Alta Canyon


Alta river in Finnmark at the very top of Norway, has one of Northern-Europe’s biggest canyons. Also called Sautso, it is carving its way through the tundra landscape. I did not know of this spectacular nature before moving to Alta for university. But it is one of the first trips I made outside of the city, and it was one of the most memorable trips I’ve done! The trip was made at the end of July in 2014 just days after moving to Alta. And as I am just days from moving away from here I feel like it’s a great time to post this.

First of all the weather was great, and then, not so great. Thunder & lightening is not something you appreciate when you are the highest point in the landscape for as long as the eye can see. At one point we took cover in a river gorge to wait it out a little, and it seemed to pass as we got back to the car in time. These things can happen, and it’s made me more alert of doublechecking weather forecasts before heading out on long trips. Anyway, the trip starts by Gargia lodges at around 30 minute drive from Alta city center. Further up a gravel hill there is a parking spot on the flat ground with an information post. The start is pretty flat and seems boring, but I promise wonderful nature appears along the way.


Like the many little mirrors on the ground.


Or the sudden rivers cutting its way through the land and rock.


Then finally you are there, passing the warning sign telling you about the dramatic drop ahead.


All held together by some good old planks, for that extra vertigo-experience!


This is one of the most special trips I’ve done and I can recommend it to pretty much anyone with legs or wheels. It is not like anything I’ve ever seen before, in Norway or anywhere else. Next time I want to go in the actual river in a riverboat as that is a popular thing. I’ll round this up with a few facts below.

Facts & details
Location start: Gargiaveien in Alta, Finnmark. Norway
Type: Daytrip, 4-6 hours
Length of the trip both ways: 14 km
Terrain: Flat, wet-parts, some easy river crossing.
Level: Easy
Note: Not so great if you have a fear of heights, then simply don’t go all out on the edge which has no safety rail. It’s great for terrainbiking, and having a longer lunch or picnic at benches by the canyon overview.

But remember to pick up your litter and take it back with you, as we don’t have magical norwegian gnomes that appear out of the ground to do the job for you. Sorry.

Stay safe and wander,
– Sunni


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