Vinnufossen and the Sunndalen Waterfalls

Sunndal Municipality, More og Romsdal County, Norway

Rating: 4     Difficulty: 1
Vinnufossen along with other waterfalls tumbling alongside it

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INTRODUCTION

Vinnufossen was a waterfall that we had never identified even though we had seen and photographed it as part of our late evening drive through the valley Sunndalen going east from Sunndalsøra to Åmotan (via Gjøra) and eventually to Oppdal well into our June-July 2005 trip to Norway. That all changed when all of the sudden we started seeing internet literature claiming that this waterfall was the sixth tallest waterfall in the world, and along with that notoriety came a bunch of photos from other people. We won't get into trivial things about what's taller than what and whether this waterfall truly should be considered as one of the highest in the world (especially if most of such lists are likely to be bogus in the first place). However, it wasn't until recently when I was cleaning up our website writeups of the waterfalls in Norway and revisiting our photos did I realize that this was the waterfall these folks were talking about all along! Talk about serendipity!

In any case, this particular waterfall (or should we say waterfalls) stood out to Julie and I because it tumbled down the mountain Vinnufjellet like veins. It was almost as if we had a flashback of how waterfalls fell like veins in many of the mountains of rain-soaked Fiordland in the South Island of New Zealand. Except in this case, we were dealing with fine weather. The series of thin waterfalls (many of which I'd imagine might be more on the temporary or ephemeral side) were said to be fed by the Vinnufonna Glacier, and so it could be argued that the falls should be considered permanent given its glacial source (albeit in danger of disappearing in the near future due to Global Warming).

Anyhow, Vinnufossen was one of the first waterfalls we encountered as we drove east of Sunndalsøra into the valley Sunndalen. It was probably a good thing we saw this waterfall earlier rather than later when we started to get waterfall-fatigued from the sheer quantity of waterfalls we encountered as we drove through this scenic valley. This waterfall was roadside and quite easy to spot, but given the fairly high rate of speed on the Riksveien 70 through Sunndalen, we could have easily passed by and missed it if we weren't still on the lookout for waterfalls during the drive.

Speaking of waterfall fatigue, indeed Julie and I saw many more waterfalls along Sunndalen, but we really had no way of properly associating the waterfalls we photographed with their proper watercourses on maps. In a way, it was reminiscent of our drive through Romsdalen where there were simply way too many waterfalls to track. Thus, we had a hard time figuring out their names and perhaps it was a futile effort anyways. After all, who's going to spend their valuable vacation hours stopping at every waterfall they see and trying to identify each one of them by name? I guess you could say we got to a point where even we realized the futility of this effort, especially given the sheer quantity of waterfalls in waterfall-laced Sunndalen. That said, it didn't keep us from trying to associate our photos with their possible names after the trip, which we'll get into in the photo journal below.

In any case, I also devoted this page to showcase those other waterfalls in Sunndalen as one big collective of perhaps nameless waterfalls. Keep in mind that what we've shown below is missing many more that we didn't bother to photograph (there were simply too many waterfalls to single out)!




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PHOTO JOURNAL

Just prior to doing the drive from Sunndalsøra to Åmotan (and eventually to Oppdal), we did a fairly long out-and-back detour to the beautiful Nauståfossen near Kårvatn in TodalenJust prior to doing the drive from Sunndalsøra to Åmotan (and eventually to Oppdal), we did a fairly long out-and-back detour to the beautiful Nauståfossen near Kårvatn in Todalen
After our stint through Sunndalen and its numerous waterfalls, we made another detour into the hamlet of Åmotan where we saw a trio of giant waterfalls, including Svøufossen shown hereAfter our stint through Sunndalen and its numerous waterfalls, we made another detour into the hamlet of Åmotan where we saw a trio of giant waterfalls, including Svøufossen shown here
Earlier in the day, even though we didn't do this, we could've continued deeper into Eikesdalen via Aursjøvegen, see surreal beauty like this, and then keep going until SunndalsøraEarlier in the day, even though we didn't complete this option, we could've continued deeper into Eikesdalen via Aursjøvegen, see surreal beauty like this, and then keep going until Sunndalsøra
After passing through Sunndalen, we then headed north on the E6 towards Trondheim, which was a beautiful yet pedestrian-friendly city to walk aroundAfter passing through Sunndalen, we then headed north on the E6 towards Trondheim, which was a beautiful yet pedestrian-friendly city to walk around
The waterfall bonanza near Sunndalen began when we noticed this huge waterfall way in the distance.  I don't remember if we were looking south towards Sunndalsøra, north from town, or if this was in a different spot altogether (near Ålvund, perhaps?).The waterfall bonanza near Sunndalen began when we noticed this huge waterfall way in the distance. I don't remember if we were looking south towards Sunndalsøra, north from town, or if this was in a different spot altogether (near Ålvund, perhaps?). All I know is this photo was taken 20 minutes before we saw Vinnufossen and 15 minutes after we had just left Todalen and headed north to the Rykkjem ferry.

