Manafossen

Frafjord, Rogaland County, Norway

About Manafossen


Hiking Distance: 1km round trip
Suggested Time: 45-60 minutes

Date first visited: 2005-06-23
Date last visited: 2019-06-22

Waterfall Latitude: 58.85854
Waterfall Longitude: 6.39015

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Manafossen (or Månafossen [“Moon Falls”?, I’ve also seen it spelled Monafossen and Månefossen]; I think it’s pronounced “MOH-nuh-foss-un”) was definitely our favorite waterfall in Rogaland county.

It was probably the first major waterfall that made us go “WoW!” during our June 2005 trip.

Manafossen_018_06232005 - Månafossen
Månafossen

As you can see in the photo above, the waterfall plunged spectacularly over a 92m drop flowing wildly with unregulated force while also generating enough mist at its base to produce a bold afternoon rainbow.

The unregulated nature of this waterfall not only compelled us to think very favorably upon it, but it was also something we would come to appreciate as many of the waterfalls in Norway had been tapped for hydropower.

We’d later learn over the years that hydroelectricity was one of the country’s main sources of domestic energy generation.

Hiking to Månafossen

Getting to Manafossen from the car park required us to go up a steep (and potentially slippery) uphill hike.

Manafossen_026_06202019 - Julie going up the initial climb to reach Månafossen. I noticed that this section was now turned into steps instead of a pebbly slope that we experienced back in June 2005
Julie going up the initial climb to reach Månafossen. I noticed that this section was now turned into steps instead of a pebbly slope that we experienced back in June 2005

At first the trail began as a steep series of steps, where it seemed like improvements had been made to this part of the trail.

Back when we first did this hike in late June 2005, this incline was a steep pebbly slope.

As we got further up the trail, the footpath quickly degenerated into a series of even steeper climbs along a combination of granite slopes and some steps.

A good portion of this section of the climb (comprising the majority of the elevation gain to Manafossen) involved holding chain links held by poles bolted into the hard granite-like surface.

Manafossen_047_06202019 - Julie and Tahia continuing to go up the steep chain-assisted climb to reach the overlooks for Månafossen
Julie and Tahia continuing to go up the steep chain-assisted climb to reach the overlooks for Månafossen

Due to the potential of slipping and falling here, we definitely had to take our time and make sure of our steps.

Under bad weather, these steep sections became even more dangerous due to the slick surfaces.

Indeed, it’s for this reason that hiking boots were essential for this hike.

Eventually after about 30-45 minutes of this persistent ascent, the trail started to flatten out somewhat as it reached a couple of spurs.

Viewing Månafossen

Manafossen_152_06222019 - A couple girls had a hammock set up at the first overlook of Månafossen
A couple girls had a hammock set up at the first overlook of Månafossen

The first spur led to the first overlook of Manafossen, and this was the most popular spot to see it.

From this vantage point, we could not only see the entire plunge of the falls, but we could also see (if the clouds cooperate) a cascade higher up, which created the illusion that it fell right into the main falls.

This lookout did not have safety railings so we definitely had to use our better judgement and stay back from the dropoffs.

The second spur led to a second overlook of the falls, though it was a bit more direct and harder to see its entirety from there.

Manafossen_081_06202019 - Månafossen shrouded in clouds when the weather was not so great
Månafossen shrouded in clouds when the weather was not so great

Like the first lookout, there were no safety railings to keep us from going over the edge.

There was also a narrow trail of use connecting the two overlooks along the cliff.

We managed to experience this waterfall in a variety of conditions over the years.

Weather does make a big difference in the experience here – not only because of the slick climb, but also because clouds can block the view.

Manafossen_161_06222019 - Direct look at Månafossen and its companion waterfall in the background where the Mån Farmstead sits near its base
Direct look at Månafossen and its companion waterfall in the background where the Mån Farmstead sits near its base

This was the extent of our experiences with the Manafossen Waterfall, and we would typically spend around an hour away from the car.

Although we were content with just the views before coming back down to the car park, it was also possible to hike another 1km up to the Mån Farmstead.

