Ringedalsfossen, Tyssestrengene, and the Trolltunga Waterfalls

Tyssedal / Skjeggedal, Hordaland County, Norway

About Ringedalsfossen, Tyssestrengene, and the Trolltunga Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: 20km round trip (Magelitopp to Trolltunga); 28km round trip (Skjeggedal to Trolltunga)
Suggested Time: 6-8 hours (Magelitopp to Trolltunga); 10-12 hours (Skjeggedal to Trolltunga)

Date first visited: 2019-06-24
Date last visited: 2019-06-24

Waterfall Latitude: 60.10476
Waterfall Longitude: 6.7639

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Ringedalsfossen (or Skjeggedalsfossen) and Tyssestrengene were named waterfalls in the Skjeggedal Valley, and they acted as my excuse to do the Trolltunga hike.

The Ringedalsfossen Waterfall was the most conspicuous of the waterfalls here, and it was said to have a cumulative height of 420m with its highest vertical drop at around 300m (one early source said it was “only” 160m).

Trolltunga_211_06232019 - Distant look at Ringedalsfossen at the head of Skjeggedal Valley and the man-made Ringedalsvatnet
Distant look at Ringedalsfossen at the head of Skjeggedal Valley and the man-made Ringedalsvatnet

The same valley also contained another historically tall waterfall called Tyssestrengene (reportedly 646m tall with a freefall of 312m), but this waterfall had been just about completely sacrificed for hydroelectricity.

I also noticed other attractive waterfalls throughout the excursion, including one tumbling behind the P2 car park.

By the way, I’ll get into the logistics of driving and parking in the directions below.

So with that said, even though this is a waterfalls website and I’m paying homage to them on this page, no one comes here just to see the waterfalls before turning back!

Trolltunga_430_06232019 - This is Trolltunga over Ringedalsvatnet, which as you can see provides for a nice social media photo op, and it's the main reason why I consider it part of the 'Tourist Trifecta' with Preikestolen and Kjerag
This is Trolltunga over Ringedalsvatnet, which as you can see provides for a nice social media photo op, and it’s the main reason why I consider it part of the ‘Tourist Trifecta’ with Preikestolen and Kjerag

Indeed these Trolltunga waterfalls were merely a sideshow even though they gave me the motivation to partake in another long adventure – this time to the protruding overhanging rock called Trolltunga (“the Troll’s Tongue”).

It’s like someone had imagined that the rock resembled the tongue of a troll stuck out over a sheer vertical drop.

Perhaps that’s why the Trolltunga excursion also became quite popular over the years (I never recalled it being this popular on our first visit in Norway in June 2005).

In fact, it became so popular that I think of it as another one of “Tourist Trifecta”, which included Kjerag and Preikestolen, mostly because of its notoriety and popularity internationally, especially in the social media circles.

Trolltunga_054_06232019 - This was an attractive cascade on Mogelielvi (Mogelifossen?) tumbling behind the boom gate controlling the traffic from the P2 lot at Skjeggedal to the restricted P3 lot at Mågelitopp
This was an attractive cascade on Mogelielvi (Mogelifossen?) tumbling behind the boom gate controlling the traffic from the P2 lot at Skjeggedal to the restricted P3 lot at Mågelitopp

So to make a long story short, if you’re going to take the trouble to come up Tyssedal Valley into Skjeggedal Valley, you mind as well do the whole thing.

Even though there is no way you’re going to be alone here (you’re likely to share this place with hundreds or perhaps thousands of people from around the world), it’s worth seeing what all the fuss is about.

Of course, to earn a sighting in person of this Instagram favorite, it involves hiking for 28km in the worst case or as little as 20km at a minimum.

Hiking to Trolltunga

The Trolltunga hike is essentially a very long out-and-back hike covering 10km in each direction with almost a 400m elevation gain from the official trailhead near the plateau at Mågelitopp.

Trolltunga_499_06242019 - The Trolltunga hike is so popular that I can almost guarantee that you're going to share the experience with many other people from around the world
The Trolltunga hike is so popular that I can almost guarantee that you’re going to share the experience with many other people from around the world

If you don’t start your hike from there, you’re looking at hiking the 4km (or 4.3km according to the signs) switchbacking road climbing about 400m in elevation from the P2 car park at Skjeggedal to the official trailhead at Mågelitopp.

