Östersund – Åre

Onwards to the mountains
From Östersund the trail crosses the bridge to Frösön which is named after the Norse god Frö (Frej). From the meadows of Frösön, your journey continues towards the mountains and the land of the reindeer. Sami culture thrives in the mountains of Åre. You can see 5,000-year-old rock carvings and walk narrow paths along the surging Indalsälven river.

Stop at the rune stone shortly after Frösö Bridge (about 300 meters to the west of Coop supermarket) and read about how Christianity came to Jämtland, then stroll along the green island and enjoy the views of Oviksfjällen mountains. Frösö church, dating back to the 1200s, was built with St. Olav as its patron saint. In summertime Arnljot play is performed next to the church. It tells the story of a Viking from Gällö that fought with St. Olav in Stiklestad.

Cross the bridge to Rödön which has remains of the fortress Tibrandsholm from the 1300s. Listen to the sounds of the waves and look out for the Storsjö monster that is said to live in the depths of the lake. Rödön church dates back to medieval times and received an expensive refurbishment after a fire in the 1920s. Here the route is nestled amongst strawberry and potato plantations. There is a St. Olav spring in Vikeränget and you then walk along woodland trails by the village of Tullus towards the vibrant Nälden village.

Peaceful hiking

Upstream from Vaplan there is an old ford over Faxån river that was also used by pilgrims of the past. You walk peacefully on old village roads to Valne followed by more hilly terrain to Glösa where you can see 5,000-year-old rock carvings of moose. The stones and the gurgling of the brook create a timeless atmosphere. The trail continues on the Bröllopstigen (Wedding Path) to Wången with its horse training and accommodation. This is a place to stop and enjoy views of Alsensjön lake and the mountains. Visit Backgården in Alsen which has a crafts exhibition in summertime.

At Hälleberget the terrain becomes hilly and the trail passes through the villages of Kluk, Bleckåsen and Semlan where a copper hut was once located. Today Mörsil offers Kretsloppshuset which is a green oasis with gardens and food made from local products. Römmens folk museum is next to the church, with the remains of a barbican from the 1600s.

The path passes by Liten, a lake with plenty of fish and bathing areas in Stålviken and Havsdoan, then onwards to Järpen, the central town of the area. The road westward is beautiful and goes past the church ruin at Slagåsen and Undersåker church. You soon arrive at Hållandsgården where a centre for pilgrims has been built with a stave church in grey wood from 1999. It has a model of Jerusalem, and outside the church there is a depiction of a Palestinian scene from the time of Jesus. This family hotel also organises guided tours and concerts. The trail continues via a St Olav spring and the majestic Rista falls, a 14-meter high waterfall.

Mountain village at Åreskutan

St. Olavsleden follows the hills above the village of Undersåker toward Brattland, with views of Renfjället and Åreskutan mountain. You walk through farmland along Såå village road until you reach Åre, an alpine centre for hiking and skiing with many restaurants, hotels and shops. There is also an indoor water park and a bathing area by Lake Åresjön. Enjoy the stillness of the old church from the end of the 1100s, which has a statue of St. Olav wearing a Carolean hat.

There is a long history of reindeer husbandry in the valley; reindeer used to roam where today there are ski slopes and there used to be slaughtering grounds by Ullsjön lake. Today there are four Sami villages in Åre municipality with active reindeer husbandry. Southern Sami handicraft uses round shapes, often with zig-zag patterns. Åre Hemslöjd has Sami handicraft from all over the country including knives, necklaces and more. The reindeer owner and photographer Nils Thomasson moved to Thomassons gård with his family in 1916. At the time the farm was a meeting point for Sami people from near and far. There was always a bed to sleep in here, and dinner conversations often covered strategies and plans for increasing the understanding of reindeer husbandry and clarifying the rights of the Sami people. Today they hold conferences, provide accommodation and work to further the Sami culture.

Whole section: 124 KM

Individual stages:

Östersund – Rödön / 19,5 km
Rödön – Nälden / 17,9 km
Nälden – Alsen / 19,2 km
Alsen – Mörsil / 25,7 km
Mörsil – Hålland / 19 km
Hålland – Åre / 22,9 km


Tourist information

Åre Östersunds Airport