Here's another look at the mystery waterfall way in the distance somewhere between Rykkjem and SunndalsøraHere's another look at the mystery waterfall way in the distance somewhere between Rykkjem and Sunndalsøra

This was our first look at what we would later discover to be VinnufossenThis was our first look at what we would later discover to be Vinnufossen

This was the next waterfall (possibly on the north wall) we saw six minutes after Vinnufossen.  It could be on the stream Fossa.This was the next waterfall (possibly on the north wall) we saw six minutes after Vinnufossen. It could be on the stream Fossa. If true, could it be called Fossafossen?

This next waterfall was photographed a minute after 'Fossafossen' on the south wall of Sunndalen.  It could be on the stream Grøa (Grøafossen?) or one of several brooks - Busbekken (Bussbekkfossen?), Fagerbekken (Fagerbekkfossen?), Porsurdbekken (Porsurdbekkfossen?), Lysa (Lysafossen?), etc.  Hard to tell.This next waterfall was photographed a minute after 'Fossafossen' on the south wall of Sunndalen. It could be on the stream Grøa (Grøafossen?) or one of several brooks - Busbekken (Bussbekkfossen?), Fagerbekken (Fagerbekkfossen?), Porsurdbekken (Porsurdbekkfossen?), Lysa (Lysafossen?), etc. Hard to tell.

Here's a more direct view of the mystery waterfall that could be on Grøa, Busbekken, Fagerbekken, Porsurdbekken, Lysa, etc.Here's a more direct view of the mystery waterfall that could be on Grøa, Busbekken, Fagerbekken, Porsurdbekken, Lysa, etc.

This photo was taken one minute after the previous photo, so it could also be on any of the streams Grøa, Busbekken, Fagerbekken, Porsurdbekken, Lysa, etc., except we know that it must be east of the previous waterfall photo.This photo was taken one minute after the previous photo, so it could also be on any of the streams Grøa, Busbekken, Fagerbekken, Porsurdbekken, Lysa, etc., except we know that it must be east of the previous waterfall photo.

Angled view of some north cliff waterfall in Sunndalen.  This photo was taken 2 minutes after the previous one.  So it could be on Lauvåa (Lauvåafossen?) or Kviturbekken (Kviturbekkfossen?).Angled view of some north cliff waterfall in Sunndalen. This photo was taken 2 minutes after the previous one. So it could be on Lauvåa (Lauvåafossen?) or Kviturbekken (Kviturbekkfossen?)

This impressive pair of waterfalls in Sunndalen was taken a minute after the previous photo.  Since there were a pair of waterfalls, the streams must be close together.  So based on this data, I presume the falls were on Bjørnhjellbekken (Bjørnhjellbekkfossen?) and Røyhjellbekken (Røyhjellbekkfossen?)This impressive pair of waterfalls in Sunndalen was taken a minute after the previous photo. Since there were a pair of waterfalls, the streams must be close together. So based on this data, I presume the falls were on Bjørnhjellbekken (Bjørnhjellbekkfossen?) and Røyhjellbekken (Røyhjellbekkfossen?)