That would bring the grand total to 28km with nearly an 800m gain in elevation.

I noticed that it was possible to pay for a shuttle to take the bite out of hiking the switchbacks.

For RVs or other oversized vehicles, there’s also a P1 car park, where you’d have to ride a shuttle to get from there to the P2 car park at Skjeggedal.

Trolltunga_079_06232019 - This is the official trailhead for Trolltunga, which sat at the joint of the last switchback leading up to the P3 car park at Mågelitopp
This is the official trailhead for Trolltunga, which sat at the joint of the last switchback leading up to the P3 car park at Mågelitopp

Anyways, I view Trolltunga as primarily a Summer hike since the daylight hours are longer (it doesn’t properly get dark around the Summer Solstice), and the threat of snow is less.

While it’s possible to hike in the off-season between October 1 and May 31, you had better come prepared, get an early start, and arrange for a guide who knows the terrain and the hazards better than you do.

Anyways, the signs here say the trail requires most people about 10-12 hours to finish.

I wound up doing it in 7.5 hours (including a long rest break), but keep in mind that I started from the official trailhead at Mågelitopp and not from the P2 car park.

Trolltunga_593_06242019 - I noticed that if I wasn't successful parking at the P3 car park, there was a shuttle that brought hikers up to the Trolltunga trailhead from the P2 car park
I noticed that if I wasn’t successful parking at the P3 car park, there was a shuttle that brought hikers up to the Trolltunga trailhead from the P2 car park

So I had saved myself around 90 minutes of additional hiking in each direction!

Hiking to Trolltunga: From Mågelitopp to the Top of the Climb

From the official trailhead at Mågelitopp, I followed a fairly straightforward path that was a combination of dirt trail and granite sections with poles or red Ts helping to keep me oriented.

Most of the poles have progress indicators on the signs telling you have far you’ve come and how much more you have to go for the remaining 10km from Mågelitopp.

Trolltunga_082_06232019 - The beginning of the Trolltunga Trail near Mågelitopp involved following snow poles where some of them had progress indicators like this one
The beginning of the Trolltunga Trail near Mågelitopp involved following snow poles where some of them had progress indicators like this one

The initial 1.75km pretty much followed fairly featureless terrain as it passed between remote mountain cabins and offered distant teases of both the Hardangervidda snowfields as well as the Folgefonna Glacier.

Shortly beyond the last of the cabins at a part the maps called Gryteskar, the trail then started a brutally long and steep ascent.

This stretch climbed almost the remaining 400m of total elevation gain (relative to the P2 car park’s elevation), and it did this in a distance of about 1.25km or so.

The difficulty of this climb was something closer to Preikestolen and less like the more technical Kjerag.

Trolltunga_108_06232019 - Before the 3km point, I had to go through a brutally long ascent gaining nearly 400m in about 1.25km. This is the view back towards the flat near Mågelitopp
Before the 3km point, I had to go through a brutally long ascent gaining nearly 400m in about 1.25km. This is the view back towards the flat near Mågelitopp

While the trail did have some potentially hazardous loose rock sections, I found the rock steps and general path to be easily followed.

Towards the top of the climb, the ascent degenerated into more of a granite friction pitch, where I then had to rely on cairns and spray-painted red Ts.

I felt that some of this friction pitch had enough steepness to make things quite uncomfortably dangerous if the granite became wet from precipitation.

Indeed, you definitely need good hiking boots for these kinds of parts.

Trolltunga_109_06232019 - Approaching the summit of the initial brutal climb at the 3km point of the Trolltunga hike. By this point, the footing degenerated more into granite friction pitches with loose rocks
Approaching the summit of the initial brutal climb at the 3km point of the Trolltunga hike. By this point, the footing degenerated more into granite friction pitches with loose rocks

Eventually, at the top of the climb, I soon reached the sign at the 3km point, where the worst of the climbing was now behind me.

Hiking to Trolltunga: From Trombeskar to the Second Rescue Cabin

Beyond the 3km pole at the top of that brutal initial climb, the trail then undulated on mostly “flat” plateau dotted with tarns.

