Sörmlandsleden is a 1000km long trail that starts by a subway station in Stockholm and make a big circle south of Stockholm in the province Sörmland. The first seed for the trail were a few sections in the beginning of the 70’s. 1975 the first sections between the start in Björkhagen to the city Nyköping was finished. Today there is 62 sections of aprox. 600km. The remaining 400 km is added sections that connects the trail with some cities and public transports which creates infinite ways to hike sections of the trail. The added sections are numbered according to what section they connect to and with an added colon. ie 5:1.
Unique to Sweden and the Nordics is something called Allemansrätten, which basically says: Respect nature and land owners, take away what you brought. Leave no trace. In return you can be in nature and camp as long as you are not intruding on house owners land or disturbing the local people or wild life. The exception can be in areas with special protection which is called “Naturreservat” and have special rules for each area. Marked with while lines and a white star on the trees. Often there will be a sign when entering the area that says what you can and cannot do. There is no water toilets in the forest, a few camps will have an outhouse. If you do your business in the forest, dig a hole and move of the trail. Seeing trash and toilet paper along the trail is the most depressing thing I know. It makes me wonder about people and how they lack respect for nature. Please leave no trace!
The trail starts at the subway station Björkhagen which you easily get to from Stockholm centre. The trail pass by a few bigger cities which could be your starting point for hiking some of the sections. Nyköping is close to the airport Skavsta. Södertälje is easily accessible by train. Nynäshamn is the port of some boats to/from Gotland. This is just a few of the possibilities, looks at suggested trips to see some ideas for good weekend trips och longer.
What you need
This is of course a subjective view of what you need, some people run the trail with just minimal gear while some hike with a huge and heavy backpack. The weather and exposure is not like in the mountains (like Kungsleden/Kings Trail or other trail in the northern mountains. So you don’t have to gear up for being stuck in storms (unless the forecast says so). There is mobile phone reception everywhere and never far to populated areas. I would suggest bringing a shelter (tent, tarp, hammock) since the windbreaks/camps can be crowded or not at the place where you want to stop for the day. Hammocks are a great option for the area, since trees are in abundance.
The camps with windbreaks are mostly equipped with a fireplace and there’s space for tents at most camps. They are often situated near a lake. Which can be your source of water, after being filtered/boiled/treated. Other water sources on the trail are marked with blue signs. That water is drinkable directly from the well.
The trail pass by some cafés, shops, restaurants and hotels. But most of these are not directly on trail so you need to walk in the the city of village to find them. There is a list of places to resupply, to summarize; on average every 50 km you will find a store (ICA, COOP, Hemköp or similar) with generous opening hours – But not with a camping specific stock ie not certain they have freeze dried meals, camping gas etc. Most shops will have ethanol fuel for stoves (called T-röd or T-sprit). I would not suggest planning your food intake from cafés or restaurants, they are too far apart and the opening hours might vary. For sections over a weekend or up to a week, carrying your food from the beginning might be the easiest option. For thru-hiking some more planning for resupplying is needed.
Find your way
Each start and end of a section have a plaque showing the connecting trails with a map and some information. There is no free maps on these locations to bring with you. A map is always nice to have, but I would say it is not essential. The trail is marked well with orange lines on trees or signposts. The best map we suggest is Calazo Sörmlandsleden which cover the whole trail. Other sections are covered in more general Calazo maps. I would suggest an offline map for your smartphone in the rare occasion that you need a map. Try out Guru Offline Maps, and in the app activate Hitta Friluftskarta which will give you a similar map as Calazo paper maps. Alternatively use the free vector map over Sweden. You can also download the GPX file that we compiled which contain all the sections, water sources, camps and shops. If you are a member in the Sörmlandsleden community you can download detailed maps for each section (the same found on the plaques).
Hotel, hostels and B&B
If you are thru-hiking the whole Sörmlandsleden I would not advise to rely on hostels etc for nightly shelter. They are rare and far apart. If you do shorter trips, trail running etc there is a few good places to stay for the night to minimize you backpack weight. Use the google map for Sörmlandsleden and check out the community site. Book ahead and they might even serve dinner and breakfast.
Biking, running or walking Sörmlandsleden
Most part of Sörmlandsleden is accessible for mountainbikes, a few “Naturreservat” restrict riding a bike through that area. The difficulty varies a lot, but a good mountainbiker will get along fine and might have to walk the bike small sections. Running on sörmlandsleden is becoming really popular – there is even a book about it. It’s a good trail to run, easy to navigate and easy to run the distance you want using public transport. Everything from 10km to multi day trips is possible. Walking is what most people do 🙂
Guided trips on Sörmlandsleden
There is not a lot of commercial operators to guide you on Sörmlandsleden. It’s easy accessible for most people. If you need a guide, contact us.
Sörmlandsleden community site
Google doc for Sörmlandsleden (camps, resupply distances)
Google map for Sörmlandleden
Book about running Sörmlandsleden
Book about walking Sörmlandsleden
Maps for Guru offline maps
OutForMore posts about Sörmlandsleden