We didn’t do that so we can’t say more about it, but apparently they made it possible to spend the night there as the farmstead also doubled as an accommodation as well as a museum.

Eikeskogfossen – a bonus waterfall

Finally, when Julie and I drove up to the Manafossen car park (see directions below), we also spotted another smaller but attractive roadside waterfall called Eikeskogsfossen.

Manafossen_125_06202019 - Contextual view of Eikeskogfossen on the way up to the car park at the end of the road for Månafossen
Contextual view of Eikeskogfossen on the way up to the car park at the end of the road for Månafossen

We didn’t bother finding a way to get closer to this waterfall as we were perfectly content to enjoy the falls from the road.

I’m guessing that this waterfall got its name from the neighboring community of Eikeskog, and that the immediate area might have been an oak forest.

According to my Norwegian dictionary, eik means “oak” and skog means “forest”.

Authorities

Manafossen resides near Frafjord in the Gjesdal Municipality in Rogaland County, Norway. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Manafossen_002_06202019 - Looking back at the car park for the hike to Månafossen when we showed up in June 2019
Manafossen_004_06202019 - While waiting for Tahia and Julie to get ready for the hike up to Månafossen I was checking out this creek or river, which I believe was the same one responsible for the waterfall as seen during our visit in June 2019
Manafossen_006_06202019 - Looking towards a toilet facility at the Manafossen car park during our June 2019 visit
Manafossen_016_06202019 - Context of the start of the hike to Månafossen as seen across the car park during our visit in June 2019
Manafossen_018_06202019 - The initial climb up the steps from the car park to get up to Manafossen during our June 2019 visit
Manafossen_025_06202019 - Looking back down towards the car park as we ascended the steps en route to Månafossen during our visit in June 2019
Manafossen_030_06202019 - It didn't take long before the trail up to Manafossen went from steps to a somewhat rocky ascent, which was a little on the slippery side during our rainy June 2019 visit
Manafossen_032_06202019 - Shortly thereafter, the Manafossen Trail degenerated into a railing-assisted rocky scramble and ascent during our June 2019 visit
Manafossen_035_06202019 - Then, the Manafossen Trail featured chains to help with the even steeper and more slippery rocky parts during our June 2019 visit
Manafossen_037_06202019 - Julie and Tahia continuing to climb up the Manafossen Trail with the aid of chains to hold onto during our June 2019 visit
Manafossen_039_06202019 - Julie and Tahia carefully ascending the rocky trail leading up to Månafossen during our visit in June 2019
Manafossen_040_06202019 - Julie passing by the mobile reception area on the Manafossen Trail so you can pay for parking with the EZ-Park app. We did this during our June 2019 visit
Manafossen_042_06202019 - Julie and Tahia going up more steep steps on the Manafossen Trail in June 2019 though I swore that most of these steps weren't there when we first came here in June 2005
Manafossen_050_06202019 - Tahia and Julie continuing on the chain-assisted climb up to the overlooks of Manafossen in June 2019
Manafossen_052_06202019 - Looking back at the ascent that we have made so far to get to this point on the Manafossen Trail. There was a large group of folks coming back down during our June 2019 visit
Manafossen_054_06202019 - Looking ahead at the next flight of steps leading up to the overlooks of Månafossen during our visit in June 2019
Manafossen_056_06202019 - Context of Julie and Tahia continuing up towards the top of the climb leading to the overlooks of Månafossen during our visit in June 2019
Manafossen_058_06202019 - Julie and Tahia almost making it up to the end of the steep ascent on the Manafossen Trail during our June 2019 visit
Manafossen_060_06202019 - The last climbing stretch before the Manafossen overlooks during our June 2019 visit
Manafossen_062_06202019 - Julie and Tahia approaching the first lookout for Månafossen, but you can see that clouds were really messing up the view during our visit in June 2019
Manafossen_063_06202019 - Julie and Tahia maybe having a few seconds at the overlook of Manafossen before the clouds rolled in and obscured the view during our June 2019 visit
Manafossen_064_06202019 - Our first look at Manafossen during our June 2019 trip, which happened in not so great weather.  This picture was taken in our very narrow window of opportunity before the clouds really rolled in
Manafossen_066_06202019 - Clouds descending over Månafossen literally minutes after we first showed up in June 2019
Manafossen_070_06202019 - Context of a trio of people checking out the lookout of Månafossen when the clouds already shrouded the waterfall during our visit in June 2019
Manafossen_075_06202019 - The narrow cliff-hanging trail spanning the two overlooks of Manafossen as I pursued an alternate view during our June 2019 visit
Manafossen_077_06202019 - Cloud-shrouded look at the Månafossen as the weather situation seemed to be getting worse during our visit in June 2019