Barely another kilometer or two, the trail then reached a trail junction at what the topographic maps called Trombeskar.

The signs clearly stated to keep right to continue to Trolltunga, but if you’re curious, the trail on the left ultimately went towards Tyssevassbu and the reservoir resulting from the dam regulating the flow of Tysso (the stream responsible for Tyssestrengene).

Trolltunga_138_06232019 - As the Trolltunga Trail started flattening out beyond the brutal initial climb, it skirted between and around alpine tarns like this one
As the Trolltunga Trail started flattening out beyond the brutal initial climb, it skirted between and around alpine tarns like this one

Beyond the junction at Trombeskar, the plateau scenery continued skirting between and around more alpine tarns while approaching the rim of the cliffs overlooking Ringedalsvatnet.

It was during this stretch that I started to get partial views of Ringedalsfossen way in the distance.

Towards the end of this flat region (which the topo map calls Store Floren), I noticed some cabins as well as a signposted Rescue Cabin and Mountain Guard.

This was around 2km beyond the pole at the top of the brutal climb near Trombeskar.

Trolltunga_288_06232019 - Between the two mountain rescue cabins (roughly the half-way point of the hike from Mågelitopp), I pretty much witnessed Ringedalsfossen from various angles for almost this entire stretch
Between the two mountain rescue cabins (roughly the half-way point of the hike from Mågelitopp), I pretty much witnessed Ringedalsfossen from various angles for almost this entire stretch

Beyond the mountain cabin, the trail did some more climbing, but it had neither the length nor the severity of what I had experienced earlier on.

As the trail continued to skirt alongside the rim of the valley, I kept getting more views of Ringedalsfossen as the angle became increasingly direct.

This was where the stretch where the picture you see at the top of this page was taken from.

In the mean time, the trail also skirted by some smaller cascades and streams, including a section where the course of a rocky stream actually coincided with the Trolltunga Trail itself!

This was one spot where having Gore-tex boots would come in handy, especially if this stream happened to have high flow.

Trolltunga_289_06232019 - Also between the mountain cabins, I encountered other streams and cascades on the Trolltunga Trail
Also between the mountain cabins, I encountered other streams and cascades on the Trolltunga Trail

The views of Ringedalsfossen would continue throughout this stretch until I went about 4km from the pole near Trombeskar (or 7km from the official trailhead).

That was where I encountered the second rescue cabin perched atop a hill overlooking the Trolltunga Trail, which did another moderate climb at this point.

Hiking to Trolltunga: The Last Third

Beyond the second mountain cabin, the trail briefly followed some power lines before undulating some more.

By this time, Ringedalsfossen starts to hide behind some of the foreground cliffs (one of which I believe belonged to a plateau called Endanut on the topo maps).

Trolltunga_535_06242019 - This was as much of the Tysso Stream that I could see that might belong to Tyssestrengene, but as you can see, I really regretted not figuring out how to improve the Tyssestrengene experience by going onto the Endanut Plateau
This was as much of the Tysso Stream that I could see that might belong to Tyssestrengene, but as you can see, I really regretted not figuring out how to improve the Tyssestrengene experience by going onto the Endanut Plateau

After passing by a not-so-obvious spur onto the Endanut Plateau (I’m still kicking myself for not exploring it and possibly getting a better look at Tyssestrengene), the trail descended into and ascended out of a couple steep gullies with mild dropoffs.

Beyond the gullies (which I believe belonged to part of the Tysso system), the trail then skirted by tarns as well as the walls holding up the stream and causing the Tyssehylen (which I believe the maps identify this reservoir with).

Parts of the trail even goes over or in front of such dam walls.

At this point, I still had one more kilometer to go.

Trolltunga_334_06232019 - Looking towards one of the dam walls holding up the many streams belonging to Tysso, which would have eventually plunged over the cliffs downstream as Tyssestrengene
Looking towards one of the dam walls holding up the many streams belonging to Tysso, which would have eventually plunged over the cliffs downstream as Tyssestrengene

The plateau trail at this point kind of degerated into a granite route-finding scramble.

