Muldalsfossen

Tafjord, More og Romsdal County, Norway

About Muldalsfossen


Hiking Distance: 6km round trip
Suggested Time: 3 hours

Date first visited: 2005-07-02
Date last visited: 2019-07-17

Waterfall Latitude: 62.25486
Waterfall Longitude: 7.43528

Muldalsfossen was one waterfall that haunted me ever since I made my first visit back in July 2005.

Unfortunately with that first visit, I had failed to properly experience the waterfall due to some confusion on my part regarding the whereabouts of the proper viewing spot.

Muldalsfossen_186_07172019 - Muldalsfossen with an afternoon rainbow streaking across it
Muldalsfossen with an afternoon rainbow streaking across it

When I came back in July 2019, I was determined to finish the hike, which was made easier by the presence of clearer and more frequent signage.

The end result was the photo you see above, where I finally got to see directly the 350m waterfall (180-200m of which was said to freefall according to my Norgeskart measurements).

The Perilous Tafjord Topography

Unless you’re on a boat on the Tafjord, you’ll need to earn your proper sighting of Muldalsfossen with a demanding “W” hike.

This hike required me to climb way up to the Muldal Farm by the brink of Muldalsfossen before descending on a nearly equally steep trail on the other side of the Muldalselva losing almost all of the elevation that I had gained on the way up.

Now you may wonder why not have a shorter and more direct trail that goes straight up to the overlook instead?

Tafjord_009_jx_07022005 - While driving along the local road Fv92 along Tafjorden (probably at Fjørå), we noticed these beautiful Norwegian homes right on the waterfront
While driving along the local road Fv92 along Tafjorden (probably at Fjørå), we noticed these beautiful Norwegian homes right on the waterfront

I believe the answer lies in the steep terrain of the Tafjord topography, which was exemplified in the Tafjord Rockslide Disaster of April 1934.

When the event took place, nearly 2 million cubic meters of rock plunged right into the Tafjord and created a tsunami that killed 40 people living near the fjord’s shores.

It was very similar to the pair of disasters that took place in Lodalen beneath the Ramnefjellfossen in Sogn og Fjordane County.

In any case, I bring up this trajedy because the verticality of the surrounding walls of Tafjorden maximized the force of impact of the rocks diving onto the water.

Muldalsfossen_012_07172019 - Looking towards Heggurfossen and in the direction of the huge scar in the landscape that probably came from the Tafjord Rockslide
Looking towards Heggurfossen and in the direction of the huge scar in the landscape that probably came from the Tafjord Rockslide

We could still see the scars of where the landslide took place near the Heggurfossen waterfall.

And so it was this vertical topography that also caused a nearly sheer cliff to act as a barrier between the overlook of Muldalsfossen and the trailhead car park directly below it.

Therefore, there was no safe shortcut, and properly experiencing the waterfall required the roundabout, up-and-down route to get to the overlook.

Regulation of Muldalselva

Each time I’ve made my visits in the early Summer (July 2005 and 2019), the falls seemed to have acceptable flow despite it being tapped for hydroelectric power since 1969.

Muldalsfossen_031_07172019 - View of Muldalsfossen from the Fv92 road bridge over Muldalselva. Note the power lines, which were a telltale sign that there was definitely something going on concerning the disturbance of the river for power generation purposes
View of Muldalsfossen from the Fv92 road bridge over Muldalselva. Note the power lines, which were a telltale sign that there was definitely something going on concerning the disturbance of the river for power generation purposes

Signs at the trailhead as well as along the trail warned of floods that would come without warning, which already clued me into the compromised condition of the Muldalsfossen.

When the falls was regulated, at first, it was said to have reduced its flow to the point of disappearance.

However, I’ve read that the authorities had made a recommendation to maintain a minimum flow to keep the river (and thus Muldalsfossen) flowing.

Whether this flow would be allowed to persist through the Summer months remains to be seen, but barring a severe storm or excess reserves, it will unlikely have the prior flow from before when it was a tourist attraction since the 19th century.

The Muldalsfossen Experience – The Climb to the Muldal Farm

The Muldalsfossen hike began from a dedicated but unsigned car park just outside the Heggurtunnelen and by the Tafjord’s shores (see directions below).

Muldalsfossen_086_07172019 - Context of the Muldalsfossen Trail leading up to the Muldal Farm with the Tafjorden down below to the left. Notice how steep of an incline I had to hike on even though there were switchbacks to try to help reduce the severity of the incline!
Context of the Muldalsfossen Trail leading up to the Muldal Farm with the Tafjorden down below to the left. Notice how steep of an incline I had to hike on even though there were switchbacks to try to help reduce the severity of the incline!

