I didn’t have particularly high expectations of the Sommarsetvatnet hike hike… I was staying nearby at Garsnes Brygge on our ten day tour of the Lofoten Islands and looking for a hike I could do in the morning. I’d asked the helpful staff at Garsnes Brygge the previous evening whether there were any local hiking paths, and I got a mixed response, from “a short walk to a lake” to “it’s a steep walk that will take 4-5 hours”. Both descriptions, as it turns out, being somewhat correct…
The Sommarsetvatnet hiking trail starts on Route 152, a one kilometre walk along the road from my accommodation at Garsnes Brygges (or 3km from where Route 152 meets National Highway 84). There’s a sign marking the start of the trail, which is encouraging as I don’t have any map or information on the walk, other than the description(s) I was given the previous evening.
I set off up a rough farm road, which ascends through the forest for about a kilometre, before it becomes a narrow foot trail. After about three kilometres, I reach a small ridge from where there are views back towards the fjord (Sagfjorden) where the walk started. The Sommarsetvatnet trail ascends a bit more steeply, with the forest becoming more open.
Soon I’m above the tree line, and in a more alpine environment. Walking through grasses and low heath, taller peaks in the distance become visible – Elveskardtindan (1243m) and Hogfjellet (1235m). A few more minutes walking, and a waterfall appears on the right, fed by the lake (Sommarsetvatnet) above, that I can’t yet see.
Another ten minutes and I reach Sommarsetvatnet, a small lake surrounded by taller mountains.
The trail follows the lake for a few hundred metres before it stops. There is a peak (Lifjellet) above the eastern side of the lake – the side that I’m on – which promises a better view of the area. And a ridge to the north-east that might provide views back to the fjord… It’s steep but easy walking and scrambling up the slope from the lake.
The views are inspiring despite the the overcast conditions, and get better as I scramble up the scree and grassy slope from 520m.
I don’t quite reach the Lifjellet summit at 982m due to time constraints, although I couldn’t see a trig point or any discernible peak. The highest point I get to is 932m, with the view improving as I climb – I can see all the way from Sommarsetvatnet and across Sagfjorden to the peaks on the other side of the fjord.
I slowly scramble back down to re-join the path near the end of the lake, and take the same trail back down. To the lake and back is about 9km; with the off-track hiking up to the Lifjellet peak the total distance covered is 12.5km. Considering my low expectations, it turned out to be a fantastic walk.
Getting to Sommarsetvatnet
Near Sommarset on Route 152. Turn onto Route 152 from National Highway 84 and continue 3km. Nearest major town is Sjøvegan.
If you are coming from the E6, turn right by Brandvoll and follow the road to Sjøvegan. At the first intersection after the Salangen Church, a left, and follow signs towards “Salangen Helserehab” and “Elvelund”. Follow this road, Highway 84, for a few minutes until you come to “Laberg”. When you see the sign toward Garsnes Brygge, turn right and follow the road.