It was quite easy to lose the trail, especially given the presence of some false paths or some mini-detours that still took you to the same place.

But eventually after going 10km or roughly 4-5 hours or so from the official start, I finally reached both the vista as well as the access to the Trolltunga protrusion.

You’ll know when you made it because there was always a crowd of people here, which got worse the later in the day it became (yet another reason why you’d want an early start).

Trolltunga_349_06232019 - In the final kilometer or so of the Trolltunga Trail where I had to negotiate the granite plateau that required the aid of these red Ts and rock cairns to stay on track
In the final kilometer or so of the Trolltunga Trail where I had to negotiate the granite plateau that required the aid of these red Ts and rock cairns to stay on track

I found it fairly straightforward to get that signature view of the Trolltunga perched over Ringedalsvatnet, but some people did do some daring cliff scrambling to get even lower down for a slightly more “improved” perspective.

As for getting your picture taken on the tongue itself, generally people pre-coordinate with others in their own group or even with strangers.

The way it goes is that you leave your camera with someone who hopefully won’t run off with it, and then you go line up in the queue to get onto the tongue.

Once you’ve had your turn and vacate so someone else can get on, then you can go back and pick up said camera from the person who did you the favor.

Trolltunga_479_06242019 - A whole bunch of people waiting their turn to get onto the Trolltunga and having their photo moment
A whole bunch of people waiting their turn to get onto the Trolltunga and having their photo moment

Although I did a little more exploring to see what other ways I could experience Trolltunga, I pretty much turned back from this point.

Apparently, it was possible to keep going to the top of Ringedalsfossen, but I didn’t bother.

At least with the return hike, it was primarily downhill with a few short uphill stretches.

In general, I spent far less time on the return hike (around 3 hours) versus on the way there (nearly 4 hours).

Brief History of Ringedalsfossen and Tyssestrengene

Much of this history part is a cliff-notes version of what you can read on the Kraft Museet site. I’m just going to summarize how things became what they are today.

Trolltunga_017_06232019 - Looking towards the dam holding up Ringedalsvatnet, which was merely one of many resulting hydro developments to satisfy the power needs of the factories in Odda
Looking towards the dam holding up Ringedalsvatnet, which was merely one of many resulting hydro developments to satisfy the power needs of the factories in Odda

While both Ringedalsfossen and Tyssestrengene were both technically still present, they only put on a show in special circumstances (i.e. significant rain and/or heavy snowmelt without clouds getting in the way to block the views).

It used to not be that way as both waterfalls were tourist attractions since the 1820s when British visitors first made their visits.

Inevitably though, the Industrial Revolution was in full effect at the time, and the freeflow of the waters (including the waterfalls) were perceived as being “wasted”.

Despite efforts by the Den Norske Turistforeningen (DNT), which was kind of the Norwegian Sierra Club, to preserve these waterfalls, the temptation was too great by speculators and industrial interests to overcome.

Ultimately, the rights were sold, and Tyssedal made a dramatic transformation into one of the key power generating areas to aid in carbide production in the neighboring town of Odda.

Odda_010_06232019 - There were many ugly factory buildings in the town of Odda, but due to its favorable topology, it became the beneficiary of the hydropower developments in Tyssedal and Skjeggedal to run such industry
There were many ugly factory buildings in the town of Odda, but due to its favorable topology, it became the beneficiary of the hydropower developments in Tyssedal and Skjeggedal to run such industry

In any case, the power stations erected from Tyssedal to Skjeggedal Valley were credited in being instrumental in Norway’s transformation into a formidable industrial power.

Although DNT wasn’t able to successfully save these waterfalls, they did manage to save the waterfalls in Utladalen from regulation, and this included Vettisfossen.

These days, both Tyssedal and Skjeggedal exemplified how Norwegians have taken advantage of their geologically favorable circumstances to their advantage to advance industry and hence lift itself out from being a poor country.

Given this historical perspective, it now made total sense why we noticed so many ugly power hungry factories and quarries all over Odda.

As far as the waterfalls are concerned, both Ringedalsfossen and Tyssestrengene would only flow if there had been significant precipitation and/or at least heavy snowmelt to overflow the dams.

