Latefossen (Låtefossen [maybe pronounced like “LOH-teh-foss-un”]; also seen it spelled Lotefossen) was probably the most popular and dramatic of the waterfalls in Oddadalen (the Odda Valley).
Although we thought almost all of the waterfalls we encountered in the waterfall-laced Oddadalen were spectacular, I guess this one got the notoriety given its dual cascade appearance each with high volume flow.
We had a difficult time trying to keep our camera lens dry while attempting to take a clean all-encompassing photo of it given the nearly constant mist being thrown in our direction.
And this was the case despite the fact at that we were standing besides the car park on the opposite of the bridge (said to be completed in 1859) a little downstream of the base of the falls!
The signs here indicated that the pair of waterfalls tumbled from a height of 165m.
That said, I’ve also seen that its maximum vertical drop was said to be 51m, which I found the conflicting numbers to be confusing.
We have visited this waterfall over a couple of trips 14 years apart, and on that second trip, we even experienced it about a month apart.
So we can confidently say that this waterfall has permanent flow, and its volume doesn’t seem to noticeably change throughout the Summer months.
The forceful flow of Låtefossen came from the lake Lotevatnet (Låtevatnet), which itself drained much larger lakes and snow fields belonging to the protected Hardangervidda National Park.
Hardangervidda is said to be Europe’s largest mountain plateau.
The falls was also said to be part of the protected Opo Watershed so that pretty much guaranteed its year-round flow and existence.
By the way, this protected watershed also allowed Oddadal Valley’s numerous other waterfalls to persist as well.
Also according to our Adventure Roads in Norway book, the more southern waterfall of the pair was technically supposed to have a different name called Skarsfossen.
Meanwhile, the more northern waterfall was supposed to have the more familiar name of Låtefossen.
Nevertheless, I tend to think of the two waterfalls together as Låtefossen, and I believe the literature agrees with this naming convention.
It was definitely busy at the falls during our June 2005 visit despite the threatening weather.
They had put a little car park area, which seemed kind of small for the amount of traffic (at least for each of the times when we were there).
We had to queue up a little before we found a spot, but somehow the infrastructure here seemed to be strangely sufficient at the time.
That said, some drivers had to take some liberties with improvised parking that may have blocked in some other cars parked further within the long parking spaces (no doubt to accommodate RVs or trailers).
Speaking of infrastructure, there was also a snack bar as well as the aforementioned signs containing some advertisements as well as a few words about the falls.
For a slightly different experience, we noticed an informal scrambling path towards the banks of the river that the waterfall fed into.
It was right below the corner with the Kaiser Wilhelm II memorial, and that allowed us to have a more direct look at the waterfall without getting sprayed on the Rv13 road bridge.
For some geographical context, Odda is 17km (under 30 minutes drive) north of Skare, 42km (about 45 minutes drive) north of Røldal, 72km (about 1 hour drive) northeast of Etne, 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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