Hiking to Baken

DifficultyMedium / Difficult
LocationAustvågøya
Duration4:30 hrs
Distance10.57 km
Climb780 m
Maximum altitude678 m
Map - 1:50 000Vågan
Snow riskUntil May in the upper part of the walk and on the summit
  • Type of hike : Go back, Loop
  • Visibility of the route : Non-existent
  • Start/Finish : Next to the small power station of Kvitforsen, along Route 888 connecting Vestpollen to Strumnes, 1.5 km (0.9 mi.) after the Jordneset crossroads, you'll find a place to park in the left bend of the road facing the electric power plant. Be careful not to obstruct traffic or the access to the power plant.
  • GPS Point : Starting point (parking lot): N68° 19.601' E14° 39.070'
    Summit: N68° 20.368' E14° 37.547'
    Stone hut: N68° 20.772' E14° 39.032'
  • Note : Careful! Some of the lakes have structures to retain water (dams or underwater catchment areas). It is dangerous to bathe in these lakes, especially near hidden catchment structures
Hiker resting in front of a brook
Description


This hike is a real adventure that has lots of surprises for you! After a grueling start through rich vegetation on extremely steep slopes, you reach a peaceful valley with a succession of lakes and pastures, where half-wild sheep graze in season. The fine path you’ll find in the upper part of the valley was once used to construct a series of little dams and underground catchment areas that feed the electric power plant down below. Finally, despite the name Baken (which usually means a rounded hill in Norwegian), the summit is a real peak that gives you a striking view over this little-known part of the Lofotens.

There are two ways of getting to the high part of the valley (Lake 246):

One is by following the pressure pipe that feeds the power plant and begins behind it; the other, by following the little valley of Kvitforselva, west of the power plant. Here we’ve chosen to describe the itinerary that goes up along the water pipe and goes back down through the valley of Kvitforselva. If you have a good sense of direction and a GPS, it is also possible to make the ascent and descent through the little valley of Kvitforselva. However, we do not advise you to go back down along the pressure pipe, for the slope is very steep and always wet.

Walk between the buildings of the little electric power plant to reach the beginning of the pipeline (visible from the road). After a passage through a wet area, you’ll find a vague trail going along the pipeline on the right. The slope is very steep (30 to 40 % all along) and you often progress on very slippery rocky slabs, and the few bits of rope or rotten planks they’ve left here and there aren’t going to make your climb any easier! Be prudent and don’t hesitate to turn back if you don’t feel up to it. The advantage of this itinerary is its clarity: all you have to do is follow the pipeline so as not to get lost.  

Once you’ve reached the top of this slope, after a last passage where you’ll have to hoist yourself up with your arms over a few stone blocks, you’ll come out onto the trail that leads to the first lake (246). The path tends to vanish into the vegetation at the edge of the lake, but it’s easy to go around the lake on the right   (east) and reach the second little lake. The real trail starts from there and continues to the end of the valley (Lake 320).

Go up the valley, always keeping to the right (eastern) bank of the stream of Kvitforselva. Slightly before you reach the big lake (320), you’ll see a little stone hut (N68° 20.772' E14° 39.032'), which can be used as a makeshift shelter if you're not too afraid of humidity…

Keep going on the trail until you reach a little pass that leads to the lake, then follow the lake’s left bank for roughly a hundred yards or so to a little stream.

Cross the stream and then take a left to go up the little valley toward Baken. At roughly 450 m of altitude (1476 ft), the trail disappears and gives way to a terrain covered with moss and short grass without any particular difficulty.

At 550 m (1804 ft), you reach a plateau covered by a rocky scree. The summit of Baken (SW) towers over it. To reach the summit, it is possible to cross the plateau in a straight line or to reach the north shoulder of the mountain (to your left) to take advantage of the beautiful view the crest gives you over the last 300 yards of the ascent.
The summit gives you an exceptional if slightly dizzying panorama over the whole island. You go back down the same way to Lake 246. From there, in order to avoid a dangerous descent along the pipeline, we advise you to go through the little valley of Kvitforselva.

Careful: there is no trail in the valley of Kvitforselva. You walk through wild terrain abundantly covered with vegetation (ferns, high grass and bushes), which makes it difficult to progress. If you're lucky, you’ll find a few bits of a trail as you go down, but don’t bank on it.

At Lake 246, roughly at the level of the dam, instead of taking the trail on your left toward the pipeline, keep going southwest to the mound facing you. Cross the mound to reach its south slope and follow the southern crest in an arc to go down toward a boggy area (light blue hatching on the map) which borders the road. The simplest passage is about a hundred yards to the east of the Kvitforselva stream. Once you’ve reached the boggy area, follow the first branch of the stream to the electric power plant.

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