Trolltunga_183_06232019 - Focused only on the drop of Ringedalsfossen, which as you can see, it has seen better days when its stream was allowed to flow freely
Focused only on the drop of Ringedalsfossen, which as you can see, it has seen better days when its stream was allowed to flow freely

Of course, even if such favorable waterfalling conditions occurred, you still have to be able to see them without clouds getting in the way.

Plus, the hiking conditions can’t be too dangerous either.

Indeed, even just seeing either of these waterfalls flow would be a feat onto itself, and that’s why I tended to cap the scenery score to a 3 when they easily could have been strong 4s.

Authorities

Ringedalsfossen and Tyssestrengene (as well as the Trolltunga itself) sat near the town and municipality of Odda in Hordaland County, Norway. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit the Trolltunga AS website. There is also a Facebook page set up where the Mountain Guards provide updates.

Trolltunga_024_06232019 - My Trolltunga adventure started in the early morning waiting for the boom gate to the P3 car park to open up, but I at least got to check out this waterfall, which I think could be called Mogelifossen or Mågelifossen since it tumbled on the Mågelielva
Trolltunga_059_06232019 - Looking back at the valley towards the mouth of Skjeggedal and in the direction of Tyssedal and Odda from Mågelitopp
Trolltunga_060_06232019 - Only from the lofty heights of Mågelitopp can you get this glimpse of Odda or some neighboring town in the distance as well as some waterfalls above them
Trolltunga_068_06232019 - From the P3 car park, I also noticed this waterfall in a separate valley
Trolltunga_074_06232019 - After gearing up, then it was time to walk down the road to access the last switchback, which was where the official Trolltunga Trailhead started from
Trolltunga_076_06232019 - Looking way in the distance towards some waterfall ultimately tumbling into Sørfjorden
Trolltunga_084_06232019 - The initial 1.75km stretch of the trail pretty much was gently climbing with the odd bridges and cabins along the way
Trolltunga_095_06232019 - At around the 1.5km point of the Trolltunga hike, I started to better appreciate the steep climb that was ahead of me
Trolltunga_097_06232019 - Context of some of the cabins around the Trolltunga Trail before the climb at Gryteskar
Trolltunga_100_06232019 - The beginning of the brutally long and steep climb at Gryteskar was pretty much on dirt trail with lots of fairly-sized rocks getting in the way
Trolltunga_101_06232019 - Some of the large rocks on the long ascent then became stone steps to help with some of the steeper sections
Trolltunga_103_06232019 - The Trolltunga Trail continued climbing on these rock steps the higher up I went
Trolltunga_105_06232019 - Looking back at the flatter area I had passed through initially as I was still on the long climb on the Trolltunga Trail
Trolltunga_106_06232019 - This was a progress sign at the 2km point from the Trolltunga Trailhead
Trolltunga_110_06232019 - Momentary break in the initial climb on the Trolltunga Trail before the climb resumed
Trolltunga_114_06232019 - Heading towards the top of the initial climb, where the climb transitioned between dirt with rocks and granite friction pitches
Trolltunga_116_06232019 - Looking back at the initial climb that I just did for Trolltunga
Trolltunga_117_06232019 - The initial climb on the way to Trolltunga still didn't end yet
Trolltunga_121_06232019 - The last of the friction pitch on the initial climb before reaching the 3km indicator
Trolltunga_125_06232019 - Plenty of signage or indicators like this to keep you on track.  This one was at the junction at Trombeskar.
Trolltunga_128_06232019 - The next phase of the Trolltunga hike involved traversing through a relatively flat plateau dotted with alpine tarns like this one
Trolltunga_142_06232019 - Looking back at other hikers making their way to Trolltunga (and catching up with me)
Trolltunga_145_06232019 - Extent of the plateau scenery as the Trolltunga Trail approached the gorge rim
Trolltunga_157_06232019 - The Trolltunga Trail starting to go by some remote cabins that I believe are occupied by the Mountain Guards who are on the look out for search and rescue situations
Trolltunga_163_06232019 - This was the first of the two mountain rescue cabins seen from the Trolltunga Trail
Trolltunga_165_06232019 - Beyond the first mountain rescue cabin, the Trolltunga Trail started climbing again
Trolltunga_175_06232019 - By this point in the Trolltunga hike, I started to see Ringedalsfossen in the distance
Trolltunga_203_06232019 - Looking back at hikers making the climb just past the first mountain rescue cabin on the Trolltunga Trail
Trolltunga_204_06232019 - Looking up at where I ultimately had to climb up to beyond the first mountain rescue cabin on the Trolltunga Trail
Trolltunga_232_06232019 - Just to give you an idea of the trail conditions for Trolltunga, this was what I saw for the large chunk of the trail between the mountain rescue cabins
