Vesleulfossen

Sel Municipality / Mysuseter / Rondane National Park, Oppland County, Norway

Rating: 3.5     Difficulty: 3
Vesleulfossen

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

Vesleulfossen was said to be Rondane National Park's tallest waterfall at a reported 180m. It was probably for that reason alone that we made the detour out to this part of Central Norway from the fjords to see this waterfall in a different setting than what we had been seeing up to this point. I vividly remember my adventure to this waterfall largely because I was fighting the onset of darkness while also trying not to get lost. I guess it wasn't often that I got to start a hike at 10pm and still not require some kind of flashlight though I admit I was pushing it. Perhaps my own personal struggles in seeking out this falls was kind of my analog to the trials and tributations of the famous fictional character Peer Gynt.

Speaking of Peer Gynt, it turned out part of the trail I was on to get to the waterfall followed the Peer Gynt Trail. I didn't know who he was when I was doing the hike, but I would find out later that he was the main character of Norwegian poet Henrik Ibsen's most famous work (with the same title). It chronicled an aging hero returning to his roots in Norway in search of his soul after having travelled the world. I admit I hadn't read the work so this summary was based on what I learned from research. However, I could certainly appreciate somewhat how much of a symbol he was to Norwegian culture and identity.

This was either the last or the next-to-last cabin I saw while hiking on the Peer Gynt Trail So from the car park (see directions below), I walked along the road past a locked gate and towards the Store Ula River ("Big Howling River"?). After crossing the bridge over the river, I was then walking along the Peer Gynt Trail, which headed north along the river. Along this stretch, there were several private and public mountain cabins (hyttas) on both sides of the river. The Peer Gynt Trail was marked with plenty of red arrows as well as signs.

After about 2km (about 30 minutes) from the trailhead, I ended up at either the last or next-to-last cabin. Hidden behind one of those cabins, there was a spur trail leaving the Peer Gynt Trail. That spur trail was marked with a rock cairn as well as blue painted arrows on some of the rocks. I know I'm a little vague about this description because I happened to miss this turnoff earlier on in the hike and kept on the Peer Gynt Trail before I checked my GPS and paper map, which ultimately clued me in to realizing that I had gone way too far.

In any case, I scrambled westwards beyond the cabin closest to the spur trail where I ultimately picked up that trail. It continued for about another 20 minutes (almost 1km) to an informal viewing area where I was finally able to see Vesleulfossen between trees. I'm sure I could've continued downhill even further to get closer to the bottom of the waterfall, but it was getting dark and I had to be content with whatever photos that I took. I'm sure someone reading this might fill me with regret telling me that a better view wasn't much further from my turnaround point...

On the return leg of the hike, I had to make sure I rejoined the Peer Gynt Trail shortly east of the last cabin. The trails were poorly marked and I managed to confuse the trail with other use trails so once again I got lost and had to backtrack until I finally saw the familiar bridge over the Store Ula River near the start of the hike. So overall, it took me two hours to do this entire excursion though I'd imagine it should be less since I wasted some time getting lost and trying to find my way.

Finally, even though Vesleulfossen was the official name of this waterfall, I have also seen it spelled Vestlufossen and Veslulfossen. Something that I only realized when I tried to better understand the Norwegian language was that the name of the falls was a compound word combining vest ("west" or "west of"), Ula (the name of the river possibly meaning "hooting" or "howling"), and foss, which I'm sure you've seen this word numerous times on this website. So if you put it all together, it would be the West Ula River Waterfall as opposed to Storulfossen (Big Ula River Waterfall further to the east).




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Near Vesleulfossen was the waterfall Storulfossen, which was in the next river (Store Ula) to the eastNear Vesleulfossen was the waterfall Storulfossen, which was in the next river (Store Ula) to the east
Further north from Vesleulfossen (and Rondane National Park in general) was the impressive valley Romsdalen, which featured an impressive stretch of sheer dropping cliffs flanking the valleyFurther north from Vesleulfossen (and Rondane National Park in general) was the impressive valley Romsdalen, which featured an impressive stretch of sheer dropping cliffs flanking the valley
Once we got through Romsdalen, we then took a road to the west that went up the famous serpentine road Trollstigen (the Troll Ladder), where we got this view back towards IsterdalenOnce we got through Romsdalen, we then took a road to the west that went up the famous serpentine road Trollstigen (the Troll Ladder), where we got this view back towards Isterdalen
Following the signed and arrowed Peer Gynt Trail just after walking past the locked gate keeping me from driving any furtherFollowing the signed and arrowed Peer Gynt Trail just after walking past the locked gate keeping me from driving any further

The bridge over Store Ula River with lots of signs pointing in all sorts of directionsThe bridge over Store Ula River with lots of signs pointing in all sorts of directions. Fortunately, one of those signs indicated the Peer Gynt Trail

Following the Peer Gynt Trail alongside the Store Ula RiverFollowing the Peer Gynt Trail alongside the Store Ula River

This rock cairn also helped to point out the spur to VesleulfossenThis rock cairn also helped to point out the spur to Vesleulfossen

Now the trail was marked by blue arrows or markingsNow the trail was marked by blue arrows or markings

Closer look at VesleulfossenCloser look at Vesleulfossen


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS




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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

See the Storulfossen page for driving directions to get to Mysusæter from Otta. Once you see the 3-way intersection mentioned on that page (this time ignoring the toll road heading northeast on the right to Spranget), keep left and follow this road to a car park in about a minute or two (about 250m from the intersection). Beyond this car park, there was a locked gate keeping us from driving further, and this was where we began the hike.

For context, Otta was 157km (2.5 hours drive) east of Geiranger, 291km (over 3.5 hours drive) north of Oslo, and 244km (under 3.5 hours drive) south of Trondheim.




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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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