Hesjedalsfossen (I think is pronounced “HEH-sheh-dahls-foss-un”) was a dual waterfall that we managed to notice just before we were about to enter a tunnel.
It was a good thing we noticed it because I doubted that we would’ve seen it at all had we gone into the tunnel given its somewhat easy-to-miss location.
The falls was said to be 70m tall as it faced the Oster Fjord (Osterfjorden; the fjord of cheese?).
For such a nice waterfall, each time I’ve seen it (once with Julie in 2005 and the other time alone in 2019), it seemed like no one else bothered to stop for it.
I attribute that to both the easy-to-miss location as well as the relative lack of tourist traffic going on this road, which ultimately led towards Modalen.
As for our experiences, we were able to see the falls from the stone road bridge right before the tunnel.
This yielded the photo you see below.
We also went down a steep and somewhat rough path to the bottom of the bridge.
There, it was possible to go under that bridge and scramble closer to the waterfall itself though it would involve getting wet, I’m sure.
That was due to the amount of spray down below the bridge as well as the depth of the water there.
So I was content to just take my photos from before the bridge, which yielded the one you see at the top of the page.
Each time we’ve visited this falls, we didn’t stay for long. It rained pretty hard on our first visit in 2005.
Though the weather was better on my 2019 visit, I just opted not to linger for too long.
Hesjedalsfossen was said to be fed by lakes in the hanging Hesjedal Valley (Hesjedalen).
This waterfall had the distinction of being on the only river in the Vaksdal municipality (kommune) that wasn’t disturbed for hydroelectric purposes (at least as of our visits in June 2005 and June 2019).
According to my Norwegian dictionary, the word hes meant “horse”, but the word “hesje” meant haydrying rack.
So based on these translations, the compound word hesjedal could mean something like “horse valley” or “haydrying rack valley” (the latter wouldn’t make much sense, I’d imagine).
Whatever the case may be with the names, I’d imagine if there was some way to be on the fjord, it might yield a more contextual and satisfying view of the falls than what we were able to get from the road and beneath the bridge.
Hesjedalsfossen sat in the relatively quiet rural municipality of Vaksdal. Driving to the falls meant going on narrow single-lane roads for a fairly extensive stretch.
The most straightforward way to do this drive would be the southerly approach, which can easily start from say Bergen or Voss.
I’ll describe it from Bergen since I’d imagine that would be the closest and most popular place to base a stay of several days in Norway.
From Bergen, I drove on the E39 for roughly 12km before reaching the roundabout at the junction with the E16.
I then took the E16 exit and drove for about 49km to the turnoff for Mo (Fv569) on the left (note that this turnoff was about 36km west of Voss).
Once on the Fv569, I then took the very narrow (mostly single-lane) road north for about 15km to a pullout on the left about 100m before the bridge and tunnel.
This was where I stopped the car. This drive took me on the order of 90 minutes covering about 81km.
Note that I also could have driven a longer loop to reach Hesjedalsfossen from the north by continuing on the E39 north of Bergen for around 64km before taking the Fv569 on the right.
I then followed the narrow Fv569 for about 33km (passing by the towns of Mo and Eidslandet) before reaching the pullout for Hesjedalsfossen a little further to the right from the exit of the tunnel.
In this direction, I found it much easier to spot the waterfall as soon as I left the tunnel in front of it.
This drive would take about 2 hours without stops.
For some geographical context, Bergen was 103km (over 90 minutes drive) west of Voss, 135km (about 3 hours drive with a ferry crossing) west of Odda, 156km (about 2.5 hours) west of Eidfjord, 175km (a little over 3 hours drive with a ferry crossing) south of FÃ¸rde, 211km (under 5 hours drive with ferry crossings) north of Stavanger, and 464km (about 7 hours drive) west of Oslo.
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