Kjelfossen (I believe it’s pronounced like “SHELL-foss-un”) was considered to be one of the tallest waterfalls in Norway, which was something that was impressed upon us during our pre-trip research. It turned out that upon seeing this falls in person during our June 2005 visit to Norway, we started to appreciate its full height only after seeing its uppermost tiers from the terrace of the Stalheim Hotel. When we went into the Nærøydal Valley and saw the falls from its base, it seemed like the uppermost tiers weren’t as visible due to cliff obstructions and the falls appeared to be smaller than what the literature had us believe (though it was still very tall even from this perspective). So it was one of those cases where we had to appreciate the falls from two different perspectives to get the whole picture.
From the Stalheim Hotel, it looked to us as if there was a main plunge that leaped from the uppermost heights of the southern wall of the Nærøydal Valley. From this distant perspective, it would have been nice to have a telephoto lens to bring the falls closer. Anyhow, the lowermost tiers were hidden from us given the narrowness of the valley below so the cliffs and slopes of the valley obscured them. From looking at the maps, the falls was fed by a series of lakes called the Kjelfossvotni (literally the Kjelfoss Lakes), which ultimately drained over the falls that was reported to be 755m high. Given the lake sources, it would appear that this waterfall would tend to have reliable flow despite its thin appearance.
Once we were at the bottom of Kjelfossen further into the valley below and looked up from it, we witnessed what appeared to be a series of at least three main strands of the falls tumbling side-by-side before they were gradually converging the base. It was a fairly neck-cranking view to say the least, which kind of further attested to the lofty height measurements that had been touted. At least two of the strands appeared to have names. They were called Store Kjelfoss (Big Kjel Falls; the one on the left in the photo above), Vetle Kjelfoss (the one in the middle), and the one on the right didn’t appear to have a formal name. By the way, the uppermost drop seen from the Stalheim Hotel was apparently named just Kjelfoss, which further confirmed our suspicions that it was the main part of the waterfall.
For both of these views, there was a minimal amount of walking so we tended to think of this waterfall as a roadside attraction. It was certainly worth the pair of stops as we were making the drive between Voss and Flåm.
As for the lower viewpoint(s) by the base of the falls, we drove east on the E16 into Nærøydalen from the Stalheim Hotel and down the Stalheimskleiva. We’d ultimately stop at one of a handful of unsigned pullouts about 9km from the end of Stalheimskleiva. During our June 2005 visit, the pullouts were near the Shell Gas Station (which was an appropriately-located station if you get the Norwegian pronunciation of the falls). The station was just before the Gudvangen Tunnel (Gudvangatunnelen).
Going in the other direction, the pullout at the bottom of the falls was about 20km west of Flåm not long after leaving the long Gudvangen Tunnel (Gudvangatunnelen).
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