A slim, elegant aluminium bridge spanning one of the deepest ravines in Northern Europe has opened up new vistas in the Kåfjorddalen valley, binding together existing paths and beautifying the landscape in a network of walking trails, bordered by old mining relics, between the Arctic Ocean and Finland’s highest mountain. Both experienced and less experienced walkers have a treat in store.

Deep in the heart of Northern Troms

The Gorsa-juvet ravine up in the Kåfjorddalen valley is among the deepest in Northern Europe. From the south side of the ravine, the Gorzi-fossen waterfall plunges 140 metres in free fall into the depths. This spectacular landscape has now become accessible to most people with the building of a pedestrian aluminium bridge right above the waterfall. In addition, the bridge binds together two networks of tracks for walking, hiking and mountain biking into one of the most attractive and easily accessible areas for outdoor activity in this part of Norway.

A jewel in the landscape

The bridge is 53 metres long and constructed in aluminium. After being cast in Austria, it was lifted into place by helicopter in a single operation.

Ravine

At the end of the Ice Age, a huge glacial meltwater river thundered down from the inland ice through the Kåfjorddalen valley and out to sea. Boulders, stones and gravel carried in the river exploited weaknesses in the bedrock, gouging out the Gorza-juvet ravine, which is up to 600 metres deep and stretches 4-5 kilometres along the Guolasjohka river.

Network of walking trails

The Kåfjorddalen valley is one of the driest places in Norway, which makes it ideal for walking due to its good, stable conditions underfoot. There is a fine network of paths and gravel tracks both connected to the main gravel road and in the area around Ankerlia. It is these two areas that are now joined together by the new bridge. The most popular route is a 15 km long walking trail from the car park down in Kåfjorddalen. The route can, however, be shortened to a 20-minute swing by driving up the gravel road almost to the bridge.

Boioioioooong

A free-fall ravine like Gorsa-juvet is ideal for bungee-jumping. Already on the bridge’s opening day, intrepid bungee-jumpers were throwing themselves off and down into the depths. Currently, however, bungee-jumping is only sporadically available, although we are working on having a fixed – or should we say elastic – bungee facility before long.

Ghost town

At Ankerlia up in the Kåfjorddalen valley are the remains of a mining community. In around 1900, there were several hundred people living and working here, and there was also a school. The mine was closed down in 1919, however, and today only the preserved ruins of the mine buildings can be seen. Farther down, at Holmenes by the fjord, is a well-preserved Sea Sami farm with a farmhouse and outhouses. Kåfjorddalen itself is a surprise, with its farms clustered close together on a valley floor of fertile grassy banks.

From the Arctic Ocean to Finland’s highest mountain

From Birtavarre right down by the fjord, a gravel road winds 25 kilometres up along the valley to the Guolasjávri lake at the foot of the Háldi massif. Finland’s highest mountain (Finnish: Halti), at 1324 metres above sea level, is only just inside the Finnish border. The highest peak, Rásduottarháldi, at 1365 metres, is on the Norwegian side. Both mountains are easiest to reach via this gravel road, and you should allow an approximately 2-hour walk from where the road ends.

Walking maps and more Kåfjord

The local tourist board, Visit Lyngenfjord, has made its own hiking guide for the area. They also sell an excellent Kåfjord hiking map, which is also for sale in shops locally and in Tromsø.