Wilder Side of Stockholm
75 Mi.(121 KM)
% Rideable (time)
Michael O’Dwyer is an Irish guy living in Stockholm. After years of working too much, he rediscovered his love for bikes after receiving an unexpected invite to go bikepacking in Mongolia. He went and was hooked. His love of travel found a new direction. When home in Sweden, Michael spends his time exploring the forests of his adopted country, looking for its best trails. Find Michael on Instagram @bikepackingsweden.
We decided to meet up in our favourite bike shop in Stockholm, 116 (ettettsex), in the bustling hipster district of Södermalm. We were an international crew of Irish, Finnish, Italian, French, Australian, and Swedish riders. Some came on their gravel bikes just for the day, others were in for the two-day trip. In the store, whilst browsing the stock and discussing our route, we had some fika (coffee and cake) before we hit the trail. We’re so lucky in Stockholm to have nature right on our doorstep, because within 15 minutes of cycling from downtown Stockholm we arrived at the first stretch of gravel.
The ‘Wilder Side’ of Stockholm tour brings you past some of the most scenic parts of Stockolm County. First on the tour are the mountain biking trail laden forests of Hammarbybacken and Hellasgården. These are the focal point of cross-country riding in Stockholm. Next are the gravel roads around Tyresta National Park, through Tyresta Nature Reserve. Then to the very rideable singletrack section of Paradiset Nature Reserve. The deeper into this trail you go, the easier it gets. The shelters in the reserve make a great place to stop for the night. If you’re lucky, you might even get to stay in the unmanned free cabin (first people there get it).
On day two, you travel further away from the city to the lesser visited part of Stockholm. Remote gravel takes you to the outdoor centre of Lida and its great restaurant. The forest behind, with its perfect gravel, is a joy to ride before start returning to the suburbs. The gravel and singletrack forests are not finished yet, but you become more aware of the city. We finished our tour in Huddinge Centrum and took the suburban train (pendeltåg) back into Södermalm. For those with the legs, you can continue on to Flaten through Farsta Stand before arriving back to Södermalm.
Most of the route is gravel, with some sections of asphalt, but due to the three sections of singletrack the route gets a difficulty rating of 5 out of 10. When the trails are dry they are fast and flowing, but when wet they’re slippery from the tree roots and fallen leaves.
Route Development: When Björn Melin and I saw that BIKEPACKING.com were looking for overnight routes, we decided to link together our favourite tracks in Stockholm from years of riding here to make an overnighter. Together, we worked out the trail and where we thought would be best for camping. We needed a meeting point, so we contacted Erik, the owner of 116 bikeshop, and asked if we could start the tour in his place. We got together our crew of bikepackers and off we went.
- Soaking up the atmosphere of Södermalm.
- Riding through the nine of Stockholm’s nature reserves (protected areas for wildlife and ecological reasons). The tour takes you through Nacka, Alby, Tyresta, Gullringskärret, Paradiset, Svartkällsskogen, Lida, Gladö Kvarnsjön, and Orlången nature reserves.
- Taking a swim in Trehörningen lake in Paradiset Nature Reserve.
- Stopping for fika (coffee and cakes) in Hellasgråden and Lida friluftsgård.
- Spotting many different species of deer, especially in Tyresta Nature Reserve and out to Västerhaninge.
When to go
The best time to ride in Sweden is from May until October. In June and July, there are a lot of mosquitoes in the forest, but it doesn’t get dark (almost a midnight sun). In September and October, you have nice autumn colours, and no mosquitoes, but it can be more risky with the weather.
The route begins in Stockholm city centre and ends in Huddinge Centrum, which are connected via a suburban train service call the pendeltåg. You’re allowed to bring your bike on this train, but not from 6.30am-9:00am and then 3:00pm-6:00pm on weekdays. These times do not apply during the weekends. You are not allowed wheel your bicycle through Stockholm Central Station. This does not interfere with the route as the station you would use is Stockholm Södra (south city station).
Dangers and Annoyances
There are ticks in the Baltic Sea region, so check yourself if you are camping in the forest. Heading out of Stockholm, where the gravel starts in Nacka, you need to be careful of hikers and families out walking in the forest. A bell is a good idea to have on your bike. Around the Västerhaninge area after Tyresta and Orlången, near to Huddinge there are a lot of horses and stables. Untrained horses are terrified of bicycles. If you approach a horse and rider from behind, use your bell from a good distance to warn them. Slow down and pass the horse in a single file. Have an open dialogue with the rider and there will be no problems. Some trails in the area are marked as horse riding trails, but are also part of the national cycling network, so we share the walkways. There are no access issues of any sort anywhere along this trail. Just use your common sense.
In Sweden, we have a right of way law called allemansrätten. It’s actually a common law backed up by other laws. But what it means is we’re allowed to roam where we like (within reason) and camp where we like for the night. The obvious exclusions are in people’s gardens, on worked agricultural land, or in special environmental locations. It means in most forests you’re allowed to camp. On this route there is one large exception, which is in Tyresta National Park. Also, our route traverses around the park as you are also not allowed to cycle in most of the park. Please respect these rules.
We chose Paradiset as our location to camp. There are four bivvy shelters and a hut to choose from, and Huddinge Kommun keep the forest in good order with stacked wood piles. It is a popular place for camping, especially during the summer, so it is not definite you will get a shelter for yourself.
- There is no problem with food along the trail, with plenty of shops to choose from.
- Additionally, there are water pumps at the parking in Paradiset, out at the parking, and just before the singletrack in Tyresta Nature Reserve.