It can sometimes be hard to imagine how far north we actually went during our road trip last summer. We turned back south in Jokkmokk and woke up in Vilhelmina after two days driving south. We were still far from home and were about to embark on new adventures. The Swedish Wilderness Road lay ahead and we had set our target on Klimpfjäll.
Entering the Swedish Wilderness Road
The Swedish Wilderness Road, or Vildmarksvägen, is famous for being the highest altitude paved road in Sweden. It connects with the main road (E45) that runs through the Swedish inland in both Vilhelmina and Strömsund. Stekenjokk, the highest mountain pass, is only open during the summer months. Here the depth of snow can reach up to 6 meters during the winter. It is not only the mountain pass that attracts, there are several natural and cultural wonders to explore along the route.
Our first stop after leaving Vilhelmina was in Stalon, where we made sure to refuel. This is a really small village that is most famous for its gas station and small convenience store. However, there is one place that is really worth a visit here and that is Stalonberget and its viewpoint. Stalonberget is a mountain overlooking the valley where the road is located. It requires a drive up a small and narrow road, which is easy with a normal car. There were also RVs that had reached the top, but I don’t know what they would do in case they met another car on the ascent or descent.
There are plenty of rapids and waterfalls to admire along the road. The first one we encountered was Dimforsen. It was a short walk down from the road and it led you to a cliff where any notion of the existence of an outside world was quieted by the roars of the waterfall. It is a bit more isolated than some of the latter viewpoints, leaving us alone with the view.
The second of three waterfalls we saw this day was Litsjöforsen. The cliffs overlooking these falls were filled with people as there is a proper rest stop located right next to it. It is easier to find a good view here compared to Dimforsen and it felt safer. But it was just not the same with so many others around.
And so finally we reached the most famous of these three waterfalls, Trappstegsforsen. This was also when it started to rain and we hurried inside the small restaurant for some lunch while we waited it out. This is yet another waterfall that is within easy reach of the rest stop and there were even more people around. But with a happy Little A enjoying her dessert, an ice cream, it was still a memorable stop.
We eventually approached Klimpfjäll, but made one small detour first. Fatmomakke is a short drive off the main road and is a must see when driving in the area. It is a church village that is shared by the native Sámi population and the Swedish settlers in the area. This is where people stayed and socialized during the mandatory church services. The area offers both cultural insight and a great view of the surrounding nature.
Our challenge was that Little A had decided to take her nap on the drive from Trappstegsforsen. As we didn’t want to wake her up, we had to once more take turns in exploring. It is a very picturesque village and the church houses are mixed with the traditional Sámi goahtis.
In the end it is the view of the lake Kultsjön, with the mountains of Marsfjället Nature Reserve in the background, that will get stuck on your eyelids when you blink.
We spent our one night in Klimpfjäll at Hotell Klimpfjäll. Here we rented an apartment and had plenty of space. We didn’t even have to use the second bedroom. Having a basic kitchen also made it possible for us to cook some food on our own. Little A was also happy to have some extra space while we sat down to rest a bit after our early dinner.
The lake Kultsjön is large and connects Klimpfjäll with Fatmomakke. Its shores are right next to the hotel with its mirror-like waters. We started our walk through Klimpfjäll by going down to its shores and then onwards along the small streets of the locality. Eventually we ended up at the small convenience store, that had already closed for the day. At least we had the chance to enjoy the evening sunshine before returning to the apartment.
Once back I took the car to explore some more. I wanted to get up to the top of the nearby mountain, from where the ski slopes started. Parking at the eastern lifts, I had the ski slopes ahead of me. It was harder to find a good way across the many streams and ditches. I found a small path that eventually took me to the the maintenance road leading up to the wind power plants at the top. This road made it a lot easier to ascend and would provide an even easer descent as it led all the way down to the parking lot. I don’t understand why I didn’t locate it on the map prior to starting. The view only got better the further I ascended. It wasn’t until close to the top that the ground started to level out and the trees obstructed the view in some directions. This was also when I turned around and started my descent, which gave me a constant view of the lake as well as the surrounding snow-clad mountains.
Onwards along the Wilderness Road
Our short stay in Klimpfjäll was about to end. We had been able to arrange for a new camping cabin in Gäddede for the next night. It wouldn’t be a long drive for a day, but it would take us across the mountain pass at Stekenjokk and had several amazing views to offer.
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