|Tallest Drop||3 m|
|Volume (avg.)||1.8 m3/s|
|Volume (max.)||30 m3/s|
|Primary form||Chute (+ Cascade)|
Kuerlinkka Falls are two separate waterfalls in Kolari municipality, near the village of Äkäslompolo. The waterfalls are located southwest of the Kuertunturi Fell in the Kuerjoki River, which turns wild in its last kilometres. About half a kilometre before flowing into the nearby Äkäsjoki River, Kuerjoki forms two consecutive waterfalls: so-called upper and lower Kuerlinkka.
The upper Kuerlinkka is a higher and more powerful waterfall than the lower one. In this upper fall, the water of Kuerjoki River is squeezed through a narrow, rocky stream bed, falling about three metres in two steps – foaming and roaring loudly. The water flows through a chute-like formation in the river, down to a lower level, where the stream bed widens again and the flow slows down. Downstream of this fall, the river shores are full of small trees and tufts, before the river meets the vertical cliffs near the lower Kuerlinkka. The upper Kuerlinkka is easy to view and photograph, as there are trails around the fall and the terrain is quite easy to walk around.
The lower Kuerlinkka, located about 200 metres downstream, is clearly a smaller waterfall when compared to the upper one, but it is still worth of seeing. The height of this almost vertical fall is about 1.5 metres, and it is located in the lower reaches of the Kuerjoki River where the river flows between rocky cliffs. Despite its lack of great height, the waterfall is a nice and impressive sight, as the water swirls and roars in the canyon, before flowing into the Äkäsjoki River. When you have reached this fall, it's easy to view and photograph from the rocky platform near the river. There is also a (probably unofficial, but functional) campfire site by the river.
The name Kuerlinkka is of Sámi origin, and means literally "trout waterfall" (Kouderlinkka). In the past days, sea trout were frequently caught at the falls by local fishermen. The fish was caught with baskets made of wire (originally willow) that were held in the waterfalls. The trout that failed in their jumps when trying to swim upstream through the fall, fell to the baskets. This so-called "container fishing" of trout was the region's own tradition, centuries-old, which ended only in the 1950s. Especially the upper Kuerlinkka was so steep and high a waterfall, that only the strongest sea trout managed to swim past the fall to spawn upstream. In the past decades, the Kuerjoki River was also an important log floating channel, although all the remains related to floating have been lost over time.
Old photograph of local farmer Kilian Friman (1854–1940) practicing "container fishing" at the lower Kuerlinkka fall. The trout that failed in their jumps, fell to the basket, and were pulled out by fishermen. The photograph is from the collection of Kalervo Niskakoski (www.äkäslompolo.fi), taken probably in the early 1900s.
The Kuerlinkka Falls can be reached fairly easily by car, which can be left (for example) at the crossroads of the nearby Aavahelukantie and Kuersuvannontie roads. Actually you could drive even further the Kuersuvannontie (that crosses the Kuerjoki River), but the road is not always in good condition. From where Kuersuvannontie road crosses the river, you can walk downstream of the bridge to the upper Kuerlinkka. Finding the lower Kuerlinkka requires a little more effort; you can get there by walking through a forest trail that goes southwest from the crossroads mentioned above. The terrain, however, is quite rough and requires climbing over some boulders and rocks.
As a whole, the Kuerlinkka Falls is a nice cultural- and nature sight for everyone travelling in the Äkäslompolo village. Among the waterfalls of Western Lapland, they are clearly among the best ones, particularly in terms of steepness and flow rate. In the winter, a thick ice ceiling is formed over the falls, which usually melts away only at the end of May. During the spring floods the water foams under the ceiling and then comes out like from a cave, which is also a memorable sight.
Aavahelukantie 4, Kolari
GPS: 67.57466 (N), 24.04808 (E)
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The walk to the upper fall from the crossroads of Kuersuvannontie and Aavahelukantie is about 600 metres.
Waterfall on mapOpen the fall on the official terrain map of NLS
Video of the waterfall
Waterfall added to the site 07.01.2016, last updated 27.03.2018