Rjukandefossen was a powerful double-waterfall that we decided to pursue after noticing it on a free brochure while at a visitor center in Flåm. We definitely didn’t expect to see it going into our June 2005 trip to Norway, but after having seen it, we were glad that we did as a bonus waterfall to the nearby Hydnefossen in the ski resort alpine region of Hemsedal Valley. This falls was said to be a modest 18m tall, but the force with which the raging Mørkedøla River plunged in dual segments sending spray all around its plunge pool area made me better appreciate the translation of the waterfall’s name as the “Smoking Falls.” We were fortunate that the mist was generally being blown away from our vantage point otherwise it would have been a difficult waterfall to view and photograph.
From the car park, it was a relatively flat and straightforward 200m walk that took us less than 10 minutes to get to a place where we can view the falls. The sound of the falls probably made it easier for us to navigate through the rather confusing network of crisscrossing trails. We were careful to stay away from the raging river and that meant that we could only view the falls in the manner shown at the top of this page.
I did a little further exploring downstream of the falls where I noticed there was a swinging bridge across the river, but it was sufficiently far enough from the falls that I wasn’t sure where it was going so I didn’t continue on. Had we had a little more time to explore (it was 8:10pm when we showed up and we still had over an hour drive to return to our accommodation in Lærdal), perhaps I could have continued on that path to see if it would have yielded a different view of the falls on the opposite side of the river.
Anyhow, when we had to hike back to the car park, we didn’t have the audible clues from the waterfall’s roar so we had some difficulty navigating through the confusing criss-crossing trails to return to the car park. With some trial and error, we eventually got back to the car park, but not before returning on a much different path than we took in the first place.
Rjukandefossen was about 1.2km from the center of the town of Tuv, which itself was 4.5km west of the town of Hemsedal on Rv52. We managed to find the somewhat hidden car park near a sign for Rjukandefoss Camping alongside Rv52. There was also a white sign nearby the camping place, which we used as a landmark for finding the nearest car park for the falls.
Since we were coming from Lærdalsøyri, we can say that we drove about 78km to get here on a combination of the Rv5, E16, and the Rv52. Had we been going the other way, I believe Gol would be the closer of the more substantial towns in the area as it would’ve been about 36km driving west on the Rv52. Gol was where the Rv7, Rv52, and the Road 51 intersected.
For context, Lærdalsøyri was 206km (3 hours drive) east of Bergen, 82km (over an hour drive) west of Hemsedal, 252km (nearly 4 hours drive) west of Lillehammer, and 337km (over 5 hours drive) west of Oslo.
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