Manafossen_083_06202019 - The weather was atrocious by the time I got to the second overlook of Manafossen to take this shot in June 2019
Manafossen_101_06202019 - Context of Månafossen with the cliffs opposite its ravine while shrouded in clouds during our visit in June 2019
Manafossen_105_06202019 - Another cloud-shrouded view of Månafossen as seen during our visit in June 2019
Manafossen_110_06202019 - Heading back down the chain-assisted trail leading to the car park for Månafossen after having had our fill of the waterfall and the clouds on our visit in June 2019
Manafossen_112_06202019 - Continuing the descent from Månafossen to the car park with low clouds looming overhead during our visit in June 2019
Manafossen_118_06202019 - Returning to the car park for Manafossen to end our initial visit in June 2019. I vowed to try to come back here when the weather would improve
Manafossen_119_06202019 - While trying to look for the Eikeskogsfossen, it turned out that the closest pullout to the view of the waterfall was taken up by these local vehicles during our visit in June 2019
Manafossen_120_06202019 - This was the tiny pullout I managed to find while trying to experience Eikeskogfossen on the way out of Manafossen in June 2019
Manafossen_132_06202019 - Looking towards Eikeskogsfossen after our Månafossen visit in June 2019
Manafossen_137_06222019 - Back at the Månafossen car park when I showed up two days later in June 2019 under much improved weather
Manafossen_139_06222019 - Going back up the familiar steps at the beginning of the hike to Månafossen on my second go in June 2019
Manafossen_142_06222019 - Indeed, two days later on my June 2019 visit to Manafossen, I got this much improved view of the falls
Manafossen_165_06222019 - Focused look at the companion waterfall somewhere closer to the Mån Farmstead as seen during my second June 2019 visit
Manafossen_169_06222019 - The photography conditions at Månafossen were much better on my second go in June 2019, but the late afternoon shadows were getting worse
Manafossen_171_06222019 - After having my fill of my second go at Månafossen in June 2019, it was time to descend back down the steep trail
Manafossen_172_06222019 - Returning to the busy car park at the trailhead for Månafossen during my visit in June 2019
Manafossen_175_06222019 - Driving back towards Frafjorden on the way out of Manafossen and towards Stavanger on my June 2019 visit
Manafossen_176_06222019 - Continuing on the drive back from Månafossen towards Stavanger during my visit in June 2019
Manafossen_178_06222019 - Looking upstream in the direction of Gilja as I left Månafossen for Stavanger during our visit in June 2019
Frafjord_002_jx_06232005 - While on the county road along Frafjorden in June 2005, we were driving narrower roads than what we were used to back at home
Frafjord_004_jx_06232005 - Perhaps this photo taken in June 2005 shows just how narrow the bi-directional county roads could get on the way to Manafossen
Frafjord_012_jx_06232005 - We saw this thin waterfall when we left Frafjorden and entered the valley en route to Manafossen during our June 2005 visit
Manafossen_011_jx_06232005 - Looking back at the valley near Gilja that we were climbing up out of shortly after getting past the head of Frafjorden en route to Manafossen on our June 2005 visit
Eikeskogfossen_003_jx_06232005 - A contextual look at the attractive Eikeskogfossen just a minute or two before the trailhead for Manafossen (photo taken back in June 2005)
Manafossen_002_06232005 - For a little perspective, this was the car park and trailhead to Manafossen with Julie immediately climbing steeply on the trail back in June 2005.  Notice how the trail didn't have the steps like they do now in June 2019!
Manafossen_007_06232005 - The Manafossen trail degenerated into a friction pitch with some chains to hold onto as shown from back in June 2005
Manafossen_008_06232005 - Some parts of the Manafossen Trail had a little bit of wetness, which conspired to make this section precariously slippery on our June 2005 visit
Manafossen_002_jx_06232005 - Just to give you an idea of what it was like when we first visited Manafossen back in June 2005, here's a look over the top of the waterfall with some thin companion waterfall in the distance further upstream
Manafossen_019_06232005 - Only when we got pretty close to the edge of the overlook during our June 2005 visit did we start to see the entire drop of Manafossen
Manafossen_025_06232005 - One way to get close to the edge without fear of falling over is to do what this Norwegian couple was doing and have a seat. This was taken on our June 2005 visit to Manafossen
Manafossen_030_06232005 - Another contextual look at someone checking out Manafossen from the second lookout in June 2005
Manafossen_021_06232005 - Last view of Manafossen before returning to the trailhead in June 2005
Manafossen_012_06232005 - Off-centered look at Månafossen to show almost the entire arc of the rainbow when we were first here in June 2005
Manafossen_015_06232005 - More centered and clean look at Månafossen during our first time here in June 2005

