Nearly 80 lakes are located in the nature reserve, which covers almost 28,000 hectares. The largest lake is Stora Gla with an area of 32 square kilometres, or about 3,200 hectares. The area was officially declared a nature reserve, called Glaskogen Naturreservat, on October 28, 1970, and has been administered by the foundation of the same name since 1972. Thanks to the foundation, it is now possible to explore nature on the 300-kilometre-long network of paths or to take part in guided canoe tours.
Experience Glaskogen Naturreservat
The best place to start your discovery tour through Glaskogen is Lenungshammar at Lake Stora Gla, about 35 kilometres by road southwest of Arvika. There you will find the official information centre, a camping site and a café in the middle of the forest. However, before you set out on your hiking, canoeing or cycling tour, you will need a visitor's card.
The concept of an entrance ticket to nature is very untypical in Sweden, but with your contribution you enable the maintenance of the trails, shelters, overnight huts, toilets and everything else that is offered to you on site. You can buy the visitor card on site at the information centre or simply online or at another sales point. More information can be found on the official website. It's not so unusual to have to buy a fishing permit to go fishing. This is also the case for the almost 80 lakes in Glaskogen.
A multitude of hiking trails of different lengths lead through the hilly and lake-rich landscape, which appears like a real wilderness with its lakes, streams and moors. All trails are well signposted and you can even explore the nature reserve by bike on the gravel paths. In Lenungshammar, a five-kilometre educational nature trail leads you through the forest.
To take in the entire expanse of the nature reserve Glaskogen, which stretches across the municipalities of Arvika, Eda, Säffle and Årjäng, it is worth climbing to the top of Halvardsnäs. You will find it on the opposite side of Stora Gla near the Glava Glasbruk. The former glassworks, which is now a museum, bears witness to bygone times when there were iron and copper smelters and sawmills in Glaskogen and glass from Glava was a sought-after commodity.
Animals and plants in Glaskogen
In addition to elks, the coniferous forest of Glaskogen Naturreservat is also home to badgers, wolves and lynxes, and with a bit of luck you may spot one or another animal on your tour. Around the lakes, black-throated loons (Gavia arctica), red-throated divers (Gavia stellata) and common kingfishers (Alcedo atthis) breed, and in the sky you can spot various birds of prey such as the northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) or the common buzzard (Buteo buteo) and European honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus). Typical of the central Swedish forest, the trees are also home to various species of owls as well as lesser whitethroats (Sylvia curruca) and Eurasian three-toed woodpecker (Picoides tridactylus).
A special feature of Glaskogen is its location, which allows plants from different climatic zones to grow. Species that usually only occur in northern Sweden can be found here, such as the dwarf birch (Betula nana) or the downy willow (Salix lapponum).