Trolltunga_235_06232019 - Context of the head of Ringedalsvatnet and Ringedalsfossen, where the Trolltunga Trail between the two cabins definitely yielded views of them pretty much throughout this stretch
Trolltunga_252_06232019 - Contextual direct view of Ringedalsfossen and the head of Ringedalsvatnet as the Trolltunga Trail continued to present these two things from different angles
Trolltunga_257_06232019 - Looking ahead at the context of the continuation of the Trolltunga Trail on the long plateau stretch towards and beyond the second mountain rescue cabin
Trolltunga_266_06232019 - Continuing on the long plateau stretch towards the second mountain rescue cabin and beyond
Trolltunga_274_06232019 - Another climbing section as I was getting closer to the second mountain rescue cabin on the Trolltunga Trail
Trolltunga_279_06232019 - One of the side cascades spilling right onto the Trolltunga Trail
Trolltunga_286_06232019 - Looking downstream towards the rest of the extent of Ringedalsvatnet as seen from the Trolltunga Trail
Trolltunga_300_06232019 - The Trolltunga Trail continued to skirt the rim of the gorge overlooking Ringedalsvatnet
Trolltunga_310_06232019 - Another climbing section of the Trolltunga Trail as we were about to pass by the second mountain rescue cabin perched at the top of this incline
Trolltunga_317_06232019 - After the second mountain rescue cabin, we then had to traverse through more plateau with power pylons and lines kind of acting as trail markers
Trolltunga_331_06232019 - After some bit of undulation, I then got to a part of the trail that had these hoses or ropes set up to help where the footing against the dropoffs might petrify the unsure
Trolltunga_335_06232019 - This gully here was one of the streams on Tysso that was supposed to rush its way to Tyssestrengene further downstream, but as you can see, the dams pretty much put an end to their flow
Trolltunga_345_06232019 - The Trolltunga Trail's last kilometer then degenerated into a little more route finding and scrambling though the red Ts like this helped with the navigation and hints
Trolltunga_357_06232019 - Continuing on the last kilometer of the long hike to Trolltunga
Trolltunga_371_06232019 - Finally approaching the edge of the cliff, where the people around there must be witnessing the Trolltunga itself
Trolltunga_399_06232019 - Finally making it to the famous Trolltunga
Trolltunga_455_06232019 - Looking in the distance from Trolltunga towards one of the streams producing a thin waterfall spilling towards Ringedalsvatnet
Trolltunga_491_06242019 - It can and does get pretty crowded at Trolltunga as you can see from this queue of people waiting their turn to have their moment on the tongue itself
Trolltunga_505_06242019 - This is what it looks like at Trolltunga when you approach the bunch of people gathered at the rim to witness the parade of people having their moment on the tongue one by one
Trolltunga_511_06242019 - After having my moment with Trolltunga, I then started heading back.  The picture shown here approaches the mini-reservoirs held up by dams and blocking the Tysso Stream, which was responsible for the demise of Tyssestrengene
Trolltunga_524_06242019 - Context of the people going in both directions in the last kilometer by Trolltunga
Trolltunga_531_06242019 - Looking back at the Trolltunga Trail now that I started to regain the power lines section
Trolltunga_534_06242019 - Looking towards one of the parts of the Tysso Stream that I believe would be near the top of the drop of Tyssestrengene
Trolltunga_536_06242019 - Looking in the distance towards a waterfall making a vertical drop though I couldn't tell if that was the actual drop of Tyssestrengene or not
Trolltunga_544_06242019 - Walking along the power lines on the return part of the Trolltunga excursion
Trolltunga_549_06242019 - Making it back to the second mountain rescue cabin
Trolltunga_552_06242019 - Context of one of the descending stretches of the return leg of the Trolltunga hike
Trolltunga_555_06242019 - Looking down at a group of hikers seemingly suffering on their way to Trolltunga
Trolltunga_558_06242019 - The nice thing about the return hike from Trolltunga was that I got to appreciate the Folgefonn Glacier in the distance
Trolltunga_571_06242019 - Looking in the distance towards the snow and ice that I believe are part of either the Hardangervidda snow field or the Folgefonna Glacier
Trolltunga_578_06242019 - On the long descent leading back down along Gryteskar
Trolltunga_583_06242019 - Continuing on the long descent back down along Gryteskar
Trolltunga_585_06242019 - Back at the bridge on the flat part of the Trolltunga hike almost near its end
Trolltunga_589_06242019 - Looking towards some small sliding streams from the footbridges on the Trolltunga Trail
Trolltunga_595_06242019 - Finally making it back to the car park at Mågelitopp
Trolltunga_604_06242019 - Back at the familiar Mågelifossen at the P2 car park after concluding my long hike

