Bredekfossen was one of those confounding waterfalls that haunted me since our first trip to Norway in early Summer of 2005.
Back then, even though I had witnessed the waterfall, I only realized after the fact that I didn’t see it properly.
As with most worthwhile attractions in Norway, you really can’t rush a visit here, and that was my fatal mistake on that first trip.
When I finally had a chance to devote more time on a more recent visit in July 2019, I did what I could to make sure I experienced it as best I could.
But even with more favorable conditions and time constraints, it still wasn’t an easy waterfall to visit, which I’ll get to below.
So what’s the big deal with Bredekfossen anyways?
First and foremost, the waterfall dropped about 40m, but I found that its raw power combined with its surroundings provided the scenic allure.
Indeed, the raging Stormdalsåga River that provided the waterfall its power drained the snow accumulations on the mountains of Saltfjellet as well as possibly the melting ice of Svartisen.
Because of the river’s name, I’ve also seen this waterfall called Stormdalsfossen.
Such fury in a waterfall this tall was not typical of many of the waterfalls we’ve encountered in Norway.
And in surroundings as undisturbed as the reserve of the Saltfjellet-Svartisen National Park, Bredekfossen was as raw and naturesque a waterfalling experience as you can have in Norway.
In order to come face-to-face with this waterfall, there were a few options available, but I’ll only describe the two different ways that I did this hike.
The first time I went here, I did an out-and-back hike that went to the top of Bredekfossen before turning back.
The second time I went here, I did a loop hike that took in the Bredek Farm as well as the same part of the trail that I did the first time around.
According to my GPS logs, the out-and-back hike that I did back in early July 2005 was about 6km round trip, and it took me between 2-3 hours.
The loop hike (also called Bredekrunden) that I did the second time around in mid-July 2019 was about 9km round trip as suggested by my GPS track logs.
Perhaps this hike might be closer to 10km long if you include the side visit to Granneset, which I did do on my adventure.
That entire experience the second time around took me on the order of 4.5 hours to complete.
The rest of this page will go over each of these ways of experiencing Bredekfossen in more detail.
Experiencing Bredekfossen – The Bredekrunden Loop Trail from Bjøllånes to the Tespa
First, I’m going to describe the longer loop trail since this covers pretty much the entire experience of what you can see and do here using Bredekfossen as the target attraction.
I began the hike at a fairly large car park before a road bridge at the hamlet of Bjollanes (or more accurately Bjøllånes).
The signs here suggested that this was also the trailhead for the Telegrafsruta (or The Telegraph Way) because the first telegraph of the North was said to have been laid out here in 1866-1867.
In any case, I then walked across the road bridge over the wide Ranelva River (or Ranelva) before walking to the left at the intersection on the other side of the bridge.
After about 250m along the small road, I then encountered signs pointing the way to the right, where both the Bredekrunden and the Telegrafsruta continued through a semi-overgrown and narrow path.
Next, I walked for about 1.3km along the shared path of the Telegrafsruta and Bredekrunden as the trail passed through some clear-felled areas.
I encountered a handful of false trails, which I believed were makeshift logging roads or paths. So I had to keep straight and ignore these false paths.
Eventually, I reached a sign where the Bredekrunden veered to the left and deviated from the Telegrafsruta.
At that point, the trail narrowed even more as it initially descended through some light forest groves backed by snowy mountains of Saltfjellet yielding the odd cascade or two.
Then, the trail made an even steeper descent all the way down to the Tespa (or Disspa) River.
The descent almost bordered on scrambling in places, and felled logs acted as footholds in the muddiest and steepest parts of the descent.
Right at the river, there was a one-person suspension bridge crossing over it (about 700m after leaving the Telegrafsruta according to my logs).
Experiencing Bredekfossen – The Bredekrunden Loop Trail from the Tespa to the Bredek Farm
Beyond the footbridge over the Tespa, the path then climbed steeply before the ascent eventually flatted out.
As the trail started to peer towards Stormdalsåga again, I finally started to get my first teasing glimpses of the front of Bredekfossen from a distance.
