My parents visited the Arctic for the first time last week, and I intended to show them the region of Narvik, both south to Ballangen, Efjord and Skjomen, but also north to Bardu and Polar Park and of course, a small visit to Sweden. Everything is close in Narvik, and if you have a car the adventure will be just around the corner.
On my parents first day in Narvik we headed up to Riksgränsen, Sweden, since it was very windy along the fjords of Narvik. Thus it was not as windy up in the mountains, it was still too windy (according to my dear parents) to stay outside for too long. We headed towards Kopparåsen (The Copper Ridge) and the trail leading to Njuoraluspi. Driving to Kopparåsen from Narvik, you follow E6 north towards Alta. About 5-10 minutes after you have passed Rombaksbrua you will turn right, onto road E10, leading to Sweden. The road sign say Luleå if I recall it right. The road over Bjørnfjell towards the boarder offers some really nice views of the Norwegian landscape.
After passing the customs at the Swedish/Norwegian boarder, you have a 10 to 15 minute ride until you will see a sign saying “Kopparåsen” at your right hand side. Some hundred meters BEFORE this sign, you will on your left hand side, and there will also be a blue/white arrow sign saying Njuoraluspi 11 km. Park your car here and follow the trail. All in all it is a 50 minute car-ride from Narvik that will take you up from the fjords of Norway, to a more desolate environment at Bjørnfjell and the region around Riksgränsen and Abisko.
Picture from late August 2014. Note that the names and spellings of locations do vary, depending on which map you use (Locations can be written in Norwegian, Swedish or Sámi). I use a Norwegian map, that use both Norwegian and Sámi names.
Map over the trail. Red star: Kopparåsen, Green star: parking-lot, Purple star: the administration cabin, Pink star (in the end of the trail) Njuoraluspi. Click fror bigger picture.
Closeup. Red Star: approx. where we turned around. Purple star: the Administration Cabin
This day we did not walk all the way to Njuoraluspi, because of the weather. The sun was sneaking out behind the clouds once in a while and the light snowfall did not lead to any lasting snow on the ground, but was instead carried away by the strong winds. We walked about 3 kilometres one way before we turned back to our car.
The trail is well marked with red painting on stone cairns and trees, is easy follow and does not (the part we walked) offer any difficult parts. The trail starts at the parking-lot and will lead you over the river where you can read (in Swedish) about the history of Kopparåsen) You will start by walking through a sparse birch forest for about 2 kilometers before the landscapes become more sparse. The trail takes you through bogs and up on small heights. However, as mentioned before, there are no big elevations on the first part of the trail. After a while you will be able to see a brown/red cabin in the direction where the trail is leading you.
Picture from late August 2014, the red crosses do NOT mark the hiking trail. I think it is a snowmobile/crosscountry trail which crosses the hiking trail quite soon after you have crossed the first bridge.
Trailmark on stone
The administration cabin. Not my picture. Source: Wikipedia: Kuokkel Gruvfält
The cabin was used by the mining administration from when there was activity at the mining field at Kuokkel. The work at the mining field was shut down in 1904 because of an explosion accident at the field. If you continue on the trail, you will be able to see traces from the mining in the area. Before reaching the cabin, we turned our faces towards the strong wind and walked back on the same trail that we came from. I can imagine that this walk is even nicer without the company of the cold wind biting your cheeks, and I look forward to finish the whole trail another day when the weather is better.