Route 9


West Telemark is an excellent starting point for a tour where dams and power stations can be visited to a reasonable extent. Due to the current national security situation, it is not possible to visit the power stations themselves. However, the enormous dams, pipelines and individual power stations are still accessible and we therefore present a number of exciting places that are possible to visit on this route. Start your journey with a visit to the West Telemark Museum, where you can get a full overview of the history and how these facilities are connected.

The route is defined as demanding

Routes that are defined as demanding are suitable for people with experience in demanding parties.

6:00 hours

318 km

4.4 out of 10

Assessed by the number of clicks on this page in the last two weeks compared to all Hubriding routes.

Follow the map and also read the description and sections on access to each of the facilities. Enjoy your trip and have a good cup of coffee on the way.

Local gas stations that supply 98 octane

Check out the Norwegian-developed Refuel app provided by AMCAR in collaboration with High Octane AS for iOS and Android phones.


The core of the Tokke development was the idea of using the 600 m drop between the lakes Totak in Vinje and Bandak in Tokke municipality. But both above and below Totak there were lakes, rivers and waterfalls that were suitable for damming as reservoirs in a larger regulatory area. In 1956, the starting shot was fired for what was then Northern Europe's largest power development project.

With money from Verdsbanken, the state, the county and some municipalities, a construction period started that lasted until 1969 (later extended to 1979) that turned life and the economy in Upper Telemark upside down. 7 power stations and 37 dams were built. In 1987, another power station (Hogga) was built further down the Telemark Canal.

The Tokke regulation area covers a catchment area of 3104 square kilometers. This indicates that as much as 3.3 billion cubic meters of rainwater flows into the watercourse every year, producing electricity several times on its way down the watercourse. In total, the Tokke system delivers 4.4 TWh (terrawatt hours) per year, enough to supply over 200,000 households with electricity! Statkraft manages the entire plant.

VEST-TELEMARK Museum, Eidsborg

This museum has its own exhibition that tells the story of the Tokke development through film, animation and images. There is also an installation that shows how the reservoir, dams, pipelines and power stations are connected and controlled to achieve maximum yield from the rainwater over the enormous area.

This creates the "battery effect" where water can be stored for several years for later use. The large rivers in Austlandet do not have this possibility, and can only produce electricity while the river is flowing.

On prior request, the museum offers a guided tour of this part of the exhibition, but the other exhibitions are also worth seeing before you jump in the car and get out your map. Eidsborg Stave Church is a gem here in West Telemark and is located within the museum grounds.

Book a tour, guided tour and your own maps at the reception desk at Straand Hotel. Here you will also get tips on lunch stops and other attractions along the route.

You should expect a round trip of about 5-5.5 hours. A large part of the route is in the high mountains and can offer different weather conditions... maybe bring a warm jacket.


Botn(e)dalen in Mo - today Tokke municipality - has from ancient times been a traffic route between upper Telemark and Setesdalen, and on to Western Norway. There was a lot of trade and cultural exchange here, and ancient settlements. Yarn was mined here, and the reindeer have their own migration area here (Setesdal-Austhei).

Until the middle of the 17th century, there is said to have been a separate village in Botnedalen. There is also said to have been a stave church here. But after the "hardæva", a climate crisis triggered by several volcanic eruptions in the Pacific Ocean between 1639 and 1644, the valley was abandoned. The church was demolished, and today only the church door remains. A reconstruction of the door can be seen at Vest-Telemark Museum in Eidsborg.

In the 1800s, Botnedalen in the old "Moe Parish in Thellemarken" was known to be particularly idyllic. For example, the priest Simon Olaus Wolff called it "a beautiful valley" and "a fine maiden in the arm of a sword-wielding giant"[Brudstykker af en Thellemarksvandring i sommeren 1822].

There were many stables in Botnedalen. One of them was Låmyrstaulen, which belonged to the vicarage in Mo. In a famous photograph from the late 1800s, we can see Torbjørg Ripilen, who worked at the vicarage and the pillar for periods of time. She was one of those who sang the Middle Ages ballad Draumkvedet for the folklore researchers Moltke Moe and Sophus Bugge in 1890.

When Botnedalsdammen was completed in 1969, as part of the major Tokke power station development, large parts of Botnedalen were flooded.

Such dams, of which there were several, sparked the first public disputes about nature and cultural conservation in Norway in the 1960s. The artist Dyre Vaa, for example, questioned whether it was right to dam valuable nature and ancient cultural monuments.

But there were also those who defended the development. Author Tarjei Vesaas wrote in 1958:
"No one has the right to condemn their fellow human beings to live in a museum. Old houses are beautiful, but it's different for a housewife who has to work there. Technology comes in like a blessing. Not everything about the old is good because it is old..."

