About Hunnedalen Waterfalls
The point of this Hunnedalen Waterfalls page was to acknowledge the scenic valleys and waterfalls that we encountered on the drive between Sirdal and Dirdal.
It pretty much covered the stretch of the county road Fv45 through the scenic valleys of Hunnedalen and Øvstebødalen.
That said, we’ve also lumped in additional waterfalls we’ve spotted in the fringing stretches east of the Fv45 as well (especially the highland plateau east of Sirdal and west of Rysstad).
Indeed, we couldn’t single out a major waterfall in this scenic stretch of Ryfylke Norway.
However, there were plenty of moments that compelled us to stop and take our time despite our urges to get where we needed to go.
Norway has a tendency to do that, and it’s a big reason why you really can’t rush if you want to really experience the best that the country has to offer.
In order to get a handle on the waterfalls covered on this page, we will describe the sights we’ve encountered from an east to west direction as if we drove from Rysstad (in Setesdal Valley) to Gjesdal.
Traversing the Highland Plateau
This drive began from the town of Rysstad, where the seasonal county road (Fv337, Fv987, Fv975; snow closure in Winter) left the Rv9 (the main road through the Setesdal Valley) and quickly ascended into the highland moors.
This county road was pretty much narrow (almost single-lane) for the entire stretch of road throughout the plateau.
Then, when the road descended from the plateau and junctioned with the Fv986 (Lyseveien), it entered the general Sirdal area.
Contrasting the mossy tundra that we had just passed through, the area we had entered featured greener pastures and natural- as well as man-made lakes.
While waterfalls were of the smaller cascading variety up to this point, none of them really stood out to us in this stretch.
However, we did encounter plenty of sheep that seemed perfectly comfortable with resting on the asphalt regardless of whether cars frequented the roads or not.
Sirdal and Hunnedal Valley
Staying straight on the Fv45 past the Lyseveien junction, we encountered the first notable waterfall on the Fv45 barely 1km away to the south.
According to the maps, this intersected with the Lyseveien (Fv986), we found ourselves we got past a scenic hamlet with a Sirdal sign, the Fv45 skirted by more reflective lakes and started to present more waterfalls.
The first of the most striking of the waterfalls was a cascade that tumbled right into the lake Hunnevatnet.
According to the maps, this segmented waterfall tumbled on the Kvævebekken so one might refer to it as “Kvævefossen”.
We didn’t spot a pullout to better experience this waterfall, so it was best left as an in-the-traffic shot (preferably from a passenger and not the driver).
Beyond this waterfall, the Fv45 continued past more lakes, including the Sinnesvatn and Svartevatn next to the scenic hamlet of Sinnes.
There was a junction with the Fv468 nearby (roughly 14km south of the previous junction with the Fv986), where the other road led to Tjørhom. However, our route continued straight on the Fv45.
Now, the Fv45 entered the Hunnedalen Valley, where the scenery really started to become dramatic.
At just under 13km from the Fv468 junction, we spotted a very attractive waterfall spilling right into the lake Hunnedalvatnet.
This waterfall sat on the Kvitingen Stream so perhaps it could be called “Kvitingfossen”.
There was a large clearing where we pulled into and experienced the falls and surrounding area without stressing about getting in the way of traffic.
Hunnedal Valley and Øvstebødal Valley
Continuing west on the Fv45, the scenery became even more dramatic as the walls of Hunnedalen became steeper and the valley itself became narrower.
About 7km further to the west of “Kvitingfossen”, we then spotted another giant waterfall that didn’t appear to have a formal name.
According to the maps, this particular waterfall may tumble on either the Nonsbekken or Veltebekken. I couldn’t tell for sure.
There didn’t seem to be an available public pullout to stop and enjoy this waterfall (as plenty of them sat on private property), but we managed to get our informal views where we could before continuing on.
Right after passing by this waterfall, the Fv45 descended into Øvstebødalen.
In another 17km, the Fv45 entered the town of Byrkjedal where the road junctioned with the Fv503.
At this point, we turned right to continue on the Fv45, but now we were bound for Dirdal.
Gilja and Dirdal
About 2.5km west of the Fv503/Fv45 junction, we exited a long tunnel and immediately pulled over at a clearing on the right side of the road.
We would stop here because we would have spotted a large waterfall had we been going in the opposite direction towards the tunnel at Giljajuvet.
Here, there was an opportunity to follow some of the informal trails and roads to get a closer look at the “Giljajuvet Waterfall” as well as its surroundings.
At a little over 2km from the tunnel, we then encountered the junction with Gilja and the road to Frafjorden as well as Manafossen.
At another 4.5km later, we then entered the town of Dirdal, where we spotted a distant waterfall from the church in town amidst a wide valley.
This was the last of the waterfalls we singled out on this drive, but there were countless more all throughout the drive, which easily made us question the feasibility of stopping for even half of them!
The road continued beyond Dirdal towards Gjesdal, where the Fv45 then hooked up with the E39 bound for Stavanger or Kristiansand.
The Hunnedalen Waterfalls span multiple municipalities and counties in Southern Norway. It started at the Valle Municipality in Aust-Agder County, passed through the Sirdal County in Vest-Agder County, and ended around the Gjesdal Municipality in Rogaland County. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit the local government websites here, here, and here.
Note the stretch between Rysstad and Suleskard was on Fv337, Fv987, and Fv975 (the road kept changing numbers as we went from one municipality and/or county to the next).
The western side of the Fv45 joins with the E39 about 30km south of Stavanger.
The eastern side of the scenic drive begins with the Fv337 leaving the Rv9 from Rysstad.
For geographical context, Stavanger was about 35km (a little over a half-hour drive) north of Gjesdal, 52km (under an hour drive) northwest of Dirdal, 57km (under an hour drive) northwest of Gilja, 159km (over 2.5 hours drive) west of Rysstad, and 249km (over 3.5 hours drive) northwest of Kristiansand.
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