National park hike around Toftåsa marshlands

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A 10 km long hike that offers water-adjacent experiences, the scent of marshland, beautiful pine forests, and the serenity of an old forest. The trail begins in the small village of Ulvö along the old railway embankment, which now serves as a path for hiking and cycling. After 3 km, you turn left, and shortly thereafter, the trail takes you on soft paths and nice footbridges across the marsh. Along Svartsjön, the trail offers old beautiful forests and moss-covered terrain. Along the hike, you’ll pass two different rest areas, both with peaceful views of the water.

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Ulvö is an old railway station village, and the railway used to pass through here. Today, the railway embankment has been transformed into a car-free hiking and cycling trail called “Banvallsleden,” which you will be walking on during a part of your hike. It’s a beautiful spot for swimming, rest stops, and picnics. At the parking area, you’ll also find an accessible restroom and a barbecue area. This is both the starting and ending point of the hike.

From Ulvö, you head south, and a sign will guide you in the direction of “Svängbron” and “Näckens badkar” (The Swinging Bridge and Näcken’s Bathtub)!

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Here you pass a historic swing bridge. The bridge, which dates back to the second half of the 19th century, used to pivot and was manoeuvred manually to allow the steam boat traffic that was once a common sight in Åsnen to pass.

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The Water Sprite’s Bath, the Christening Stone – the names vary! But it’s easy to imagine the water sprite taking a relaxing bath here between engagements in darker waters!

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Rest area with a magical view of one of the most pristine areas in Åsnen. On early spring mornings, if you’re in luck, you may hear the black-throated diver call between the islands. Here is a nice barbecue area, a dry toilet, and a shelter. Please use caution and show good judgment when you light your fire!

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The south trail, Toftåsa marshland

After 3 km along the “Banvallsleden”, you’ll follow the signposts to the left, and shortly, the path will lead you onto soft paths and beautiful footbridges across the marsh. On warm days, you can enjoy the scent of sun-warmed pine forests, blueberries, lingonberries, and vast fields of Marsh Labrador Tea. You’ll walk on footbridges in the wettest parts, but keep in mind that the hike may require waterproof shoes if there has been heavy rain!

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What applies in the national park?

Please note that the right of public access (“allemansrätten”) is limited within the national park. Here, specific regulations, known as “föreskrifter,” apply.
In Åsnen National Park, it is allowed to pick berries during your hike, but not to gather or dig up plants. You must not harm living or dead trees and bushes or disturb wildlife. It’s also essential to be mindful of not causing noise that could be perceived as disruptive to others. For the vast majority of visitors, the focus is on nature experiences, and by respecting this, both you and others will have a more enjoyable visit to the national park! You are welcome to bring your dog, but it must always be leashed, and you get to light a fire, but only in designated areas.

A shortened version of the regulations can be found here.

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Colorful mire

During the later part of summer, the mire shines with purple heather. Even during other times of the year, there is a colorful display on the mire, but then you need to pause and look a bit more closely to discover the various plants!

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Rest area Svartsjön

After you’ve passed the mire and the pine forest, you’ll reach a gravel road. Take a left and follow the road for about 500 meters until you reach the parking area and rest area. Please be attentive, you will share the gravel road  with vehicular traffic. At Svartsjön (Black Lake), there is a pleasant rest area with a breathtaking view of the lake Åsnen. Often, the lake is calm, making it a cozy spot to take a break. There are tables, benches, and a prepared barbecue area available for use!

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Winding paths

After about 150 meters, and right after you have passed Svartsjön, follow the signposts to the left. Here, the trail will lead you through silent forests and soft mossy terrains. The path is narrow, winding its way around rocks and vegetation, and you’ll truly feel like part of nature!

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Viewpoint at northern Toftåsa

At the northernmost point of the northern loop on Toftåsa mire, there is a bench and convenient support for binoculars and cameras. A popular spot for many birdwatchers! The location offers captivating views of Åsnen’s waters and is perfect if you just want to sit down and enjoy the tranquility and the lapping of the waves!

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Fragrant Marsh Labrador Tea

On the northern part of the trail, you walk on paths and footbridges surrounded by vast fields of Marsh Labrador Tea. When the bushes bloom in early summer, you can enjoy an amazing scent. Marsh Labrador Tea is also known as nature’s mosquito repellent, but remember that in the national park, you are not allowed to pick or break off plants!

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Waterbound hiking

When you reach the trail along the old railway embankment again, turn right to return to the starting point at Ulvö. The stretch along the embankment includes crossing bridges and passing through leafy deciduous tree canopies. You are always close to the water and can enjoy the views of Åsnen. When you reach the railway trail from the northern path, it’s approximately 1.8 km back to Ulvö.