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The way I did this excursion was by basing myself in the town of Odda, then doing the drive all the way to the last car park P3.

From this town, I drove for about 6km north on the Rv13 before entering the town of Tyssedal.

Once at Tyssedal, I then followed the signs for Trolltunga, which left the Rv13 and went up the Skjeggedalsvegen, which climbed steeply through town.

At about 1.4km from the Rv13, I reached a fork in the road where the turn on the right ended up at the Tyssohallen, which was also the Trolltunga P1 car park.

Trolltunga_053_06232019 - Looking back down at the boom barricade preventing people from driving up to the P3 car park at Mågelitopp. The cheapest option to reach the Trolltunga Trail could be to do the brutal 4km uphill walk on this narrow and winding road
Looking back down at the boom barricade preventing people from driving up to the P3 car park at Mågelitopp. The cheapest option to reach the Trolltunga Trail could be to do the brutal 4km uphill walk on this narrow and winding road

Keeping left to continue on Skjeggedalsvegen, I then drove a nearly single-lane road for nearly 5km, which brought me to the Trolltunga P2 car park.

Then, I was able to go on the restricted toll road to access the Trolltunga P3 car park, which was nearly another 4km further and was the last of the parking spots.

It would take me under 30 minutes to cover the nearly 13km stretch of this drive.

For some geographical context, Odda is 32km (over 30 minutes drive) south of Lofthus, 41km (about 45 minutes drive) south of Kinsarvik, 42km (about 45 minutes drive) north of Røldal, 72km (about 90 minutes drive) south of Eidfjord, 134km (about 3 hours drive with a ferry crossing) east of Bergen, 179km (over 3 hours drive with some ferry crossings) north of Stavanger, and 323km (about 5 hours drive) west of Oslo.

Trolltunga_056_06232019 - Ascending the narrow switchbacking road up to the P3 car park at Mågelitopp
Ascending the narrow switchbacking road up to the P3 car park at Mågelitopp

Now that you have an idea of how I drove here and where it relative to other towns and cities, I’ll then go into some more detail about the three different car parks that are available as of when I did this excursion in late June 2019.

Trolltunga Car Park P3: Mågelitopp

Of all the car parks to do the Trolltunga hike, this was by far the most preferred one to start from.

That’s because if you start from here, you’re looking at hiking about 20km round trip.

Of course, this comes with a catch.

Trolltunga_063_06232019 - The limited parking for the P3 car park at Mågelitopp
The limited parking for the P3 car park at Mågelitopp

First, the P3 car park only had 30 parking spots.

The gate to Mågelitopp (which was right at the upper end of the P2 car park complex; see below) didn’t even open until around 6am.

At least that was the scheduled and official opening time. That said, they started a few minutes earlier when I did it on my trip, and I actually made it up to the P3 car park before 6am.

In any case, the official scheduled time meant that I showed up at least an hour earlier to ensure that I was one of the 30 cars able to snag a spot.

