Ramnefjellsfossen was a very tall waterfall spilling into the beautiful but deceptively calm and dangerous lake Lovatnet (pronounced “LOO-vaht-nuh”; meaning “the napping or laughing lake”?).
Depending on how you measure the length of its run, it could have a drop of around 500m or even as high as 800m.
In my mind, this waterfall had more than just its height going for it, however.
Indeed, the Lovatnet lake with the Ramnefjellsfossen spilling into it provided one of the more stunning landscapes that Julie and I had ever witnessed.
And that was what made this waterfalling experience special.
For all intents and purposes, this was essentially a roadside waterfall.
However, we primarily experienced it from a signed viewing area as well as from the Kjenndalstova by the head of the Lovatnet lake.
In between these spots, we did manage to pull over at a couple of rare pullouts with views across Lovatnet towards the falls.
That was pretty much the extent of our viewing Ramnefjellsfossen as it was really more of a backdrop waterfall as opposed to one that we would hike close to for a more intimate experience.
Ramnefjellsfossen made its leap on the Utigardselva so I’ve also seen the falls called Utigordsfossen [Utigørdsfossen] or Utigardsfossen [Utigårdsfossen].
Moreover, I’ve also seen the falls spelled as Ramnefjellfossen.
Nevertheless, you may have actually seen this waterfall in the literature under the premise of tallest waterfalls in the world as a result of these other names.
But Ramnefjellsfossen was its official name because it tumbled beneath the mountain Ramnefjellet, which supported the Ramnefjellbreen Glacier.
And it was ultimately the glacier that supplied this waterfall with its flow.
Lodalen’s Tragic History
I had mentioned that the lake Lovatnet was deceptively calm and dangerous.
The reason why was because we learned that this place was notorious for a pair of deadly landslides in 1905 and 1936.
Mt Ramnefjell featured prominently in these tragedies because it was the source of the rockfalls that dropped into Lovatnet.
This resulted in the tidal waves that had wiped out the lakeside communities of Nesdal and Bødal.
The second incident killed 74 people (even with mitigation measures since the 1905 incident) and became Norway’s biggest natural disaster in its recorded history.
This explained why the entire Lodalen Valley was so eerily quiet during our visits in both 2005 and 2019 as I’d imagine a lack of desire for any further developments in the valley.
It definitely reminded us of the forces involved that often result in such dramatic scenery that we behold today.
Regarding the fine balance between carving out a living in such dangerous landscapes and dealing with the risks.
I recalled a Hurtigruten guide really hit home the level of respect he has for people living with the realities of Norway’s nature.
He stated that there’s no how-to guide for how to live in Norway’s steep values, and it’s all trial-and-error.
And as you can see by the consequences, the “errors” are always a constant aspect of life here.
Ramnefjellsfossen sat within Lodalen Valley, where the well-signed narrow county road Fv723 that leaves the Fv60 road at the town of Loen provided the main access to experience the falls.
We drove the mostly single-lane road around the northeast shore of Lovatnet.
At about 14km from the Fv723 Road turnoff in Loen, we reached a small car park and viewing area for Ramnefjellsfossen across from Lovatnet.
There was a plaque here naming the people who had lost their lives in the rockslide-caused tsunami back in 1936.
There were then a few pullouts to look across Lovatnet for more direct views of Ramnefjellsfossen (including one that was about 600m beyond the viewpoint with the memorial mentioned above).
At about 1.8km beyond the lookout with the memorial, we then encountered the self-help toll station.
At 200m beyond the toll station, we then turned right to go the final distance to the car park for Kjenndalstova, where there was a cafe as well as a nice dock area with a gorgeous view of Ramnefjellsfossen and Lovatnet (which is pictured at the top of this page).
For context, Loen was 6km (under 10 minutes drive) northeast of Olden, 11km (under 15 minutes drive) southeast of Stryn, 86km (over 90 minutes drive) southwest of Geiranger, 110km (over 90 minutes drive) northeast of Førde, 128km (about 2 hours drive) north of Sogndal, and 284km (about 5 hours drive with a ferry crossing) northeast of Bergen.
Finally, we do have to mention that we didn’t get to make it all the way to Kjenndalstova on our first visit to Norway in 2005 because the road was closed near the current location of the viewpoint with the memorial (under 14km from Loen).
We’re still not certain why it closed back then.
But I bring this up because there could be issues with road access availability, especially given Lodalen’s history of natural disasters due to rockslides.