The Husedalen Waterfalls

Kinsarvik / Hardangervidda National Park, Hordaland County, Norway

About The Husedalen Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: 10km round trip (from Tveitafossen); 13km round trip (from official car park)
Suggested Time: 4-6 hours

Date first visited: 2005-06-25
Date last visited: 2019-06-23

Waterfall Latitude: 60.33111
Waterfall Longitude: 6.80182

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Husedalen Waterfalls were a series of four giant waterfalls on the Kinso River making a mad dash down from the Hardanger Plateau (Hardangervidda) to the South Fjord (Sørfjorden).

The cumulative drop of the Kinso River was said to be 840m over a 4km stretch as it could be argued these falls are collectively one giant waterfall when viewed from afar or in the air, I’d imagine.

Anyhow, in the order that I saw them, these waterfalls were called Tveitafossen, Nyastølsfossen, Nykkjesøyfossen, and Søtefossen.

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Søtefossen, which was the last of the major Husedalen Waterfalls on the Kinso River

I think each of these four waterfalls could’ve easily been superlative waterfalls in its own right.

The fact that they were all on this one mega waterfall excursion really says something about the magnitude of this waterfalling adventure.

That said, during my visit in June 2005, I found out that this hike wasn’t easy as I ended up spending nearly 5 hours on the trail (and that included some trail running) where some sections were difficult to follow.

I believe this would typically be at least a six-hour hike at a more leisurely pace under those circumstances.

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This is a view of Tveitafossen and the power station below it seen from the switchbacking gravel road I ended up walking. This was the first of the Husedalen Waterfalls

Anyhow, it turned out that all the footbridges were either taken down or washed away due to the high flow of the Kinso River, and perhaps that was what made the hike harder than I was led to believe.

After finding out about the difficulties of the hike the hard way, I then got this sense (of the hike being supposedly easy) when I was talking with a worker at the visitor center in Kinsarvik.

Upon me telling him it was a difficult hike, he looked at me strangely as if I didn’t know what I was talking about.

In any case, despite the difficulties, I thought the rewards of this hike were well worth the effort.

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This is Nykkjesøyfossen, which was the third of the Husedalen Waterfalls. Note the cabin, which was one of a handful of them on this hike, and it made me wonder if this was how Husedalen got its name

Indeed, I thought this was the must do hike in Hordaland County, and if there was one waterfall hike where you would have to spend the better part of a day to do, this one would be it!

Forced Extension of the Official Hike

It turned out that on my first visit in June 2005, I was able to hike a shorter distance than what the authorities advocate as of 2019.

When I came back here, I realized that they now want you to park about 1.5km before both the power station and some heliport.

I didn’t recall that heliport being there before on my first visit.

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The bridge by the sanctioned car park for Husedalen. It was another 1.5km to get from here to the Tveita Power Station

There was some camping area and some space to park the car at this spot.

I’m presuming that extending the hike in this manner would have avoided some difficulty driving on the narrow single-lane road to the power station (especially if a car was going the other way!).

So this would add another 3km to the overall distance of the hike (count on adding another 60-90 minutes or so).

Nevertheless, I’m still going to proceed with the trail description below as if you start from the Tveita Power Station.

The Husedalen Waterfalls Hike – from Tveitafossen to Nyastølsfossen

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Context of the power station, Tveitafossen, and the rental car

My hike began from a small power station at the trailhead of the hike (see directions below).

Right behind the power station was the waterfall Tveitafossen.

I was able to get in front of this waterfall from right beside the power station though there was a tremendous amount of mist that got thrown in my direction so it wasn’t easy to photograph.

That said, I’d imagine that it might not be as bad later in the Summer when the Kinso River would have a chance to calm down a bit.

From the power station, I was a little confused as to which direction I should go.

At first, I went up a very rocky and uneven “path” that followed some thick diversion pipes that prevented me from seeing any more of Tveitafossen.

After a few minutes of going up this path, I decided that there must’ve been an easier path so I went back down to the power station, then I walked further down the road until I went up a chain-closed gravel road.

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Entering Hardengervidda Nasjonalpark with Nyastølsfossen coming into view as the gravel road finally started to flatten out

That road then climbed up to a point where I could get more contextual views of Tveitafossen in context with the power station, and I would then find myself at a few trail junctions (about 1km from the power station).

It turned out that had I persisted on that rocky path earlier on, I would have ended up at one of these junctions.

There was also another narrow trail that branched off from the gravel road that seemed to go back towards the river.

Not certain of whether this trail was for the power station or not, I opted to stay on the gravel road.

In hindsight, that other path turned out to be the riverside trail that I probably was supposed to take in the first place.

In any case, after another kilometer of hiking that involved some more climbing (which definitely warmed me up despite the chilly pre-dawn morning start I was getting), the road flattened out.

Soon thereafter, I eventually passed by a sign that said “Hardangervidda Nasjonalpark”, which indicated to me that I finally entered into the boundaries of the reserve.

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View of Nyastølsfossen from the gravel road. This was the second waterfall in Husedalen.

Shortly thereafter, I started to see the full context of the thick and sloping Nyastolsfossen (more accurately spelled Nyastølsfossen or Nyastølfossen).

And even though I could see the extent of this massive waterfall, it always seemed like trees were blocking parts of the waterfall.

In hindsight, I would later learn that the riverside spur trail that I skipped would be the path to get me closer to the falls.

