Track Wild Bears in the Pristine Wilderness of Northern Sweden

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A volunteer programme for those seeking a short term deep wilderness and wildlife tracking experience, an alternative to a holiday, and ideal for a short break, families, couples with children, retired folk, travellers, nature enthusiasts, wildlife photographers, and so on.  Live in the heart of pristine Swedish wilderness.

Volunteers can join every year for one to two week durations in August.

Individuals, groups, families and students all welcome.

The cost for food, accommodation in a wooden cabin, programme materials, equipment and training starts from £415.

Stunning lake next to where fresh bear tracks were seen Hiking in the National Park with our Guide, Pieter Reindeer in Sonfjällets National Park On a lookout point in Sonfjällets National Park Canoeing and looking for beavers Rainbow over the valley from the lookout point Fresh bear claws on a tree Tracking for bears and other wildlife Volunteers inspecting bear tracks Lynx tracks photographed by Alberto Alvisi Rainbow over the forest Fly Agaric mushrooms Northern Sweden in August is full of wildflowers Wooden cabin in Sonfjällets National Park Fly fishing Moose tracks Eating around the campfire Cooking rainbow trout over the fire that was caught fly fishing Making tea over the fire Cooking traditional woodsmen's meal over the fire Cloudberries - one of the bear's favourite snacks Lush green forests Storytelling around the campfire Canoeing down river and looking for beavers Watching the valley with binoculars very closely Pristine, pure waters in the river that you can drink from Bull moose Wooden house where volunteers live Amelie & Christophe from Belgium on their canoe Security briefing before getting on canoes

A brown bear in the heart of the Swedish wilderness

The Project

Looking for bears on the look out point at the top of the mountain

Live in a cosy fully equipped wooden cabin in the forest just on the edge of the National Park.

Bear tracking or bear viewing is made with respect for the bears and on nature terms - absolutely no baits.

This means there is no guarantee you will see a bear, but there is a chance, as the valleys carry over 30 brown bears in the area around Sonfjällets National Park where you will be staying and hiking. There will be hideouts and special areas where you can sit and scan the valleys with your binoculars or camera. Basically you will be spending a week watching wildlife and being immersed in a wilderness setting that is becoming rare in the world. You will have clean pure water to drink straight from the streams and lakes, golden eagles nesting on the tree tops, beavers building their nests alongside the river banks, predatorial wildlife living freely, such as lynx, wolverine and bear, as well as other wildlife, such as reindeer, moose, deer and so on. Also a special silence that only wilderness provides.

Dalsvallen where the camp is located

The one week itinerary is flexible but would look like this:

Day 1. Pick up in Sveg, possibility to do shopping for the week. Coffee upon arrival at the base camp - Dalsvallen, orientation and talk on programme, access to amenities.

Bear claw marks on the treeDay 2. Bear tracking and viewing (local fauna & flora discovery), local map and compass reading, basic survival skills. Eating dinner around the fire.

Day 3. Fly fishing course - eating fresh catch around the fire plus extras.
Two bears swimming around the canoeDay 4. Canoe/beaver tracking on the river - again dinner around campfire.

Day 5. Day off for hiking Sonfjällets National Park, fishing, more canoeing (if interested), extra bear tracking (if interested).

Looking for bears in Sanfjallet National ParkDay 6. Bear Tracking and viewing (wilderness survival) and dinner around the fire in the forest.

Day 7. Packing up, cleaning and lift to Sveg.

Reindeers can also be seen at this project

A day of bear tracking and viewing also involves other wildlife, such as moose, reindeer etc. and information on the local flora and fauna, basic survival technique tuition. You may also visit the bear's hibernation dens to see how they live throughout the winter months.

A day of bear viewing usually lasts 8 hours and can go late into the night during the summer periods when bears and other wildlife are more active.

This wildlife volunteering project is therefore suited for those with an interest in the natural world, particularly endangered ecosystems and the tracking of rare species.

