Espelandsfossen

Ulvik, Hordaland County, Norway

About Espelandsfossen


Hiking Distance: 600m round trip
Suggested Time: 30 minutes

Date first visited: 2005-06-26
Date last visited: 2019-06-25

Waterfall Latitude: 60.59819
Waterfall Longitude: 6.82249

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.

Espelandsfossen_Granvin_066_06252019 - Espelandsfossen in Granvin
Espelandsfossen in Granvin

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.

Espelandsfossen_Granvin_017_06252019 - Espelandsfossen and Espelandsvatnet in the Espelandsdalen as seen from the Fv572
Espelandsfossen and Espelandsvatnet in the Espelandsdalen as seen from the Fv572

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.

Experiencing Espelandsfossen

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.

Espelandsfossen_Granvin_034_06252019 - Following the red arrow to continue towards Espelandsfossen and not towards the private home
Following the red arrow to continue towards Espelandsfossen and not towards the private home

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.

Espelandsfossen_Granvin_041_06252019 - Direct look at Espelandsfossen from within the turbulence of the spray zone
Direct look at Espelandsfossen from within the turbulence of the spray zone

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.

Espelandsfossen_Granvin_065_06252019 - Looking downstream from Espelandsfossen towards Espelandsvatnet and the rest of Espelandsdalen
Looking downstream from Espelandsfossen towards Espelandsvatnet and the rest of Espelandsdalen

By the time I made it back down to the trailhead, I wound up spending about 45 minutes away from the car.

Authorities

Espelandsfossen resides near the town and municipality of Granvin in Hordaland County, Norway. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Espelandsfossen_Granvin_020_06252019 - Approaching Espelandsfossen as I was driving the Fv572 along the northern shores of Espelandsvatnet
Espelandsfossen_Granvin_023_06252019 - On the somewhat overgrown trail climbing up out of the car park and towards Espelandsfossen
Espelandsfossen_Granvin_026_06252019 - Continuing to follow the signs pointing the way to Espelandsfossen
Espelandsfossen_Granvin_030_06252019 - The Espelandsfossen Trail continued to climb up towards the base of the waterfall itself
Espelandsfossen_Granvin_033_06252019 - Approaching some private home, where there was a trail junction before it that led me to Espelandsfossen instead of the house
Espelandsfossen_Granvin_036_06252019 - Continuing to climb beyond the trail junction towards Espelandsfossen
Espelandsfossen_Granvin_039_06252019 - Finally starting to see parts of Espelandsfossen
Espelandsfossen_Granvin_043_06252019 - Close-up look at Espelandsfossen from just beyond the spray zone
Espelandsfossen_Granvin_046_06252019 - Looking downstream in the direction of Espelandsvatnet from just beyond the spray zone in front of Espelandsfossen
Espelandsfossen_Granvin_054_06252019 - Looking towards Espelandsfossen from slightly beyond the spray zone
Espelandsfossen_Granvin_058_06252019 - Looking down towards the west end of Espelandsvatnet from the foot of Espelandsfossen
Espelandsfossen_Granvin_062_06252019 - Looking more closely at the Espelandsfossen from beyond the spray zone
Espelandsfossen_Granvin_064_06252019 - Looking back down at the narrow trail after deciding to turn around near the foot of Espelandsfossen
Espelandsfossen_Granvin_078_06252019 - On the way back down from Espelandsfossen, I caught this view of a temporary waterfall further down Espelandsdalen in the background fronted by the private home
Espelandsfossen_Granvin_084_06252019 - Another look at that ephemeral waterfall further east in Espelandsdalen as I headed back to the trailhead

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I’ll describe the driving directions from what I think would be the most obvious routes.

From the Hardangerbrua to Espelandsfossen

Eidfjord_kommune_029_06232019 - One of the underground roundabouts surrounding the newly-built Hardanger Bridge
One of the underground roundabouts surrounding the newly-built Hardanger Bridge

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.

Espelandsfossen_Granvin_005_06252019 - Driving around Grandvinvatnet towards Espelandsfossen in the distance on the narrow Fv572
Driving around Grandvinvatnet towards Espelandsfossen in the distance on the narrow Fv572

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.

Espelandsfossen_Granvin_025_06252019 - The trailhead next to Fv572 that appeared to also be someone's yard
The trailhead next to Fv572 that appeared to also be someone’s yard

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.

Espelandsfossen_Granvin_027_06252019 - Looking back down at the context of the Espelandsfossen trailhead, the Fv572, and Espelandsvatnet
Looking back down at the context of the Espelandsfossen trailhead, the Fv572, and Espelandsvatnet

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.

Espelandsfossen_Granvin_003_06252019 - The Fv572 county road is very narrow with practically no place to park around Espelandsfossen
The Fv572 county road is very narrow with practically no place to park around Espelandsfossen

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.

Short sweep of panorama of Espelandsvatnet and the Espelandsfossen from just outside spray zone


Nearly 360 degree sweep of panorama of Espelandsvatnet with Espelandsfossen spilling into it before focusing more on the main waterfall


Video showing a few different angles of the falls while enduring the spray zone in order to do it

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Tagged with: espelands, espelandsvatnet, granvin, ulvik, hordaland, norway, waterfall, voss, vossevangen, eidfjord



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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