Trollhättan Locks Area
Welcome to the Locks area in Trollhättan. Here you will find no less than three generations of lock systems located in the scenic nature area Gamle Dal. The area is a very popular destination for many who visit Trollhättan both to see the boats travel up or down the locks and to enjoy the beautiful nature and a really good shrimp sandwich at the summer open cafe.
The history of the lock area
During the history of Trollhättan, many attempts were made to open up a waterway past the might Trollhätte Waterfalls so that boat traffic could travel all the way from Lake Vänern to the North Sea unhindered. After several unsuccessful attempts during the 18th century, the first complete lock system was finally completed in the year 1800. At that time, shops with a cargo capacity of 140 tonnes could pass through the locks. Later, in 1844, another lock system was built to allow more and larger ships to travel the canal.
Work in the area soon resumed and in 1916 a third even larger lock system was completed. It is this lock system that is still used by boat traffic today.
The locks today
Today, boat traffic still runs in the 1916 locks and the total of four locks that are in Trollhättan, making a height difference of 32 meters. Approximately 3.5 million tonnes of goods are transported annually on the Göta River and Lake Vänern. On average, 10 cargo ships pass the Trollhättan locks every day and during the summer months also about 4000 leisure boats. If you come with a leisure boat in the Trollhätte canal and locks, you can read more about traveling the locks here.
The locks area today is not only a popular area for boating and transportation but also for both residents of Trollhättan and visitors. There are several places to visit in the area and it is an awesome experience to see a cargo ship climb up or down the lock stairs.
When can I see boats traveling the locks?
If you want to see boats in the locks, there is unfortunately no way to be completely sure when boats go in the locks. However there is a website that shows boats that are traveling the canal; www.marinetraffic.com Here you can see boats that are in the canal right now and see if there is any on their way towards the locks.
The heavier cargo ships can arrive at any time during the day, all year round, but usually in the morning or early evening. During summer, the locks are often operating with transporting leisure boats traveling the canal either towards Lake Vänern or Gothenburg and the North Sea.
More to see and do in the area
There is a lot more to do in the locks area than watching boats traveling the locks, here are some tips.
Slusscaféet (The Locks Cafe)
During summer, the popular Slusscaféet is open with a nearby ice cream kiosk. Here you can enjoy a cup of coffee with a nice view of the locks area. The menu includes the famous shrimp sandwiches but also other sandwiches, waffles, pancakes and salads are available for purchase. Check updated menu and opening hours at their Facebook-page (Swedish only).
The Canal Museum
Step into the Canal Museum and learn about the history of the Trollhätte Canal and locks area. Here you can, among other things, take a closer look at different boat models, see a well-preserved diving suit from the 19th century and read more about life around the locks. The museum is open during summer between end of June to end of August. During that time they also organize guided tours in the area for visitors in both Swedish and English. Read more about the Canal Museum here.
If you arrive to the locks area with your motorhome there is a good parking area on the eastern side of the locks where you can park for a few hours or a few days. There are 21 places with access to water, latrine emptying and electricity during spring, summer and early autumn. Read more about the motorhome parking area here.
Gamle Dal nature area
The locks area is surrounded by the beautiful nature of Gamle Dal. Here you can take a leisurely walk and see the old locks from 1800 and 1844 and walk down to the water of the Göta River, a perfect place for a picnic or fishing (fishing permit required). Find Gamle Dal on Google Maps here.
Nils Ericson's Walk
If you want to explore the locks area by foot and learn more about the different places in the area, we recommend going along the Nils Ericson's Walk. It is a 25-minute walk where you can see all three generations of lock systems and other places such as the old canal office, workshops and lock-kepper residence. Download a map with more information here.
Explore the nearby Älvrummet Nature Reserve
The locks area is just south of another popular area in Trollhättan, namely the Älvrummet Nature Reserve. Here are several hiking trails and the great viewing platform Kopparklinten (The Copper Cliffs) that gives you a great view of Trollhättan and the Göta River. Read more about Älvrummet here.