The Swedish mountain world is well equipped with marked trails and most people who go hiking or skiing follow the trails. There are good signs at the starting points and where trails split or cross one another. There are distance markers and symbols for winter and summer trails, overnight cabins and phones. Large parts of the trail system are operated by the state, but there are also local trails that are managed by municipalities, tourism facilities and snowmobile clubs.
The state trail system in the mountains consist of around 5500 kilometres of marked trails and go through the counties of Dalarna, Jämtland, Västerbotten and Norrbotten. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is the principal and it and the county administrative boards/Laponiatjuottjudus (the Laponia administration) have the assignment to manage the daily work on maintenance. This assignment also includes responsibility for rest shelters, direction signs and bridges.
The overnight cabins in lands without rods are mainly operated by the Swedish Tourist Association, but there are also others that offer overnight accommodation.
The winter trails are marked with guiding starts – crosses on posts. When it is permitted to ride snowmobiles, a recurring snowmobile symbol is on the guide posts. The guide posts are at 40-metre intervals and the crosses are around 150 centimetres from the ground. When the crosses are snowed over in frequent areas, they are sometimes extended with a trail stick.
Above the tree line, the summer trails are generally marked with small stone mounds, sometimes with red paint at the top. In the mountain birch forest, the trails are often marked with painted rings or dots on trees. The trails are often seen as a well used path. In places, summer and winter trails run in parallel, and then the marking is with posts with red crosses (the winter marking). Keep an eye out so you do not end up on a winter trail in the summer. Then you could end up in wetlands or on the way straight out into a lake. The mountain map and direction signs help you find your way. And on the winter trails there is no path to stick to.
Rest shelters are often located along the trails at around half the distance between the overnight cabins. They are intended precisely for resting. They may be used to stay overnight only in emergencies. There is a heating stove, but not always wood. There is often an assistance phone. In many rest shelters, there is also an assistance phone. There is often a guest book there, that you sign into. If anything were to happen to you, a note in the book if you have been there is valuable information for Mountain Rescue.
On trails where there are a lot of people coming and going, it is sometimes crowded in the rest shelters. But you should always feel welcome. There is always room for anyone who needs a roof over head. This sometimes may mean that somebody who has been indoors a while has to move.
Remember map and compass
The mountain map shows what kinds of trails there are in an area. A map and compass are safe aids for safe navigation, even if you plan on following the trails. They enrich your outing and you can see what is ahead. You can easily feel unsafe outside if you cannot get your bearings using a map and compass if the weather becomes bad and you stray from the trail.
Guidance for signs in the mountains
Uniform signs are important to mountain safety and the visitors’ experiences. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has therefore prepared a manual for what signs should look like along the state trails in the mountains. The sign manual shows colour selection and shape for new signs, but also how signs are most suitably used in the mountains.
The manual targets everyone who has a need to set up direction signs in the mountains, including private actors, snowmobile clubs and others.
The manual is only available digitally. By always gathering the information via the link here, you know that you have the latest version: