Sweden’s Largest Waterfall – Tännforsen

With a width of 60 meters across and a height of 38 metres Tännforsen is by far, Sweden’s largest waterfall. Tourists have come here for over 150 years and long before that pilgrims passed on their journey to Trondheim. The melting snows and ice in spring creates the most impressive falls and results in an earth shuddering waterfall. It’s estimated that the spring floods creates an unbelievable 791 cubic metres, flow of water, every second. Wintertime, the waterfall freeze in its entirety and a dramatic ice wall is formed. Tännforsen is an impressive site that constantly change with each season.

The History of the Waterfall Tännforsen

From a geological perspective, Tännforsen’s history dates back several hundred million years, but the era as a tourist attraction started far later. The breakthrough came with the opening of the renovated road ‘Mellanriksvägen’ via Skalstugan in 1835. King Karl XIV Johan was present. In those days people used to go by boat across Lake Tännsjön, where the waterfall starts to the north side of Tännforsen. The people doing this were mainly upper class, since few others had the time and money to travel for fun.

The lodge at Tännforsen was built in 1906 – more than 30 years before Åre saw its first skiing guest.

In 1906 the next change happened at Tännforsen. At this time, Svenska Turistföreningen not only built a small lodge: Tännforsens Turiststation, but also a comfortable road up to the falls. Since the lodge was built on the southern side of the waterfall, this became the view that the visitors would see from now on. The cost for building the lodge amounted to 3 520 SEK, and the access road cost 6 639.97 SEK. From now on, the journey from Duved and back could be undertaken in three hours compared to the previous five hours. Initially, mostly affluent people travelled to Tännforsens Turiststation, but not before long ‘ordinary’ people started coming too. Tännforsen soon gained in popularity in STF’s visitor statistics and already in 1912, there were 2 042 names written in the guest book. Only two other attractions counted more visitors – Ornässtugan and Tornet on Mount Käringberget in Leksand.

Nature Around Tännforsen

The area around Tännforsen has an unusual biotope, especially for western Jämtland. The reason for this is mainly the high and steady humidity provided by the waterfall, thus creating habitats for rare plants and insects. The two singular most important species are mosses and lichen – there are 21 red listed lichens is the nature reserve surrounding Tännforsen, and the entire area is classified as a Nature 2000 region. Also a group of rove beetles are endemic to this place. Here you can find organisms whose closest related species are usually found in temperate zones, in particular in Oceanic areas and the Tropics.

A Short Hike to the Waterfall

The hike from the tourist station to the waterfall is approximately a kilometre in distance and takes around 30 minutes, including time for stops. It leads you through a nature reserve with a unique floral biome. The water volume in the waterfall varies over the year. In a normal year the peak is reached in May-June. In the winter the fall is wrapped in a beautiful and dramatic ice shroud and you are able to take a thrilling walk under the waterfall.

Tännforsen Tourist Station

The tourist station at Tännforsen has been open every summer since 1906. Here you can enjoy the carefully prepared dishes in the fully-licensed restaurant, home-made pastries and other sumptuous cakes with your coffee. There is also a souvenir shop, with a wide selection of Sami handicraft, including bracelets, knives and reindeer skins.

Tännforsen – vattenfall | Foto: Roger Strandberg
Wintertime, Tännforsen freeze in its entirity | Photo: Roger Strandberg

Download info on Tännforsen and other protected areas of Jämtland Härjedalen