The walking trail
The Sörmlandsleden trail is 1000 kilometres long
The Sörmlandsleden trail is one of the longest walking trails in Scandinavia. The main trail is 627 kilometres long. In addition, there are access routes from large population centers, bonus routes and circular routes. The path takes hikers through wilderness, areas of cultural tradition and historical monuments. There is everything from open landscape, wilderness, lakes and beautiful coastline.
The Sörmlandsleden trail is divided into 92 sections that are between 2 and 21 kilometres long. Along the route are circular loops of different lengths, from an hour of walking to a whole day trip. The hikers who choose a longer trip are able to stay overnight in one of the many beautifully located shelters. Most of the sections are easily accessible by car, bus or train and each section offers a suitable starting point. Expect to walk around three kilometres per hour while carrying a rucksack of 50 litres.
Orange trail markings
The Sörmlandsleden trail is marked with orange trail markings. Usually, the mark is an orange circle around a tree or pole. Road crossings are marked with orange S-arrows. In population centres you follow orange stickers, usually placed on lampposts. In places, the orange colour is supplemented with blue, on arrow tips or a dot in the circle around a tree, indicating that the section also forms part of a shorter circular route of approx 2-15 km. Planks and footbridges take hikers across sensitive and waterlogged areas. You also find signs that indicate spring (källa), shelter (skärmskydd) or privy (dass).
The Sörmlandsleden trail is maintained by an association. Members of the Sörmlandsleden Association work as volunteers to keep the trail in the best possible order. One person is responsible for each section. It costs SEK150 a year to become a supporting member.
Maps, provisions and water
Lantmäteriet Ordnance Survey Maps are available from tourist offices and book stores.
In places the exact route of the Sörmlandsleden trail may deviate from the map. A clearing, new road or house can alter the map. Occasionally, a landowner needs to vary the "wear and tear", and farmers may not want people in certain locations. Members of Sörmlandsleden are quick to adjust the trail, but maps take longer to change. When the trail deviates from the map, follow the orange trail markings.
Membership in the Sörmlandsleden Association gives you access to updated maps. You can get username and password in order to access maps that you can print yourself from our website www.sormlandsleden.se
Provisions and fuel
There are long distances between settlements with their grocery stores and commercial accommodations. You need to plan carefully. Reckon with carrying all your provisions such as food and shelter, probably a tent.
The water from the lakes is clean, but we recommend you to boil the water before drinking. Many lakes have brown water since the inflow comes from marshland. This water has a slight aftertaste. On several sections you find signs pointing to natural springs (källa).
Accommodation along the route
Limited number of beds along the route
When you walk the Sörmlandsleden trail you have to be prepared to carry all your provisions, and on most sections you have to overnight in the countryside, either in a shelter or in your own tent.
Along the Sörmlandsleden trail there are a number of wind shelters. They are log huts with open front, away from roads and near lakes or the sea. You can overnight here in your own sleeping bag. The shelters are designed for four people. They are free of charge, but cannot be booked. If other hikers turn up, you must share the space. Next to all shelters are prepared fireplaces. A tip is to start gathering dry wood during the last kilometre of your walk, as previous visitors may have used up all the firewood in the vicinity of the shelter.
In Sweden you are allowed to pitch a tent in the countryside without permission from the land owner, but not in nature reserves or, needless to say, in populated areas or on cultivated land.
Nature and culture
A varied part of Scandinavia
Varied and diverse are two words that are often used when describing the Sörmlandsleden trail. The landscape is like Sweden in miniature. You encounter Swedish landscape of all types except for treeless mountains. Your walking day may well start on planks across a bog and end in a manor. No walking day will be the same. The trail goes through an area that is rural and sparsely populated, with large forests and many lakes, as well as along a relatively unspoiled stretch of Baltic Sea coast. A major reason for the abundance of uninhabited wilderness is that land ownership was dominated by large estates and forestry companies, which did not encourage summer cottages and private residences on their land. Also, Sweden is a largely urbanized nation. Your walk along the Sörmlandsleden trail will be remarkably undisturbed.
A more fundamental explanation for the variations in the landscape is related to the latest ice age, which ended around 12 000 years ago. When the several kilometres thick ice sheet melted, this area was a sea. Land elevation gradually created an archipelago of islands and inlets. The elevations were washed clean from fine-grained material, which were deposited in depressions. Land elevation still takes place with around 4 millimetres per year.
Your walk will be through large areas of wilderness, but suddenly a huge desolate forest can be split by a motorway. You can swim in the lakes, meet wild and tame animals, listen to birds and breathe freedom.