We backtracked to get a cleaner look at the waterfall I said could be on Lauvåa (Lauvåafossen?) or Kviturbekken (Kviturbekkfossen?).  This photo was taken in the same minute as the previous photo so they must be very closeWe backtracked to get a cleaner look at the waterfall I said could be on Lauvåa (Lauvåafossen?) or Kviturbekken (Kviturbekkfossen?). This photo was taken in the same minute as the previous photo so they must be very close

We got another look at the waterfall pair that I suspect would be on Bjørnhjellbekken (Bjørnhjellbekkfossen?) and Røyhjellbekken (Røyhjellbekkfossen?).  It was also taken in the same minute as the previous photo confirming that they're close.  Plus, the home fronting the falls further hints that it might belong to Leirvollen or BjørnhjellenWe got another look at the waterfall pair that I suspect would be on Bjørnhjellbekken (Bjørnhjellbekkfossen?) and Røyhjellbekken (Røyhjellbekkfossen?). It was also taken in the same minute as the previous photo confirming that they're close. Plus, the home fronting the falls further hints that it might belong to Leirvollen or Bjørnhjellen

Yet another tall unnamed falls on the south wall of Sunndalen.  This photo was taken 4 minutes after the previous photo.  It could be on Røta (Røtafossen?), Nonsdalsbekken (Nonsdalsbekkfossen?), Spenna (Spennafossen?), Stordalsbekken (Stordalsbekkfossen?), Verma (Vermafossen?), or even Grøvla (Grøvlafossen?).Yet another tall unnamed falls on the south wall of Sunndalen. This photo was taken 4 minutes after the previous photo. It could be on Røta (Røtafossen?), Nonsdalsbekken (Nonsdalsbekkfossen?), Spenna (Spennafossen?), Stordalsbekken (Stordalsbekkfossen?), Verma (Vermafossen?), or even Grøvla (Grøvlafossen?).

This photo is of the same waterfall as above.  Since there were many waterfalls we didn't bother to photograph before this one, trying to figure out which one it was is a total wild guessThis photo is of the same waterfall as above. Since there were many waterfalls we didn't bother to photograph before this one, trying to figure out which one it was is a total wild guess

This photo was taken 1 minute after the previous photo.  I believe it was on the south cliff of Sunndalen, but it could very well be on Nonsdalsbekken, Stordalsbekken, or it could be one of the nameless streams.  Who knows?This photo was taken 1 minute after the previous photo. I believe it was on the south cliff of Sunndalen, but it could very well be on Nonsdalsbekken, Stordalsbekken, or it could be one of the nameless streams. Who knows?

We were quite waterfall-fatigued by this point so we skipped even more waterfalls.  11 minutes passed before we took this photo because we simply couldn't ignore how big, tall, and  attractive it was!  This waterfall was near the Åmotan turnoff in Sunndalen and it could be on Haukåa (Haukåafossen?), Gryta (Grytafossen?), Litldriva (Litldrivafossen?), or I could be totally off and it was merely one of the brooks or nameless streams (though I doubt it given its volume)We were quite waterfall-fatigued by this point so we skipped even more waterfalls. 11 minutes passed before we took this photo because we simply couldn't ignore how big, tall, and attractive it was! This waterfall was near the Åmotan turnoff in Sunndalen and it could be on Haukåa (Haukåafossen?), Gryta (Grytafossen?), Litldriva (Litldrivafossen?), or I could be totally off and it was merely one of the brooks or nameless streams (though I doubt it given its volume)


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS




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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

From the junction of the Road 62 and Rv70 in Sunndalsøra, Vinnufossen was about 6.5km east of town along the Rv70. The rest of the waterfalls you see on this page were seen east of this spot and west of Gjøra all along the Rv70 as well.

For reference, the E6 highway passing through the town of Oppdal was about 36km east of Gjøra.

For further context, Sunndalsøra was 68km (1 hour drive) west of Oppdal, 128km (2 hours drive) east of Åndalsnes, 187km (over 2.5 hours drive) southwest of Trondheim, 466km (6 hours drive) north of Oslo, and 578km (over 8.5 hours drive with ferry crossings) 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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