Want a taste of back-country Swedish adventure, but don’t have the many hours (or muscles) it takes to conquer an actual mountain? Tännforsens waterfall and walking trails are your answer.
If you’d like to visit Tännforsens, you’ll most likely stay in Åre, Sweden, the largest town in the area—though the waterfall itself is in a town called Duved.
The drive from Åre to Duved was scenic, taking about 30 minutes on a dirt road laced with gorgeous purple-pink lupine. You’ll know you’re there once you see a sign that says Tännforsens Turiststation, and come upon a little cabin that doubles as a cafe and tourist information station. You’ll pay for a parking ticket to in the adjacent gravel lot.
Once you park you’ll have your choice of two paths to see the falls. All the trails are linked, so don’t worry about choosing the wrong one—though the trail closer to the tourist lodge is shorter but steeper, and the trail further to the left is lengthier but smoother.
There are three viewing points of the falls (aka, three photo ops!).
I took the trail that began closer to the tourist station and wound up at the middle dock that sets you practically face to face with the falls. Just standing on the landing the power of the river Åreälven is obvious as the ground is constantly rumbling from the slamming water! As you walk out on the ledge you’re misted with the fresh mountain water that’s falling at 740 cubic meters per second.
In the dead of winter the area can get down to -6°C, and Tännforsens turns into a winter wonderland as a huge frozen ice sculptor! But, in mid-July Duved is a perfect 22°C, with clear skies. And you know when people say, “the grass is always greener on the other side”? Well, welcome to the Other Side.
A 3 minute walk down to the base of the falls leads you to the real photo opp. At the base of the falls you can get a full 360 view of Tännforsens on the left and turn to see the expansive valley with open water on the right. I literally thought I felt a tear roll down my cheek, the view was so idyllic!
There’s a little path near the fall with slick, jagged rocks that you can carefully follow for an up close and personal experience of the falls. You can stand around the corner from the watery blast, and if you peak around you’ll get a complimentary make-up remover!
Finally, on our way back up the hill (around a 7 minute walk up) we arrived at the third viewing point.
Tännforsens is a great location for some photos of Sweden’s mountain majesties, no 4-hour hike or camping necessary. Easy for kids to hike, gorgeous enough for a couple’s date, and remote enough that if you want to see the sights solo and have a peaceful romp in the nature, you won’t be surrounded by hundreds of tourists or waiting in any lines. As you can see by the photos, I felt as though I had the entire site to myself!
A mere 30 minutes outside of Åre, I’m so happy that I decided to visit Tännforsens. I’ve heard people visiting Tännforsens from Norway or Switzerland and say to them it was “lack-luster”… Well, if I went from the Burj Khalifa to the 4-seasons I might see that as comparatively “eh” as well.
But if you come to Duved and see this Swedish national treasure for what it is, you’ll be anything but disappointed!