Unfortunately, the views were mostly obstructed by foliage so it wasn’t easy to pause.
Eventually at roughly 400m since the suspension bridge, the Bredekrunden then reached a trail junction where there was also some kind of shelter.
Keeping right at this trail junction to head towards the Bredek Farm, I then encountered another one-person suspension bridge, but this time it traversed a smaller stream with a long cascade tumbling on it.
Beyond this crossing, I then walked another 350m before I finally arrived at the idyllic Bredek Farm.
Situated in an open amd grassu clearing with expansive views in almost all directions, the small groups of farm buildings and residences made this place seem like one of those idyllic mountain pastures you might find in Switzerland or Austria.
Nonetheless, the main trail continued to cut through the farm, but Bredekfossen was so tantalizingly close (yet difficult to see from here) that it just begged the question whether it was possible to get closer to the falls.
Well, according to our Adventure Roads in Norway book, we saw that the author did take the steep path to get to the bottom of Bredekfossen.
So that turned me onto the idea that it was definitely possible.
However, it seemed like the farmers here went a little out of their way to conceal or de-emphasize the scramble leading down the cliffs and towards the bottom of Bredekfossen.
Experiencing Bredekfossen – Unsanctioned Access to the Base of Bredekfossen?
After trying to find the least impactful way of treading lightly through the farm in pursuit of the path to the base of Bredekfossen, I eventually reached a grassy slope towards the bottom of the farm’s pastures.
The hill itself didn’t appear to have crops, but even getting to that slope did require some degree of trying to go around what was being grown there (not that easy to do when you don’t know where you’re supposed to go).
At the very bottom of the grassy slope, I then spotted a faint path going right into the thicket of trees as the trail quickly descended rapidly.
With a steep enough slope to make pebbles slide down with every step, I could see why perhaps the Bredek Farm residents didn’t want the general public going here.
The further I went down, the steeper the faint path became as it appeared to have followed some kind of steep gully.
Towards the bottom of the descent, I spotted a small cascade to the right.
However, the prized view of Bredekfossen was right in front of me, and that was where the photo you see at the top of this page came from.
At the very bottom of the descent, there were some hairy moments where I’m not sure if certain rocks or roots to step onto (let along hang onto) would be there anymore.
Once I was able to set foot onto the riverbank, I had to do some rock scrambling to get closer to the Bredekfossen, where it appeared a lot smaller from this perspective than from above.
Apparently, it might be possible to go downstream (when Stormdalsåga would have low enough flow to safely continue) to reach the Marmorgrotten, which was a marble cave perched above the river.
I couldn’t do that on my visit given the high water levels of the river.
After having my fill of Bredekfossen, I then scrambled my way back up to the Bredek Farm and the continuation of the Bredekrunden.
This side trip to the bottom of Bredekfossen was roughly 500m, but it was the steepness of the terrain as opposed to the distance that made it more difficult.
Experiencing Bredekfossen – From the Bredek Farm to the Granneset Junction
Continuing on the Bredekrunden, after crossing a small stream (the one responsible for the cascade that I saw near the bottom of Bredekfossen), I then hiked about 700m to a suspension bridge over the raging Stormdalsåga.
Since the long bridge was upstream from Bredekfossen, I couldn’t get a good look at it.
In fact, I wouldn’t get a good look at the falls for this entire stretch.
However, after crossing the bridge, I remembered on my first visit back in July 2005 finding an unsanctioned and precarious view closer to the cliff’s edge overlooking the waterfall.
When I came back here 14 years later, it appeared that there was a fallen tree (felled intentionally, maybe?) that now kind of blocked the view down towards the waterfall.
However, if I looked further downstream from this vantage point, I did clearly see the marble cave called Marmorgrotten.
Continuing another 250m or so, I then reached the signposted junction with the trail to Granneset.
Experiencing Bredekfossen – The Granneset Side Excursion
From the trail junction, I did a brief out-and-back side excursion out to Granneset, which was basically a group of houses and shelters along with a picnic area.
