Striped mountain slopes.Striped mountain slopes.


The mountain slopes around Grøvelsjøen Nature Reserve are striped. The Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus discovered this as early as 1734. In those days it was believed that the stripes were water level marks from the biblical Great Flood.

Ordinary mountains with extraordinary shapes

Grøvelsjøen Nature Reserve is the smallest and least known area in Gränslandet. Lush mountain birch forest grows on the slopes towards the tree line at 900 metres above sea level. The alpine landscape is familiar. It doesn’t differ greatly from other landscapes in Gränslandet. What make Grøvelsjøen unique are the shorelines visible on the side of the valleys.


Terraces are visible high up on the mountain slopes. These are shorelines from a large glacial lake that was here around 10 000 years ago. It’s known as Grövelissjön and was formed when meltwater dammed up at the rim of the enormous ice sheet. Waves coming in along the water’s edge washed away gravel and sand, leaving a stony shoreline.

When the ice eventually began to melt, the lake started to sink. New shorelines formed as time went by, at lower and lower levels. This is how the characteristic terraces that we see today were formed. The shorelines are of great scientific value, as they help us understand what happened when the latest ice age retreated from the area.

Grooves/gullies and ridges

Above the shorelines of the glacial lake are other visible remains of the ice age – grooves, glacial meltwater channels and ridges. The grooves are almost parallel with the shorelines. Therefore, it may be difficult for a layperson to distinguish between the two. The meltwater channels and ridges, on the other hand, run at a right angle to the contour lines.

Tame reindeer

The land in the nature reserve has been grazed by reindeer for a long time. In the 19th century, the Røros Sami Lars Holm was based at Sylen. The family was self-sufficient, milked the reindeer cows, made cheese and prepared hides.

Today, the nature reserve is part of the Elgå reindeer grazing district, Norway’s southernmost Sami reindeer grazing district. Reindeer belonging to the Sami in Svahken Sijte Sami village graze here.


Grøvelsjøen Nature Reserve is located at the northern part of Lake Grövelsjön, close to the farms Sylen and Ryvang. The easiest way to get here is to take a boat from Sjöstugan, on the southern shore of Lake Grövelsjön. Many people take the boat in the morning and then walk back to Grövelsjön – or the other way around. If you are on a longer hike you can walk here from the Hävlingen cottages or Svukuriset. In winter you can skate across the ice of Lake Grövelsjön!

Confusing names

Lake Grövelsjön is not part of the Grøvelsjøen Nature Reserve. The reserve only includes the slopes on the Norwegian side. However, large parts of the lake are included in Långfjället Nature Reserve on the Swedish side.

The village and tourist station south of the lake are also called Grövelsjön, which makes it even more confusing!

Grøvelsjøen - Click on the map to enlarge it (it will open up in a popup window)


Walking in the nature reserve.Walking in the nature reserve.

Meltwater channels just outside the nature reserve.Meltwater channels just outside the nature reserve.

The wreck of an Heinkel 111 that made an emergency landing on the lake during World War II.The wreck of an Heinkel 111 that made an emergency landing on the lake during World War II.

Photos: Kentaroo Tryman.

Visitors are permitted to:

  • go anywhere on foot or ski.
  • pick common plants, berries and fungi for own use.
  • temporarily overnight in tents.
  • 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 or geological objects.
  • drive motor vehicles.

Full regulations are available here »

There are also other laws and regulations to consider.

Read more here »

The purpose of the protection is

  • to preserve an area of natural history interest with significant quaternary geological formations, for example a number of well-developed shorelines at different levels.

Brief facts

Year: Established in 1989
Name: Grøvelsjøen Nature Reserve
Area: 13.6 square kilometres
Municipality: Engerdal
County: Hedmark
Landowner: Private land
Supervision, safety regulations: Norwegian Nature Inspectorate.
Nature conservation manager: County Governor of Hedmark.