Between crooked giant pines and small lakes among a sea of boulders, experiences await you in Femundsmarka. Ten thousand years ago, the inland ice retreated, leaving a desolate ancient-looking dead ice landscape. A landscape that has hardly changed since then.
The land God made in anger
There are people who say that “God created Femundsmarka in anger, but when he saw the result he filled most holes with water to repair the damage”. Scientists claim that the strange landscape is a creation by the inland ice. Whatever you believe, the landscape stirs the imagination.
Rogen moraine – hard to understand but easy to spot
Rogen moraine ridges are products of the inland ice, which scientists have tried to explain for more than a hundred years. The latest theory is that they were formed under the enormous ice sheet as it moved forward and sometimes froze fast in a bed of gravel and stones.
Even if you don’t understand how Rogen moraine ridges were formed, they are very apparent to walkers. The legs drag when crossing the ridges. Following the crests, however, is much easier.
Areas of Rogen moraine are clearly visible on the map as bands of long, narrow lakes clearly defined by narrow ridges. These are particularly evident around Røvola, Grøtådalen and Vonsjøen, but also between Övre Roasten and Rogen.
Adventurers and families with children
Many people associate Femundsmarka with solitary adventurers looking for wilderness challenges. And there is plenty of excitement for those who want to go on long excursions, but Femundsmarka also attracts school classes and families with children seeking an outdoor experience. Many take the boat to Røa, straight into the wilderness. Gnarled trees, running waters and boulders to climb are natural attractions that can occupy children and adults for a long time.
Barren fells and glittering waters
The southern part of Femundsmarka is dominated by stony and bouldery fells. Elgåhogna and Store Svuku are some of the highest tops. To the north towers Storvigelen, the highest of the mountains, 1 561 metres above sea level. Between the high fells, lie forested valleys with countless glittering small lakes, watercourses and pine-clad moraine ridges.
Expectant fishermen and jumping fish
Femundmarka’s many waters attract anglers. Here you can try your luck with fly or spinner and maybe find your own favourite lake. Grayling, perch and pike dominate in the lakes Revsjøen and Styggsjøene. In Grøtåa, Mugga, Røa and Rogen there is also plenty of salmon trout.
In winter you can try ice fishing for charr. The best ice fishing is found in the waters on Mount Røvolfjellet, the lakes Revlingsjøene and Rønsjøen, and in some small waters in Engerdal.
Mostly poor soil
The flora in Femundsmarka is quite sparse and the paths are edged with brushwood such as crowberry, bilberry, heather and trailing azalea. But there are a few exceptions. Near Røvollen you find rich fens with orchids and rare sedges. There is also flowering bird cherry in the middle of the mountain birch forest, hence the name Häggrøsta. Grøtådalen and Muggsjølia are another two beautiful oases with rich vegetation.
Svarthamran is a south facing mountain with species-rich flora below the slopes of Mount Elgåhogna. Parsley fern grows on Mount Store Svuku and along the shores of Lake Femunden you find moor-king lousewort.
In the footsteps of raftsmen and charcoal-burners
Old huts, called "bua" in Norway, are remnants of a time when lumberjacks and raftsmen transported timber to Røros Copper Works. If the hut is open, you’re welcome to seek shelter for the night if the weather is bad. But use wood sparingly and don’t count on finding a bua hut every night. See it as a pleasant surprise.
At one time, charcoal stacks smouldered here and there in the Femundsmarka forests. Large amounts of charcoal were produced and used to melt iron ore and refine copper at Røros. Charcoal had the advantage of a high combustion temperature.
The observant walker can still find traces of old charcoal stacks and huts along the path to Røa. At Vassvikstjønna is a stack that for some reason was never burned and has now been preserved.
In the kingdom of brown bear and golden eagle
Both brown bear and wolverine live in Femundsmarka, and lynx and wolf occasionally pass through the area. Golden eagle and gyrfalcon breed here and there are several pairs of osprey. Other birds include black-throated and red-throated diver. The most common ducks are goldeneye and teal.
Prehistoric animals on the border
A small flock of musk oxen are found in the northern part of Femundsmarka around the river Mugga and Mount Skedbrofjellet. They are usually here in the summer and in winter they move a little further east to the Swedish side.
If you meet a musk ox – stay calm and keep a distance of at least 200 metres. This is for their safety as well as your own! Musk oxen can charge if they feel threatened. If they are frightened and run away, a pregnant cow may lose her calf.
The southern part of Femundsmarka in Hedmark County is part of the Elgå reindeer grazing district. The area provides all year round pasture for the Svahken Sijte Sami village reindeer. The northern part of Femundsmarka in Sør-Trondelag is part of the Femund reindeer grazing district. The area provides winter pasture for reindeer from the Saanti Sijte and Gåebrien Sijte Sami villages.
Two national park centres
Femundsmarka has two visitor centres. One is in Røros, based in the building called Stenhus in the Doktortjønna outdoor recreation area. Here you find an exhibition and other information about national parks in general and Femundsmarka in particular. The recreation area is especially welcoming for families with children.
The other centre is in Elgå, south of Femundsmarka National Park. A new attractive building houses exhibitions and information about Femundsmarka and Gutulia national parks.
Lauritzen, P. R. & Vangen, O. 2007: Femundsmarka och Gutulia. Norges Nasjonalparker. Den Norske Turistforening og Statens naturoppsyn/ Direktoratet for naturforvaltning.
Myhr, E. (red.) 1998: Rondane og Femundsmarka med tilgrensende fjellstrøk. Gyldendals fjellguider. Monsen, L. & Strømdahl, T. 2009: Femunden Villmark. Larsforlaget.
Åsheim, S. P. (red.) 1987: Femundsmarka og omkringliggende fjellstrøk. Den Norske turistforenings årbok.
Visitors are permitted to:
- go anywhere on foot or ski.
- pick common plants, berries and fungi for own use.
- pitch a tent, but not for longer than one week in the same place without permission from the County Governor of Hedmark.
- fish subject to regulations.
- cautiously light a fire with dry branches, or your own logs, but remember the general ban on lighting fires in Norwegian forests from 15 April to 15 September.
Visitors are not permitted to:
- damage land, rocks or vegetation.
- damage living trees, dead trees or fallen tree trunks.
- disturb animal life.
- pollute or leave litter.
- damage cultural monuments.
- drive motor vehicles, cycle or ride horses.
- use motor-powered ice drills.
- camp for more than a week in one spot.
- camp on islands.
There are also other laws and regulations to consider.
The purpose of the protection is
- to preserve a large, contiguous and essentially untouched forest and mountain area.
- to preserve landscape formations, which includes for example the distinctive dead ice landscape with boulders, moraine ridges, lakes and watercourses.
- to preserve the natural biological diversity with a unique flora and fauna.
Year: Established in 1971 and extended in 2003
Name: Femundsmarka National Park
Area: 573 square kilometres
Municipalities: Røros and Engerdal
Counties: Hedmark and Sør-Trøndelag
Landowner: Predominantly public land, certain parts private land
Nature conservation manager: County governors of Hedmark and Sør-Trøndelag
Supervision, safety regulations: Norwegian Nature Inspectorate.