Sun setting through the Swedish forest

Sitting waiting patiently, looking for bears*New programme* - suitable only for those who can withstand cold temperatures and very long hours waiting and watching for bears in the autumn season - Bear Watching Week - 26 September to 2nd October.  Bears are busy at this time eating berries to get ready for hibernation - you would spend 5 days sitting out on viewpoints watching and waiting patiently.  This will require a lot of mental & physical stamina.  Anyone interested, please email:

A bear's paw print

View of the mountains in Sanfjallet National Park

2016 Dates & Costs

8th August to 14th August
15th August to 21st August
26th September to 2nd October*
For specific questions on dates, numbers of people (for example if you have children or want to come as a larger group) etc., please email us!
* This is a specific bear watching Autumn programme for "hard core" outdoor enthusiasts.  More details, please email
Bear trackers looking for signs in the forestCosts
One week of bear viewing/tracking at Sonfjällets National Park costs £415 (*£465 for Autumn dates) - this includes accommodation in wooden cabin with all amenities, lunch during guided activities, coffee/tea provision, pick up and drop off to Sveg, all training, supervision and guiding whilst in the Park, WorkingAbroad backup and placement support, and so on. Your travel to Sveg, travel and medical insurance and personal expenses are not included in this price.

Volunteer house at Sweden Bear Tracking projectLodging, Food & Travel

Cooking food over the open fireFood
You will be provided with a day time simple meal on each of the guided activities, as well as coffee snacks whilst out in the National Park. Most lunches will be packed lunch that will be eaten whilst bear viewing or if the activity leaves in the afternoon until the evening, you will have a hot meal provided around the fire. For your breakfasts and other non activity meals, you will have to cook your own food in your wooden cabin according to your tastes, and will have the opportunity to buy food for your meals on Day one - access will be provided to shops for this - about 45 mins drive from closest town with shopping and telephone facilities. 

Living in the wilderness in Northern Sweden

You will live in a fully equipped shared wooden hut with 3 rooms, bathroom, kitchen, electricity, running water etc. (left). Participants will share a wooden hut, which can fit up to 10 people in. You can also rent a private hut, but at an extra cost.  

Guiding done by PieterGuiding
All bear and other wildlife guiding will be done in English by our local Coordinator based at the camp on the southern edge of Sonfjällets National Park.


Canoeing is suitable for families too

Who can join?
People of all ages can join the project - this includes families, couples with children (ideally children over 10yrs old), individuals, groups and so on. Communication will be done in English, so you will need to speak at least a basic level of English - some German and Dutch is also spoken, as well as Swedish of course. No special skills are needed, however, an interest in wilderness, peace and quiet are necessary for bear viewing, as they have very developed hearing and smell and can hear us from a long way off.
Anyone interested in one week's genuine nature experience would really fit in! In addition, you will need to be able to walk at least 5kms through rough terrain without any problems, be able to swim (if you go on a canoe trip), have good hiking (and/or rubber boots), have rain clothing and warm clothing (sitting still, waiting on September evenings in the fjäll (mountain) can be quite cold), have a day pack and also have your own binoculars/telescope (it is really worth bringing these!).People from all over the world can join this volunteer programme
A volunteer catching a fishTransportation:
You will have to arrange to travel to Sveg, which is approximately 4-5 hours north of Stockholm. International flights all arrive into Arlanda Airport, Stockholm, and from there, you can take a bus to Sveg or you can rent a car. RyanAir, the cheap fare airline also flies to Skavsta and Vasteras Airports, about 100 Kms away from Stockholm from London and Paris - check for prices.  Or check for flights into Arlanda Airport, which has very reasonable prices.  For more details on travelling to Sveg, or to Sweden, please email and we would be happy to advise. Please note, it is mandatory for you to take out travel and medical insurance for the duration of the project.

