Sorvagen Waterfall

Lofoten Islands / Sorvagen / A i Lofoten / Reine, Nordland County, Norway

About Sorvagen Waterfall


Hiking Distance: 1km round trip (to falls); 2km round trip (to bridge)
Suggested Time: 30-60 minutes

Date first visited: 2019-07-03
Date last visited: 2019-07-03

Waterfall Latitude: 67.89504
Waterfall Longitude: 13.00662

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The Sorvagen Waterfall (or more accurately Sørvågen Waterfall) was our lone waterfalling attraction that we experienced in the magical Lofoten Islands.

This waterfall actually didn’t have a formal name, and I only named it as such because it sat behind the fishing village of Sørvågen.

Lofoten_282_07032019 - The Sørvågen Waterfall backed by the ridges of Støvla
The Sørvågen Waterfall backed by the ridges of Støvla

In fact, you could argue that the waterfall itself didn’t possess anything special other than it was one of the few reliable ones on Norway’s signature island chain.

It was merely a cascade that just so happened to be along the way for longer hikes (such as a popular one to Munkebu Hut).

That said, I felt the surroundings were what made this rather simple waterfalling experience so memorable.

Indeed, the Sorvagen Waterfall was surrounded by attractive lakes, backed by sharp mountain peaks, and even had an ocean view to boot.

Lofoten_346_07032019 - Looking over the lower extremes of the Sørvågen Waterfall towards the Atlantic Ocean
Looking over the lower extremes of the Sørvågen Waterfall towards the Atlantic Ocean

Such scenery merely hinted at the landscapes that would be typical of the longer Lofoten peak hikes for mindblowing top down views (provided you’re up for the physical demands and time commitment of such excursions).

My Sørvågen Waterfall Experience

I started off from a somewhat limited car park that filled up quickly (see directions below).

From there, I followed the signs onto an obvious granite path where I could already start to see the waterfall.

After walking about 250m, the trail reached a signposted junction.

Lofoten_250_07032019 - The start of the trail to Munkebu as well as the Sørvågen Waterfall
The start of the trail to Munkebu as well as the Sørvågen Waterfall

The path on the right went around the neighboring lake Sørvågvatnet for 2.5km, but I only needed to go about 250m to reach a waterfall on Olaelva.

Olaelva branched off from the main stream, which I believe is called Studalselva.

So this waterfall could technically be considered a segment of the Sørvågen Waterfall that we’re focusing on in this page.

Anyways, continuing towards the larger waterfall (and not doing the Sørvågvatnet loop), I then had to climb up a semi-steep granite friction pitch that went alongside the cascade.

Lofoten_365_07032019 - The side waterfall on the Olaelva ultimately spilling into the Sørvågvatnet
The side waterfall on the Olaelva ultimately spilling into the Sørvågvatnet

Once I got to the top of the climb (roughly 175m beyond the first trail junction), I was able to look down at the Studalselva and the waterfall backed by the peaks of Vestertinden and Støvla.

Since the maps called this stream Studalselva, perhaps the Sørvågen Waterfall could very well be called Studalsfossen.

In addition to enjoying the views of the waterfall, I also looked back past some wiry star of David towards both the Sørvågvatnet, the town of Sørvågen, and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.

As far as the Sorvagen Waterfall was concerned, this could be the turnaround point for a very short and easy experience.

Lofoten_292_07032019 - The view in the other direction towards the wiry Star of David as well as the Sørvågvatnet and the town of Sørvågen
The view in the other direction towards the wiry Star of David as well as the Sørvågvatnet and the town of Sørvågen

However, I did manage to go up beyond the waterfall to see what else there was that could be reasonably done on a time constraint.

Beyond the Sørvågen Waterfall

So after having my fill of the views over the Studalsfossen and in the other direction, I then continued to follow the trail, which descended towards a tiny footbridge over the branch of Studalselva that became Olaelva.

Once across the bridge, the trail started to become less defined as I kept left and climbed up alongside the Studalsfossen.