After leaving the car, I had to walk along the local road Fv92 further south crossing a bridge over the Muldalselva before I noticed a signed footpath forking to the left and immediately climbing steeply above the fjord.

By the way, on my second hike here, the vegetation happened to be open enough to notice the top of Muldalsfossen from this bridge.

At that point, I began what turned out to be a tiring climb where I counted 13 switchbacks covering a length of 2km.

I noticed recently that the locals have generously placed signs letting me know my progress as they’d identify which switchback I was on.

The trail was basically a fairly wide and well-graded ATV road that the Muldal Farm inhabitants and workers would use to access the farm in a motorized manner.

Muldalsfossen_037_07172019 - Slufsåfossen seen across the Tafjord while on the initial climb of the Muldalsfossen hike
Slufsåfossen seen across the Tafjord while on the initial climb of the Muldalsfossen hike

During most of this strenuous part of the hike, I got great open views across Tafjorden towards the waterfall that I think was called Slufsåfossen (or it could be “Pinåfossen” on the Pinå Stream though it was hard to tell from the maps).

It wasn’t until I was on about the 10th or 11th switchback before I even started to get a glimpse of Muldalsfossen.

However, the views from this side of the Muldalselva were unsatisfying and overgrown.

The photo you see above was from one of those upper switchbacks (it was also my mistake on my first visit that I settled for this view instead of persisting and pressing on).

Muldalsfossen_006_07022005 - Muldalsfossen and the Muldal Farm as seen on my first visit in 2005. As you can see, this view left a lot to be desired
Muldalsfossen and the Muldal Farm as seen on my first visit in 2005. As you can see, this view left a lot to be desired

The houses you see next to the falls belonged to the Muldal Farm.

Once I was finally done with this climb, I found myself at another bridge upstream of the top of the falls as well as next to the aforementioned Muldal Farm.

Looking further upstream, I got a glimpse of the attractive Muldalen Valley while looking in the other direction over the brink of the falls against the afternoon sun towards the Slufsåfossen.

My mistake on the first hike was that I didn’t keep going through the Muldal Farm. Instead, I had turned back here, and I had never lived down that mistake until I came back here 14 years later.

Muldalsfossen_098_07172019 - Looking towards the footbridge over the Muldalselva at the top of the initial climb, which ultimately provided access to the Muldal Farm
Looking towards the footbridge over the Muldalselva at the top of the initial climb, which ultimately provided access to the Muldal Farm

I knew that I had made a mistake in the first place because we got a local tourist brochure of Muldalsfossen that showed an unobstructed view revealing its entire drop.

The Muldalsfossen Experience – Descending to the Overlook

After crossing the bridge over the Muldalselva, I then walked through the Muldal Farm, which appeared to be active and in use as of my visit in 2019.

Painted arrows and signs now ensured that I had to keep going to reach Muldalsfossen.

Once I was past the farm, the arrows then pointed me onto a narrower trail that hugged ledges and went down another series of steep switchbacks.

Muldalsfossen_236_07172019 - Looking back at the Muldal Farm with Muldalen to the topleft and the very top of Muldalsfossen to the bottom right
Looking back at the Muldal Farm with Muldalen to the topleft and the very top of Muldalsfossen to the bottom right

While the climb to get to the Muldal Farm involved a tame ATV road, this trail was way more primitive.

As I descended lower on the trail, I knew that I would have to gain back all that elevation loss to return to the Muldal Farm on the return hike.

Eventually after 700m (or 20 minutes) from the Muldal Farm, I finally started to see the front of the Muldalsfossen.

While there were some informal cliff-side views of the surprisingly hidden ravine that the falls dropped into, the end of the trail had the best vantage point because I could better see the small green plunge pool at the very bottom from there.

Muldalsfossen_220_07172019 - Looking down towards Tafjorden and the Fv92 from what appeared to be the top of a sheer cliff.  This was the very reason why there was no trail that went directly up from the car park below up to here
Looking down towards Tafjorden and the Fv92 from what appeared to be the top of a sheer cliff. This was the very reason why there was no trail that went directly up from the car park below up to here

Even though the falls did look like it had seen better days before regulation, it was still a satisfying experience when I finally got to do it properly on my 2019 visit.

I even managed to witness an early afternoon rainbow across its wispy drop.

Confirming my suspicions about the Tafjord terrain, sheer cliffs dropped right down towards the Fv92 road and the Tafjord below.

False trails still kept descending from the overlook as I’m sure people have tried to find shortcuts to not have to go all the way back up to the Muldal Farm, but I just sucked it up and went back the way I came when I was done with the falls.

