The pilgrim path north Dalsland
The Pilgrim Path in north Dalsland is a scenic long distance walking trail for the true nature lover. At times you’ll be treated to incredible views of the wilderness, in terrain that’s as dramatic as that of eastern Sweden’s High Coast.
One path – two different types of terrain
The Dalsland part of the Pilgrim Trail stretches from Vänersborg in the south to Edsleskog in the municipality of Åmål, in the north. From Mellerud to Upperud the route is mostly along country paths and roads, passing a handful of medieval churches. In Upperud it changes character and becomes a really lovely wilderness trail. We recommend anyone wanting to experience the true primeval forest in Dalsland to explore the northern part of the Pilgrim Trail, which resembles the dramatic eastern High Coast in some parts.
Forest, lakes and historic buildings
There’s a lot to see along the way, not least in the form of stunning scenery, with different types of woodland and many small lakes. Sometimes the route is relatively packed with roads, holiday cottages and other buildings. Other parts are characterised by active forestry, with clear-felled areas, fresh undergrowth, and dense conifer plantations. In between there are some fairly steep ascents to negotiate, but the view from the top makes it worth the effort.
Photographer: HENRIK TRYGG
You’ll come across many historic landmarks along the route, from old dry stone walls and building remains, to several lovely 13th century churches, such as Holms Church in Mellerud. In Upperud, by the Dalsland Canal, you can have something nice to eat and watch the boats going through the locks during the summer months.
Accommodation along the trail
Along the northern section of the Pilgrim Path there are several camping spots with a fireplace and shelter where you can stay the night, making the trail equally suitable for trips of one or several days. There are also some hotels or hostels along the way, such as Upperud 9:9, a former grain store which nowadays houses modern hotel rooms. Just north of Upperud you’ll find the little town of Håverud, with its famous aqueduct, several restaurants and accommodation which includes Håveruds Hotel.
Photographer: Alex Vizeo_Loris Monteux/Westsweden.com
The cultural mecca Not Quite in Fengersfors is well worth the approximately 5 km detour from the path. You’ll find art, crafts, food and music here, all in a fascinating setting. Bed and breakfast accommodation is also available at Villa Weidling. Furthest north, in Edleskog, is Edsleskogs Wärdshus, an inn in a beautiful setting on the shore of Lake Edslan. Continue your hike from here by joining the Storspåret Trail that takes you on to Åmål.
Fact about the trail
The stretch between Mellerud and Åmål is 82 kilometres in total and can be divided into four day stages. The first stage, from Mellerud to Upperud 9:9, is around 15 kilometres. The second, from Upperud 9:9 to Högelund is around 23 kilometres and the third, from Högelund to Edsleskog is also approximately 23 kilometres. The last stage is on the linked Storspåret Trail, from Edsleskog to Åmål, and is around 20.5 kilometres.
The path takes approximately 4 to 5 days to walk, but this is of course dependent on the individual.
There are signs and orange waymarks along the path.
Level of difficulty:
Overall the trail is classed as moderate but this is varies greatly depending on what part of the trail you are walking. There’s more detailed information about the different stages below.
- Mellerud (Holms Church) - Upperud 9:9: This stretch is characterised as easy, with flat walking terrain. Most of the route is on walking trails and country roads, with some shorter stretches along nature trails.
- Upperud 9:9 - Högelund: This stretch is described as a wilderness trail in difficult terrain. The path is very hilly and often far from any settlement.
- Högelund - Edsleskog: Wilderness trail in moderate terrain. The path follows a varied route along gravelled roads, forestry tracks and nature trails, mostly in woodland.
- Edsleskog - Åmål: Lowland and wilderness terrain, easy to moderate walking.
Photographer: HENRIK TRYGG
Start and end:
You can start the walk in several places along the Pilgrim Path, and it’s easy to access by public transport if you want to walk a shorter stretch. Mellerud and Åmål are easily reached by train from Gothenburg, and there are several bus stops along the trail that are regularly serviced from Åmål and Mellerud.
- Mellerud - Upperud 9:9 (15 kilometres): One suggestion is to start in Mellerud, where you can easily get to on public transport. From the station it’s around a 1.5 kilometre walk to the path. Just north of Mellerud is Linderud bus stop, just 50 metres from the path.
- Upperud 9:9 - Högelund (23 kilometres): By Upperud’s locks and the Dalsland Museum there are bus stops right next to the path. In Håverud and Högsbyn there are train stops which you can get to on the Dalsland’s railbus. The Tisselskog Vsk bus stop is around a kilometre from the path.
- Högelund - Edsleskog (23 kilometres): The Norra Lidtjärn bus stop is approx. one kilometre from the path.
- Edsleskog - Åmål Hanebol Recreation Area (20.6 kilometres): The Edsleskogs affär (shop) bus stop is 150 metres from the start of the Storspåret Trail. Along the path the Rådane and Finntorp bus stops are approximately one kilometre from the path. Nearer Åmål the Spakebol bus stop is right next to the path. Åmål station is around three kilometres from Hanebol Friluftsgård (Recreation Area), where the path ends.
Photographer: Roger Borgelid
How to get here:
Dalsland is in the northern corner of West Sweden, with Norway and Bohuslän as western neighbours, and Vänern – Sweden’s biggest lake – in the east. In less than two hours by car from Gothenburg and Oslo you’ll find yourself in beautiful, stress free, natural surroundings. It’s easy to get there from Gothenburg by train, in around 1 hour to Mellerud and 1.5 hours to Åmål.