Kvanndalsfossen was an unplanned waterfall that Julie and I stumbled upon when we passed by an obscure handwritten sign while making the drive towards the famous Geiranger Fjord from Loen on our first visit to Norway back in 2005.
When I swore that I saw the word “fossen” in the sign as we passed by, I was curious enough to double back and follow that sign.
That curiosity ultimately led us to the start of the walk to get to the base of what turned out to be Kvanndalsfossen.
After having visited the falls and studying the maps, we also came to the realization that our drive further up the mountain on the Fv63 between Loen and Geiranger happened to have passed by the upper tiers of the same waterfall!
Unfortunately, I also realized that the first experience didn’t quite hit the mark in terms of properly experiencing Kvanndalsfossen close up.
Indeed, it was only when I returned in July 2019, did I finally appreciate this waterfall’s main drop higher up the mountain from where I turned around on my first visit 14 years prior.
The end result was the photo at the top of this page though even that view came with a little caveat, which I’ll get into when I describe the hike in detail further below on this page.
Nevertheless, despite this waterfall’s close proximity to a seemingly popular campground (Dalen Camping was way busier and more expanded in 2019 than when we first saw it in 2005), I was still alone each time I’ve visited Kvanndalsfossen.
Thus, it seemed to be a very overlooked waterfall though I sensed there was some degree of ambiguity to how it should be experienced given the relative lack of clear signage as well as some rough and steep sections that I had to deal with.
As for the attributes of the falls itself, it seemed to have a cumulative drop of about 70m in its main section.
However, if you count its whole run (where the Geirangerelva finally calms down), its cumulative drop is more like 110m or so.
From the Dalen Gard camping area, I followed a sign pointing the way to Kvanndalsfossen, which followed a side path just past one of the structured accommodations.
There used to be an arrow sign saying the falls was 900m away, but I didn’t see that sign particular on my second visit. Instead, there was a different one saying it was only 500m away.
In any case, as I followed the path deviating from the road, I then went past some kind of stone fence with an opening before the path narrowed even more and meandered about as it generally started climbing.
The path eventually started to skirt the Geirangerelva, which was already churning at this point in the hike.
As the trail climbed in earnest, there was a side trail that led me to a small clearing where I was able to get a somewhat obstructed view of the twisting falls.
This was where I experienced Kvanndalsfossen on my first visit in 2005.
Continuing on with the main trail, it definitely got steeper the higher I went, and it eventually got to a bouldery section where I found a narrow path leaving the boulders and continuing to climb alongside the Geirangerelva.
Eventually after 20 minutes on the trail (roughly 700m according to my GPS logs), I reached a sign with “Kvanndalsfossen” written on it.
However, when I got there, I wasn’t exactly sure which part of the waterfall was the main part aside from a sliding drop near an outcrop.
While the view from the degenerated trail at this point was adequate, it was only a sideways profile view that left me wanting to see if it was possible to view it more directly.
Exploration Around Kvanndalsfossen
It turned out that to get that direct view, I had to scramble onto that outcrop protruding into the Geirangerelva right in front of Kvanndalsfossen.
And that was where there were some parts of the scramble that I found to be potentially dicey due to the overgrowth and dropoff exposure.
It definitely was not a sanctioned path.
In any case, from this vantage point, I ultimately wound up with the photo you see at the top of this page.
I also managed to get a nice view back down into the valley and the Dalen Gard campground (essentially telling me how high up I had climbed to get to this point).
The trail actually kept climbing alongside Kvanndalsfossen until it ended up back at the Fv63 (Geirangervegen).
From up here, I could see that there was no road shoulder nor pullout, and the falls fell right below the road bridge over the Geirangerelva so most motorists wouldn’t have noticed it.
I didn’t see the need to explore any further by the Fv63 so this was essentially my turnaround point to descend all the way back down to the campground.
When all was said and done, I wound up hiking about 1.8km according to my GPS logs, which included the additional scrambling up to the Fv63.
I wound up spending about 60 minutes away from the car.
On my first visit, when I shortchanged myself by not seeing the best part of Kvanndalsfossen, I had spent a little over 30 minutes away from the car.
Kvanndalsfossen sat to the south of the town of Geiranger so we’ll describe the driving directions from there.
We’ll also describe the route in the opposite direction from Stryn.
From Geiranger, we drove about 6.5km south on the Fv63 before turning right at the signposted turnoff for Dalen Camping.
Once on the turnoff, the unpaved road went for about 500m to a large car parking area within the Dalen Gard Camping complex.
This was where I parked the car and started walking.
This drive took me about 15-20 minutes.
Coming in the other direction from Stryn, we drove east on the Rv15 for about 51km to the junction with the Fv13.
Then, we drove about 17km north on the Fv63 before turning left onto the turnoff for Dalen Camping.
And then, we took the remaining 500m of unpaved road to the car park by the reception for the Dalen Campground.
For context, Geiranger was 75km (90 minutes drive) northeast of Stryn, 448km (6 hours drive) northwest of Oslo, 371km (6.5 hours drive with some ferry crossings) northeast of Bergen, and 376km (5.5 hours drive) southwest of Trondheim.
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