Finnmarksvidda, Finnmark County, Norway

About Pikefossen

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2019-07-05
Date last visited: 2019-07-05

Waterfall Latitude: 69.3016
Waterfall Longitude: 23.57712

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Pikefossen was one of the few easily-accessible named waterfalls that we’ve encountered in Finnmark County (it might be the only one!).

Unlike most of the waterfalls we’ve seen throughout Norway, this one was more of the wide river variety, where it was much wider than it was tall.

Pikefossen_020_07052019 - Pikefossen

The waterfall was said to be 8m tall, but its width across both its segments could be around 75-100m in total.

About Pikefossen

The word “pike” means girl in Norwegian, and supposedly it got this name after a girl servant was thrown into the waterfall by her angry master.

Allegedly, he did this because the girl managed to allow a herd of his reindeer to drown during the course of her herding duties while her master was on travel.

Speaking of the river, Pikefossen flowed on the Kautokeino-Alta River, which was said to have played an important role in shaping human habitation in Finnmarksvidda (the Finnmark Plateau) for thousands of years.

Pikefossen_037_07052019 - Pikefossen as seen from a different angle on the rim of the gorge on its opposite end
Pikefossen as seen from a different angle on the rim of the gorge on its opposite end

Except for the lower third closer to Alta, the river remains largely undeveloped so it provides good salmon fishing as well as a good source of hydration for reindeer herding (both of which are important to the Sami way of life).

By the way, the Sami name for this waterfall was Nieidagorzi.

Experiencing Pikefossen

From the parking and picnic area, I really didn’t have to do much other than to walk a few paces to the overlooks.

At these overlooks, I could peer across the Kautokeino-Alta River right at the wide waterfall.

Pikefossen_074_07052019 - Picnic tables near the overlooks for Pikefossen (though I don't the mosquitos here would allow for a relaxing experience)
Picnic tables near the overlooks for Pikefossen (though I don’t the mosquitos here would allow for a relaxing experience)

While I could just call it a visit being content with these views, I did notice lots of use trails that ultimately sought ways to descend to the level of the river.

The paths closest to the overlooks were very steep, and I’d argue they’re not suitable for descending due to the bad footing and the potential for causing rockfalls.

However, the trails of use continued to follow the rim of the gorge until I spotted a less steep use trail that eventually led down to the level of the river slightly to the south side of Pikefossen.

I didn’t have my GPS with me when I did this scramble so I can’t say for sure what the distances were, but I know I had spent around 35 minutes away from the car.

Pikefossen_032_07052019 - Trails of use branching off from these semi-developed walkways leading to alternate ways to experience Pikefossen
Trails of use branching off from these semi-developed walkways leading to alternate ways to experience Pikefossen

So it couldn’t have been that far.

That said, the mosquitos were also quite bad during my July 2019 visit so perhaps the short amount of time spent here also reflected my need to keep moving!

Finally, I don’t know how sanctioned such scrambling is considering the impact it has on the landscape.

There was certainly no signage advocating the use of the trails-of-use and scrambling paths.

Pikefossen_063_07052019 - Pikefossen as seen from the banks of the Kautokeino-Alta River
Pikefossen as seen from the banks of the Kautokeino-Alta River

However, I can totally imagine that salmon fishers would try to take advantage of these trails to get to the river level and try their luck by the waterfall.


Pikefossen resides in the town and municipality of Kautokeino in Finnmark County, Norway. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Pikefossen_076_07052019 - One of the sanctioned overlooks of Pikefossen
Pikefossen_001_07052019 - Some picnic tables for relaxing by the overlooks for Pikefossen, but the mosquitos sure would make it difficult to picnic with peace of mind!
Pikefossen_008_07052019 - My first look at Pikefossen from the sanctioned overlooks
Pikefossen_027_07052019 - Looking around for other ways to experience Pikefossen
Pikefossen_050_07052019 - Zoomed in look at the span of Pikefossen
Pikefossen_073_07052019 - Following a trail of use as I was pursuing a way to see if Pikefossen can be experienced by the river
Pikefossen_055_07052019 - After a bit of exploring around, I eventually made it to the banks of the Kautokeino-Alta River to get this view of Pikefossen
Pikefossen_057_07052019 - Looking at the expansive width of the Kautokeino-Alta River by Pikefossen
Pikefossen_087_07052019 - I think part of the Pikefossen experience includes the drive on the Finnmarksvidda along the E45, which yielded some surprising views like this one
Pikefossen_091_07052019 - Looking towards some surprise waterfall while doing the long drive along the E45
Pikefossen_092_07052019 - This might give you somewhat of an idea of how straightshot the E45 was while driving along the Finnmarksvidda Plateau
Pikefossen_097_07052019 - The E45 going into a gorge as it was descending from the Finnmark Plateau and heading closer to Alta

Pikefossen sat between the towns of Alta and the Sami town of Kautokeino (actually much closer to the latter).

Since we stayed in Alta, I’ll describe the driving directions in that manner.

Pikefossen_077_07052019 - Plenty of space to park the car at Pikefossen
Plenty of space to park the car at Pikefossen

From Alta, I drove on the E6 (and its excruciatingly slow speed limits) until we reached its junction with the E45.

Then, I drove south on the E45 for about 84km before reaching the signed turnoff for Pikefossen on the left.

Something remarkable about this drive was that it passed through an extensively flat and straight stretch of the Finnmark Plateau so the speed limits here were the fastest that I’ve seen throughout Norway!

Of course, you do have to mind the reindeer on the roads so you can’t go too crazy gunning it on the E45.

Pikefossen_078_07052019 - If you park closer to the E45 highway at Pikefossen, then you have to do a little bit of walking to the overlooks
If you park closer to the E45 highway at Pikefossen, then you have to do a little bit of walking to the overlooks

For some geographical context, Alta was 130km (about 1.5 hours drive) north of Kautokeino, 164km (over 2 hours drive) east of Storslett, 207km (about 3 hours drive) southwest of Honningsvåg, 393km (under 6 hours drive without a ferry) east of Tromsø, 462km (about 6 hours drive) west of Kirkenes, and 482km (under 7 hours drive) north of Narvik.

Find A Place To Stay

Sweep revealing the falls from opposite the canyon at a couple of different spots closest to the picnic tables

Short sweep panning across the falls from the top of the canyon rim at a viewpoint directly opposite the falls

Double sweep covering the falls from a couple of different spots along the banks of the river opposite the waterfall

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Tagged with: finnmarksvidda, finnmark, kautokeino, norway, waterfall, nieidagorzi, kautokeinoelva, alta, karasjok

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Johnny Cheng

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Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning 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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