The Sunndal is traversed by the lower course of the river Driva, which is joined at Oppdal by the Ålma. The valley extends west from Oppdal, halfway between Dombås and Trondheim, to reach the Sunndalsfjord at Sunndalsøra.
Oppdal (alt. 545m/1,790ft, pop. 3,500) lies in a wider part of Sunndal valley at an important junction where Road 16 branches off E 6 (Dombås-Trondheim) and leads west. Here the Ålma, coming from the east, flows into the Driva. Oppdal is a considerable tourist resort and winter sports center, with a chair-lift and several ski-tows, as well as more than 75km/45mi of cross-country ski trails. There is an interesting district museum, with old houses, store-houses (stabbur) and other exhibits.
Road 70 runs west down the valley of the Driva, passing a Viking cemetery area, and comes in 2.5km/1.5mi to Oppdal church, at the foot of Ørsnipen (1,378m/4,520ft). This 17th century wooden church, with a conspicuous steeple, has 17th and 18th century furnishings (pulpit, altar).
Trollheim - Side Trip
At Vognill a road branches off and runs northwest (22km/14mi) to the Gjevilvass hut (700m/2,300ft). From here it is an eight-nine hours walk northwest to the Trollheim hut (531m/1,740ft), from which several peaks in the Trollheim range can be climbed, including Trollhetta (1,614m/5,295ft; there and back seven-eight hours, with guide) and Snota, the highest peak in the area (1,668m/5,473ft; there and back eight-nine hours, with guide).
Driva - Gravaune
Farther down the valley of the Driva is the old manor house of Gravaune, with an interesting collection of everyday objects and old weapons. The road then continues past the Ålbu power station to Lønset (alt. 521m/1,710ft). From here a road goes up the Storlidal, passing the Storfall, to the Storli hut (652m/2,140ft), another good base for climbs in the Trollheim range.
After crossing the county boundary the Sundaal road winds its way down (fine views) to Gjøra. A side road on the left traverses the Jenstadjuv, a gorge with a waterfall, into the Gruvedal (good walking country). The main road continues down the Sunndal following the river, now called the Sunndalselv.
Romfo (alt. 138m/453ft) has a church of 1824; to the west of the village is the Driva power station (140MW). The village of Fale is a good salmon fishing center. Beyond this is Grøa (alt. 100m/330ft); ahead, to the right, can be seen Hovsnebba (1,609m/5,280ft).
Past Romfo the river Driva is crossed on the Elverhøy bridge. On the far side of the bridge are the Sunndal Bygdemuseum and an Iron Age cemetery area.
Sunndalsøra (pop. 5,000) lies at the head of the Sunndalsfjord, which is enclosed by snow-covered hills. The town has a large power station (290MW) and an aluminum plant. Visitors can visit the fishery research station to discover more about aquaculture. At Sunndalsøra a road branches off and follows the southwest side of the fjord to Eidsvåg (40km/25mi) and Molde (95km/60mi.)
39km/25mi south of Sunndalsøra (2km/1.25mi along the Molde road, then turn left) is the Aursjø (mountain hut at 860m/2,920ft), with one of the largest dams in Norway, from which water is channelled under pressure to the Sunndalsøra power station.
Sunndalsøra to Kristiansund
The road to Kristiansund runs for 8.5km/5mi along the steep eastern shore of the Sunndalsfjord (several tunnels) and then through the wooded Øpdalseid area. In another 11.5km/7mi the octagonal church of Ålvundeid is seen on the left. At the Ålvundfoss, a waterfall 85m/280ft high, the road divides. Road 70, to the left, now runs along the southwest side of the Ålvundfjord.
Tingvoll (pop. 1,000), on the Tingvollfjord, has an interesting 13th century stone church containing a runic inscription on marble rock and remains of frescoes.
Kristiansund (pop. 18,000), chief town of the county of Møre og Romsdal, was founded in 1742. Built on three islands which enclose the harbor, it is the base of a fishing fleet and does a large trade in the shipment of fish products. Previously accessible only by ferry, it has been linked with the mainland since 1992 by a suspension bridge over the Gjemnessund and an underwater tunnel. It has a fine modern church. From the Vardek lookout tower to the northwest of the town there is a good view of the islands of Nordland, Gomaland, Kirkeland (on which the main part of the town lies) and Innland, connected with each other by bridges.Kristiansund is the dried cod capital of Norway and most restaurants carry the delicacy. The scenery, historical attractions and abundance of activities make it a popular tourist destination.
15km/9mi northwest of Kristiansund (boat service), in the open sea, is the island of Grip, the largest of a group of 82 little islands and islets. On Grip are a lighthouse and a 15th century wooden church.