Köpmanholmen - Sandlågan
Beautiful views mixed with swimming opportunities in a pond with crystal clear water as well as the sea.
This section follows the well-used trail through the Balesudden Nature Reserve. It covers undulating terrain through deep spruce forests and over open mountain plateaus more than 150 metres above sea level.
By Köpmanholmen’s harbour at the start of the section you will find a cabin with a campfire site, toilet and shower where you are welcome to spend the night. You can also pitch your tent here. Drinking water is available in the harbour. Köpmanholmens havsbad is about one kilometre from the harbour – it’s a wonderful sandy beach with a wind shelter, barbeque area, table and benches. Next to the beach is a wind shelter designed and built by architecture students from all over Scandinavia through the project Arknat, an architecture festival where architecture students make wind shelters for everyone to use. If you continue on eastwards, you will come to Hålviken. There is a parking lot at the end of the road here, with an information board, benches and table as well as an eco-toilet. From here the trail goes in to Balesudden Nature Reserve. About 300 metres from the car park you will find a wind shelter with a view over Köpmanholmen.
With its 923 hectares, Balesudden is a relatively large nature reserve. It was established in 1985 and six kilometres of the High Coast Trail go through the reserve. The scenery here might remind you a little of Skuleskogen Forest: undulating terrain with deep forests making way for open smooth rocky plateaus more than 150 metres above sea level. Once in the reserve you will come across a side trail of about two kilometres that will take you up to the viewpoint on Balesberget. From here you can see a large part of the High Coast’s archipelago, from Skagsudde in the north to the islands of Ulvön in the south.
The trail here passes Lake Balestjärnen. This lake is special in a number of ways, including its location and its extremely clear water. It is situated in a basin surrounded by acidic rocks, Nordingrå granite, but the water is still almost alkaline. The explanation behind this is most likely that the area is rich in fossilised mussel shells from a time long since passed and they have raised the pH value of the water. The lake is good for swimming, and if you happen to have a waterproof camera, take the chance to take some fantastic underwater photos in the crystal clear water.
Right next to the main trail, about 500 metres west of Sör-Balesviken, you will find some amazing caves and “witches kettles”, that were formed by the sea’s waves thousands of years ago. There is a campfire site and an eco-toilet at Sör-Balesviken. There is also space to pitch a tent here. From Sör-Balesviken, the trail continues on to Bodviken where there is a cabin with eight bunks, a table and chairs as well as a wood stove and an eco-toilet. You can also pitch a tent here. Drinking water can be taken from the stream that runs into the bay.
The trail continues on about one kilometre to the end of the section in Sandlågan, where you will find a lovely shallow bay perfect for swimming. Due to the depth of the bay, only smaller boats and kayaks can access the coast here. Moor your vessel on the beach. About 500 metres south of the car park, where there is room for five or six cars, there is a wind shelter with a campfire site, table and eco-toilet. An information sign has been placed at the car park.
Accommodations & side trails
Looking for a more comfortable place to sleep the night during your hike? Or do you want to explore more on your hike? Here are some tips on local accommodations and sights along the section.
Things to think about
How to get to the starting point? Where to buy a hiking trail guide? How to pack smart? And what do I have to think about when visiting the High Coast Trail? Here are some useful information to prepare your hike.
Getting to the starting point
Transport: Bus stop Köpmanholmen C.
Time tables can be found at www.dintur.se.
Section starts in central Köpmanholmen. Starting point: 63.173889, 18.570583. Closest parking is at the quay in Kläppa (parking fee) or at Hålviken.
Buy a hiking trail guide/map
The High Coast Trail hiking trail guide can be ordered here.
Hiking doesn’t require a lot of special equipment, but there are a few things worth thinking about that will help make your experience as enjoyable as possible.
First of all, think about what kind of person you are and what non-essential items you think you won’t be able to do without. And then convince yourself that you will be able to cope without them! Hiking is all about being present, living in the here and now, and taking the time to soak in your surroundings. Once you get in the zone, the only things of importance are having comfortable clothing and shoes, that your pack is comfortable to carry, and that you have something to eat and drink when you need to replenish your energy reserves. However, a camera/smart phone is always good to have along so you can document your adventure.
Find your way
Map, compass, waterproof map case, head torch and GPS.
For documentation & spare time
A pen, notebook and a good book.
Tent, sleeping mat, a small sit pad, sleeping bag, pillow, head torch with extra batteries and a lantern for your tent.
Carrying your load
A backpack has to be comfortable to carry, preferably fitted to its wearer so that it sits well. If you are out on a daytrip or will be sleeping in hostels or hotels, you shouldn’t need to pack more than 30 litres of gear. If you are out for the weekend and need to take a tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat, you should be able to fit everything into a 50-litre pack. Your backpack, sleeping bag and tent shouldn’t weight more than 3 kg together, and food and clothing will be added to this. Distribute the weight evenly by placing heavy items against the back. It’s a good idea to take a rain cover for your pack, pack bags and hiking poles.
