Naustafossen (or Nauståfossen; I think is pronounced “NAUS-toh-foss-un”) was our reward for doing a rather long, out-of-the-way detour towards the Trollheimen Mountains of the Surnadal Municipality. It was a gorgeous 110m waterfall with a rather unique shape in that it had a tall plunge followed by a round waterwheel-like lower tier that spewed out enough mist to muddy the area around the falls (and wet my camera lens). The waterfall sat near the hamlet of Kårvatn (pronounced “KOHR-vaht-n”), which really seemed to be some a collection of some farms (or just a farm). The name of the hamlet also suggested there was a lake in the vicinity, but there wasn’t one from what I could tell.
The mountains backing the falls that you see in the photo above were indeed part of the mountains of Trollheimen (“the Home of the Trolls”), which were known to be a backcountry hiking destination as well as a mountain range unique in that it supported a wide variety of climates. In addition, we learned that this remote and out-of-the-way place was also said to contain some of the cleanest air and water in Norway. That claim was really saying something considering most of Norway was rural, sparsely populated, and not overly industrialized. Perhaps that reputation also underscored the wild and undeveloped nature of Trollheimen, even though our experience at Naustafossen merely scratched the surface of what could be experienced in this mountainous area.
From the car park (see directions below), I walked towards the buildings at the end of the road, which I believed belonged to someone’s farm making up most of the settlement of Kårvatn. Beyond the road, I crossed a bridge traversing the watercourse Toåa (which Nauståa ultimately fed into), then veered right at the fork (as directed by a sign pointing the way). The track was flanked by some fences keeping livestock within the quiet pastures of the idyllic farm, but before long, the path followed some tractor tracks then opened up where I could see across the field towards Naustafossen backed by some of the knobby mountains of Trollheimen.
Soon, I reached another signed fork where I left the tractor track and proceeded along a muddy footpath for the last 700m to a bridge nearby the falls. It was quite misty on the bridge, and I felt the views wouldn’t improve beyond it so I didn’t proceed any further even though it clearly looked like the path continued onwards past the bridge. It was from the bridge that I was able to appreciate the waterwheel of Naustafossen’s lower tier though the upper and taller tier of the falls was a bit harder to see from this closer vantage point.
The out-and-back hike took me 45 minutes to complete, but I’d imagine it could easily take about an hour round trip at a more leisurely pace. Most of the time spent that late afternoon was actually in the car driving the out-and-back detour to get here.
Naustafossen was near the hamlet of Kårvatn. We started the drive from Sunndalsøra, then headed north on Rv70 for about 19km as it junctioned with Road 670 at the town of Ålvund. Veering right at the intersection and continuing north on the road 670 for about the next 7km, I then arrived at the ferry stop at Rykkjem.
After taking the ferry across the Todalsfjord, we continued driving on the Road 670 for the next 6km to its junction with the Road 671. Turning right onto Road 671, we then drove the next 14km to the head of Todalsfjorden where the Road 671 junctioned with the local (unpaved) Road 324 across a bridge over the Toåa River (or Todalselva). From there, we continued driving further into Todalen along road 324 for the next 11km to the end of the road at Kårvatn.
Even though Naustafossen was visible from the road, it was certainly worth the walk for a closer look.
For some additional context, Sunndalsøra was 128km (2 hours drive) east of Åndalsnes, 187km (over 2.5 hours drive) southwest of Trondheim, 466km (6 hours drive) north of Oslo, and 578km (over 8.5 hours drive with ferry crossings) northeast of Bergen.
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