Fulufjället is an essentially unspoiled nature area in the southernmost part of the Swedish mountain range. With its abundance of activities and unusual sights, Fulufjället National Park in the County of Dalarna is a true must-see for nature lovers! You can ramble through deep ravines and lush valleys that host a wide variety of flora and fauna. The geology is truly fascinating! In Fulufjället National Park is where you find the world’s oldest tree and Sweden’s highest waterfall!
The gentle sandstone mountain landscape is best explored on foot, on skis or by canoe. Moose, beavers and brown bears live in the wide moors, crystal clear rivers and ancient, lichen-draped spruce forests. Thick carpets of reindeer moss and berries invite hikers to daydream under the open sky.
Most visitors to the national park enter at Njupeskär, where there is a visitor centre and a café located in an award-winning, architect-designed house nestled among pine trees next to the mountain edge. The visitor centre provides exhibitions and guided tours of the park. From here it’s a 2 km walk to the Njupeskär waterfall. On the walk back to the visitors centre you have a magnificent view and you also pass some very old pine trees.
Sweden’s Highest Waterfall
Njupeskär waterfall is 93 metres high. It is Sweden’s highest waterfall with a stunning free fall of 70 metres. In the mist that is always present near the fall, you can find rare mosses and lichens that need constant moisture to survive. The deep canyon has cut its way through the sandstone and is a perfect example of backwards erosion. In winter, the cascade is surrounded by a silver armour of ice.
Göljan Valley – the land of the Giant Jack-straws
In 1997, the area around Göljan Valley was heavily ravaged by an extreme rainstorm. An estimated 400 millimetres of rain fell during a 24-hour period, probably the largest downpour ever in Scandinavia. The Göljån River swelled to 500 times(!) its normal volume, and a wall of water up to six metres high swept through the valley. All vegetation was swept away – even the giant spruces along the waterways. Today, the plants are slowly returning. The grey wagtail, dipper, beaver and otter can be seen along the riversides. An observation tower and marked trails provide excellent views of this unique area.
Today, there is hardly anywhere else in Dalarna with as much deadwood as Fulufjället National Park. The dead wood benefits many plants and animals that break down the wood, including a large number of beetles and fungi. For example, no less than 29 different species of bark beetle have been found in the area.
The world’s oldest tree
Fulufjället is renowned for its centuries old forests. But, when scientists revealed the age of the oldest spruce in the park, even the boldest estimates were exceeded: Fulufjället’s oldest spruce is more than 9 000 years old, making it the oldest tree on earth.
The spruce can reproduce by shooting new sprouts from the roots and that is how this tree has survived since it first settled on Fulufjället, soon after the last ice age. During cold and harsh periods, the spruce has been growing slowly, making it look more like bush, and when the climate has been warmer it has had a more tree-like look.
A hike up to the bare mountain plateau can offer stillness, solitude and the opportunity to observe birds such as the ring ouzel, brambling, golden plover and whimbrel. Those who are fortunate enough to visit the park during a peak year of the mountain lemming have a good chance of spotting owls and other birds of prey.
Carpets of the lichen called reindeer moss are very thick and compact, due to the fact that this is the only large mountain in Sweden that is not grazed by reindeer, making it invaluable for scientific research.
Located on the mountain is the fabled altar ring, Sweden’s highest altar in terms of elevation. Originally, it may have been used for capturing falcons for hunting.
Rural Villages and traditional farm life
The small villages surrounding the national park give a unique insight into the rural life of the region. There is also the opportunity to visit an traditional summer farm close to the park, Stenvallen. Here, tradition comes back to life. The farm, which is not in use anymore, is still in its original state.
Fulufjället National Park offers many activities to take part in. Here are but a few examples:
- Bird watching: Fulufjället National Park claims to have the richest birdlife in the county of Dalarna. Look out for the rare gyrfalcon, the largest falcon on earth.
- Animal tracking: Follow the traces of bear and moose. Apart from footprints, bears also leave toppled trees or excavated anthills in their wake.
- Trekking/cross country skiing/snow shoeing: Cross over to Norway on the old post trail. Or take a hike on Kungsleden, the King’s trail, Sweden’s most famous long distance trek. Altogether there are 150 km of marked hiking paths in the park. In winter the trails are used for cross-country skiing.
- Canoeing/kayaking: Explore the park’s lakes and rivers in a canoe.
- Snowmobiles: Within Fulufjället national park you are allowed to ride a snowmobile on a marked trail in the northern part of the park.
For more information please visit the Fulufjället National Park website.