Mardalsfossen

Nesset Municipality / Eikesdalen, More og Romsdal County, Norway

Rating: 4.5     Difficulty: 2.5
Mardalsfossen

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Mardalsfossen was a waterfall that certainly impressed Julie and I, and we tended to think of it in much the same way that we think of Yosemite Falls. In fact, going into our visit to this falls in July 2005, we learned that it was one of Norway's tallest waterfalls at 655m or 705m (depending on who you talk to though the former came from a sign we saw) with one of its tiers having a freefall of 297m or 358m (again, depending on who you talk to) also making it one of the country's tallest in this category as well. In fact, it seemed like almost everything about this waterfall would suggest that we should have scored it a rare 5, and indeed, we really wanted to. So why didn't we?

Well, the thing was that this waterfall was also the victim of hydroelectric developments that caused it to be regulated to an extent that it would no longer flow year-round. This occurred despite a group of about 300 protestors forming a human-linked chain to prevent the work from commencing. The hydro work ultimately finished in 1973. Fortunately for visitors like us, the administrators compromised by letting this waterfall flow from June 20 to August 20 (pretty much during the tourist season of Summer). I guess this was an acceptable compromise considering this one could've gone the way of Mongefossen, Tyssestrengene, or Ringedalsfossen among others where they hardly flow at all given their sacrifice for the cause of energy.

Going around Eikesdalsvatnet towards Mardalsfossen Julie and I were first able to see the falls from across the lake Eikesdalvatnet along the county road 191, which was only completed in 1991. Prior to its completion, the primary means of getting across this lake was by boat. Throughout the drive along the narrow road hugging the eastern shores of the lake, we couldn't find a suitable pullout to get cleaner looks at the falls from outside the car. So we had to settle for views from within the car itself. Fortunately, the road wasn't heavily used, but we were concerned about blocking traffic. In any case, these more distant views of Mardalsfossen allowed us to better appreciate its full height as well as the picturesque Yosemite-like granite cliffs that the falls plunged over as the Mardøla made its way towards the lake and the rest of the scenic valley Eiksedalen.

We'd eventually get onto a hike to the base of Mardalsfossen that took us about 30- to 45 minutes each way. From the large car park at its trailhead (see directions below), we walked along the unpaved road towards a signed fork (which was something we noticed on the way in so we knew where we were to walk once we got out of the car). Then, we took the spur path and walked gently uphill for about 10 minutes. At that point, there was a clearing and a sign indicating that Mardalsfossen was another 30 minutes (2km) further along the now much narrower and primitive foot trail.

The foot trail persisted as it weaved through a forested area. About half way through the walk, we saw another waterfall on the Ytste Mardøla watercourse on the cliff opposite Mardalsfossen. Even though this was a waterfall Julie and I didn't expect to see and it seemed to be one of those "throw in" waterfalls that was easily overlooked given its close proximity to the real Mardalsfossen, this falls was no slouch itself. I wondered if this waterfall was called Ytste Mardalsfossen after the name of the alternate watercourse.

Once we got towards the end of the trail, it got increasingly rocky and less vegetated. It was from here that we got somewhat decent views of the falls while feeling some of its mist. However, one thing Julie and I noticed was that the falls didn't appear quite as tall from so close as it did from across the lake. The upper tier also appeared to show less of itself since it was a little more set back from the lower drop that was before us. In any case, I suppose we could've walked all the way to the base of the falls, but we were content with the views you see at the top of this page.




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PHOTO JOURNAL

This was what Mardalsfossen looked like after the hike we took towards its baseThis was what Mardalsfossen looked like after the hike we took towards its base
A little more than half-way through the hike to the base of Mardalsfossen, we spotted this waterfall which we think could be called Ytste MardalsfossenA little more than half-way through the hike to the base of Mardalsfossen, we spotted this waterfall which we think could be called Ytste Mardalsfossen
Before heading south along Eikesdalsvatnet towards Mardalsfossen, we spotted this waterfall called Strandsfossen near the town and fjord of EresfjordBefore heading south along Eikesdalsvatnet towards Mardalsfossen, we spotted this waterfall called Strandsfossen near the town and fjord of Eresfjord
While Julie and I visited Eikesdalen Valley to visit Mardalsfossen, we were pleasantly surprised to see many more waterfalls and surreal beauty further up the valley from MardalsfossenWhile Julie and I visited Eikesdalen Valley to visit Mardalsfossen, we were pleasantly surprised to see many more waterfalls and surreal beauty further up the valley from Mardalsfossen
Looking towards the lake Eikesdalsvatnet on our way to MardalsfossenLooking towards the lake Eikesdalsvatnet on our way to the falls

Looking up at the imposing Mardalsfossen near the trailheadLooking towards the imposing falls near the trailhead

Julie checking out some of the signs from the car park with Mardalsfossen in sight up aboveJulie checking out some of the signs from the car park with the falls in sight up above

Julie starting to walk the signposted spur pathJulie starting to walk the signposted spur path

Being passed by a mountain biker as we hiked closer to MardalsfossenBeing passed by a mountain biker as we hiked closer to the falls

Julie on the spur path shared with bikersJulie on the spur path shared with bikers

Some signage seen as the trail changed from gravel road to a narrow footpath through forestSome signage seen as the trail changed from gravel road to a narrow footpath through forest

Julie on the trail when it became primitiveJulie on the trail when it became primitive

The path was indeed lushThe path was indeed lush

Julie and I started to notice this other waterfall on the Mardalsfossen trail, which we think was on the Ytste Mardøla watercourseJulie and I started to notice this other waterfall on the Mardalsfossen trail, which we think was on the Ytste Mardøla watercourse

Julie continuing on the Mardalsfossen Trail with the falls seen up ahead through the treesJulie continuing on the trail with the falls seen up ahead through the trees

A cleaner look at the Ytste MardalsfossenA cleaner look at the "Ytste Mardalsfossen"

Julie and I made it only so far from the base of Mardalsfossen before we decided not to go any furtherJulie and I made it only so far from the base of the falls before we decided not to go any further

This was probably as close to the base of Mardalsfossen as we gotThis was probably as close to the base of the falls as we got

Returning to the trailhead with Eikesdalsvatnet in the distanceReturning to the trailhead with Eikesdalsvatnet in the distance


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS




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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

We drove in from Åndalsnes, where we followed the Rv64 around Isfjorden then continued east on Road 660 along southern shores of Langfjorden. After about 76km of driving from Åndalsnes, we arrived in Eresfjord township where we turned off from the main road to our right onto the county road 191 leading deep into Eikesdalen.

Heading south from Eresfjord on county road 191, we followed the eastern shores of Eikesdalsvatnet for about 27km until it junctioned with the local road 117 just past a bridge at the southern tip of the lake. We then took the signed fork and turned right onto the local road 117, which was an unpaved gravel road. We took it to where there was a large car park, and on that last unsealed stretch, we passed by the signposted trailhead which we would eventually backtrack to on foot as part of the hike.

For context, Åndalsnes was 303km (over 4 hours drive) southwest of Trondheim, 442km (over 5.5 hours drive) northwest of Oslo, and 508km (8 hours drive) northeast of Bergen.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES




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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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