So instead, I had to “settle” for the distant views, but as you can see from photos on this page, this view was quite good anyways!

The Husedalen Waterfalls Hike – from Nyastølsfossen to Nykkjesøyfossen

Next, the gravel road went past Nyastølsfossen and eventually reached a dead-end after another 0.5km.

From there, I had to look very carefully for red “T”‘s painted onto rocks or trees.

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A rock with a red T, which was the first such marker that I encountered after reaching the end of the gravel road

These trail markers were apparently painted by DNT (Den Norske Turistforeningen), which was the authority maintaining the trails in much of Norway.

They were definitely helpful in not only this section of the hike but even further beyond!

When I finally started to pick up on the “bread crumbs” and regain the hiking trail, I then found myself alongside the Kinso River again.

Not long thereafter, I started to see Nykkjesøyfossen, which was the third waterfall in the Husedal Valley series.

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Alongside the Kinso River looking ahead at Nykkjesøyfossen

This falls was a bit more modestly-sized compared to the first two, but it was a very welcome sight considering the degree of uncertainty and doubt I had to go through in trying to continue the hike.

Around this waterfall, I also noticed a handful of mountain cabins or homes (hytta) that further assured me that I was going the right way.

By the way, I wondered if these cabins or homes that seemed to be in the middle of wilderness had something to do with the name Husedalen as I understood it to mean “the house valley”.

The Husedalen Waterfalls Hike – from Nykkjesøyfossen to Søtefossen

Continuing beyond Nykkjesøyfossen, I continued past the cabins and followed more of the red Ts along the Kinso River.

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Getting closer to Nykkjesøyfossen – the third of the Husedalen Waterfalls – where the next part involved climbing a rough route to the left of it

I had to get around one tricky flooded creek crossing, but fortunately I was able to scramble around the flooded section without getting my feet wet.

Eventually, the red Ts led me up to the wall responsible for the falls, and it was at this point that I had to ascend a steep scramble that went up this wall.

With the red Ts assuring me that I went the right way, I found myself using both my hands and my legs until this climb briefly flattened out amidst a moorish terrain consisting of mud, bush, granite, and short trees.

Proceeding further up the trail was not easy as I found myself looking for sparsely-placed red Ts.

I would eventually have to go up another tricky rock-wall scramble (again using all of my limbs) until I finally reached the plateau above Nykkjesøyfossen.

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Beyond Nykkjesøyfossen, I had to endure some rough scrambling to scale the wall responsible for that waterfall. Fortunately, I spotted more red Ts, which were useful as trail markers.

At that point, there were some confusing red Ts and stacked rock cairns that seemingly led me right to the turbulent Kinso River.

It would turn out that those “misleading” paths were supposed to be where footbridges would help me continue on the other side of the Kinso River.

So instead, I just continued off-trail scrambling towards Søtefossen (“the sweet waterfall”?), which was the fourth and last of the big Husedalen Waterfalls.

With that waterfall clearly in sight, I basically scrambled to a point where I was able to get a photo of the falls as you see at the top of this page.

This was ultimately about 1.2km of non-trivial scrambling and route-finding beyond Nykkjesøyfossen.

And as you can see from the photos, it was an unusually-shaped sloping pair of waterfalls dropping at nearly 90-degree angles from each other.

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Looking back at some cascades with Søtefossen in the background

From what I could tell, I was surrounded by the walls of the Hardanger Plateau (Hardangervidda) as well as the rushing Kinso River.

Even though the trail maps indicated that I could somehow keep going higher and onto the plateau above the falls, I was content to see the falls and return back the way I came (especially since clouds were starting to swirl and descend over the falls thereby obscuring it).

However, given how difficult it was to route-find my way just to get up here, it was nearly as difficult to route-find my way back the way I came.

At least I had the confidence of knowing that I took a path to get up here and I could also survey where I was going since I was always higher than where I was going on the return hike.

I ended up going back the same route that I took on the way up.

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Looking down from the top of Nykkjesøyfossen into part of Husedalen Valley on the return hike

In hindsight, I probably could have done this hike as a loop going up the riverside trail besides Nyastølsfossen, then going down the gravel road back to the power station by Tveitafossen.

Authorities

The Husedalen Waterfalls reside in the Ullensvang Municipality. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.

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To get to the trailhead, I left the Rv13 in the town of Kinsarvik (just behind the Kinsarvik Hotel about 42km north of Odda and 25km southwest of Eidfjord) and drove up a 4km road.

I took the road uphill all the way to its end to the power station by Tveitafossen, and that was where I left the car.

Of course, that was back then in 2005. When I came back in 2019, I learned that the car park was now 1.5km before the power station.

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The sanctioned car park for the Husedalen hike, which was 1.5km before the power station at Tveitafossen

Therefore, the hike was now extended by another 3km round trip.

For some geographical context, Odda is 41km (about 45 minutes drive) south of Kinsarvik, 42km (about 45 minutes drive) north of Røldal, 72km (about 90 minutes drive) south of Eidfjord, 134km (about 3 hours drive with a ferry crossing) east of Bergen, 179km (over 3 hours drive with some ferry crossings) north of Stavanger, and 323km (about 5 hours drive) west of Oslo.

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Tagged with: husedalen, husedal, kinsarvik, ullensvang, hordaland, norway, waterfall, eidfjord, tveitafossen, nyastolsfossen, nykkjesoyfossen, sotefossen, hardanger, hardangervidda, kinso

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