I’m not sure what its significance was since it seemed to have enough upkeep here to suggest active habitation and use.
Granneset was about 300m from the trail junction, and the path was mostly downhill, especially towards the end.
So that meant you’d have to climb your way back up to regain the main Bredekrunden Trail.
However, the real gem of this side excursion was a more sanctioned (dare I say, safer) view down towards both Bredekfossen as well as across the gorge towards the Bredek Farm.
This side path leading to the overlook was less than 100m from the Granneset Trail Junction.
While some felled trees crossed the faint path near the end (perhaps discouraging getting the nice view I’m talking about), I’d say this view would be the suitable reward if all you’re wanting to do is to visit the waterfall without scrambling to its bottom.
Experiencing Bredekfossen – From the Granneset Junction to the Other Trailhead
Back on the Bredekrunden, the remainder of the trail pretty much made a long descent.
Along the way, I managed to get distant views towards the hamlets of Bjøllånes and Storvollen.
I also encountered a handful of signed trail junctions.
The first of these junctions when doing the long descent was one that connected with the Stormdalen Trail Junction at roughly 450m from the Granneset Junction.
The next trail junction that I encountered was for Dunderland at another 750m beyond the Stormdalen Trail Junction.
And I encountered the National Park boundary another 400m after that.
Continuing on the descending trail, it would eventually flatten out near someone’s private property, where the trail continued to skirt outside of the private area as much as possible.
Eventually after nearly 900m from the National Park boundary sign, I reached the long suspension bridge spanning the width of the Ranelva.
And just beyond the bridge, there was the more western trailhead, where it appeared that they had built a new side road connecting Bjøllånes with this trailhead. This new road also had more pullouts or spaces to park.
When I was first here back in 2005, this trailhead was right on the E6 itself!
Anyways, to finish the Bredekrunden, I walked the remaining kilometer along the paved side road to regain the parked car at the Telegrafsruta Trailhead in Bjøllånes.
Experiencing Bredekfossen – The Shorter Out-and-Back Option
This out-and-back hike started at the western trailhead right before the suspension bridge over the Ranelva.
As I mentioned earlier, this trailhead used to be a pullout right on the E6, but I’ve noticed that they had been doing lots of road improvements throughout a big chunk of the E6 (especially trying to straighten out the road).
In any case, this side road ensured that the traffic around this trailhead wouldn’t be dangerous and it would be much quieter than before.
This shorter hike would essentially follow the hike back uphill towards the Granneset Junction about 2.7km from the suspension bridge over the Ranelva.
At that point, you have a choice of going to Granneset (or at least the nice view of Bredekfossen in 250m) or hiking towards the Bredek Farm another 1.3km.
The choice is up to you.
In order to visit Bredekfossen, there are two trailheads that I’ve encountered.
But since they’ve essentially re-done the E6 road and the local access road (Bjøllånesveien), the directions are shared until the signed turnoff to leave the E6 near Bjøllånes.
From the E6/E12 junction in the city of Mo I Rana, we drove north on the E6 for roughly 49km.
Note that the E6 appeared to have been considerably straighter than when I last came here in 2005 so both the drive times and driving distances may have changed since the time I first did this write-up.
In any case, the E6 eventually reached a signed road junction for Storvollen on the left.
Once off the E6, there was a four-way intersection, where turning left would lead 900m to the western trailhead above the suspension footbridge. There were also other parking spaces or pullouts further up the road if the one nearest to the trailhead would be full.
On the other hand, you can also go straight on the four-way intersection for another 100m before reaching the larger car park for the Telegrafsruta.
Overall, this drive took me 45 minutes.
For some geographical context, Mo I Rana was 176km (about 2.5 hours drive) south of Fauske, 229km (over 3 hours drive) south of Bodø, 425km (about 6.5 hours drive with a ferry crossing) south of Narvik, 358km (over 5 hours drive) north of Steinkjer, and 477km (under 7 hours drive) north of Trondheim.
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