Brown Bear watching & photography in Bollnäs

I have realized that as long as I respect the bears, the bears will respect us. I feel truly privileged to be able to be so close to bears. My camera has helped me to get an insight into their everyday lives. Now, I want to give that same feeling to you, and hope that you will become an ambassador for these bears.
— Håkan, our bear guide in Bollnäs
 
 

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The plan

Watch and photograph wild brown bears from our professional photo hide. We have a very high success rate and you often see them up close, between 15-75 meters. Your guide is a nature photographer and has more than 25 years of experience of bear watching.

  • More than 90% success rate to see wild Brown Bears up close

  • Stay the night in a safe and comfortable wooden hide with chairs, beds and bathroom

  • Excellent photo opportunities

  • Learn more about the Brown Bear from our experienced guides

  • Local guides and small groups for a more genuine experience

Day 1: Evening watch with night in a cabin

Arrive at the lodge where you will be warmly welcomed by Eva and Håkan with a Swedish fika (coffee/tea and cake/buns). They will go through some practical information and how to act to increase our chances to see Bears from the hide. After a short drive and an easy 20-minute walk along a trail through the forest you reach a small cabin which will be your photo hide for the night.

Enter the hide and take a seat in front of one of the viewing windows. All participants will be seated in a comfortable chair placed in front of a small window and camera slots. If you are using an SLR-camera you can place your camera so that the lens goes through a hole in the wall. All viewing slots are facing the same direction where the bears often appear.

The view is a beautiful forest glade. As you wait you can take a nap or eat your packed evening meal. This is Brown Bear watching at its best! During the dark night you may want to get some sleep in your comfortable bed.

Note that you need to bring your own evening meal and drinks.

Note that although Bears do show up most of the nights, there is no guarantee. Be aware that the Bears may show up when it is too dark for photography or even in complete darkness. To avoid this problem you may want to come during June, July or first half of August with the sun stays up longer.

Day 2: Morning watch

Bears may appear at any time so it is advisable to wake up before sunrise to spend a few hours of watching. As the morning turns into day your guide will arrive to bring you back to the lodge. Here you will enjoy a hearty breakfast and discuss what happened during the night before it is time to conclude the tour.

If you want to stay for two nights you are welcome to do so. You will then have access to a day bed in a cabin with shared toilet and a lunch will be served.

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • One night in Brown Bear watching hide. You will be guided to and from the hide but spend the night in the hide at your own.

  • Coffee/tea and snacks at arrival

  • Breakfast

WHEN CAN WE DO THIS?

Any day during April – August.

WHEN IS BEST?

Second half of May until mid September is usually the best time for Brown Bear watching. Keep in mind that the best light conditions is June, July and first half of August.

ACCOMMODATION

You will stay the night in the hide where each participant gets a spring-mattress bed with a sleeping bag, a pillow and a blanket. You can close curtains around your bed to get some privacy. There is a dry toilet in a separate room. If you stay two or more nights you will have access to a room and showers in daytime in between your sessions in the hide.

STARTING TIMES

Make sure to arrive at the meeting point between 14-15 h. We may not be able to wait for you if you are late. You are ready to leave at around at 10 h the following day.

LOCATION & HOW TO GET THERE

Address: Vargas Vildmarkslodge, Södra Stora Öjungen 231, 82192 Bollnäs

WGS 84: 61°12’45.5″N 16°3’53.7″E

WGS 84 decimal: 61.212637, 16.06493

Link to Google Maps

Travel by train: You can take a train to Bollnäs (2 hours from Stockholm). From there we offer a guided transfer to the bear lodge (45 minutes) with return the following day. The rate for this return transfer is 1500 SEK for 1-4 persons. Note! You have to let us know what time you want to be picked up at the train station. Purchase your train tickets online at www.sj.se.

Driving directions via Falun
Drive via Falun, Enviken, Svabensverk, Skålsjön and Skräddarbo. About 10km North of Skräddarbo you will see a sign pointing to Edsbyn, continue 1km past this sign until you see sign to Grännäs. Don’t expect any mobile phone coverage after this. Take right towards Grännäs, drive on gravel road 8,5km, follow sign towards Annefors, drive 2,5km, follow sign to Vargas Vildmarkslodge, drive 4km, follow sign Vargas. You are now at lake Stora Öljungen and Vargas Vildmarkslodge.

Driving directions via Gävle
Drive via Gävle, Hagsta, Ockelbo, Åmot and Gruvberget. When you arrive in Gruvberget continue 15km towards Annefors/Alfta. When you see a red cottage with a stable,
you will see a small wooden sign Vargas. Follow that sign 5,5km and then follow sign Vargas Vildmarkslodge. You are now at lake Stora Öljungen and Vargas Vildmarkslodge.

Driving directions via Bollnäs
Drive via Bollnäs and Alfta. Just before you arrive in Annefors you will see a small wooden sign Vargas as well as a sign ‘Grännas 15’. Follow those signs for 4km, then follow sign Vargas Vildmarkslodge, drive 4km, sign Vargas. You are now at lake Stora Öljungen and Vargas Vildmarkslodge.

FOR WHO?

Recommended minimum age is 12 years. Depending on the current wildlife situation we may stay awake late at night and/or get up early in the morning. Participants should be able to walk in the forest without difficulties. Walking level is easy. We walk 20 minutes on a trail through the forest one way. Walks include many stops along the way.

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • One night in brown bear watching cabin. You will be guided to and from the hide but spend the night in the hide on your own.

  • Breakfast

WHAT TO BRING?

  • Binoculars

  • Your own packed evening meal, snacks and drinks

  • Do not bring rustling packaging. Repack such things in boxes

  • No strong perfumes / detergents or other strong scents

  • We provide blankets and pillows in the hide

>> See our full packing list here

SMALL GROUPS FOR A MORE GENUINE EXPERIENCE

There will be max 8 persons in the hide.

BOOKINGS & CANCELLATIONS

Our booking procedure is simple. Just fill in the booking form at this page. When you make a booking for this tour our team will manually review the booking to make sure that we still have availability. If everything is okay we will send you a confirmation by email within 24 hours. Until your booking is confirmed no payment or charges will be applied, and credit card details are held for security purposes only.

  • Cancellations can be made at no cost up to 7 days from the time of booking until 14 days prior to the start of the tour. We will provide a 100% refund.

  • Cancellations between 8 days from the time of booking and 46 days prior to the start of the tour will be charged at 25% of the booking’s total amount.

  • Cancellations between 45 days and 15 days prior to the start of the tour will be charged at 75% of the booking’s total amount.

  • Cancellations within 14 days prior to the start of the tour will be charged at 100% of the booking’s total amount.