Day hike at Stora Mosse National park

A few weeks ago I took C with me to Stora Mosse National Park, about an hours drive north of Växjö. I’ve been here before, and last March I camped here.

Stora Mosse is a large mire, the largest in southern Sweden, with dozens of km of footbridges across it. Spread out in the “mire-ocean” are several islands. Camping has been prohibited before, but since a couple of years back you’re able to camp on a few designated places in the park.

The mire consists of a southern and northern part, cut in the middle by a road and a railroad. The previous times I’ve started at the northern end of the south section. But this time I wanted to see the northern section.

I parked the car at the main entrance and we started to walk the trail around the lake there. We hiked for just a short while, until we stopped to make some coffee and hot coco.

While we stopped I changed my mind, and decided that I wanted to go to the southern parts anyways, where there are more vast views. This time though, I would start at the southern tip of the mire instead.

We drove to one of the southernmost entrances instead, and started to hike.

After only a short while, we stopped at a bridge with benches to make lunch.

The first part of the trail stretched through a pine forest, but after a while the trail turned and became footbridges that stretched some 6km north across the mire.

C hiked on in a good pace, and even though she missed a couple of steps and put her foot down in the wet mire she was in good spirits.

When we came to an intersection we turned west towards the “mainland”. We where going to hike a circle trail with an observation tower on a hill in the forest.

Once back in the forest the trail went uphill. C preferred to ride on my shoulders in the uphills.

On top of the hill there was a large observation tower, made for bird watching. We climbed the steep stairs to the top, and enjoyed the view. I’m a bit scared of heights. But when I told C that, and said that I wanted to go back down she replied that it was NOT scary. It was JUST exciting to be up there. So we stayed there for a while longer.

When we got back down we hiked the rest of the loop to get back to the car. We had been out the entire day, but C still didn’t want to get back home. She was disappointed that we’d only gone on a day hike, and wanted us to camp there. I promised her that we’d camp the next time we got there.

Stora Mosse in March 2018

Last weekend I drove to Stora Mosse National Park for an overnight trip. I hadn’t planned to be out this weekend, but my wife had seen how stressed out I was from work lately (lots of co-workers have quit or gotten burn outs which leaves an ever increasing work load for us that are still there), and thought that I might need some hiking time to wind down. She knows the outdoors is the best way for me to reduce stress and recharge.

Right up until the point where I sat down in the car it was still undecided where I should go. Stora Mosse National Park, Norra Kvill National Park or Raslången Eko Park was the places I had in mind. Eventually I decided to go to Stora Mosse, as I had only been there on a day hike before, and wanted to do an overnighter there.

Stora Mosse National park is located just north west of Värnamo, about an hours drive from Växjö, and was formed in 1982. Almost the entire park consists of mire, and it’s the largest untouched mire in Sweden, south of Lappland. Together with Brokullen och Långö Mosse it’s almost 8000ha of protected land. There is a system of pine forest “islands” within the mire, and there are 40 km of hiking trails in the park. Some of them are possible to use with wheelchairs or a baby stroller, while other trails cross the mire on 30cm wide foot-bridges. If you want to leave the foot-bridges it’s possible to use snow-shoes to hike in the mire. From 2013 it’s also allowed to camp in certain areas in the park. Detailed maps can be found here. If you’re lucky you might spot one of the White-tailed eagles or Golden eagles living in the area. You get here by road 151 between Värnamo and Gnosjö, and the road cuts right through the park. In the middle of the park there is a visitors center, but be sure to check the opening hours before you get there.

I drove up pretty early and arrived there a little before 11am. It was roughly a 1 hour drive from home. I decided to hike in the southern parts of the park, and had planned to camp near Lövö.

The temps where slightly below freezing, and it had been cold and snowy for a few weeks. This meant that the mire was frozen over and I didn’t have to walk on the foot bridges. I did however follow the trail. There where ski tracks on the foot bridges and I walked beside them to not ruin the tracks. I worked up a good sweat while hiking in the deep snow. I turned right at the first intersection of the trail, which meant that I would be hiking through the forest instead of going through the mire. Hiking in the forest was effortless, compared to the sometimes knee deep snow in the mire. I hiked for about 1,5 hour before I stopped for lunch. It felt good to be out in the forest again, and I was really enjoying myself.

After lunch I kept hiking south, but stopped once in a while, rolled out my cell foam sleeping mat and just laid down, watched the trees and enjoyed the silence. The forests here reminds me a bit of Tresticklan national park, with the old scattered pine trees. After a while the ski tracks stopped, and I kept hiking on the trail. There where no other foot prints, so I was alone in these parts of the park.

After a while I passed the campground near Lövö on my left, but continued south to hike in a circle. I hiked the circle trail, past the hut at Lövö and then came back to the camp site from the other direction. It was only around 14.00 but I set up my camp anyways.

It took a bit of effort to flatten out the deep snow, but eventually I got it flat enough to set up my tent. I inflated my sleeping mat, rolled out the sleeping bag and made cup of coffee.

After that I decided to keep exploring the park. I went back to Lövö and hiked the trail towards Anderstorp.

