With mountains rising above the tree line to the east and best, this long valley stretches from the fjord arm of Storbørja to the fjord arm of Innervisten. The southern part of this valley is called Børjedalen and the northern part Laksmarkdalen.
Despite the fact that there are cabins at both ends of the valley, the area feels like wilderness. The landscape varies between lush forest and dried-up pines, naked knolls, river gorges and steep mountainsides. As you move farter from the fjord arms, you are less and less likely to encounter other people. The most frequent visitors to the valley are moose and fox.
It certainly feels like wilderness as you fight your way through the dense forest of the lowlands. Laksmarka and Børjedalen is a valley through which it is impossible to hurry. Although there are good trails at both ends of the valley (to the north, on the western side of the Lakselva river, and to the south, east of the Granåselva river), the trails disappear as you move towards the centre of the valley. The terrain is challenging, and if the water is running high in the rivers, you may find it extremely difficult. The most easily accessible part is the high-elevation area in the heart of the valley, which alternates between marshes and flat rocky terrain.
And, yes, as the Norwegian name suggests, there are salmon (laks) in Laksmarka. Lots of saltwater fish ride the tidal flow between Innervisten and Lakselvvatnet lake. They swim surprisingly high up the valley, which may make for rather unusual angling in Laksmarkvatnet lake. For a fishing license and more detailed information, please contact Aarstrand farm at Aursletta, or Inatur.
How to get there
Both ends of the valley are accessible via fjord arms. On the Laksmarka side, you can get a boat shuttle up to Lakselvvatnet lake at high tide, during the inward tidal flow. Innervisten is easily reached by express boat from Forvik or Tjøtta.
As mentioned, the valley is an excellent start for your hike farther into the Lomsdal-Visten National Park. For instance, there is a great route through Søre (southern) Austerdalen and across to the uppermost part of Henriksdalen valley; through Nordre (northern) Austerdalen you can cross the mountain towards the Vistvatnan lakes. NB: None of these routes follow marked trails. The route between Nordre Austerdalen and Vistvatnan is especially challenging. Map and compass are absolute necessities for any hiker throughout the entire area.
Lakselvvatnet lake is an excellent starting point for excursions farther east into the valley of Sæterdalen.
Hikers have numerous options for accommodation or shelter. In the middle of the valley is Tøymvasshytta, a cabin built in 1963 for workers putting up power lines through the area. It is a simple cabin with ten beds. Today it is unlocked and open to hikers.
In the dense birch forest in the lower part of Søndre Vesterdalen farther south, there is a privately owned hut. It is rather worn, but it is unlocked and can be for shelter if needed.