For undesired visitors
Mosquito net/mosquito hat, bug spray, tick remover.
Eating & cooking
Water bottle, camping kitchen (burner and pots), fuel, lighter/matches, knife, cup, cutlery, little wisp, pot handle, washing up liquid, dish brush, freeze-dried food, multi tool, coffee/tea, salt and pepper, energy snacks (e.g. dried fruit and nuts), rubbish bag.
Footwear & socks
Worn-in outdoor training shoes or running shoes are great for daytrips with lighter backpacks. It can be a good idea to use waterproof shoes with Gore-Tex, for example, on wet days. If you are going to hike long stretches and have a heavy backpack, light hiking boots are recommended as they give you more stability and better ankle support. Many hikers prefer to wear two pairs of socks – a thin inner sock and a somewhat thicker outer wool sock – this helps prevent blisters. Sports socks that are shaped to the foot and don’t fall down are preferable.
Applying the layering principle is a good idea. Your base layer should keep you warm and wick away moisture from the skin (wool or synthetic), the mid layer should wick any moisture further away but keep warmth in (wool or fleece), and the outer layer should protect you from wind and rain as well as keep you warm. Garments to pack might include a long-sleeved base-layer top, a short-sleeved base-layer top, long johns, underwear (briefs, sports bra), woollen socks (thin + thicker), hiking trousers, warm sweater (fleece or wool), airy shirt in functional fabric, hat and/or buff, windproof gloves, rain gear (jacket and pants), waterproof pack bags for underwear, swimming gear.
A stitch in time
Needle and thread, duct tape, multitool, steel wire, strong thin cord that can double as a tent guy rope, patches for tent and any inflatable mats.
Hygiene & first aid
First aid kit, toothbrush and toothpaste, plasters for blisters, paracetamol, toilet bag, fast-drying towel, toilet paper, soap, sunscreen.
For when you reach civilisation
Wallet, phone, sunglasses, binoculars, waterproof pack bag for electronic devices.
Things to think about when visiting the High Coast Trail
The Right of Public Access gives visitors to the Swedish countryside the right to roam freely. But with this freedom comes responsibility. “Don’t disturb, don’t destroy” is the key concept to follow. Please think of the following when you are on the High Coast Trail:
- Don’t walk over gardens or cultivated land.
- Respect animal and bird life, leave nests and young in peace.
- Close all gates behind you when hiking through grazing land.
- You can swim anywhere other than by houses or where specifically forbidden.
- No littering.
- Only light campfires in designated places. Put your fire out with care! Avoid lighting campfires when the fire risk is high.
- Dogs are welcome along the trail but must be kept on a leash when hiking.
- You must have a fishing licence for fishing in lakes and watercourses (streams and rivers). No fishing licence is required for fishing in the sea.
In Skuleskogen National Park you need to follow specific rules and regulations that have been put in place to protect the park’s flora and fauna. You may:
- not light campfires anywhere other than in designated campfire sites from May 1 – September 30. You may only burn wood that is supplied or that you have carried in with you.
- only tent at designated sites and for a maximum of three nights at the same site during the period May 1 – September 30.
- only travel by foot in the national park.
- not cycle, with the exception of the coastal trail between the South Entrance and the North Entrance.
- fish in the sea but not in the rivers and lakes.
- have your dog with you but it must be on a leash at all times.
The High Coast Trail has been divided into 13 sections. Choose to hike one section at a time, combine several hikes for a longer tour or hike the whole trail.
The High Coast Trail has been divided into 13 sections so that each section has at least one option to stay overnight under a roof – though accommodation ranges from basic cabins to serviced hostels and hotels. There are also simple wind shelters and huts along the way for hikers to use. It doesn’t cost anything to stay in these, they can’t be booked in advance and you can’t refuse other hikers who would like to stay as well. Camping with tents is permitted almost everywhere along the trail, as long as you don’t disturb the surroundings. Be aware, however, that once you are in the Skuleskogen National Park, tenting is only permitted in designated areas.
The trail is easy to follow thanks to the numerous orange markers on trees and posts. In addition, there are metal signposts with High Coast Trail symbols where trails cross or fork.
All the sections are well maintained so unless you are unlucky you won’t need to get your feet wet at all. Despite this, we still recommend wearing hiking boots or similar sturdy footwear on the trail. Cycling is permitted, but in Skuleskogen National Park you are only allowed to cycle along the coastal trail that passes Näskebodarna.
At times, it can be difficult to find drinking water, especially in the peak of summer, so plan carefully using your trail map as a guide, it has water sources clearly marked. The quality of available water can also vary somewhat. There are some grocery stores along the way so you can plan ahead where you can replenish your supplies.
Regardless if you are a beginner or an experienced hiker, there will be sections perfect for you along the trail. We want you to have a fantastic time on the High Coast Trail – take your time and enjoy yourself, you are about to experience some of the World Heritage Site’s absolute highlights.