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The key to reaching Manafossen was accessing the town of Gilja. We managed to reach the town from the west starting at Stavanger.

There are other seasonal routes coming inland from the east, but we’ll focus on describing the all-season driving route from Stavanger.

From Stavanger, we drove south on the E39 for a little over 28km towards the junction with the Fv45 Road in Gjesdal.

Manafossen_174_06222019 - Looking back at the valley we were climbing up out of shortly after getting past the head of Frafjorden
Looking back at the valley we were climbing up out of shortly after getting past the head of Frafjorden

Taking a left to go east on the Fv45, we then drove a little over 26km towards the small town of Gilja.

At the turnoff at Gilja, we then followed the Manafossen signs telling us to go left to cross the bridge into the town.

Continuing straight on the what is now the Fv281, we soon entered the 4km long Frafjordtunnelen before continuing east on the Fv281 all the way to the head of the valley.

At a little over 9km from Gilja, the Fv281 reached a junction, where we then turned left to go uphill and out of the valley.

Manafossen_127_06202019 - On the unpaved stretch of road en route to the car park for Månafossen, we spotted Eikeskogfossen
On the unpaved stretch of road en route to the car park for Månafossen, we spotted Eikeskogfossen

This road continued for the final 2.2km to the road’s end where the Manafossen car park was at.

Overall, this drive took us a little under 90 minutes.

The last 600m of the road was unpaved, and Eikeskogsfossen was about 1km from the turnoff or 1.2km from the end of the road.

The Manafossen car park did charge a fee payable by a drop envelope with cash or using the EZ-Park app on a mobile phone.

Manafossen_136_06222019 - The end of the road at the car park for Månafossen
The end of the road at the car park for Månafossen

If using the app, you don’t get phone reception at the car park, but you do get reception along the trail about 500m from the trailhead.

For geographical context, Stavanger was about 35km (a little over a half-hour drive) north of Gjesdal, 52km (under an hour drive) northwest of Dirdal, 57km (under an hour drive) northwest of Gilja, 159km (over 2.5 hours drive) west of Rysstad, and 249km (over 3.5 hours drive) northwest of Kristiansand.

Sweep from the first overlook showing a pair of ladies resting in a hammock before panning over to the main falls and its companion above it


Sweep from the second overlook showing a slight rainbow along with the main falls and a companion falls above it


Video showing the falls from two different official viewpoints where a pair of ladies had set up a hammock in one of them


Top down sweep covering the falls just as clouds were rolling in


Sweep covering the narrow road to Manafossen while also focusing on Eikeskogfossen

Trip Planning Resources


Nearby Accommodations




Tagged with: gjesdal, frafjord, rogaland, stavanger, southern norway, scandinavia, norway, waterfall, byrkjedal, algard



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Manafossen, Norway November 1, 2014 10:07 am by Saulius Misiunas - Some pictures of Manafossen waterfall ...Read More

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