Eventually, when I made it to the top of the cascade, I noticed a dam and some kind of small-scale facility across the stream, which made me think that perhaps this waterfall had some degree of regulation.

Lofoten_308_07032019 - Looking across the Sørvågen Waterfall as I was climbing alongside it
Looking across the Sørvågen Waterfall as I was climbing alongside it

The path continued further upstream for another 200m before I encountered a bridge spanning the start of the Studalselva as it drained the fairly large Stuvdalsvatnet.

By the way, I wondered if Studalselva could also be called Stuvdalselva given the name of the lake, and thus could the waterfall also be called Stuvdalsfossen?

In any case, this bridge and view over the lake was my turnaround point, but I did spend some time enjoying the views across the lake towards more cascades in the background.

Even though I turned around from this bridge to return to the car park, the trails didn’t end here.

Lofoten_328_07032019 - View of Sørvågvatnet and some cascades in the distance as seen from the footbridge right at the lake's mouth
View of Sørvågvatnet and some cascades in the distance as seen from the footbridge right at the lake’s mouth

Indeed, had I crossed the bridge and followed the steep uphill path on the left side beyond it, I would have wound up summiting the Tindstinden peak, which would have yielded a top down view over both Sørvågen and Å.

Had I followed the trail skirting the east side of Sørvågvatnet and closer to the distant cascades at the head of the lake, I would have continued on the much longer hike to Munkebu.

Nevertheless, in summary, I wound up hiking about 2.5km or so, and it took me on the order of a leisurely hour or so to do it.

Authorities

The Sørvågen Waterfall resides in the municipality of Moskenes in Nordland County, Norway. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Lofoten_255_07032019 - Picnic table with a view over the Sørvågvatnet near the trailhead
Lofoten_256_07032019 - Looking in the distance towards a cascade on the Olaelva, which was a branch of the Studalselva that the Sørvågen Waterfall was on
Lofoten_257_07032019 - Early on in the hike, I could already start to see the Sørvågen Waterfall
Lofoten_261_07032019 - The trail initially followed some power lines an a gently undulating stretch of granite and pavement
Lofoten_262_07032019 - Passing by the junction for the loop trail going around the Sørvågvatnet (as well as in front of the small cascade on Olaelva)
Lofoten_263_07032019 - Beyond the first trail junction, the trail then went up this granite friction pitch
Lofoten_268_07032019 - Looking back down towards the outflow of Studalsfossen towards this tarn and mountain
Lofoten_271_07032019 - Getting my first decent look at the Sørvågen Waterfall
Lofoten_276_07032019 - The Sørvågen Waterfall actually had quite a bit of drop that was hard to capture in a single frame
Lofoten_278_07032019 - Looking in the other direction towards the Sørvågvatnet as well as a curious wired Star of David
Lofoten_281_07032019 - Zoomed in look at the small fishing village of Sørvågen and the Atlantic Ocean
Lofoten_290_07032019 - Another look at the attractive Sørvågen Waterfall with one of the power pylons for a sense of scale
Lofoten_294_07032019 - Different angle of the Sørvågen Waterfall as I was continuing further along the trail
Lofoten_299_07032019 - This wide view of the Sørvågen Waterfall kind of shows you how the Studalselva gets split, where the cascade on the right ultimately drains over the Olaelva
Lofoten_302_07032019 - Looking down towards the footbridge over Olaelva in context with the Sørvågen Waterfall
Lofoten_305_07032019 - About to climb alongside the Sørvågen Waterfall shortly after crossing the footbridge
Lofoten_310_07032019 - Looking down across the base of the Sørvågen Waterfall towards a tarn as well as the Atlantic Ocean in the distance
Lofoten_311_07032019 - This was the small dam immediately upstream of the Sørvågen Waterfall
Lofoten_315_07032019 - Following the Studalselva after going past the top of the Sørvågen Waterfall
Lofoten_318_07032019 - Arriving at the footbridge right at the foot of the Stuvdalsvatnet lake
Lofoten_324_07032019 - Looking in the distance towards a cascade at the head of the Stuvdalsvatnet
Lofoten_321_07032019 - Context of the cascade at the head of the Stuvdalsvatnet
Lofoten_348_07032019 - After turning back at the mouth of Stuvdalsvatnet, I tried to follow some of the trails on the way back down, which turned out to be different than the scramble I made alongside the waterfall on the way up
Lofoten_350_07032019 - The return hike yielded more beautiful views in the direction of Sørvågen
Lofoten_351_07032019 - Another look back towards the Sørvågen Waterfall on the return hike
Lofoten_362_07032019 - Context of the remainder of the return hike as I was descending the granite friction pitch in front of the waterfall
Lofoten_367_07032019 - Closeup look at the waterfall on Olaelva
Lofoten_369_07032019 - Back at the very busy car park behind the village of Sørvågen
Lofoten_222_07032019 - This was the cascade that I noticed behind the fishing village of Å i Lofoten
Lofoten_221_07032019 - This was the context of that cascade behind the fishing village of Å i Lofoten
Lofoten_634_07032019 - We also noticed this cirque with thin cascades coming down it when we made a detour towards Nusfjord, which was between Sørvågen and Svolvær
Lofoten_636_07032019 - Closer look at those thin cascades beneath the cirque during our brief detour to Nusfjord

