Småsjæftan – A Hike You Don’t Want to Miss

One of my favorite places on the island of Magerøya is a secluded bay called Småkjæftan which means “little mouth”.  I think it’s because when I start descending the trail towards the shoreline the view is spectacular, as well as a bit mysterious.  Miles of open, rugged sea, a scattering of islands in the distance and a driftwood-ridden bay that speaks of wild winds and violent waves.  (Especially on an island where trees don’t grow.) Visions of pirate ships and a lost world fill my imagination as I wonder what secrets this “little mouth” has swallowed throughout history.

To get to Småkjæftan, you take E69, the road that leads to the Nordkapp Plateau.  The trail head starts at Kjeftavannet (a lake), and the hike is only a little over 3 miles (5 km) round trip.  The trail isn’t marked very well in the beginning, so a good tip is to stay closer to the road than near the lake, when traveling westward.  (To find maps and trail information for all of Norway, check out the website for the Norwegian Trekking Association.)

Keep your eye out for a tower of stones on the horizon, and you’ll know your headed in the right direction.

Småkjæftan Stone Trail Marker

The arrow points to rocks that are marked with a red letter “T”, but they are so worn that it’s a bit difficult to see them.

Stones marked with red "T"

The view is spectacular on the descent down to the bay.  My family made the trek on an unusually warm summer day and I’ve been there on a cold, windy autumn day as well.

Trail to Småkjæftan on a summer day
Småkjæftan on a windy fall day

At the bottom of the trail is a box with a visitor’s book to sign, just like Knivskjellodden.  Make sure you write your name and the country you come from in it.  But just so you don’t get your hopes up, there’s no wine and cognac stashed in this tourist box, like at Knivskjellodden.  I guess that’s just reserved for arriving at the northernmost point of Europe.

Tourist box with guest book

Here are some of the treasures tucked away in this beautiful bay.

Småkjæftan driftwood
Stone seashore
Round and jagged rocks side by side

And if you read Reduce, Reuse, Recycle OR not, then this is the place where my 5-year old said, “This is a sad place, Mommy.”  And I couldn’t agree more.

debris along the coast

So, please put Småkjæftan on your must-do list when you visit the North Cape of Norway.  And while you’re at it, bring a backpack and fill it up with some of the things that this “little mouth” has swallowed.  I firmly believe that if we each do our part in cleaning up this planet, we can make a difference.

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