The municipality is made up by the main valley of Surnadal and many smaller valleys and villages, such as Bæverfjord, Bæverdalen, Bøfjorden, Østbødalen, Todalen and Stangvik. The municipality is bordered by the mountain range Trollheimen to the south, the neighbouring municipality Rindal to the east, the municipality Halsa to the north and fjords to the west. The nature is a combination of forests, fjords and mountains. The highest mountain peak is Snota, 1668 m.a.s. The river Surna runs through the valley from the east to the west, and forms a large delta where it enters the fjord. This river is rich on salmon, which attract tourists from the rest of the country and abroad.
A mild climate and rich soil make Surnadal well suited for agriculture. The local economy is based on agriculture, forestry and industrial production, in addition to services. The administrative centre is Skei. Communications include ferries to the southwest and the northwest, which lead to the coastal areas of Møre og Romsdal, and a highway to the city of Trondheim to the east.
Surnadal is noted for strong traditions in the field of poetry and folklore, and is the home of the late Hans Hyldbakk, a nationally recognized author of poetry and local history.
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