Interactive Map & Background

Below is an interactive map showing the location of the project:

Expansive Northern Wilderness and elusive bears at our Bear Tracking Project in Sweden - here is a short video clip - captivating the one week experience where volunteers are taught bushcraft and tracking skills and experiencing the sense of freedom that only the wilderness can bring:

View of the vast forestAbout Sonfjällets National Park

A bear atop a rock in the Swedish forests
Sonfjällets National Park is a unique and beautiful area situated in Härjedalen, Sweden's highest county. With its 1,277.77 metres, Sonfjället rises majestically above the surrounding forests and its familiar silhouette is visible from most parts of the region. The mountain is surrounded mainly by sparse pine forests with lichen ground cover, but there are also sections of primeval spruce forest and plenty of fragrant marshes. The stream ravines close to the mountain have a rich and colourful flora, with an abundance of the high-altitude plants such as alpine blue sow thistle and Norwegian angelica. Higher up the slopes the mountain birch forest gives way to heaths, and as you near the top, the landscape turns into a sea of boulders where virtually every single rock is covered in beautiful yellow-green map lichen.
Moose in the forest in SwedenSonfjället is bear country and the area has the highest density of bears in Sweden. Other large wild animals include elk and lynx, and the occasional wolf and wolverine. Some years the Norway lemming population is very high, providing pleasant company for hikers. Sonfjället also has rich birdlife - you are likely to catch a glimpse of rough-legged buzzard, golden eagle and osprey.

Sonfjällets national park and the adjacent nature reserves offer unique opportunities for exciting and enriching activities.


The dense wilderness of Sweden

A small part of the Sonfjället mountain was designated as a national park as long ago as 1909, and was one of the first in Europe. There was a desire to preserve a forest and mountain area in the southern mountain range and Sonfjället was chosen because its lichen-covered heaths were relatively undamaged by reindeer's grazing and trampling. Another reason was a need to protect the area's bear population, which was very small at the time. In 1984, the national park was extended from 27 to 104 km2, encompassing the entire mountain plateau and a significant part of the surrounding forest.


A tree that has been gnawed at by a beaver

The mountain is famous for its thriving bear population and the bear is what makes Sonfjället special. The bears live mainly in the area at the foot of the mountain but in the late summer and autumn they move up to the berry grounds on the south and southeast slopes to fatten up for winter. Bear tracks are quite common and easy to see for an attentive hiker. Look for droppings, paw prints, disturbed anthills and scratch marks on trees. The bear is an omnivore and therefore is rarely short of food. The bear is generally a peaceful animal, and is often more scared of you than you of them! Don't confuse the bear found here with the Grizzly Bear whose reputation can give people the wrong impression about bears. The only incident that occurred with a bear in this region was in 1909 when an old woman hit the bear on the head with a broomstick! Nonetheless, more details on how to behave should you meet a bear will be discussed when you arrive. In general though, if you see a bear, it will be from a distance.

Reindeer in the National Park


Capercaillie birds are also prevalent in the Swedish wilderness

During the months of August and September, the days are still very light and you can be bear viewing and tracking until midnight, in particular for August. The deciduous parts of the forest start to turn yellow and red and the autumn air sets in. Snow only comes in October and stays until end April, early May - (some of the photos on the site are taken in April when snow was still lying in places). Temperatures in August and September can range from 10 up to 20 degrees and it can feel pleasantly warm, although it can rain too! Good hiking, outdoor clothes are needed.

Volunteer Testimonials

Christophe, Gilles and Amelie, 3 Biology students from Belgium, write about their time at the Bear Tracking Project in August:

Volunteers out tracking bears

An adventure in Sweden

Our heroes arrived Monday after a long travel through the land and sky of Sweden.  Three Belgians, one Swiss and one American.  In the valley of Odin, they survived all kinds of danger, like swarms of mosquitoes and the extreme climate.  They went on an epic quest to find the big brown bears of Harjedalen.  They climbed mountains, crossed valleys and paddled on wild rivers to achieve their goal.  They stumbled on beavers, fish, moose and reindeers, but no bear was seen that week.  They prayed to the mighty Odin and the powerful Thor, and even to the cunning Loki but even the Gods were out of bears (and vipers).  Still the heroes were satisfied and we thank Pieter and Elena for this amazing journey.

Alexandra Salmon-Bobek, her husband and 3 boys spent 1 week on the project

We just got back yesterday from Sweden. What a great week we had with Pieter. It was all perfect, we enjoyed every moment, the canoeing especially. For the kids the highlights were the fishing and the cooking on fire outdoors. They loved Pieter and were happy that he spoke German to them!

