In the mountains

Last reviewed: ‎01‎ ‎March‎ ‎2024

The Swedish mountain area is a cultural landscape, not least a Sámi cultural landscape. People have lived and worked here for a very long time. The right of public access also applies in the mountains and visitors are welcome to explore, have exciting adventures and enjoy themselves. But the exercise of the right of public access in the mountains must not cause significant harm or cause inconvenience to the Sámi reindeer husbandry.

The mountain environment is vulnerable, and it is therefore important to exercise caution and to avoid causing disturbances and damage. Also keep in mind that the right of public access can be partly restricted in national parks and nature reserves located in the mountains. Such protected areas are subject to special regulations specifying what applies in each individual area.

Sweden’s national parks

The County Administrative Boards’ website

Reindeer in the mountains

Reindeer husbandry is a Sámi livelihood that, under the Swedish Constitution, is reserved for the Sámi alone. They have engaged in it since time immemorial, and it is a natural part of how the mountain landscape is used.

The right of reindeer husbandry comes from an ancient tradition, and all the Sámi involved belong to local cooperative communities (samebyar). There are 51 of these in Sweden, including 33 for members who work seasonally in the mountains. Every cooperative is both a geographical area and a business association, and the cooperatives’ operations are regulated in the Swedish Reindeer Herding Act.

Reindeer are Sámi society’s key resource and bearer of culture.

These animals are migratory, with a need to be able to wander freely and graze undisturbed. Visitors to the mountains must therefore show understanding and consideration, to give  reindeer the space and peace they require.

Consideration for reindeer

The Reindeer Husbandry Act states that it is prohibited to scare, disturb or drive away reindeer. If you bring your dog to the mountain region, it should be kept on a leash at all times. Visitors must not disturb the reindeer's grazing or otherwise scare the reindeer. This is especially important when the reindeer calves and when the reindeer calves are small, roughly from April throughout June.

These provisions are contained in sections 93 and 94 of the Reindeer Husbandry Act.t.

Specific tips

In all the reindeer-herding areas, it is vital that visitors do not disturb or frighten the reindeer. You should therefore remember the following when you visit the mountains:

  • Be especially considerate during the calving period (April–June).• Always keep dogs on a leash.
  • Avoid walking straight towards the reindeer.
  • The quieter you are, the calmer the reindeer will be.
  • Using binoculars, you can watch the reindeer discreetly from a distance.
  • When large herds are moving, you should sit down to watch and enjoy the sight.
  • In summer the reindeer find their way to snow fields and patches of snow, which give them protection against heat and troublesome insects. So stay away from snow-covered terrain when you see reindeer nearby.
  • Contact the Sámi community concerned, local residents or staff at mountain facilities who are familiar with local conditions, to learn from their knowledge and hear their advice. The reindeer-herding territory is huge, and the animals’ susceptibility to disturbances varies with the changing seasons. You can watch the beautiful reindeer, but give them plenty of space to be in peace. If the herd moves away, you are too close.

    When large herds gather or are on the move, extra consideration must be shown so that the herd does not split up. The animals often perceive dogs on the loose as a threat, and this may generate panic among them. In the herd, the reindeer feel secure.The mountain environment offers superb experiences. By being well prepared, you can get the most out of your time . More advice and information are available at:

The mountain environment offers superb experiences. By being well prepared, you can get the most out of your visit. More advice and information are available at:

The Mountain Safety Council of Sweden

Swedish Avalanche Forecasts

Sweden’s avalanche courses (in Swedish)