Handolsforsen

Handol, Jamtland County, Sweden

About Handolsforsen


Hiking Distance: about 600m round trip
Suggested Time: 45 minutes

Date first visited: 2019-07-12
Date last visited: 2019-07-12

Waterfall Latitude: 63.25007
Waterfall Longitude: 12.4432

Handolsforsen (or more accurately Handölsforsen) was another one of the three major waterfalls that we visited between Östersund and the Swedish border en route to Trondheim, Norway.

The other two waterfalls that we saw in this stretch were Ristafallet and Tännforsen.

Handolsforsen_050_07122019 - Looking down over the run of the main cascade on Handölsforsen
Looking down over the run of the main cascade on Handölsforsen

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.

Handolsforsen_033_07122019 - Looking down over the run of the main cascade on Handölsforsen from the upper power station side
Looking down over the run of the main cascade on Handölsforsen from the upper power station side

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.

Experiencing Handölsforsen

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.

Handolsforsen_035_07122019 - Checking out the top of the main drop of Handölsforsen from the power station
Checking out the top of the main drop of Handölsforsen from the power station

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.

Handolsforsen_041_07122019 - Looking upstream from the swinging bridge above Handölsforsen
Looking upstream from the swinging bridge above Handölsforsen

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.

Authorities

Handölsforsen was near the town and municipality of Åre in Jämtland County, Sweden. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you may want to try the local municipality website.

Handolsforsen_006_07122019 - Starting on the 250m walk from the car park to the upper power station by Handölsforsen
Handolsforsen_008_07122019 - The first 250m of the walk passed by some houses that probably belonged to the people maintaining the upper power station
Handolsforsen_009_07122019 - Context of someone walking up ahead on the first 250m stretch of the walk to Handölsforsen
Handolsforsen_014_07122019 - Some interpretive signs discussing some stuff about hydroelectric power near the upper power station at Handölsforsen
Handolsforsen_023_07122019 - The swinging bridge traversing the Handölan, where only three people at a time were supposed to be on the bouncy bridge
Handolsforsen_025_07122019 - Looking over the brink of the Handölsforsen waterfall fronted by part of the upper power station
Handolsforsen_036_07122019 - Looking towards the suspension bridge as we waited for this trio of people to be done with their traverse above Handölsforsen
Handolsforsen_039_07122019 - Looking straight downstream over Handölsforsen from the swinging bridge
Handolsforsen_043_07122019 - Looking upstream towards some cascades and smaller waterfalls that also belonged to the Handölsforsen system, I believe
Handolsforsen_045_07122019 - On the trail on the other side of the suspension bridge as I was pursuing some overlook according to the signs, but never found it
Handolsforsen_054_07122019 - Looking upstream across the uppermost section of Handölsforsen from the banks of the Handölan River
Handolsforsen_057_07122019 - Context of the rocky stream banks of the Handölan beneath the suspension bridge at Handölsforsen
Handolsforsen_059_07122019 - Another look up at the suspension bridge above Handölsforsen
Handolsforsen_061_07122019 - Context of the swinging bridge and upper power station with some people on the nearby riverbank enjoying a closer perspective of Handölsforsen
Handolsforsen_063_07122019 - Taking the 250m walk all the way back to the car park after having our fill of Handölsforsen

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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.

Handolsforsen_005_07122019 - The car park spaces on both sides of the road for for Handölsforsen
The car park spaces on both sides of the road for for Handölsforsen

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.

Overall, this drive would take us about 2 hours without stops. Of course, since Ristafallet and Tännforsen were along the way, it took us more time than that.

Handolsforsen_001_07122019 - Looking towards the buildings at the end of the road just past the Handölsforsen parking spaces
Looking towards the buildings at the end of the road just past the Handölsforsen parking spaces

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.

Checking out the falls from one of the power stations


Sweep and scramble from the far side of the falls


Checking out both sides of the swinging bridge from the bouncy bridge itself

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Tagged with: are, handol, jamtland, sweden, waterfall, lappland, lapland, norway border, e14, ostersund, trondheim, hydroelectricity



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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