Njupeskär

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Njupeskär from afar, Sweden
Njupeskär from afar / Shark, , GFDL

Although some discussions continue, the tallest waterfall in Sweden most likely is Njupeskär. This magnificent natural landmark is the main tourist attraction in Fulufjället National Park.

Geology

Waterfall has formed on the rim of Fulufjället – an impressive sandstone plateau in Scandinavian mountains near the border of Norway. Several lakes are located on the plateau and Njupeskär is formed by a stream which flows from Storrörsjön and Lissrörsjön lakes. This stream, Njupån, is short: some kilometers further down it joins the Fuluälven stream.

The power of Njupån stream has eroded the bedrock, the 1,300 – 900 million years old sandstone and diabase, and river below the falls has formed impressive, dark canyon.

Njupeskär - tallest waterfall in Sweden
Njupeskär – tallest waterfall in Sweden / Geological Survey of Sweden, , CC BY 2.0

Height of falls

The information about the height of falls is contradicting. Earlier sources mention that the total height is 93 m and the tallest plunge is 70 m tall. Lately more and more often appear other figures: total height of falls is 125 m and the tallest plunge (in different sources different) is 70, 78, 93 or 95 m.

The last plunge is the most impressive one by far. Water falls almost vertically, hitting the cliff in the upper third of this plunge. Above this plunge are two other, much lower steps and sections of steep rapids.

Year-long beauty

In winter Njupeskär freezes over, and the clear glacial water forms a beautiful blue ice column. It is a desired destination for ice climbers.

In spring the melting water fills the canyon with thundering noise, earth is trembling. Visitors should be careful – avalanches happen sometimes.

Njupeskär falls, Sweden
Njupeskär falls / Karl Brodowsky, , CC BY-SA 3.0

Very special time is in the midsummer, when for a few days early in the morning (between 3:00 and 5:00) the rising sun shines on the waterfall. The sight is beautiful – see it here: Rolfsbild.

Fulufjället National Park

Waterfall is popular visitor attraction for some 150 years and in the 1960s there was established smaller protected area around the falls. In 2002 the Fulufjället National Park was founded – it includes the pristine nature of Fulufjället, but the best known tourist attraction still is Njupeskär.

Visitors arrive with cars, leaving them at Naturum (visitor’s center) and walk some kilometres through pristine forest. Canyon is rich with flora – eternal fog sustains a comparatively high diversity of mosses, lichens and plants.

Some kilometres to the south, near the upper rim of Fulufjället are found four stone settings – possible cairns from the Iron Age. The beauty of this site was important to prehistoric people as well.

The tallest in Sweden?

There are no strict standards delineating what is waterfall and what is not. Often very steep (but not vertical) sections of mountain streams are considered to be waterfalls. If such landmarks are counted, there are some taller waterfalls in Sweden, e.g. some streams in Norra Storfjället, Västerbotten. But to be frank – such "waterfalls" are visually much less appealing than "true", vertical waterfalls.

Most likely some cliffs in Sweden have also very tall waterfalls, formed by smaller perennial trickles – some of these could be taller than Njupeskär. Nevertheless Njupeskär is the tallest "conclusive" waterfall in Sweden.


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Njupeskär 61.634158, 12.684105 Njupeskär

Coordinates: 61.6342 N 12.6841 E
Categories: Waterfalls
Values: Geology, Visual
Rank: 4
Address: Europe, Sweden, north-western part of Dalarna, Älvdalen Municipality, Fulufjället National Park
Height: 125 m (?)
Tallest single drop: 93 – 95 m (?)
Stream: Njupån

Wonders of Sweden

Fortification walls in Visby, Gotland
Fortification walls in Visby, Gotland / Helen Simonsson, , CC BY-SA 2.0

Sweden is prosperous country with rich natural and cultural heritage. Most interesting landmarks are megaliths, runestones, prehistoric settlements as well as several historical towns and cities including the beautiful Old Stockholm and Visby.

Waterfalls and rapids

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Virginia Falls / Paul Gierszewski, / public domain

Some of the most fascinating and awe inspiring natural monuments are waterfalls, or locations where a river abruptly changes its elevation.

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