Bog Shoe Hiking Trip

Hike with Strange Snowshoes over a Floating Marsh

Bog Shoeing in Estonia is a very unusual excursion. You walk around on specially prepared snowshoes over floating peat moss in one of the country's many bogs. On this trip you are guided by a local expert. Remember, you have to keep moving in some parts, though, or you will literally sink! It's a really enjoyable activity, plus you even get the chance to take a dip in one of the many little lakes scattered around the bog. I mean, that's an experience in itself. Check out this article for the best tips for Bog Shoe Hiking Trip in Estonia.

I came across this tour online, accompanied by some great photos. It immediately piqued my interest. So, I booked the guided walk straight away when I was planning my trip to Estonia. you can go on the Bog Shoe excursion in various places across Estonia, although most providers are located in the east of the country. That's where most of the lakes are that you can explore relatively easily.

What Does the Bog Shoeing Tour Look Like?

Sunrise during my Bog Shoeing tour in Estonia. ©Corno van den Berg

This excursion can be done in different parks. It's usually with a guide who knows the route and brings all the gear. They give you special shoes that are extra-wide to spread your weight. This is done to avoid damaging the plants too much. You will mostly be walking on dry patches with heather and small shrubs. But you also walk on floating moss that grows at the edge, and even on the water. That part happens in brackish water and it's quite the challenge. You walk over sphagnum moss (and other types of moss) that mostly float on the water. These plants are like sponges and can carry quite a few kilos. But not too much.

You Will Naturally Sink Under Water, Or Not

Walking seems a bit like snowshoeing. The shoes spread your weight around so you don't sink as quickly. Well, not 'as quickly', because you do still sink. But if you move fast enough, you can beat the sinking. You really have to keep moving, otherwise you'll slowly sink down. Yes, I'm realising this can be risky, especially if the next step to a floating patch of ground is too far. You also have to walk with your legs a bit wide apart, otherwise you risk ruining your clothes. 

But walking isn't really hard. In fact, I can look around without too much trouble. The surroundings are nice with lots of pine trees and small shrubs that I recognise from the many types of berries you can taste in the various seasons. Everywhere I look, I see small lakes with brackish water.

I do this excursion at sunrise; the gentle sunlight peeps in between the trees. It’s the best time to do it. The excursion usually lasts around 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on your own walking pace and whether you fancy a swim, of course. 


Swimming in an Estonian swamp. ©Corno van den Berg

In Estonia, it's standard to have a swim after a sauna session. But taking a dip in the lakes is also pretty normal. Although I don't have much choice, I'm too slow and gradually sinking, literally. I have to climb and scramble my way out of the water. It quickly turns out to be part of the tour. The guide asks beforehand if you want to swim, and your answer seems to be quite important, I notice. As they test the limits of your ability.

You can actually swim in the peat bog. Mind you, there are two ways. My guide really pushed my limits, and with the result I sank literally in the peat bog and had to swim whilst struggling with my 'bog shoes'. But you can also just swim in the not-too-chilly water. It's wonderfully soothing and you feel at one with nature. Once I got over my initial shock of sinking, I found it quite delightful.

Marsh Wildlife

Don't forget to look around you. The forests and marshes of Estonia are full of wildlife. We're talking moose, which are spotted quite regularly. And that's not all - there are foxes, wild boars and badgers too. I even saw an active badger sett by the side of the lakes. There are also brown bears, lynxes and wolves roaming around, although you don't often spot them in this part. I did see some ravens and an owl flying overhead, but I couldn't quite make out what sort of owl it was.

My Tips

Show all Bucket List Tips on Estonia

Read My Tips
Show all articles