Bear tracking volunteers cooking over the camp fireI can recommend this week to every family who loves untouched nature and the outdoors and being away from mass tourism!
Thanks again for the organisation, we will for sure recommend this to friends with kids.


P.S. I have already a few families here in Belgium who would be very interested in doing a Beartracking week in Sweden..

One of our bear tracking volunteers with a fish they caughtAntoine Schmid from Switzerland, writes about his time on the project

Had a fantastic time in Sweden, great group of people, we stayed five in one cabin and a couple had their own private cabin. Great atmosphere in the cabin...

We did lots of hiking, saw some reindeer on the other side of the valley, and on a canoe trip lots of beaver dams and a beaver swimming along... lots of other birds and fowls, a osprey....

Also learned how to go fly fishing, which is not as difficult as it seems, at least to get started...caught a fish and gutted it and then barbecued it for lunch, rainbow trout I think.

Staying on the boat in Stockholm was nice, most of us stayed there on the last night, was nice to be there having a beer and sad to say goodbye to people....

Super friendly guide too!

Maria Delapena, writes about her time there:

It was great. The whole fire, trekking, learning about wildlife and just being in the great outdoors and getting to observe it was wonderful. Pieter is a very well knowledgeable man and you can tell he really enjoys the outdoor - I learnt a lot.

The houses are lovely and it was good that there was a mid week 'day off' as for me, I know I wanted to just enjoy being in a peaceful, scenic environment and take it all in. Another thing I would say is you feel very safe there and with Pieter. You can certainly trust that no accidents will happen.

3 Bear Trackers wrote this about their experience:

Hi Vicky,
I had a really good time on the course and it was amazing seeing those animals in the wild! Would definitely do it again. Pieter is a really friendly and knowledgeable guy, and I learned a lot from him.
Thanks, Jamie Donaldson

Hi Vicky,
Just a quick note to say how wonderful our bear tracking experience has been. Peter is great, lovely, laid back guy and very knowledgeable.The programme was really well balanced with walks, activities and spare time and suited both myself, active, and my boyfriend, not so active. On our spare day we helped him working on his farm stacking hay into his barn. It was so much fun!
Thank you, Claudia Brambilla

Hi Vicky,
Just wanted to say thanks very much, I had an amazing time in Sweden, the best holiday I have been on in years (probably since I did Ocean Spirits in Grenada!). Mary Holden.

Chaya and Cathy Sriranganatha spent one week in August Bear Tracking in Dalsvallen, write about their time:
We thought we would send a quick email to let you know how we got on in Sweden. We had an absolutely amazing time, we really loved every second of it. Lennart was so kind, generous and hospitable to us, he has such a great sense of humour. Everything about Dalsvallen was excellent, the mountain surroundings, our little cabin, wonderful breakfasts and lunches everyday and just the peace and quiet in general. We enjoyed all our hiking and both feel very fit now! We were so lucky to see 3 bears on our second day out, it was such a breath taking sight, one we will never forget! We hoped to see moose and lynx but unfortunalty didn't, although we did see very fresh print from both animals. We enjoyed also gorging ourselves on the blueberries which were everywhere and are very grateful to Lennart who completely accomodated our vegetarian diet. So, yes, all in all we had such a wonderful time and we can't wait to return again very soon.

Also thank you very much for all of you help in organising our trip, booking us on to the bus that took us to and from Hede (which was excellent) and also recommending the hostel boat, which we also really liked. It made our day in Stockholm very enjoyable. So thank you for all of your help.

Rainbow across the forestHow to Join

If you are interested in tracking bears in Sweden, you will need to fill out the online application form (you can also print it out and send it to us by post) – to secure a placement on the project, please complete and submit the form and your application payment of £145. If for some reason, your application is not accepted, we would reimburse this payment fully. However for those who are accepted, the full amount needs to be paid one month before departure by bank transfer, credit card, or directly in SEK upon arrival. Once you have been accepted on the programme, you will receive a pre-departure package with all detailed information on your project, suggested items to bring etc. If you apply as a family or as a group, please email me at for specific details/procedures.


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