Gorge & viewpoint near Eksjö
Skurugata Naturreservat is located about 10 kilometers northeast of the picturesque timber town Eksjö. There you will find the gorge Skurugata, the most notable natural monument in Southern Sweden and the viewpoint Skuruhatt at one of the highest elevations in Småland.
The nature reserve is located on a densely wooded hilltop, is 42 hectares in size and was established in 1967. Through the Skurugata Naturreservat, a two-kilometer circular trail leads from the parking lot to the viewpoint Skuruhatt and then through the gorge Skurugata. At the parking lot are partially covered picnic areas and a toilet.
Nice view from Skuruhatt
The part of the trail leading to the Skuruhatt consists of a gravel surface, has only little slopes and can be passed well with wheelchairs, walkers and baby strollers. At the end of the approximately one-kilometer trail through the forest, you reach the plateau of Skuruhatt at 337 meters, the third highest elevation in Småland.
If visibility is good you have a mile-long scenic view of the surrounding villages, lakes and the forests of the Småland highlands. There is also a simple shelter, tables and benches, as well as barbecue areas, so you can have a coffee break or a picnic while enjoying the magnificent view.
The impressive gorge Skurugata
There are some gorges in Småland, but the Skurugata is the largest, with a length of 800 meters, a width of between seven and 24 meters, and steep cliffs rising up to 35 meters.
The entrance of the gorge is only a few steps away from Skuruhatt, but the contrast could hardly be greater. From the bright and open rocky plateau, you will first be enveloped by the dim light of the dense forest at the southern end of the gorge, combined with the humidity of a small wetland fed by rivulet in the ravine.
The further you go into the ravine, the gray-brown porphyry rock walls are higher and it is increasingly cooler. The temperature difference between the lowest point of the Skurugata and the Skuruhatt in summer is sometimes up to 20 degrees Celsius. In some years you can find few traces of snow in the ravine still in the summer.
The climate in the Skurugata is responsible for a special flora with a large variety of different ferns and rare mosses, which mainly colonize the rock crevices. Among them are specimens of the Orkney notchwort (Anastrepta orcadensis), which is otherwise only found occasionally in the mountainous regions in northwestern Sweden.
Walk through the gorge
Deep down in the ravine, you will come across the Skurukälla, a spring with drinking water quality that feeds the south-facing stream. In a hard to reach place is Tjuva-Jösses Håla, a cave where Tjuva-Jösse, a legendary thief associated with the trolls, is said to have lived.
The way through the gorge is not easy to do and requires a certain degree of surefootedness. The trail is often only recognizable by the fact that the boulders that almost completely cover the bottom of the gorge are "shiny" at certain points.
From Skuruhatt it takes about a little time to get through the gorge back to the parking lot. Fallen trees and countless, sometimes slippery boulders are in the way and have to be zigzagged and partly climbed over. The path to the northern end of the gorge rises and becomes steeper and steeper. It is therefore advisable to wear reasonably sturdy shoes.