Spectacular colours are on display, mushrooms and berries are ripe for the picking, the summer tourists have disappeared and the days are still long enough to enjoy the sunshine. Autumn is without a doubt the best time of year to explore the Värmland region in western Sweden.
1. Glaskogen Nature Reserve
No trip to Värmland is complete without a visit to Glaskogen. Its 28,000 hectares of pure wilderness make it the perfect place to disconnect from urban life and experience the very best natural scenery that the region has to offer. 300 kilometres of walking trails ranging in difficulty wind through the reserve, with those around Stora Gla offering incredible backdrops and wildlife encounters. Wind shelters and firewood are available for overnight or weekend campers, and you should purchase a Glaskogskort for 50 kronor ($5.8) from the information centre in Lenungshammar or online if you wish to use these facilities.
How to get there: You’ll need Google Maps for this one. Order a map of the starting points for all the trails online at Glaskogen.se or pick one up from a local tourist office.
Glaskogen, 28,000 hectares of pure wilderness. Photo: Clarissa Hirst
2. 7-torpsleden, Finnskog
This trail is one of the most beautiful and historically fascinating trails you’ll experience in Värmland. You’ll begin your walk in Sweden, cross into Norway and travel back hundreds of years in time as you wander through seven homesteads built by Finnish migrants who settled here during the seventeenth century. The 8km walk starts at Ritamäki, one of the best preserved farms in the Finnskog region, and is a relatively easy one. Make sure to get your daily dose of vitamins on the blueberries that grow in abundant supply as you pass the Swedish-Norwegian border.
How to get there: Take the E45 from Karlstad north towards Torsby. From there take the E16 towards Lekvattnet and follow the signs to Ritamäki, where a carpark marks the beginning of the trail.
If you're interested in history, you'll love this walk. Photo: Clarissa Hirst
3. Jäverön, Skattkärr
There are 20km of walking paths on this lovely little island and you can choose to cover the entire circuit or take one of the shorter loops. There are several picnic stops and wind shelters where you can rest, grill some food and even spend the night. You’re sure to encounter horses, cows, plenty of forest and beautiful views of Vänern, the largest lake in western Europe.
How to get there: Take the E18 east from Karlstad and take the Skattkärr exit. Turn right down Herrövägen and follow the road until you reach the ferry departure point. The free ferry departs for Jäverön four times a day April-October and twice daily November-March. You can check times here.
Look at all the colours of those trees. Photo: Clarissa Hirst
4. Kycklingleden, Liljedal
During the late 18th century, a farmer travelling by boat to Karlstad to sell chickens became shipwrecked. His chickens were washed ashore and the surrounding area was named Kycklingdalen (The Chicken Dale) after them. This walk, which takes you through the Dale is aptly named The Chicken Trail. Though you probably won’t see many chickens these days, you’ll spot plenty of other animals; thirty-eight rare species of flora and fauna make their home in the Dale. The 5.7km loop contains some steep uphill climbs and takes you through birch and pine forest, a hazel grove, wetland and rejuvenating forest ravaged by a fire in 2004. Even in dry weather the ground can get quite swampy so definitely wear hiking boots. Keep an eye out for quartz beneath your feet.
How to get there: Liljedal is a 35-minute drive from Karlstad. Head south-west on the E18 towards Grums and continue towards Liljedal, turning off onto Nyavägen. Continue past Eds Kyrka and turn left down Budavägen, the first road after crossing over the river. Follow the signs to Buda badplats and Kycklingleden.
The Chicken Trail in Liljedal. Photo: Clarissa Hirst
5. Apertin Nature Reserve, Kil
Apertin is a country manor in Kil County, and its name is actually a Swedish version of the Scottish city Aberdeen. Wandering through the nature reserve nearby, you’ll find ravines forged by glaciers after the last ice age. The ravines are home to a rich plant and animal life and budding botanists and ornithologists will feel right at home. The surrounding countryside also serves as a magical backdrop for a quiet afternoon stroll.
How to get there: From Karlstad follow route 62 north towards Forshaga. Turn left onto Öjenäsvägen and follow the signs.
READ ALSO: Six real bonds between Sweden and Scotland
Beautiful Apertin Nature Reserve. Photo: Clarissa Hirst
6. The Klara River, Karlstad
There’s plenty to see as you stroll along the Klara: the family-friendly parks surrounding Sandgrundsudden and Värmland's Museum; the flashy waterfront location occupied by Karlstad Congress Culture Centre; and the little island of Gubbholmen, where you can spend some time at the popular outdoor gym. You’ll pass plenty of dog walkers, joggers and cyclists along your way. Keep your eyes peeled for Östra Bron, the longest stone arch bridge in Sweden that was begun in 1761.
How to get there: Start at The Bishops Arms and walk towards Värmland's Museum. Follow the river for as long as you like.
There's plenty of great walks without leaving Karlstad. Photo: Clarissa Hirst