Henfallet (pronounced “HEN-fall-uh”) was unlike the other waterfalls we had visited throughout much of Norway in that this giant wasn’t near any of the famous fjords along the country’s west.
In fact, it was probably closer to the Swedish border than it was to the charming city of Trondheim, which was where we were staying each time we’ve visit this falls – once in July 2005 and again in July 2019.
Nonetheless, Julie and I made a long detour from the charming city to get to the village of Ås in the Tydal Municipality, which was where this waterfall was situated.
We definitely had a strong desire to pursue this waterfall since we had known about it from our pre-trip research, which had really built up our expectations.
Indeed, we had plenty of reasons to go out of our way to get here, not the least of which, was that we were witnessing the highest waterfall in the Sør-Trøndelag county at 90m.
It also had very high volume for a waterfall so tall thanks to the river Hena aggregating several other large rivers and watercourses further upstream.
Because the river and its sources were not regulated for hydroelectric power, we felt like we were witnessing that rare waterfall where we were seeing it as it was supposed to be – natural and wild.
From the car park (see directions below), which seemed to have expanded since we first came here in 2005, we followed a short trail that led to a lookout yielding the view you see in the photo at the top of this page.
On our second visit in 2019, they had built a lookout platform, which was where the official trail ended.
That said, I did notice a trail of use heading steeply down towards the Hena River, but it looked a bit too steep for my liking so I didn’t go all the way down.
Given that, there really wasn’t much else to do around this waterfall and so after getting our views, we returned to the car park.
In the end, we only spent perhaps at most 15 minutes away from the car.
One thing that I did notice in the 14 years between our visits to Henfallet was that our 2019 visit seemed to have had significantly less water than on our first visit.
Whether this had something to do with the snowpack or amount of precipitation on the year of our first visit in 2005 being more than in 2019, I’m not sure.
In fact, the year we showed up appeared to have been an unusually wetter year as it might have made up for the dry Summer that happened the year before (according to Norwegians we’ve spoken to on the 2019 trip).
So whatever the case, it remains to be seen whether this diminishing flow is part of a longer trend or if we happened to be witnessing two extremes of rather anomalous events, or if Summer started later in 2005 than it did in 2019.
The Henfallet Nomenclature
Something interesting about the name of this waterfall was that there was no “foss” in its official name (if it did, I’d imagine it might be called Henafossen).
Instead, its name Henfallet was almost like a compound word saying quite literally “the Hena [River] falls”.
I’m not sure if there were some regional or cultural variations giving rise to certain subtle differences in how the Norwegian language and its place names were to be used.
However, the waterfall’s close proximity to Sweden might also have something to do with it.
After all, it seemed like Swedish waterfalls tended to have -fallet as the suffix for their named waterfalls.
The same is true for the suffix -forsen.
To me when it comes to this part of the Swedish-Norwegian border, it almost seems as if the cultural boundaries don’t follow the political boundaries.
While our visits to Henfallet were brief, the waterfalling experience actually started from the side road that eventually led us to Henfallet in the first place.
Specifically, there was an attractive waterfall seen from the road bridge over the Tya River, which the Norwegian maps appeared to call it the Kvernfossen.
We only experienced this falls from the road bridge so we can’t say much more about how else we could experience it.
Nevertheless, when we first witnessed this waterfall back in early July 2005, it seemed to have pretty substantial wide river flow.
When I came back in July 2019, the Tya River seemed to have a lot less flow, and thus it seemed nowhere near as impressive as when I first saw it.
Like with Henfallet, it’s unclear to me whether this was part of a longer-term trend or just the extremes on opposite ends of circumstances or merely Summer starting later in 2005 than in 2019.
Regardless, this was like the warm-up act to the much larger Henfallet waterfall further along the unpaved road.
Even though Trondheim wasn’t the nearest town to the falls, we based ourselves here so we’ll give you the directions from the city.
First, we’d drive about 25km east of Trondheim on the E6 towards the exit for Selbu (Fv705) and Hell (the first exit after the Hells Tunnel).
Then, we’d turn right at the exit and take the first exit on the roundabout to enter the suburb of Hell (always a fun place to take a picture and say that you’ve been to Hell).
After crossing the bridge over the Stjørdalselva, I then took the exit to continue on the Fv705.
This stretch of the Fv705 lasted for about 83km before I saw a sign pointing the way to Henfallet on the right (after passing through Tydal).
Turning right to leave the Fv705, I then followed the signs to go the remaining 8km to reach the car park for Henfallet.
The bridge over the Tya River with the view of Kvernfossen was roughly 500m from the turnoff leaving the Fv705.
Most of the final 8km stretch to get to Henfallet was on unpaved road though it seemed to be considerably smoother and less grassier than it was when we first came in 2005.
Overall, this drive would take me about 2 hours.
If we were coming in a different direction from Røros, then we’d drive north on the Fv705 for about 84km to the signed turnoff on the left (before the town of Tydal).
Then, we continue for the remainder of the 8km on the unpaved access road to Henfallet.
Overall, this drive would take about 90 minutes.
For some geographical context, Tydal was about 78km (a little over an hour drive) southeast of Hell, 86km (about 75 minutes drive) north of Røros, 111km (over 90 minutes drive) southeast of Trondheim, and 192km (about 3 hours drive) east of Oppdal.
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