Muldalsfossen_142_07172019 - Descending towards the official lookout for the best view of Muldalsfossen
Descending towards the official lookout for the best view of Muldalsfossen

Overall, I had spent about 2.5 hours away from the car, and my GPS logs suggested that I had hiked about 5.4km round trip (2.7km each way).

Perhaps on a more leisurely pace, I’m sure I could have taken longer on the trail, but the long downhill on the ATV road practically invited me to do a little trail running to ride the momentum of gravity as I went from switchback to switchback.

Authorities

Muldalsfossen resides in the Norddal Municipality near Valldalen in Møre og Romsdal County, Norway. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.

Muldalsfossen_021_07172019 - About to leave the car park for Muldalsfossen and start the hike up to the waterfall itself during my visit in July 2019. This photo and the next several shots took place on this day
Muldalsfossen_036_07172019 - Walking along the Fv92 towards the Muldalsfossen Trail, which starts to rise up to the left
Muldalsfossen_045_07172019 - A field of loose boulders at one of the switchbacks in the first 2km stretch of the Muldalsfossen Trail
Muldalsfossen_046_07172019 - On the long and brutal climb up to the Muldal Farm
Muldalsfossen_052_07172019 - Even though the Muldalsfossen hike in the first 2km was a very hot and sweaty affair, at least there seemed to be quite a bit of shade against the sun
Muldalsfossen_060_07172019 - Ascending up another one of the signed switchbacks, where the signs helped me to track my progress as they revealed which switchback I was on
Muldalsfossen_066_07172019 - Elevated view towards the Slufsåfossen as I continued to climb higher in the first 2km stretch of the Muldalsfossen hike to the Muldal Farm
Muldalsfossen_069_07172019 - Another one of the switchbacks in the 2km stretch between the Fv92 and the Muldal Farm. This probably tells you just how steep the hike can be
Muldalsfossen_074_07172019 - Looking in the distance from the Muldalsfossen Trail towards a distant waterfall perched high up on the mountains across Tafjorden
Muldalsfossen_076_07172019 - Although I was alone for most of my hike to Muldalsfossen, apparently there were other people who also checked out the falls as this pair of women were on their way back down
Muldalsfossen_078_07172019 - Even higher up the Muldalsfossen Trail looking back towards Slufsåfossen
Muldalsfossen_083_07172019 - Another very steep switchback on the first 2km stretch of the Muldalsfossen hike
Muldalsfossen_087_07172019 - Finally starting to see the Muldal Farm somewhere near the top of the long climb in the first 2km stretch
Muldalsfossen_090_07172019 - Looking towards the switchback where I managed to get my obstructed view of Muldalsfossen on my first visit here back in 2005
Muldalsfossen_091_07172019 - How Muldalsfossen looked from the same spot where I got my 'best' views of the falls on my 2005 trip here
Muldalsfossen_093_07172019 - One of the last switchbacks on the way up to the Muldal Farm
Muldalsfossen_095_07172019 - At the top of the climb up to Muldal Farm, the terrain started to reveal more granite
Muldalsfossen_101_07172019 - Crossing the bridge over the Muldalselva. This time around in 2019, they put more signage to ensure that you go where you're supposed to go in order to experience Muldalsfossen
Muldalsfossen_104_07172019 - Looking over the brink of Muldalsfossen towards Slufsåfossen
Muldalsfossen_108_07172019 - Approaching the Muldal Farm after crossing over the bridge traversing Muldalselva
Muldalsfossen_114_07172019 - Signs and arrows pointing the way to continue towards Muldalsfossen
Muldalsfossen_115_07172019 - More spray-painted arrows pointing the way to Muldalsfossen beyond the Muldal Farm
Muldalsfossen_117_07172019 - Looking back over the Muldal Farm towards Muldalen
Muldalsfossen_122_07172019 - The narrower and more primitive trail leading down from Muldal Farm to the overlook of Muldalsfossen, which hugged cliffs and had railings to mentally help prevent you from falling off
Muldalsfossen_133_07172019 - Partial view towards the Fv92 and Tafjord from the steep descending trail to the Muldalsfossen overlook
Muldalsfossen_134_07172019 - Descending the railing-aided switchbacks on the way down to the Muldalsfossen Lookout
Muldalsfossen_135_07172019 - Descending the trail to the lookout for Muldalsfossen
Muldalsfossen_136_07172019 - Another look at how steep these switchbacks were as they brought me down to the Muldalsfossen Lookout
Muldalsfossen_155_07172019 - Descending towards the end of the official trail for the overlook of Muldalsfossen
Muldalsfossen_174_07172019 - Still descending one last unrailed switchback before finally arriving at the lookout for Muldalsfossen
Muldalsfossen_182_07172019 - Finally making it to the lookout for Muldalsfossen
Muldalsfossen_231_07172019 - Looking towards some cascade deep in the Muldal Valley on the way back up to the Muldal Farm from Muldalsfossen
Muldalsfossen_241_07172019 - Returning to the footbridge over the Muldalselva after leaving the Muldal Farm
Muldalsfossen_243_07172019 - This was the rasteplass that the signs were referring to near the Muldal Farm
Muldalsfossen_248_07172019 - Now doing the steep descent from Muldal Farm towards the Fv92
Muldalsfossen_251_07172019 - Traversing some boulder field while descending the Muldalsfossen Trail
Muldalsfossen_254_07172019 - Looking into the Tafjord one last time before returning to the car park at the conclusion of my Muldalsfossen adventure
Tafjord_011_jx_07022005 - Some tall thin waterfall seen while driving along the local road 92 towards the trailhead of Muldalsfossen as seen in July 2005. This photo and the rest of the photos in this gallery took place on that day
Tafjord_004_jx_07022005 - Looking into Tafjorden with a giant waterfall I believe is ‘Heggurfossen’ to the left on the way to the trailhead of Muldalsfossen from back on our first visit in July 2005
Tafjord_008_jx_07022005 - Closer look at a giant waterfall spilling into Tafjorden that I think is called 'Heggurfossen' during our first visit back in 2005
Muldalsfossen_013_07022005 - At the shores of Tafjorden as I was about to start the hike for Muldalsfossen back in July 2005
Muldalsfossen_011_07022005 - Small waterfall near the trailhead for Muldalsfossen (also on Muldalselva) as seen in 2005.  I recalled on that first visit that I didn't notice the top of Muldalsfossen from this spot (which I did notice on my second visit 14 years later)
Muldalsfossen_001_07022005 - Trail climbing immediately as it left the county road 92
Muldalsfossen_004_07022005 - Slufsåfossen seen across the Tafjord in my first visit back in early July 2005
Muldalsfossen_005_07022005 - The shade within some parts of the steeply climbing Muldalsfossen Trail helped a bit though I was still breathing heavy and sweating profusely given the strenuousness of the hike
Muldalsfossen_009_07022005 - Looking over the top of Muldalsfossen towards Slufsåfossen during my first visit back in 2005
Muldalsfossen_010_07022005 - Looking into the valley (Muldalen) beyond the houses of Muldal at the top of Muldalsfossen as seen from back in 2005

