Krunefossen and the Kjenndalen Waterfalls

Lovatnet / Kjenndalen, Sogn og Fjordane County, Norway

About Krunefossen and the Kjenndalen Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2019-07-19
Date last visited: 2019-07-19

Waterfall Latitude: 61.74674
Waterfall Longitude: 7.0427

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Krunefossen was a gushing waterfall at the terminus of the Krunebreen arm of the vast Jostedalsbreen Glacier.

According to my Norgeskart measurements, the entire waterfall lost about 480m in elevation over its entire run from the mountain top (where the glacier still sat as of our 2019 visit to Norway) to the floor of the valley below.

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Krunefossen as seen from the trail to Kjenndalsbreen Glacier

Over its steepest section, I measured on the order of a 220m loss in elevation.

So this would really put Krunefossen as one of the higher waterfalls in Norway.

However, I’m really starting to question that particular metric considering waterfalls are everywhere in Norway and there’s a rather loose definition of what consitutes a waterfall.

As for witnessing this waterfall, all we really had to do was to drive all the way to the head of the Kjenndal Valley (Kjenndalen) since it was quite visible from the road.

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Krunefossen as seen from the car park

However, there’s a lot more than meets the eye with Krunefossen, which we’ll get into below…

The Glacier Waterfall Phenomenon

After visiting Krunefossen for our first time in July 2019, I tend to think of Krunefossen as a specific example of a series of waterfalls I’m dubbing the “glacier waterfalls”.

By that I mean waterfalls that directly result from melting ice at the terminus of a glacier.

Particularly in the face of Global Warming, we’ve certainly observed (especially in Norway) that the former locations of glacier arms have become locations of new waterfalls.

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Much of the Kjenndalsbreen Glacier has receded with waterfalls replacing where the ice used to be

We even documented our experiences (spanning 14 years) at the terminus of the Briksdal Glacier confirming this phenomenon.

Indeed, we saw that the Krunebreen Glacier arm of the Jostedalsbreen Glacier rapidly receded and continues to grow this waterfall (and other segments of it) even more.

In fact, Krunefossen and Krunebreen sat in a side “valley” at the head of the Kjenndal Valley (Kjenndalen), which itself had a neighboring glacier with its new waterfalls at the Kjenndalsbreen Glacier.

Not only did the head of this valley feature this pair of glacier arms with their associated waterfalls, but it also featured a handful of other waterfalls as well!

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Another one of the waterfalls tumbling into the head of the Kjenndal Valley. This unnamed one was at the west wall of the valley

The end result was a situation where we were quite literally surrounded by waterfalls.

The high scenic rating you see on this page was largely a result of this concentration of waterfalls in one place thanks to this waterfalls-replacing-gone-glaciers phenomenon.

Really, our experience with Krunefossen and the neighboring waterfalls have made us re-evaluate how we have considered other glaicer-fed waterfalls such as the nearby Ramnefjellsfossen.

Internationally, there was even a glacier in Iceland called Morsárjökull that receded enough in to create a new waterfall called Morsárfoss that supplanted Glymur as the country’s tallest.

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Glymur in Iceland was once the country’s tallest waterfall until Global Warming revealed a new waterfall beneath the Morsárjökull Glacier

Indeed, I tend to think that with the acceleration of the decline of glaciers worldwide, this phenomenon will continue with greater regularity until the ice supply runs out.

Perhaps, the seasonal nature of Yosemite Falls would be how such waterfalls would behave once the glaciers disappear.

And thus, Julie and I had this strange feeling where we were torn between being blown away by the natural beauty of this waterfall display while at the same time melancholic about why this was happening along with its consequences.

Experiencing the Kjenndal Valley

Krunefossen was essentially a roadside experience as we spotted it right at the end of the road near the head of Kjenndalen, which fed into the larger Lodal Valley (Lodalen).

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Looking towards the context of an unnamed waterfall opposite Krunefossen at the Kjenndalsbreen car park

From the car park (see directions below), we really didn’t have to walk.

All we had to do was walk around the large car park and turn around for a 360-degree view as we were literally surrounded by waterfalls in almost all directions!

Krunefossen was merely just one of the waterfalls though it was definitely the highest volume one of the lot.

There was also a short footpath that went further up Kjenndalen towards the terminus of the Kjenndalsbreen Glacier, which was the dramatic glacier arm at the very head of this valley.

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People walking beyond the official end of the trail to try to get closer to the Kjenndalsbreen Glacier, but getting all the way to the ice no longer seemed possible without gear and technical climbing expertise

I could see that the glacier once licked the valley floor and the trail would have taken us to its terminus years ago, but as of our visit in 2019, only rock climbers or mountaineers would have a chance at even getting to the current glacier terminus.

This flat 400m walk only took about 15-20 minutes (each way) before we had our fill and turned back.

We should also note that the drive to the Krunefossen and Kjenndalsbreen also passed by Ramnefjellsfossen and a side excursion up Bødalen Valley.

However, we have separate write-ups for those excursions since this page focuses more on Krunefossen and how it spotlighted the glaciers and the waterfall-glacier relationship.

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Ramnefjellsfossen as seen from the Kjenndalstova (cafe) at the headwaters of Lovatnet

On this page, we’re more focused on the glaciers and the very head of this glacially-carved valley.

Authorities

Krunefossen resides in the Stryn Municipality. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.

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Krunefossen sat at the very end of the well-signed narrow county road Fv723 that leaves the Fv60 road at north end of the town of Loen.

We drove the mostly single-lane road for about 21km to the very end, where there was a spacious car park within the one-way loop circling back onto the Fv723 in the opposite direction.

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Context of Krunnefossen and the large car park at the end of the Kjenndalen Road

At a little over 14km (under 7km before the car park), there was a lookout area with a small car park and a memorial plaque displaying the names of people who had lost their lives in the tragedies that took place here.

At about 1.8km beyond the lookout mentioned above, we paid money at an old-fashioned self-help toll station, where we put money in an envelope and dropped the cash into a drop slot.

While most of Norway has been quite progressive about being a cashless society from what we’ve seen, I think it’s just a matter of time before this road also has one of those automated toll booms that we’ve seen in other narrow mountain roads like this.

For context, Loen was 6km (under 10 minutes drive) northeast of Olden, 11km (under 15 minutes drive) southeast of Stryn, 86km (over 90 minutes drive) southwest of Geiranger, 110km (over 90 minutes drive) northeast of Førde, 128km (about 2 hours drive) north of Sogndal, and 284km (about 5 hours drive with a ferry crossing) northeast of Bergen.

Finally, we do have to mention that we didn’t get to make it all the way to Krunefossen on our first visit to Norway in 2005 because the road was closed near the current location of the viewpoint with the memorial (under 14km from Loen).

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Looking towards the full context of the car park at the end of the Kjenndalen Road

We’re still not certain why it closed back then.

But I bring this up because there could be issues with road access availability, especially given Lodalen’s history of natural disasters due to rockslides (which we discuss in greater detail on our Ramnefjellsfossen page.

360 degree sweep from the parking lot at the end of the road for Kjenndalsbreen revealing all the waterfalls converging at this valley while also checking out the glacier itself


360 degree sweep from the end of the official trail revealing the best of the waterfalls gushing into Kjenndal Valley while also examining the Kjenndalsbreen Glacier

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Tagged with: utigordsfossen, utigardsfossen, stryn, lovatnet, loen, olden, nordfjord, geiranger, sogn og fjordane, norway, waterfall, tragedy, kjenndalsbreen, glacier, kjenndal, nesdal, rauhella, lodalen, waterfalls

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