests. It truly is a beautiful nature experience as well as a fun and sweaty ride.
Slite and Gotland Bike Park have been working hard on expanding, maintaining and making trails in the area easier to find. All trails are available on Trailforks, together with level of difficulty and pictures of trail.
Moving towards the very south of the country, there is a little place called Brösarp in the heart of Österlen. Part of a huge nature reserve, and with hills formed by the Ice Age, the riding around here is as beautiful as it is fun. With a vast network of signposted hiking trails in and around the valley of Verkeån it is perfect for fast, flowy and long cross-country expeditions on the bike (just make sure you know which parts of the nature reserve you are allowed to ride in, as the rules varies). The trails take you through beech ravines, sandy moors and jungle-like stream landscapes, all whilst keeping you entertained with beautiful singletrack.
The East and West Coast Cliffs, the Archipelago
Technically more demanding, but incredibly stunning trails can be found on the cliffs on the east and west coasts of Sweden, more specifically between Strömstad and Göteborg and in Stockholm’s archipelago. The many hiking trails that go alongside the cliffs on the waterfront are perfect for a challenging and scenic day out on the bike. A ride around these areas requires a little bit more planning however, as a vast majority of the hiking trails are very technical and hard to ride. There are no marked trails for biking, so you’ll have to solely really on hiking trails. But a ride in the Swedish Archipelago – whether on the west or east coast – is truly a unique nature experience.
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