I came to an observation tower at the edge of a forest, and climbed up. For being in the middle of Småland, the views where amazing, and you could see for several km.

I kept hiking south for a short while, but quickly lost track of the foot bridges.

I turned back to my campsite and made dinner once I got back.

I slept with the top vent and the door fully open, and had no condensation at all. I had a pretty good nights sleep, even though I toss and turn a lot.

As usual, it took some mental effort to get out of the sleeping bag. I like winter, but now I’m really looking forward to the warmer seasons.

I made a nice breakfast of chili Brie and salami in tortillas. It was delicious.

After breakfast I packed up and left my camp site.

I hiked back towards the car, but stopped once in a while to lay down on the sleeping mat, look at the tree tops waving in the wind and enjoy the last silence before I got back to the city.

On the parking lot I met the first people since I left home on Saturday morning. A group of maybe 10 Danes where preparing for a day hike.

As usual, I had a great time in the outdoors. I really like the simplicity of hiking life, the serenity of the silent empty forest and the monotony of hiking. My mind wanders as I move silently through the trees. It was a great trip, and I can’t wait to get back out on another trip soon.

Day hike at Stora Mosse in March

General info

Stora Mosse National park is located just north west of Värnamo, about an hours drive from Växjö and was formed in 1982. Almost the entire park consists of mire, and it’s the largest untouched mire in Sweden, south of Lappland. Together with Brokullen och Långö Mosse it’s almost 8000 acres of protected land. There is a system of pine forest “islands” within the mire, and there are 40 km of hiking trails in the park. Some of them are possible to use with wheelchairs or a baby stroller, while other trails cross the mire on 30cm wide foot-bridges. If you want to leave the foot-bridges it’s possible to use snow-shoes to hike in the mire.

From 2013 it’s also allowed to camp in certain areas in the park. Detailed maps can be found here. If you’re lucky you might spot one of the White-tailed eagles or Golden eagles living in the area.

You get here by road 151 between Värnamo and Gnosjö, and the road cuts right through the park. In the middle of the park there is a visitors center, but be sure to check the opening hours before you get there.

Trip report

Last weekend, on March 12, me and the family drove to Stora Mosse National park for a day hike. We had planned and packed most of the stuff we needed the day before. We decided not to bring a stove, but instead bring sandwiches, snacks and vacuum bottles with warm water and hot coco.

It was an hours drive from home, and we got to the park at around 11.00. We followed road 151 and drove to the main entrance, near the visitors center. We didn’t go the the visitors center though, but started hiking at once. First, we had planned to hike around Kävsjö, but that’s 13 km and that would be a too long hike for my son to do. So instead we decided to hike the Lilla Lövö runt, a circle trail that’s 6,4 km long, south of road 151.

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My son and oldest daughter . Lilla Lövö is the island to the right

It’s a two km long road walk from the visitors center, but you could drive up to the trail head, where there’s a parking lot and toilets. There is a bridge over the railways that cuts through the park, and on the bridge you get a good view over the vast mire.

My son and I took the car as my wife walked with my daughters from the visitors center. When we’d joined up we entered the trail. After the bridge there were a couple of hundred meters of solid ground before the foot-bridges begun.

The first section of the trail goes through parts of the mire that’s been used for to harvest peat and you can see traces of it with the square patterns in the mire.

After that you get out on untouched land. I wore high boots, and the rest of the family wore rubber boots. It was needed, as both of my older kids and my wife stepped in pools of water at the side of the foot-bridge.

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All across the mire there are small scattered trees

The foot-bridge stretched far om the horizon. After a while we came to a bench where we could have a rest and a snack. After a short rest we kept walking. We were closing in on Lilla Lövö. You’re allowed to camp on Lilla Lövö, but as far as I could see there wasn’t any place you could actually set up a tent. Most of the level ground was covered in storm fallen trees. I didn’t check the entire island though, and there might have been good campsites that I missed.

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My youngest daughter in the Osprey Poco Plus
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It was great to see the sun

We took a short break on a big rock, overlooking the east side of the mire. When we had packed up again we heard the sound of what we think were eagles. We didn’t see any though. After Lilla Lövö, which was mostly covered in spruce, we came into a beautiful pine forest. The sun had come out and made the forest even more beautiful. The last stretch of the hike was mainly through the pine forest, and we hiked in a faster pace than on the foot-bridges.

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Eventually we got back to the car. We’d been hiking for more than five hours, and the kids were tired. As we stood next to the car and packed up, we looked up and saw a flock of cranes passing us at a low altitude. There sound of their wings resembled that of a helicopter hovering. Just as they passed us we heard several splats. The cranes had pooped right as they passed us, and there was a diagonal line bird poo from the ground near the left back door, and over the roof and over to the right front door. We had been inches away from getting all of in on us. It felt like we just survived the blitz.

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The last section before we got back to the car

The day hike at Stora Mosse was great and we had nice weather. This early in the season you’re not bothered by mosquitoes, but I guess it’s worse in the summer with all the standing water. I’d like to spend a weekend hiking and camping here. But if I do I’ll probably try to find a campsite outside the park.