- There is something about the large, untouched areas in Finnskogen that gives a more in-depth wilderness feeling. That contact with nature grips you in a very special way, both physically and mentally," says wilderness enthusiast, university lecturer in outdoor life and general manager of Outdoor Finnskogen, Knut Egil Bekkevold..
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He has devoted much of his life to researching and communicating both the impact and value of nature experiences. He now works as a guide and cultural communicator in the deep, mythical and adventurous Finnskogen.
For Knut Egil, Finnskogen is very special. Not only is the forest old and vast - from Eidsvåg in the south, via Värmland in Sweden and up to Trysilvegen in the north - but it also has a unique history. It was the Forest Finns, Finns who immigrated via Sweden, who first settled here in the 16th and 17th centuries. These colonies were the first to leave their mark on Finnskogen, which is still reflected in the names of both ponds and places, and they retained their distinctive customs and culture for well over 250 years.
Today, Finnskogen is a popular destination for adventurous hikers, cyclists, canoeists and hunters. There are plenty of hikes and experiences for all ages and levels, but what's best for you and where to start?
A good tip is to take advantage of Outdoor Finnskogen and Explore Finnskogen's guided tours and courses in wilderness life. In the meantime, we have collected some of Knut Egil's best hiking tips here:
Finnskogleden - a historical hike in the footsteps of the forest Finns. The trail takes you through the border areas that were immigrated by Finns in the 16th and 17th centuries, and the marked path runs on both the Norwegian and Swedish sides of the border (you can also avoid crossing the border). Along the trail there are connections to a number of accommodation facilities, both private and run by DNT Finnskogen og omegn turistforening.
Island hopping by canoe on Røgden is a perfect activity for both young and old. The beautiful lake offers exciting paddling trips between a number of idyllic islands. Røgden is a 50-minute drive from Kongsvinger and can be done on your own or under the auspices of Outdoor Finnskogen. Bring a fishing rod and swimwear! There are many accommodation options, from the peaceful Finnskogtoppen to the Grensen Experience right by the water. Finnskogen Kro & Motell in Svullrya is also a great option in the heart of Finnskogen.
The bog safari on the sup up the watercourse at Skasen is perfect for those who want nature experiences a little out of the ordinary. This tour is organised by Outdoor Finnskogen and offers a unique insight into the diverse wildlife in the wondrous wetland areas. Lake Skasen is a 40-minute drive from Kongsvinger. On the shores of Skasen you will find several nice accommodation options such as the idyllic Finnskogstua and Finnskogen Turistsenter.
Flykningrutene (Spikern) reveals a lot already in its name. Here you can hike the same routes Norwegians used to escape to Sweden during World War II. Spikern is one of the routes, and this one is marked in blue with a spike symbol, but the marking is variable so a map and compass are useful. The hike starts at Namnå in Grue and leads to Sweden over Baksjøberget at border island no. 90. The trip takes about two days, and if you don't want to sleep in a tent, you can spend the night at Bjørsjøtorpet, Grusetsætra or Konttorpet gapahuk.
The paddle from Rotnesjøen to Svullrya is a great paddle for the whole family. The paddle can easily be done in one day and offers great strokes surrounded by magnificent nature. Here you can still trace remnants of the time when Rotna was a floating river, and there are both fish and a unique population of eels. Rotnessjøen is about an hour's drive from Kongsvinger, and the trip can be done under the auspices of Outdoor Finnskogen. The paddle trip can be combined with an overnight stay and a farm visit at Finnskogen NaKuHel. Local food and animals are always popular!
Glamping in Finnskogen? Stay in a beautiful tent at Bettes Glamping and enjoy the peace and quiet of the forest.