Ovstefossen (Ovstebrufossen)

Videdalen / Hjelledalen, Sogn og Fjordane County, Norway

About Ovstefossen (Ovstebrufossen)

Hiking Distance: about 400m round trip
Suggested Time: 30 minutes

Date first visited: 2019-07-19
Date last visited: 2019-07-19

Waterfall Latitude: 61.93613
Waterfall Longitude: 7.25961

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Ovstefossen (more accurately Øvstefossen; I’ve also seen it called Ovstebrufossen or Øvstebrufossen) was yet another one of the accidental unplanned roadside waterfalls that we ended up stopping for only after noticing a roadside sign along the Rv15.

This section of the Rv15 was actually part of the dramatic Gamle Strynefjellsvegen (Old Stryn Mountain Road) where we could see glaciers draping the mountaintops surrounding the road.

Rv63_Rv15_084_07192019 - The lower sections of Øvstefossen from the bottom of the trail
The lower sections of Øvstefossen from the bottom of the trail

At first, I thought the sign referred to a much taller waterfall tumbling on an unnamed stream beneath the Godtidsskaret.

But once we got out of the car at the associated pullout (see directions below), it became apparent that the sign referred to the loud crashing waters on the Hjelledøla.

The Hjelledøla got its power and volume from the melting snow and glacial ice as the river sat deep in the Hjelledalen just north of the Jostedalsbreen and its associated arms.

According to my measurements on Norgeskart, this waterfall could have a 70m drop over its steepest run covering about 100m in length.

Experiencing Øvstefossen

Rv63_Rv15_070_07192019 - Long cascade beneath the Godtidsskaret that I thought at first was Øvstefossen
Long cascade beneath the Godtidsskaret that I thought at first was Øvstefossen

The view from the immediate lookout area adjacent to the pullout only yielded unsatisfying top down views over the Øvstefossen (though the view of the long cascade beneath Godtidsskaret was quite good).

That was when I noticed a trail descending a series of steps and railings alongside the thundering waterfall itself.

Some parts of this trail were slippery and wet due to the spray from the adjacent waterfall so I had to exercise some caution.

But eventually after 10-15 minutes of this descent (though I took my time), I reached the very bottom of the sanctioned trail where I managed to get a somewhat awkward side view of perhaps the most vertical part of Øvstefossen.

Rv63_Rv15_091_07192019 - Looking back up towards the upper part of Øvstefossen with someone at the main overlook for a little sense of scale
Looking back up towards the upper part of Øvstefossen with someone at the main overlook for a little sense of scale

With the lookout so tantalizingly close to the rushing river and falling water, it definitely felt as if the ground had vibrated with the pumping action of the waterfall.

This was my turnaround point, and after climbing all the way back up to the car park (I only took five minutes on the ascent), I had spent about 20 minutes away from the car.


Øvstefossen resides near the town and municipality of Stryn in Sogn og Fjordane County, Norway. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.

