Feigefossen

Skjolden, Sogn og Fjordane County, Norway

About Feigefossen


Hiking Distance: roadside; about 3km round trip (to base)
Suggested Time: 60-90 minutes (to base)

Date first visited: 2005-06-28
Date last visited: 2019-07-20

Waterfall Latitude: 61.38063
Waterfall Longitude: 7.44166

Feigefossen was one of the better known waterfalls in the general Sognefjord area, which was the longest fjord in the world.

Technically speaking, the falls faced the scenic glacially-floured waters of the Lusterfjord (also called Lustrafjorden according to Norgeskart), which was a side arm of the vast Sognefjord.

Feigefossen_117_07202019 - Feigefossen as seen from a lookout on the way to its base
Feigefossen as seen from a lookout on the way to its base

Julie and I anticipated visiting this waterfall because we learned from our pre-trip research (later supported by a sign we saw a the trailhead there) that it possessed the second-highest singular and unregulated freefall in Norway at 218m.

This was behind Vettisfossen at 275m.

I later read from our Adventure Roads in Norway book that it was also said to be the fourth highest waterfall in Norway though I’m sure that there had to have been stipulations in how this falls was categorized for this statement to be plausible.

Anyhow, we took the time to experience this waterfall both from across the Luster Fjord as well as from a hike up to its base.

Lustrafjorden_008_06282005 - Feigefossen from across Lustrafjorden when we first saw it back in 2005
Feigefossen from across Lustrafjorden when we first saw it back in 2005

Each way yielded different views and different experiences.

But when you can easily get pretty jaded witnessing Norway’s many waterfalls (as they start to blend in with each other), Feigefossen still manages to differentiate itself from the others thanks to its size and volume.

Viewing Feigefossen from across Lustrafjorden

On our first trip to Norway in 2005, Julie and I spotted this waterfall across the fjord as we were driving from Skjolden (at the very head of Lustrafjorden) to Jostedalen along the west side of the fjord.

We happened to stumble upon some good views across the fjord towards Feigefossen from the small town of Høyheimsvik, which allowed us to appreciate the falls’ magnitude as it dwarfed the farms or homes sitting beneath it.

Feigefossen_015_07202019 - Feigefossen as seen from across Lusterfjorden in 2019, where we chanced upon seeing its hidden upper tiers
Feigefossen as seen from across Lusterfjorden in 2019, where we chanced upon seeing its hidden upper tiers

Under the late afternoon/early evening overcast skies of our visit when the rain had stopped earlier in that afternoon, we were still able to get satisfactory views even though the wide fjord kept us from getting closer.

When we came back to Norway in 2019, we found a different pullout across the fjord at a bus stop a little further south of Høyheimsvik (see directions below), which revealed some Feigefossen’s hidden upper tiers.

Indeed, we thought we knew everything about experiencing Feigefossen going into that second trip, but I guess you guess never know how else it can surprise you.

Experiencing Feigefossen from its base

In order to experience and appreciate Feigefossen on a more intimate level, we had to get right up to it, and that involved a hike.

Feigefossen_041_07202019 - Looking towards Feigefossen while walking along the Fv331 county road to the actual trailhead
Looking towards Feigefossen while walking along the Fv331 county road to the actual trailhead

Since it sat fairly close to the town of Skjolden, we’d typically stay there when we knew we’d be doing this hike.

In order to access the hike, we had to drive along the east side of Lustrafjorden (see directions below) before reaching its car park and trailhead.

Interestingly, the sign spelled the waterfall “Feigumfossen” at the car park, where we’d leave the car and then do the rest by foot.

The first 300m of the hike pretty much followed along the narrow county road Fv331 before reaching the actual trailhead.

Feigefossen_003_06282005 - The footpath leading us closer to Feigefossen as seen on our first visit back in 2005
The footpath leading us closer to Feigefossen as seen on our first visit back in 2005

We definitely had to follow the signs (which interestingly now called the falls “Feigefossen”) because we found it very easy to trespass into someone’s driveway or yard, especially since we could already see the falls making its presence known.

The actual Feigefossen Trail started just on the south side of the road bridge traversing the Feigeelvi, where the path immediately went uphill and followed along the course of the river.