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We’ll describe the driving directions from the town of Åndalsnes since that was where we stayed when we did the drive out to Muldalsfossen.

Muldalsfossen_003_07172019 - Looking towards Heggurfossen while driving the narrow Fv92 towards Muldalsfossen
Looking towards Heggurfossen while driving the narrow Fv92 towards Muldalsfossen

From the junction of the E136 and Fv64 in the town of Åndalsnes, we drove southeast along the E136 for about 4.3km to the junction with the Fv63 to our right.

We then crossed the bridge over the Rauma River and followed the Fv63 for the next 54km to the junction with the Fv92 at the town of Valldalen.

We then turned left to go onto the Fv92 and drove for about 11km to a car park on the left, which was right before the bridge and after the exit of the Heggurtunnelen.

Overall, this drive (not counting stopping at Trollstigen) would take about 75-90 minutes depending on traffic.

Muldalsfossen_255_07172019 - The car park closest to the trailhead for Muldalsfossen with the Heggurtunnelen in the background
The car park closest to the trailhead for Muldalsfossen with the Heggurtunnelen in the background

For context, Åndalsnes was 128km (under 2 hours drive) west of Sunndalsøra, about 54km (over an hour drive) northeast of Valldalen, 87km (over 2 hours drive with a ferry crossing) northeast of Geiranger, 105km (under 90 minutes drive) northwest of Dombås, 108km (90 minutes drive) east of Ålesund, 303km (over 4 hours drive) southwest of Trondheim, 442km (over 5.5 hours drive) northwest of Oslo, and 508km (8 hours drive) northeast of Bergen.

Video covering the main overlook and surrounding area for the falls


Short video showing the Muldal Farm as well as the brink of Muldalsfossen and a cascade further up the valley


Short video showing the trail and the Slufsafossen across Tafjorden

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Tagged with: norddal, tafjord, tafjorden, valldal, andalsnes, trollstigen, geiranger, more og romsdal, norway, waterfall



Visitor Comments:

Muldalsfossen January 16, 2009 10:15 pm by Charles - This is one of the most beautiful fossen i Norge. Maybe the most beautiful one. I hope you will be able to come back and to watch it better. Charles ...Read More

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About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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