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 lower tier spewed out enough mist to muddy the area around the falls (and wet my camera lens) on both of my visits – once in July 2005 and again in July 2019.
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.
When I came back here on a rainy second visit (14 years after my first time), I did notice that the farm seemed to have expanded its tourism infrastructure so it might have been possible to do a farm stay here.
Nauståfossen and Trollheimen
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”).
Trollheimen was 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 I followed the signs pointing the way to Nauståfossen.
When I first came here in 2005, the path directly veered right at the fork beyond the bridge.
When I returned in 2019, it appeared that I had to walk a little further before veering right then backtracking closer to the river before continuing on the same trail as before (roughly 300m from the car park).
So that development seemed to have slightly lengthened the hike though not by much (maybe extending the hike by 200m or so).
Nevertheless, it did seem to go deeper into the farm where I recalled encountering a white horse that seemed to think I was part of the cattle to be herded.
The track then pretty much went straight shot alongside the Toåa on what was apparently the Myrvangvegen Road.
During this stretch I was able to see across some parts of the open fields (if trees weren’t in the way) to get contextual looks at Naustafossen backed by some of the knobby mountains of Trollheimen.
Although the path was straight, I recalled encountering some very muddy patches where I really had to watch where I was putting my weight so as to not sink in the muck.
At roughly 600m along this straight stretch, the trail reached a fork opposite where there appeared to be some cabins (which I didn’t recall being there on our first visit in 2005).
I wound up taking the spur path on the left, which then traversed through an even grassier wide trail, which also had to traverse even more muddier patches with greater frequency.
These muddy patches ensured that I would move along slowly, and I wondered if this trail could really use a boardwalk or something to minimize the impact on the soil here.
Eventually after another 350m or so on the sloshy trail, I finally arrived at the misty bridge fronting the waterfall.
There was also a spur path that went right into the mist zone at the base of Nauståfossen as well as a climbing ridge trail that promised a more unusual top down view of the falls (though I didn’t go high enough on that trail given the wet conditions).
Beyond the bridge, I noticed some machinery or gauge of some sort. I wasn’t sure what they were there for, but I did speculate that perhaps it might have harnessed the water power to provide localized power at Kårvatn.
This was my turnaround spot, and I returned back the way I came, which my GPS logs suggested that I had gone 1.4km in each direction.
The whole hike took me about 75 minutes though I did hastily make my hike due to a combination of bad rain, trying not to miss the last ferry, and the onset of darkness.
It was interesting to note that according to my trip notes in 2005 that it only took me 45 minutes to do the entire hike. Clearly, the trail must have been shorter back then (or at least allow for faster travel).
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.
Naustafossen was near the hamlet of Kårvatn.
We started the drive from Sunndalsøra so that’s how I’ll describe the driving directions.
First, we headed north on the Rv70 for about 19km as it junctioned with Fv670 at the town of Ålvund.
Veering right at the intersection and continuing north on the Fv670 road for about the next 6km, we then arrived at the ferry stop at Rykkjem.
After taking the ferry across the Todalsfjord, we continued driving on the Fv670 for the next 6km to its junction with the Fv671 on the right.
Turning right onto Fv671, we then drove the next 16km to the head of Todalsfjorden where the Fv671 junctioned with the local (unpaved) Fv323 (I had Fv324 on our first trip) across a bridge over the Toåa River (or Todalselva).
Even though Naustafossen was visible from the road, it was certainly worth the walk for a closer look.
Including the ferry, this drive took about 90 minutes.
For some additional context, Sunndalsøra was 104km (90 minutes drive) southeast of Kristiansund, 128km (2 hours drive) east of Åndalsnes, 187km (over 2.5 hours drive) southwest of Trondheim, 235km (3.5 hours drive) east of Ålesund, 466km (6 hours drive) north of Oslo, and 578km (over 8.5 hours drive with ferry crossings) northeast of Bergen.
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