It didn’t take long before the trail ascended a narrowing trail within the cover of trees as it seemed to skirt alongside an endless rush of cascading water given the generally uphill terrain.

At around 250m into the trail we had to get past a gate surrounded by fencing that marked the boundaries of the farm or pasture neighboring the trail as well as the protected area.

Feigefossen_055_07202019 - Fencing marking the boundaries of a neighboring farm as we approached the gate on the Feigefossen Trail
Fencing marking the boundaries of a neighboring farm as we approached the gate on the Feigefossen Trail

The trail continued to make a moderate climb through a combination of some rock steps and conventional dirt trail mostly under the continuous cover of trees.

Eventually after nearly 700m from the start of the trail (or perhaps 450m from the gate), the trail had ascended to an open area with some rock benches and a nice view of Feigefossen.

This was actually the vista point (utsiktspunkt) for Feigefossen (as shown in the picture at the top of this page), but there was still more hiking to do.

According to my GPS logs, I had to hike another 450m or so to get all the way to the end of the trail (though signage here suggested it was only another 300m).

Feigefossen_088_07202019 - Approaching the end of the Feigefossen Trail
Approaching the end of the Feigefossen Trail

Unfortunately, this trail descended back into the lush tree cover before making a final ascent to the rocky base of Feigefossen so it probably felt more like a longer and demanding hike than the sign led me to believe.

Once I finally made it to the end of the official trail (having gained about 150m in elevation to get here), I encountered another interpretive sign as well as even rockier terrain where I’d imagine some might try to scramble upon to get right up to the falls.

When I last saw the falls in July 2019, even though it was raining, it didn’t produce a split form like the signs would suggest when it would flow heavily.

However, when Julie and I first saw the waterfall in late June 2005, we did see it in split form, which further suggested that 2005 was a wetter year than 2019 since just about every waterfall we saw back then had better flow with a few exceptions.

Feigefossen_007_06292005 - Fighting the morning sun as we were viewing Feigefossen from closer to its base on our first visit in 2005
Fighting the morning sun as we were viewing Feigefossen from closer to its base on our first visit in 2005

After having my fill of the falls, I then had to go back downhill (except for the down-and-up stretch to return to the vista point) to return to the car park.

Overall, I spent about 90 minutes away from the car on my second visit in 2019, where the signs were spot on about it being 45 minutes in each direction.

On my 2005 visit, I tried (and failed) to beat the morning sun shining right against my line-of-sight so in my haste, I spent closer to a little over an hour away from the car.

At least as a consolation prize, I did get nice views back towards the Lusterfjord, which exhibited the glacial-flour color so common in bodies of water fed by glaciers.

Religious Undertones

Urnes_stavkirke_069_07202019 - The Urnes Stave Church was a UNESCO World Heritage site, but it also happened to be well-situated overlooking the Lusterfjord
The Urnes Stave Church was a UNESCO World Heritage site, but it also happened to be well-situated overlooking the Lusterfjord

When we returned to Norway in 2019, we made it a point to visit the 12th century Urnes Stave Church, which was further south on the mostly single-lane county road Fv331 from Feigefossen.

The stave church was one of the most scenically-situated ones throughout Norway as well as the oldest preserved church in Norway.

I believe it was that latter fact, helped it to become Norway’s only stave church gazetted as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Not only did the church overlook the Lusterfjord, but we also did a tour of its interior, which seemed to retain much of its decorations (donated by local families) as well as elaborate carvings that still remain to this day.

Urnes_stavkirke_051_07202019 - Looking up from within the UNESCO World Heritage Urnes Stave Church
Looking up from within the UNESCO World Heritage Urnes Stave Church

Given the religious undertones of this part of the Sognefjord area, perhaps it wasn’t surprising that we also learned that Feigefossen itself had a bit of a religious history.

First, its name feig apparently had an association with “death”, and the falls came to be known as the “Omen Falls”.

Apparently, in times of flood, the falls could create a fury that one could easily associate death with it, and even the locals once took the hooting of local owls here as a premonition.

Second, local Hans Feigum developed his own brand of religious teachings called Feigianism that rose and fell with his life throughout much of the 19th century.

