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

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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.

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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 (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.

Each way yielded different views and different experiences.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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).

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.

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Approaching the end of the Feigefossen Trail

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.

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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.

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Driving on the narrow Fv55 Road between Skjolden and 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.

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.

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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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