Laksforsen was a significant river waterfall where the Vefsna River fell about 16m in total.
Each time we’ve seen the falls (in early July 2005 and in mid-July 2019), the falls had put on a serious show as it glistened in the afternoon sun or threw up enough spray to yield double morning rainbows.
The Sami people who inhabit much of Northern Scandinavia had mixed Norwegian and Swedish influences.
Therefore, they named the falls with a combination of salmon (laks meant salmon) and a Swedish twist to the word “falls” (fors as opposed to foss).
The Salmon Heritage
In the past, the plunge pool at the base of Laksforsen had the best salmon fishing while the Vefsna River as a whole was the most important river for salmon fishing in Northern Norway.
However, according to signage at the falls as of our latest visit in 2019, a salmon parasite that had plagued Norwegian rivers had also apparently struck this river system, which certainly had a negative impact.
On the west side of the river, there was apparently a 270m long salmon ladder, which was the longest in the world at the time of its completion in 1894.
When we returned to Laksforsen in 2019, we noticed there seemed to be some kind of construction work going on there, and we wondered if this waterfall may finally be tapped for hydroelectricity.
When we first came here in 2005, that side of the river was mostly forested.
Visiting Laksforsen was pretty straightforward as we could already see the impressive waterfall from around the cafe as well as from through the windows inside it.
The best viewing spots were definitely from the inside of the cafe, but lately I’ve noticed that the owners kindly ask visitors not to take pictures in there, especially if there were people dining.
Outside the cafe, there was a short but steep path on the dirt and granite slopes for a more frontal and direct view of Laksforsen.
We definitely had to exercise caution both because the footing was slippery on the granite (especially when wet) and because the currents were strong on the Vefsna.
In any case, a visit here could be very short as we could have had our fill in 15 minutes.
That said, we also took our time here in each of our visits so it was more like a leisurely 30-60 minutes experience to take it all in.
Indeed, this place was really more of a rest stop to help break up the long driving along the E6 artery throughout Norway, especially in the long and narrow north.
The Most Dangerous Road in Norway?
On our very first visit to Laksforsen in early July 2005, I recalled that I had been fighting road fatigue due to the long driving distances.
This stretch of the E6 would require about 7 hours of driving without stops.
Since this waterfall seemed to be situated around the 2/3 to 3/4 point of the overall seven-hour drive, it seemed to be well-situated to act as a rest stop to recharge and stave off road fatigue for a little while longer.
Another thing about our first visit here in 2005 was that we had read a sign talking about how the E6 road could be the deadliest in Norway due to road fatigue.
When we came back 14 years later, we didn’t see that sign anymore.
And I wondered if it had anything to do with the fact that there was a lot of road construction going on in the E6 that seemed to aim to make the road safer.
We definitely witnessed a good deal of delays due to such road work on our 2019 visit, where it seemed like they were working to straighten out the E6 while increasing the speed limits.
Although in our visits, we’ve either stayed in Trondheim to the south or Mo I Rana to the north prior to visiting Laksforsen, the nearest large town was actually Mosjøen (I think is pronounced “MOO-shuew-un”) so I’ll use that town as a reference point.
So from Mosjøen, the well-signed turnoff for Laksforsen was off the E6 about 28km to the south of town.
Then, after leaving the E6 to take this turnoff, we went another 800m to the Laksforsen Turistcafe, where there was a pretty large area for parking.
Going in the opposite direction, this turnoff from the E6 would be about 13km north of the E6 and Rv73 junction in the town of Trofors.
For some geographical context, Mosjøen was about 88km (under 90 minutes drive) south of Mo I Rana, 264km (about 4 hours drive) north of Fauske, 315km (over 4.5 hours drive) north of Bodø, 271km (about 4 hours drive) north of Steinkjer, 390km (about 5.5 hours drive) north of Trondheim, and 511km (about 8 hours drive with a ferry crossing) south of Narvik.
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