Solvorn_Urnes_ferry_001_07202019 - Looking back at the quaint fjordside town of Solvorn, which was right across from the Urnes Stave Church
Looking back at the quaint fjordside town of Solvorn, which was right across from the Urnes Stave Church

It turned out that both Feigefossen and the Urnes Stave Church were part of the so-called “Romantic Road”, which ran along the southern shore of the Lusterfjord.

Combining this with the old-school ferry crossing (where I had to back into the ferry) connecting the quaint tourist town of Solvorn (a Rick Steves favorite), we could easily see how one can make a scenic loop back to Skjolden.

On this loop, we could even extend the self-tour by making detours to Jostedalen (including the Nigardsbreen Glacier) as well as Sognefjellet High Mountain Road through the heart of Jotunheimen National Park among others.

Authorities

Feigefossen resides in the Luster Municipality near Skjolden in Sogn og Fjordane County, Norway. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.

Feigefossen_009_07202019 - Full contextual view of Feigefossen as seen from a bus stop just south of Høyheimsvik during our July 2019 visit. This photo and the next several shots took place on this day
Feigefossen_022_07202019 - More zoomed in view of Feigefossen from across the Lusterfjord along the Fv55
Feigefossen_028_07202019 - Sign pointing the way to Feigefossen though I think they might have underestimated the distance
Feigefossen_031_07202019 - Walking along the Fv331 towards the Feigefossen Trailhead
Feigefossen_036_07202019 - Already starting to see Feigefossen from the Fv331 Road, but you definitely don't want to walk up these driveways
Feigefossen_048_07202019 - About to go onto the Feigefossen Trail as it left the Fv55 and skirted alongside the Feigeelvi
Feigefossen_051_07202019 - It didn't take long before the trail started to go under the cover of trees as it continued to follow the banks of the Feigeelvi
Feigefossen_054_07202019 - Some cascades on the Feigeelvi as I continued the uphill trail to the base of Feigefossen
Feigefossen_057_07202019 - Looking back towards the boundaries of the neighboring farm on the Feigefossen Trail
Feigefossen_060_07202019 - Looking back towards the Lusterfjord over Feigeelvi from an opening in the Feigefossen Trail
Feigefossen_065_07202019 - Continuing on the moderate uphill trail leading to the base of Feigefossen
Feigefossen_066_07202019 - Any headscratching moments had some strategically spray-painted red markings on the trees to keep me on the path
Feigefossen_067_07202019 - Another cascade on the Feigeelvi seen on the ascent up to Feigefossen
Feigefossen_069_07202019 - Continuing past a fallen branch on the hike up to Feigefossen
Feigefossen_071_07202019 - Although the Feigeelvi is protected from hydroelectric development, I did find it interesting that the stream was still tapped for other uses
Feigefossen_072_07202019 - A pipe seen along a part of the Feigefossen Trail
Feigefossen_076_07202019 - A couple of hikers continuing onwards to the base of Feigefossen from the utsiktspunkt (vista point)
Feigefossen_077_07202019 - View of Feigefossen from the vista point or utsiktspunkt
Feigefossen_119_07202019 - Rest benches set up near the Feigefossen utsiktspunkt
Feigefossen_081_07202019 - After continuing on from the utsiktspunkt, I was a little disheartened about the down and up section so it wasn't all monotonically uphill, which meant the return hike from Feigefossen's base also wasn't monotonically downhill
Feigefossen_094_07202019 - View of Feigefossen from the end of the official trail
Feigefossen_122_07202019 - Only after continuing on from the utsiktspunkt was the Feigefossen Trail all downhill on the way back
Feigefossen_127_07202019 - A rest bench with a nice vista of Lusterfjord on the way back down from Feigefossen
Feigefossen_130_07202019 - On my 2019 hike to the base of Feigefossen, I pretty much had to deal with the start of some bad weather
Lustrafjorden_025_jx_06282005 - Broad look across Lustrafjorden towards Feigefossen as we were driving towards Jostedalen from Skjolden during our first visit to Norway in late June 2005. The rest of the photos in this gallery took place on this day
Lustrafjorden_028_jx_06282005 - Another look across Lustrafjorden towards Feigefossen in 2005, but notice there was another upper tier of the waterfall higher up the mountain
Lustrafjorden_031_jx_06282005 - Last look in the evening towards Feigefossen after having visited Jostedalen earlier during our first trip to Norway in 2005
Feigefossen_001_jx_06292005 - The car park sign spelling the falls Feigumfossen as seen on our first visit in 2005
Feigefossen_002_06282005 - As we left the car park, the sign pointed to the right, but that other path to the left of it was a driveway to some residences
Feigefossen_003_jx_06292005 - Morning view of Feigefossen as we were approaching the actual trailhead on the Fv331 on our first visit in 2005
Feigefossen_004_jx_06292005 - Checking out Feigefossen as we were getting closer to it
Feigefossen_004_06292005 - When we first did this hike in 2005, I swore some parts of the trail felt like trespassing, but indeed we had to persist past this gate in order to reach the base of Feigefossen...
Feigefossen_009_06292005 - Looking back down towards Lustrafjorden from high up on the trail on a beautiful morning during our first trip to Norway in 2005
Feigefossen_008_06292005 - This was as far as I went the first time I did the Feigefossen hike in 2005. Notice the split appearance of Feigefossen, which suggested that the falls was in full spate during that first visit
Lustrafjorden_052_jx_06292005 - Looking towards the southwest at Lustrafjorden from almost back down at the Fv331 as seen on a beautiful morning on our first trip to Norway in 2005
Lustrafjorden_060_jx_06292005 - Back at the confluence of where the fresh water course of Feigefossen mixed with the salt water of Lustrafjorden as seen back in 2005