Today, the water from Botnedalsvatnet, with inflow from Strandstøylsdalsvatnet, is used for power generation at Byrte power station, and several times on its way down into the Telemark watercourse. The output of the turbine in Byrte is 25 MW, and annual production is 112 Gwh.

Emergence: The picture from Botnedalen dam (picture) is located at the south end of Botnedalsmagasinet in Tokke municipality. The dam is located 10 -12 km west of Dalen, and parts of the road are toll roads with a cash box or Vipps. The road consists of stretches of asphalt and gravel. The toll roads to Songa and Botnedalen are dead-end roads, with no possibility of driving through.


The Venemo dam is one of the many dams in the large Tokke development and was completed in 1963. It dams the water in Lake Venemo, which flows from Lake Bordalsvatnet 200 meters upstream.

Venemodammen is the first filling dam in Norway to be sealed with asphalt concrete. NVE photographer Jostein Granlid's photos show how it was done.

The dam has a unique ring-shaped spillway that rises from the bottom and can be a spectacular sight at high water levels. The spillway is of the "Morning Glory Spillway" type, which is found at a selection of famous dams around the world.

From Venemodammen, a tunnel has been blasted out to carry the water to Totak and Våmarvatn, which is the intake reservoir for Vinje power station, the second largest after Tokke power station in the development, with an outlet to Vinjevatnet. The power station was commissioned in 1964 and produces 1017 Gwh with a turbine output of 300 MW. The three 100 MW turbines each have their own pressure shaft with a drop of 225 m.

Access: Venemo dam (aerial photo) is located 3-4 km from Haukeli on FV 362 on the road towards Rauland.


The Songa dam was completed in 1962. The dammed Songavatnet is made up of originally 11 smaller lakes. Two dams keep the lake in place: Trolldalsdammen and the main dam (Songadammen) here at Naustnuten. Songadammen is over 1 km long, 37 m high and was for a long time the largest rock-fill dam in Norway. The dam took four years to build and is an impressive sight to this day. The overflow goes via the river Songa to Lake Totak.

The water from Songa dam contributes to power generation at Songa power station, which opened in November 1964. It receives water through tunnels from three different lakes: Bitdalsvatnet, Kvikkevatnet and Songavatnet. The pressure shaft from Songavatnet down to the power station has a drop of 287 m and discharges into Totak. The turbine was the largest of its time and delivers 140 MW alone. Average annual production is 575 Gwh.

Access: Songa Dam (pictured) has a turnoff about 2 km further on from Venemo Dam. This road is 6-7 km long and a combination of asphalt and gravel. This is a toll road with electronic registration.


Haukeli was the first power station in the Tokke development and was opened in 1957. It is located in the river Vai, between Vatjønn and Flothylåi, and has Langeidvatn as its regulating reservoir. In addition, the power station receives water from Gurivatn. The tunnel from Vatjønn is 215 m long and has a drop of 268 m.

The power station was built with a view to supplying power to the construction work in the Tokke development, and the plan was to demolish it after the construction period. But Haukeli remained in operation for 55 years before it was replaced by a new power station in 2013. Today, it generates around 5 MW and is the smallest in the Tokke system, with an annual production of 38 GWh.

Access: Haukeli power plant (pictured) is located approx. 500 m west of the river in Haukeli center. Access via bridge at the junction to R9.


How can I navigate the route?

This depends primarily on whether you have installed a GPS, navigate by App on your mobile phone or prefer paper printouts. Here we describe the most common workflows:

  • Download the GPX file for the route you want to your computer
  • Import the file to your route planning tool (e.g. Garmin's Basecamp or Tom Tom's MyDrive)
  • Export the route to your GPS in the usual way
  • Check that the route is calculated correctly in your GPS (It is recommended that the GPS is set to select the fastest route and any avoidance turned off for the route to be calculated as described).
  • Have a great trip!
  • Download the GPX file for the route you want to your mobile phone
  • Send/open the file in the App that belongs to your GPS model (e.g. Garmin's Drive or Tom Tom's MyDrive)
  • Send the route to your GPS (follow the instructions that come with your GPS and App)
  • Check that the route is calculated correctly in your GPS (It is recommended that the GPS is set to select the fastest route and any avoidance turned off for the route to be calculated as described).
  • Have a great trip!

Many of the routes on Hubriding use the app Ride with GPS app for route planning and navigation of the routes. You can download this as a free version or pay for extended use. Click on the Send to Device link on the map on this page, when the app has started and you see the current route, click Navigate and then just follow the route.

  • Click on the link in the map on the page and the map will open in a new window
  • Print the map, with or without description
  • Have a great trip!