In 2019, I fell in love with bogs.
I’d just arrived in the Baltics for the first time (that summer) and we made our way to a gorgeous bog called Viru, where a shortish hike over raised platforms dropped us straight out of the forest and into another world. Carnivorous plants snuggled against moss, awaiting their prey. Plaques along the way told us about plants that could give you headaches and hallucinations. Stunted trees grew crookedly upward.
And I was utterly delighted.
Which is why when we found ourselves in Latvia near yet another bog hike, I booked us some train tickets and headed down the coast to Kemeri National Park, where the bog boardwalk awaited.
As usual, the bog was surrounded by forest, so that’s how the hike began…
And then out of the forest we spilled, into the bog itself. Buzzing with bees, covered in lavender flowers, and with berries nestled all along the walkways, it was yet another delightful treat of a walk.
And, bonus: the walk is easy, the boardwalk generally well-maintained, and the routes short.
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Want to experience the hike for yourself? Here are some relevant details:
Hiking times and local transportation
The train from Riga to Kemeri takes about an hour. From the Kemeri train station, expect about a 45-minute walk. To get there, cross the tracks (you want to be on the side across from the station building) and follow the main road until it reaches a T at a major highway. Turn right and walk along the (fairly wide) shoulder of the road, then make your first left and follow that small road straight down to the bog. You’ll pass two cemeteries along the way and you’ll know you’ve reached the bog hike when you get to a little parking lot with an information booth and some picnic tables.
Dogs on trails
In bogs, the usual rule of thumb is that if your dog can walk with you on the raised platform, you’re in good shape. If your dog is hopping off into the plant life, that’s no good. So take your pooch, but keep them on a leash and on the platform. Also: heads up that in August there were tons of bees. Literally the whole bog was buzzing with them. If your dog is allergic (Luna is), I would not recommend this as a dog walk. I actually put Luna in her backpack and carried her through the bog until we were back in the forest away from the buzzing.
Is the trail crowded?
No. We were here in August, arriving at the bog around 11 a.m. There were definitely other people there, but it was by no means a crowded trail.
What to bring
The hike is level and easy, first over some well-packed forest terrain and then on raised wooden platforms over the bog. Wear good shoes and I recommend covering as much skin as you’re comfortable with (because: mosquitoes, bees, and ticks). Wear sunscreen (there isn’t much tree cover once you get into the bog). And it’s always smart to bring rain gear and a light jacket, even if the day seems sunny. The weather up north can be sometimes unpredictable.
There are no water fill-up stations along the way. Bring plenty of water. There were several outhouses (at the beginning of the trail and back by the train station), but I recommend carrying your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer, as those may not be available.
For the dog, I also carried a small carrier backpack and I’m so glad I did. Because of the large amount of bees (to which Luna is deathly allergic), I was not comfortable with her walking near the ground. So I strapped her into her backpack and trekked through the bog with her on my back.
Finally, this walk is incredibly pretty, so don’t forget your camera. All the photos above were taken with my Sony a6000.