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Feigefossen was situated on the eastern (or southern) side of Lustrafjorden near the hamlet of Feigom.

We managed to experience it either by viewing it from across the fjord or by hiking to its base.

Viewing Feigefossen Across Lusterfjord

From Skjolden, we drove about 17.5km west on county road Fv55 towards the village of Høyheimsvik.

There were a handful of opportunities to pullover and get a look, but my notes indicated that we happened to stop by a building labeled “Kro Lustrafjorden”, which may or may not be there since those notes were taken in 2005.

Rv55_030_07212019 - Driving on the narrow Fv55 Road between Skjolden and Høyheimsvik
Driving on the narrow Fv55 Road between Skjolden and Høyheimsvik

Another 1km south of the Høyheimsvik sentrum was a bus stop where we got another good clean look across the fjord towards Feigefossen.

Going in the other direction, this bus stop was about 7km east of the Fv60/Fv604 (Jostedalen) turnoff in Gaupne.

Accessing the Feigefossen Car Park

To hike to the base of the falls, we took the local county road Fv331 south of Skjolden along the eastern (or southern) shore of Lustrafjorden for a little over 16km to the signposted car park labeled “Feigumfossen.”

The car park was on the side of the fjord on the right.

Feigefossen_025_07202019 - The car park for 'Feigumfossen'
The car park for ‘Feigumfossen’

Going in the other direction, the car park and rasteplass for the Urnes stavkirke was about 350m uphill from the east end of the Ornes-Solvorn ferry.

From there, we drove north on the narrow Fv331 for under 13km where the car park for “Feigumfossen” was on the left.

For geographical context, Skjolden was about 30km (over 30 minutes drive) northeast of Ornes, 27km (30 minutes drive) northeast of Gaupne, about 43km (under an hour drive without a ferry) or 34km (over an hour drive with a ferry) northeast of Solvorn, 55km (about an hour drive) northeast of Sogndal, 47km (over an hour drive via the mountain pass on Fardalvegen/Tindevegen) north of Øvre Årdal, 124km (or 2.5 hours drive with a ferry crossing) north of Flåm, and 288km (over 4.5 hours drive with a ferry crossing) northeast of Bergen.

180 degree sweep across Lustrafjorden towards the falls


Short sweep from the utsikt of Feigefossen just as the rain was starting to come down


Short sweep from the end of the trail showing the falls as well as getting water drops on the lens from both the mist and the rain

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Tagged with: luster, skjolden, lustrafjorden, sogn og fjordane, feigefossen, ardal, turtagro, sognefjorden, feigumfossen, urnes, norway, waterfall



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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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