Städjan and Nipfjället are two well-known mountains in Dalarna. They are located in one of Gränslandet’s most accessible nature reserves where you can also experience, old-growth forest, glittering lakes, bogs and old mountain holdings.
Städjan – a praised mountain top
Städjan rises 1 131 metres above sea level. From the south it looks like a cone shaped volcano, but from other directions the well-known silhouette that has given the mountain its name stands out. (The Swedish word städ means anvil.) Städjan’s beauty has inspired many writers. Already in the 17th century, the Swedish scientist Olof Rudbeck proclaimed Städjan the highest mountain in the world and a dwelling place for gods. And in 1844, Richard Dybeck was inspired by the mountain for the theme of the Swedish national anthem (“Thou ancient, thou freeborn, thou mountainous North”).
You can reach the summit from different directions. Near the top, at over 1 000 metres above sea level is Sweden’s highest locality for spring pasque flower and rock campion. Alpine catchfly also grows here.
Old-growth forest, bogs and lakes
The nature reserve contains many silver-grey dead pines and lichen-clad spruces. The oldest forest is found north of Lake Stora Harundsjön, around the low mountain Gränjesåsen, on the western slope of Städjan and on the eastern slope of Mount Fjätervålen.
The old-growth forest is home to a range of rare animals and plants. One of them is the mythical wolf lichen. The bright yellow-green lichen can be found on old stumps and dead pines along many of the trails in the nature reserve.
Extensive bogs are found in Småsjödalen north of Lake Stora Harundsjön, and Idreflöten on the western slope of Mount Fjältervålen. Here you can pick cloudberries and catch a glimpse of the rich wetland bird life.
The two larger lakes Burusjön and Stora Harundsjön are popular fishing waters for game fish. Both lakes have fine sandy beaches and are inviting to swim in, if the summer is warm.
Farms and mountain holdings
Most of the farms and mountain holdings in the area are from the 19th century, when the settlers arrived and mountain farming was at its peak. In a roadless area north of Lake Stora Harundsjön you find Stenåsen, regarded as one the best preserved mountain farms in the region.
This is where Gammel-Olle and his wife Anna settled in the 1830s. The area had already been used for bog hay-making and summer pasture by farmers at Högstgården in Idre since the 18th century.
Old mountain holdings are also found in Foskdalen and several other places. By Lake Lillharundssjön is a well-preserved hut with shingled roof and a wooden flue over the chimneyless fireplace.
The most southern Sami village in the world
The area around Städjan provides pasture for reindeer herds in Idre Sami village, one of the smallest Sami communities in Sweden, and the most southern in the world. Reindeer keeping is one of the oldest livelihoods in the district.
Ice Age traces
The nature reserve holds many traces from the Ice Age. The glacial meltwater ridges on the western side of Mount Fjätervålen are the largest in Dalarna County. The sandy ridges wind down the mountain slope like mole burrows. In Foskdalen and around Lake Stora Harundsjön are interesting areas of Rogen moraine, ridges that run at right angles to the direction of the inland ice.
Countless roads, trails and paths make Städjan-Nipfjället an accessible and popular nature reserve. The parking areas on the alpine heath south of Nipfjället are good starting points for summer or winter excursions. From here you can make a day trip to the summit of Städjan, or just take a short walk up to Lillnipen.
The road between the summer and winter parking areas is called Trollvägen (Troll Road). If you stop the car by the signpost, depress the clutch and let go of the brake, the car starts rolling upwards! A strange experience, and one of Sweden’s most famous optical illusions.
The view from the summer parking area has been awarded three stars in the Michelin Tourist Guide!
Visitors are permitted to:
- go anywhere on foot or ski.
- pick common plants, berries and fungi for own use.
- fish subject to regulations.
- temporarily overnight in tents and light fires using fallen branches, but note that special regulations apply at Lake Burusjön.
Visitors are not permitted to:
- damage land or geological objects.
- disturb animals or birds, dig up plants or remove lichens or mosses.
- damage living trees, dead trees or fallen tree trunks.
- drive snowmobiles other than on snowmobile trails, or drive any other motor vehicles off-road.
- park caravans or other vehicles other than in designated areas.
- camp or light fires by Lake Burusjön other than in prepared camp sites.
- use fuel-driven ice drills.
There are also other laws and regulations to consider.
The purpose of the protection is
- to preserve the ecosystems and natural processes and the untouched characteristics of the area.
- to provide opportunities for outdoor recreation and scientific research in untouched countryside.
Year: Established in 1973 and extended in 1985
Name: Städjan-Nipfjällets Natur Reserve
Land area: 239 square kilometres
Water area: 6 kilometres
Landowner: Private and public land
Nature conservation manager: Dalarna County Administrative Board