New Baltic Mega-Trail Opens

The Forest Trail is easier than most long-distance paths

A new hiking trail spans 2,141km through all three Baltic states.

The Forest Trail adds to the E11 European Long Distance Path, which runs for 4,700km from The Hague in The Netherlands to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.

Passing through forest roads, country roads, sandy and rocky shorelines, this trans-national route links some of the Baltic’s most scenic forests and national parks.

The new Forest Trail meanders through national parks throughout the Baltics, including Lithuania’s Žemaitija National Park. Photo: Lithuania Travel

 

In Latvia, hikers traverse Gauja National Park, known for its virgin pine trees. The Lithuanian section includes the postcard lakes of Žemaitija National Park. Latvia’s Ķemeri National Park features sleepy fishing villages between protected bogs and forests. Quietly scenic rather than extreme hiking.

The trail crests Suur Munamägi, the highest peak in the Baltics, at a modest 318m. The next highest point reaches 190m in Lithuania’s Samogitian Highlands, formed during the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago.

Whether broken into stages or completed in one go, the route offers transportation links and accommodation roughly every 20km. Each country has nearly the same spread of distance: Lithuania, 747km; Latvia, 674km; and Estonia, 720km. Each section takes an estimated 35 to 38 days to complete, while ambitious hikers can nail the entire route in roughly one full summer, between 102 and 114 days.

Forming part of the E11 European Long Distance Path, the Forest Trail takes about three-and-a-half months to complete. Photo: Baltic Forest Hiking

 

Aside from meandering through a smorgasbord of nature, the trail can help initiate people with intermediate athletic abilities into long-distance hiking better than most cross-country routes, which are more difficult.

Aside from the odd wild boar, animal encounters aren’t too threatening, either. As in many areas of Europe, ticks are the most dangerous creatures on the trail, because of the Lyme disease or encephalitis they may carry. Ticks latch on slowly, so a body check at the end of every day eliminates this threat.

Hikers can download an app from the Baltic Forest website for maps and other planning information.

Alex Myall is a writer for Explorers Web. She has been writing about exploration and historical expeditions for four years. Previously she wrote about the human body in relation to exercise for publications and websites based in New Zealand. She also wrote modules for the Zealand Certificate of Exercise, Level 4. Based on Wellington’s South Coast, New Zealand, Myall is a full-time mother of two young girls, an enthusiastic trail runner, and a fanatical traveler. She also owns and operates a small travel agency.

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Pär Leijonhuvud
Pär Leijonhuvud
1 year ago

Tick Borne Encephalitis — TBE — is a rather nasty disease, but one that it is possible to vaccinate against. Strongly recommended if one is going to spend time in nature in the areas where it is endemic.