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We drove to the Sorvagen Waterfall from the town of Svolvær, which seemed to be the main population center of the Lofoten Islands.

From there, we drove about 126km west on the A10 to the town of Sørvågen.

Once in town, I looked for a signed turnoff (going in the opposite direction of Holmen) leading to Munkebu.

I then left the A10 and turned onto this side road and drove for about 200m to the signed car park for both Tindstinden and Munkebu.

Lofoten_454_07032019 - Although I'm quoting driving distances and times as if you didn't make stops, with scenery like this in the Lofoten Islands along the A10, it's hard not to make stops!
Although I’m quoting driving distances and times as if you didn’t make stops, with scenery like this in the Lofoten Islands along the A10, it’s hard not to make stops!

Overall, this drive would take a little over two hours, but I guarantee that you will make stops along the way (i.e. you will probably need more time to really experience the Lofoten Islands).

Beyond Sørvågen, it was another 2.5km to the end of the A10 at Å i Lofoten.

When I visited in early July 2019, this car park was very busy and parking required a great deal of patience (i.e. waiting for someone to leave).

Since I showed up some time in the mid-afternoon, perhaps I got lucky in that some people were finishing up their hike.

Lofoten_249_07032019 - The very busy car park at the Munkebu and Tindstinden Trailhead behind the town of Sørvågen
The very busy car park at the Munkebu and Tindstinden Trailhead behind the town of Sørvågen

However, I think an early start (more likely if you happen to be staying this far out on the Lofoten Islands) would be best to score a parking spot as well as buy you a lot of time to hike and really experience this place!

For geographical context, Svolvær was 126km (over 2 hours drive) east of Sørvågen, 129km (over 2 hours drive) east of Å i Lofoten, 68km (a little over an hour drive) east of Leknes, 220km (over 3 hours drive) west of Narvik, 420km (over 5.5 hours drive) southwest of Tromsø, and 222km (about 5.5 hours drive with a long ferry at Moskenes) north of Bodø.

360 degree sweep from the top of a granite hill revealing the cascade and another forking component of it as well as the town and sea beyond


360 degree sweep of the waterfall behind Sorvagen while also showing the ocean in the distance and doing a couple of zoom in pannings of the waterfall itself


Sweep of the Stuvdalsvatnet before zooming in on the cascades backing and spilling into the natural lake


Video panning along a side cascade as part of the Sorvagvatnet loop trail before backing out and showing a more complete look at the falls as well as a nearby shelter


360 degree sweep showing the scenery at the end of the fishing wharf of A i Lofoten while zooming in on a cascade backing the town

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Tagged with: lofoten, sorvagen, a i lofoten, reine, nordland, norway, waterfalls, moskenes



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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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