Espelandsfossen was one of two waterfalls that we visited frp, the same county of Hordaland that also happened to share the same name.
As if that wasn’t confusing enough, this waterfall also seemed to resemble the other waterfall in Odda if you happened to see a photo of the two taken out of context.
However, the similarities ended there as we had totally different experiences with each waterfall.
While we easily spotted the Espelandsfosen in Odda due to its position next to a well-used road by the famous Låtefossen Waterfall, we didn’t have as much success visiting the waterfall in Granvin on our first visit in June 2005.
In fact, we managed to drive right past it without knowing as we headed west from the town of Ulvik.
It took a return trip 14 years later when I headed east from Granvin, and I easily spotted this waterfall framing the valley Espelandsdalen and the lake Espelandsvatnet.
Apparently, it was far easier to find this waterfall heading east as opposed to heading west.
Indeed, it seemed to make a lot more sense to head east to Espelandsfossen these days, especially given all the changes that had been done to the roads around Hardangerfjord since our visit back in 2005.
The most notable of these changes included many more tunnels as well as a bridge that replaced a ferry crossing the Hardangerfjord itself.
While I was able to see Espelandsfossen from the county road between Granvin and Ulvik, there really wasn’t a sanctioned place to pull over and have a look.
Instead, I had to stop the car at the unsigned and not-so-obvious trailhead just east of the bridge over the waterfall’s stream (see directions below).
Once I stopped the car at the trailhead, I then noticed signs which encouraged me to climb into the somewhat overgrown trail of use.
After about 150m on the narrow trail, I then reached a fork, where handwritten signs pointed to the left to continue to the waterfall.
The path on the right went to a house or farm, which I’d imagine belonged to the owner with jurisdiction over the trailhead and this trail.
Continuing further up the narrow trail, I eventually went to an open area where Espelandsfossen blasted it with its spray.
This made taking direct photos of the falls difficult.
However, I did walk a little past the spray zone for a little less of a turbulent viewing experience.
It looked like the trail continued climbing steeply above the Espelandsfossen, but I didn’t feel the need to go any further so I turned back.
By the time I made it back down to the trailhead, I wound up spending about 45 minutes away from the car.
I’ll describe the driving directions from what I think would be the most obvious routes.
From the Hardangerbrua to Espelandsfossen
First, I’ll start with using the Hardanger Bridge (Hardangerbrua) as a starting point. The sizable towns on the southern side of the Hardanger Bridge were Eidfjord (about 15km or 15 minutes drive on the Rv7) and Odda (about 55km or an hour drive on the Rv13).
At the underground roundabout on the south side of the bridge, follow the exit leading to Voss, which will take you onto the bridge.
Once on the other side of the bridge, take the second exit of the underground roundabout north of the bridge. That leads to Voss.
Note that if you want to take the way Fv572 through Ulvik and ultimately to Espelandsfossen, that would have been the first exit at this roundabout, which led to Ulvik. This 26km drive would have taken at least 30 minutes though most of the Fv572 was narrow and almost single-lane.
Anyways, continuing on the Rv13, we continued driving through a long tunnel that eventually exited the darkness at Granvin.
After another 4km or so on the Rv13 beyond the tunnel exit at Granvin (or 12km from the Hardanger Bridge), we then turned right onto the Fv572, which avoided the next tunnel by Granvinvatnet.
We then followed the narrower Fv572 for about 8.5km before reaching the trailhead for Espelandsfossen on the left just past the bridge spanning its stream.
The waterfall sat near the shores of Espelandsvatnet, and you can see it from the approach heading east so it shouldn’t be too difficulty to find in this direction.
Overall the drive from the bridge to Espelandsfossen’s Trailhead would be on the order of a half-hour to cover the 21km distance or so.
From the Voss to Espelandsfossen
Going in the opposite direction, we would take the very busy Rv13 east towards Granvin.
After about 21km (almost immediately after leaving a tunnel at the north end of Granvinvatnet, we then turned left to go onto the Fv572.
At that point, we drove the remaining distance to reach the trailhead for Espelandsfossen as described above.
Overall, this 30km drive would take on the order of 30 minutes.
For context, Granvin was 26km (under 30 minutes drive) east of Voss, 29km (over 30 minutes) west of Eidfjord, 66km (a little over an hour drive) north of Odda, 134km (over 2 hours drive) east of Bergen, and 342km (over 5 hours drive) west of Oslo.
Sanctioned Access to Espelandsfossen?
I was fortunate to be able to park at the car park described above in the directions.
However, I’ve seen past pictures (even on Google Earth no less) of a barricade set up to prevent entry to this space so you can leave your car and go on the short walk.
Unfortunately, if this trailhead wasn’t available for parking, then I’m afraid I didn’t spot anywhere else on this road that had a legitimate place to pull over.
Further west of the falls at Espelands Camping, the parking there was only reserved for guests.
So in other words, if such a circumstance had occurred, then you’re likely out of luck to visit Espelandsfossen legally.
To my knowledge, there’s no published schedule or any other info as to when the trailhead would be available for parking.
I think it ultimately comes down to the whim of the landowner.
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