Rv63_Rv15_046_07192019 - Both times that we've visited Norway (in 2005 and 2019), we opted to take the Rv15 going through tunnels beneath mountains instead of the Old Stryn Mountain Road (Gamle Strynfjellsveien). So we missed out on some glaciers and waterfalls, but we still saw beautiful scenes like this waterfall tumbling next to one of the tunnels
Rv63_Rv15_049_07192019 - Descending the Rv15 while looking towards some farms in the Hjelledalen Valley near the pullout for Øvstefossen
Rv63_Rv15_057_07192019 - At first, I thought this waterfall was Øvstefossen until I realized it actually pertained to the raging river down below on the Hjelledøla. This cascade was actually on an unnamed stream beneath the Godtidskaret
Rv63_Rv15_059_07192019 - Looking in the distance towards what I think is the Skjerdingsdalen or the Hjelledalen
Rv63_Rv15_067_07192019 - Looking down at the Øvstefossen with the foot of the unnamed waterfall beneath Godtidsskaret in the distance
Rv63_Rv15_071_07192019 - Looking down at the context of the trail descending alongside Øvstefossen
Rv63_Rv15_072_07192019 - Further down alongside Øvstefossen on the trail towards its bottom for a more intimate and satisfying experience
Rv63_Rv15_074_07192019 - Another contextual look at the Øvstefossen Trail in context with the unnamed stream beneath the Godtidskaret
Rv63_Rv15_075_07192019 - Context of more railings of the Øvstefossen Trail with the waterfall itself rushing by
Rv63_Rv15_077_07192019 - Looking back up towards the top of Øvstefossen from the descending foot trail
Rv63_Rv15_079_07192019 - Øvstefossen continuing to fall further below so there was still more descending to do to really experience the waterfall
Rv63_Rv15_080_07192019 - Probably the most direct view I would have of the unnamed waterfall beneath the Godtidsskaret from the Øvstefossen Trail
Rv63_Rv15_081_07192019 - A part where the Øvstefossen Trail briefly went away from the waterfall to accomplish a brief switchback on the descent
Rv63_Rv15_082_07192019 - More of the Øvstefossen Trail deeper down the descent alongside its drop
Rv63_Rv15_085_07192019 - Another contextual look at part of Øvstefossen with the unnamed waterfall beneath the Godtidsskaret Waterfall
Rv63_Rv15_090_07192019 - The lookout at the very end of the Øvstefossen Trail
Rv63_Rv15_096_07192019 - Direct look at one of the drops of Øvstefossen from the very end of the official trail
Rv63_Rv15_100_07192019 - The experience didn't end with Øvstefossen as we continued driving west on the Rv15 and encountered even more tall waterfalls
Rv63_Rv15_105_07192019 - Still more temporary and semi-permanent waterfalls in the Hjelledalen after driving further downhill from the Øvstefossen pullout
Rv63_Rv15_110_07192019 - Mountains and glaciers dominated the scenery as we descended further down the Hjelledalen along the Rv15
Rv63_Rv15_121_07192019 - Still more waterfalls that we noticed across the Oppstrynsvatnet as we drove west on the Rv15 towards Stryn
Rv63_Rv15_134_07192019 - Looking towards a very tall waterfall as we drove west on the Rv15 towards Stryn

Øvstefossen or Øvstebrufossen sat right next to the Rv15 near its junction with the Fv258 (both roads were part of the Gamle Strynfjellsvegen in this stretch).

From Geiranger, we rove south on the Fv63 for about 24km eventually reaching a junction with the Rv15.

We then turned right onto the Rv15 and passed through a series of tunnels as we followed this road for about 14.5km.

Rv63_Rv15_099_07192019 - This was the view of the Rv15 as well as the Hjelledal Valley (Hjelledalen) from the pullout for Øvstefossen
This was the view of the Rv15 as well as the Hjelledal Valley (Hjelledalen) from the pullout for Øvstefossen

The signed pullout for the overlook of Øvstefossen was on the left side (about 500m from the exit of the Ospelitunnelen).

This drive would take about an hour without stops.

From Stryn, we drove east along the Rv15 for about 36km.

The pullout for Øvstefossen was on the right side of the road (about 10km past the northernmost turnoff for Hjelle).

Rv63_Rv15_058_07192019 - This was the view of Øvstefossen from the pullout by the Rv15 road
This was the view of Øvstefossen from the pullout by the Rv15 road

This drive would take a little over 30 minutes without stops.

For context, Geiranger was 75km (90 minutes drive) northeast of Stryn, 448km (6 hours drive) northwest of Oslo, 371km (6.5 hours drive with some ferry crossings) northeast of Bergen, and 376km (5.5 hours drive) southwest of Trondheim.

Find A Place To Stay

Examining the falls from the end of the official trail from as many perspectives as I could safely attain

Long video starting with a view close to the falls then climbing up to the road where I got the remaining perspectives from the top including a distant view towards another glacier

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Tagged with: vidsaeter, vidseter, skora, videdalen, hjelledalen, stryn, sogn og fjordane, norway, waterfalls, godtidsskaret, strynevegen, strynefjellsvegen, strynefjellet, jostedalsbreen

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning 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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