Trolltunga_039_06232019 - Looking down at early birds patiently waiting for the boom gate to the road leading up to Mågelitopp to open up around 6am. This waiting area was at the uphill end of the P2 car park at Skjeggedal
Looking down at early birds patiently waiting for the boom gate to the road leading up to Mågelitopp to open up around 6am. This waiting area was at the uphill end of the P2 car park at Skjeggedal

Second of all, it costed me a whopping 600 NOK (this is equivalent around $75 USD) to use the toll road and the parking space!

Once I went past the boom barricade, I then went up the switchbacking 4km road.

This was a typical single-lane mountain road, where you have to be comfortable with steep inclines and tight turns while paying attention to any possible oncoming traffic.

Room for passing (or at least scooting around oncoming traffic) occurred at each of the very wide turns at each switchback.

Trolltunga_080_06232019 - Looking back at the part of the road to Mågelitopp that I had to walk to access the Trolltunga Trail
Looking back at the part of the road to Mågelitopp that I had to walk to access the Trolltunga Trail

After parking the car in the limited parking space at P3, then I had to walk downhill for 250m before I can finally start the Trolltunga hike.

Trolltunga Car Park P2: Skjeggedal

This seemed to be like the headquarters of all things Trolltunga.

Not only did the P2 car park accommodate about 180 cars, it also had a small cafe, some fairly-sized WC facility, and even a cable car that wasn’t working.

Unlike with the P3 car park, there were no strings attached to come here in terms of tolls and gates.

Trolltunga_007_06232019 - Looking back at the fairly sizable and developed P2 car park at Skjeggedal
Looking back at the fairly sizable and developed P2 car park at Skjeggedal

You just pretty much drive up here and hope there’s a parking space for you.

If you do snag a parking spot, the pay-and-display cost was a whopping 500 NOK.

From here, I did notice that there was a shuttle to knock out the pain of walking up the 4km switchbacks, which would take about 90 minutes or so.

Since I didn’t do this shuttle, I can’t advise about the experience, but as of when I was here in 2019, it costed 100 NOK per person to go up. There could be a discounted rate to go back down.

Trolltunga Car Park P1: Tyssedal

Trolltunga_607_06242019 - This is the P1 car park at Tyssedal, which had plenty of parking spaces, but as you can see from this photo, it was the least preferred place to park the car due to the additional logistics (i.e. shuttle buses and/or vans) involved
This is the P1 car park at Tyssedal, which had plenty of parking spaces, but as you can see from this photo, it was the least preferred place to park the car due to the additional logistics (i.e. shuttle buses and/or vans) involved

For people shut out of the P2 car park or who can’t take the narrow mountain roads further up the valley due to being oversized (i.e. RVs, trailers, campervans, etc.), this would be the car park for you.

This car park sits right at the top end of the town of Tyssedal at some kind of sports hall (idrettsplass), and can accommodate 220 cars.

The cost to park here is 300 NOK.

I’m not sure if this includes the cost of the shuttle to go the extra 5km or so to the P2 car park.

Trolltunga_609_06242019 - Looking downhill at the sports area (idrettsplass) at the P1 car park in Tyssedal
Looking downhill at the sports area (idrettsplass) at the P1 car park in Tyssedal

And if you want to go all the way to the actual trailhead at Mågelitopp, then that’s an additional cost for sure as mentioned earlier at the P2 section.

I’ve also noticed that it’s possible to shuttle to Trolltunga from Odda as well as from as far away as Bergen.

I didn’t exercise those options so I can’t say more about them.

Checking out the waterfall by the P3 gate entrance while sweeping to check out the road as well as the falls and the queue to get up to Magelitopp


Sweep showing the full length of Ringedalsvatnet before zooming in on the main waterfalls at the head of the lake


Semi-circular sweep showing the view of Trolltunga with a Russian lady about to pop off a bottle of champagne on top of the tongue


Back and forth semi-circular sweep from beyond Trolltunga showing the outflow of Tysstrengene (or what's left of it) as it feeds Ringedalsvatnet below

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Tagged with: trolltunga, ringedalsvatnet, tyssedal, tyssestrengene, tysso, nybuana, magelitopp, mogelielvi, mogelifossen, skjeggedal, norway, waterfalls, hordaland, odda, skjeggedal



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Johnny Cheng

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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