Thursday, June 1, 2017
There are several different trails in Scandinavia called "Pilgrimsleden" (The Pilgrim's Trail), so this one is not to be confused with other trails fo the same name! I've hiked on at least two other trails in Sweden called the same, but this guide is for the one that runs through the Dalsland area. The trail goes roughly from the city of Vänersborg in the south to the border of Varmland county to the north. Also worth noting is that past the border to the north, the trail continues and eventually goes into the Glaskogen nature reserve further north, where there are even more hiking trails throughout the park.
Pilgrimsleden Dalsland is about 110km in total, but for the purposes of wilderness backpacking I strongly suggest a modified route. My modified route incorporates a long side-trail that begins in the town of Åmål called Storspåret, and skips a long section from the village of Upperud to Vänersborg on the southern part of the trail. The reason behind skipping this section is simple: it's mostly asphalt walking. And hiking on paved roads for a long time, if you ask me and many others interested in wilderness backpacking, sucks.
But there are also good logistical considerations to my modified route. Rather than starting or ending this trail in the middle of nowhere at the northern endpoint of the trail, one can begin or end in Åmål, which has a train station, buses, supermarkets, restaurants, etc. And in Upperud the trail literally passes by a bus stop (see: below) where you can catch a bus to the town of Mellerud, where there is a train station.
So my way of hiking this trail goes from Upperud in the south to Åmål in the northeast, and covers roughly 75km of trail--55km of Pilgrimsleden Dalsland and 20km of the Storspåret side trail. It's a wonderful section hike that my friends and I really enjoyed.