Skiing | Reisa National Park | Your Guide | Travel | Book
Spectaluar scenery, northern lights, and wildlife
Over the course of thousands of years, the Reisa River has cut its way through the mountain plateau and created the long Reisa Valley, which is the central part of Reisa National Park. Narrow valleys, clefts, majestic waterfalls and chasms that erode the plateau landscape are examples of the exciting geology, that also provides a habitat for a rich plant and bird life. This type of scenery is common in large parts of the national park, before it gradually becomes a flatter open, mountain plateau (vidde) area to the south. There are many waterfalls in the valley and Mollisfossen is the most impressive. Like an ax blade cut the plateau...
The Reisa Valley and the surrounding areas offer varied scenery that provides visitors many recreational opportunities in all seasons. The valley has spectacular frozen waterfalls from the many tributaries and steep valley walls. Some of they neighboring valleys are wide, with larger rivers, open birch forests and abundant vegetation. Other valleys are narrow and abruptly meet the main valley. East and west of the main valley, there are rounded, higher mountain areas that lead to the boggy and forested mountain plateau by Ráisjávri and Njallaavzi.
There are selv-service cabins and huts within the national park. The Norwegian Trekking Association has a cabin by Nedrefoss and Statskog has a cabin by Ráisjávri. Other cabins in the area are open for use.
Landscape and Geology
Over the course of thousands of years, the Reisa River has cut its way through the mountain plateau and created the long Reisa Valley.
Powerful waterfalls adorn the steep valley walls. Mollis, with its 269 m drop, is particulary impressive. Imofossen is composed of two rivers that exit vertical granite walls and meet in a narrow ravine with numerous natural potholes.
North of Imo, the mountain side rises steeply and the valley becomes a large canyon. Further on towards the mountain plateau, the landscape changes to wide, open moors and bogs. The cliffs along the Reisa River show the last two million years of geologic history. The bottom layers are granite and gneis.
Over these layers lies 200 meters of shale and sandstone (the Dividal group). Other rock types were pushed into place over the previous layers about 400 million years ago. At Avvekløfta (cleft) you can easily see the dividing line between bedrock, the Dividal group and the covering layer of rock.
From forested floodland to bleak moorland.
Variations in bedrock and soil types provide the basis for rich diversity in the Reisa National Park. Nordreisa's rich flora has been known since the late 1800's. The plant and bird life, with both easterly and northerly species, is among the most diverse in the north.
Deciduous trees in the flood areas along the river create a rich riperian zone with wild currants and arctic raspberry. In the willow forest up the river valley, there are often beautiful blue Jacob's Ladder. Sibirturt (Siberian lettuce) and Storveronika(a type of gypsyweed) grow also in the area. Fjellsolblom (a type of aster) can be found on the dry and windblown mountain ridges.
Steep cliffs, dense woodland and mountain plateaus provide birds of prey with an excellent habitat and availability to prey. The rough-legged buzzard is the most common, although hikers can still see golden eagles, gyr falcons and kestrels. There are wolverines and lynx in the national park and the surrounding mountainous areas.
The Sami name Njállaávzi means "cleft of the arctic fox', which suggests that foxes have always been there. Brown bears, Norway's largest predator, can occasionally be seen in the park.
History and culture
Three different cultures meet.
Three different cultural groups are found in Reisadalen: reindeer herders and permanent settlers of Sami, Finnish and Norwegian origins have all made use of the area and left their mark in placenames and in the cultural heritage. At least as far back as the 16th century, Sami hunting communities were living here.
In the 18th century, migrating Finns came and settled. They were most likely the ones who introduced the characteristic river-boat to the Reisa Valley. The boats were originally pole driven, but are now motorized.
The valley and surrounding mountainous areas have always been important for hunting, trapping and fishing, and grouse is still caught by snares in the old manner.
Pinewood was used as building material and for making tar. The sale of tar provided extra income for most of the farms in the valley. Tar production continued into the 20th century and remains of tarpits can still be seen.
Reindeer herders use the southern regions in Finnmark near Kautokeino during the winter, while the southern grazing areas are by the coast in the northwest. Reisa National Park and the surrounding areas are spring, summer, and fall grazing areas for domestic reindeer. Use caution when in grazing areas, especially during calving in april and may.
In a national park, you are nature's guest
- You are welcome to go where you would like by foot or on skis, but motorized vehicles are prohibited.
- You can camp where you wish, but leave no trace and bring all trash home.
- You may light a fire; however, there is a general fire restriction in forested areas between April 15th and September 15th. Be considerate when gathering wood. Dry pines should not be damaged.
- You may pick berries, edible mushrooms and common plants, but be considerate to cultural heritage, vegetation and animals. Be extra careful in migration and breeding periods.
- Utilize the opportunities for fishing and hunting. Remember fishing and hunting licenses. Do not use living fish as bait. You cannot move living fish from one body of water to another.
- You may bring your dog, but there is a leash requirement from April 1st to August 20th.
Quick info about Reisa National Park:
Where: Nordreisa kommune (municipality) in Troms fylke in Northern Norway.
How to get here: From the national park town Storslett or the E6 - by car or bus 44 km up Rv 856 to Bilto and then 4 km further to Saraelv.
Fotogalerie - Reisa National Park in the Winter