Of these three waterfalls, Handölsforsen was the most impacted by human developments as it had been tapped for hydroelectric power station.
Compared to the other two waterfalls that were allowed to be free and wild, this particular waterfall felt the most subdued and the least impressive as a result.
Of course, when it comes to procuring wealth through industry, as long as that’s what trade and economies value over protection, then there will always be this question of that dilemma of whether to exploit it or to preserve it.
And in the case of this waterfall, they ultimately decided to exploit it by building a lower power station to power a soapstone factory in 1915, and then an upper hydropower station near the brink of the main drop of Handölsforsen in 1985.
According to the signs here, the series of cascades and rapids on the Handölan comprising Handölsforsen had a run of 1km long with a cumulative drop of 125m.
Of this drop, perhaps 70m belonged to the main drop.
From the car park near the end of the access road (see directions below), we walked about 250m on an access road before reaching the upper power station and swinging bridge over the Handölan.
We were able to look across Handölsforsen from that upper power station, but we also queued up to go across the bouncy swinging bridge traversing the river.
We had to be patient because the signs said only three people at a time were allowed on the bridge.
That said, we did notice some impatient visitors who disregarded the rules, jumped the queue and went on the bridge anyways.
On the other side of the bridge, there were trails branching this way and that.
A misleading sign pointing the way up a steep path to an overlook took me on a bit of a wild goose chase in search of said overlook that wound up not being anything.
In hindsight, I should have kept going down alongside the Handölan towards a lower area near the base of the falls to look back at the entirety of the main drop of Handölsforsen.
I have no pictures to show for the correct perspective of the falls (still kicking myself for not doing it), but there’s plenty of other photos in the literature showing what it’s like down there.
The bedrock supporting the falls did have a pretty wide embankment so we had some time to scramble around and get close to the water though we were very careful not to go where the water was rushing too fast.
After having our fill, we once again waited our turn to go back across the suspension bridge, and we eventually got back to the car after about 35 minutes or so away from it.
Handölsforsen was in the municipality of Åre. The municipality belonged to the county of Jämtland. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you may want to try the local municipality website.
Since we made our visit to Handölsforsen from Östersund, I’ll describe the driving directions from there.
We basically just drove for about 136km along the E14 heading west towards the Norwegian border.
At the end of this 136km stretch (after reaching the west end of Duved), we saw a sign pointing to our left for Handölsfosarna just past the small hamlet of Enafors.
We then drove the remaining 7km to the car parks on the east and west sides of the road.
We did manage to overshoot these car parks (since we didn’t see signage explicitly denoting these spaces as designated for anything) and drive towards the dead-end at some factory facility, which meant that we had gone too far.
If you happened to be coming from the other direction from the Swedish-Norwegian border at Storlien, we would drive about 16km east on the E14 to the turnoff on the right for Handölsfosarna.
Then, we would follow the directions as described above to reach the car park.
For geographic context, Östersund was about 101km (about 90 minutes drive) south of Strömsund, 159km (about 2 hours drive) east of Storlien, 263km (about 3.5 hours drive) east of Trondheim, Norway, and 557km (well over 6 hours drive) northwest of Stockholm.
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