I Just Completed an 808-Mile Thru-Hike Through Sweden. Here's How It Went

By Bryden Bowley | November 2, 2021

On September 19th, I reached Swedens northern-most point and completed my Gröna Bandet thru-hike. I'm the 3rd person from the United States to complete this route.

The Gröna Bandet (Green Ribbon) is a proposed 808-mile hiking route through the length of the Swedish mountains. The route starts in Grövelsjön and ends at Treriksröset - a landmark that signifies Norway, Sweden, and Finlands meeting point and Swedens northern most point.

The idea to thru-hike Sweden’s Gröna Bandet started in 2018 while I was hiking the Kungsleden. 

I have a memory of a hut warden telling me that there is a proposed extension of the Kungsleden to the north and south, adding more than 500 miles of hiking. I had fallen in love with the Swedish mountains at that point, so an extension of the dreamy landscape I had just spent 3 weeks walking through sounded like a tiring luxury that I needed to chase after. 

Fast forward 3 years. After extensive route planning and hours of Swedish to English Google translations, I boarded a plane that was bound for Stockholm.

I spent the next 49 days navigating myself above tree line, walking from valley to valley, then dipping into thick marsh where wet feet was unavoidable. Storms came in quickly, so my rain gear was worn most of the day. Sometimes I thought the herds of reindeer were following me, but as the weeks went by, I realized I was the one following them. They knew the mountains better than I do.

When I started my hike on August 2nd, the sun never completely went down. It was wild to be laying in bed, looking out the window and watching the colorful sunset sky, then check my phone to see it was midnight.

My nights were split between sleeping in an open hut or my tent. The huts were a safe haven when it was cold and rainy. The last four days before reaching Treriksröset, I crossed a wilderness border into Norway. These final four days were the most difficult because of the cold and strong wind. I felt unprepared for the freezing temps.

On September 19th, I reached Swedens northern-most point and completed my Gröna Bandet thru-hike. 

GEAR:30 and I will be releasing an 8-part “day in the life” video series in the spring that will lead up to a full-length Gröna Bandet recap video.

If you have any questions about this hike, let me know. For more information on the route, please see the Gröna Bandet website.

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