Sanddalsfossen

Myklebustdalen, Sogn og Fjordane County, Norway

About Sanddalsfossen


Hiking Distance: 1.8km round trip
Suggested Time: 1 hour

Date first visited: 2005-06-30
Date last visited: 2019-07-20

Waterfall Latitude: 61.75509
Waterfall Longitude: 6.57926

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Sanddalsfossen was perhaps the most remarkable of the waterfalls in the quiet Myklebustdalen Valley.

Julie and I first noticed the 150m falls while briefly touring the valley as it sat quite prominently at the north end of the valley.

Myklebust_130_07192019 - The sanctioned view of Sanddalsfossen from the upper approach to it
The sanctioned view of Sanddalsfossen from the upper approach to it

As soon as we saw it, our immediate attention went towards finding a suitable place to pull over and see if there was a better way to experience it.

In the couple of times that I’ve visited this falls – once in 2005 and again in 2019 – I found that there were a couple of different ways to experience Sanddalsfossen as well.

The first way that we experienced the falls was to its bottom, where we noticed some work going on to harness the Sanddalselva.

The second way that I experienced the falls was on a more elevated trail leading to the view you see in the picture above.

Sanddalsfossen_006_06302005 - Sanddalsfossen behind the small reservoir as seen from the lower approach to it
Sanddalsfossen behind the small reservoir as seen from the lower approach to it

Below, I’ll break down the details of what each experience was like.

Lower Approach to Sanddalsfossen

Both times that I’ve been to Sanddalsfossen (with Julie in 2005 and alone in 2019), I’ve managed to approach Sanddalsfossen from a lower approach that didn’t quite get up to the foot of the falls, but it did reach some small scale hydro development.

I’ll describe the trail route from what it was like the second time I did this option since some of the infrastructure mentioned wasn’t available the first time around (like a public car park).

From the public car park along local county road Fv693 (see directions below), I walked east along the road about 100m before veering further up to the left shortly after crossing the Fv693 bridge over Sanddalselva.

Myklebust_063_07192019 - The trail leading towards Sanddalsfossen and beyond
The trail leading towards Sanddalsfossen and beyond

I then followed a footpath upstream alongside the east bank of the stream for about 200m before the trail reached a footbridge by a fork in the trail.

In 2019, it appeared that someone made a concerted effort to conceal this bridge by stacking a bunch of stuff in front of the east side of the bridge.

It was as if they didn’t want anyone going back across the bridge to the west side of the Sanddalselva.

In any case, when we did do this trail, we crossed over the bridge and followed the trail or road further up the hill now on the west side of the river.

Myklebust_068_07192019 - The bridge going back across the Sanddalselva and then up a road leading to the rubble dam fronting Sanddalsfossen
The bridge going back across the Sanddalselva and then up a road leading to the rubble dam fronting Sanddalsfossen

After about 600m the trail eventually reached a rubble dam that caused a small very clear-pooled reservoir.

Towards the top end of the reservoir, a fence prevented any further progress.

So I wound up with a rather unsatisfying view of Sanddalsfossen as it appeared smaller thanks to the forced perspective against the sloping waterfall.

Trees in the foreground also conspired to obstruct the view so I felt the views were actually better the farther back from the fence that I stood.

Sanddalsfossen_003_06302005 - Walking through what seemed to be a hydroelectricity work zone to get closer to Sanddalsfossen
Walking through what seemed to be a hydroelectricity work zone to get closer to Sanddalsfossen

When Julie and I first came here, the hydroelectric work wasn’t finished so there were all sorts of equipment strewn about.

But when I came back in 2019, the turbines were humming, and it seemed like it was owned by Sandal and Fossheim Kraft company.

I can only speculate that it was supplying power to the local buildings in the Myklebustdalen Valley, which was now dominated by cattle farms.

This round-trip hike covered about 1.8km, and it would typically take about 30-45 minutes.

The Sanctioned Upper Approach to Sanddalsfossen

Myklebust_102_07192019 - One of the switchbacks on the tractor road leading up towards Sanddalsstøylen
One of the switchbacks on the tractor road leading up towards Sanddalsstøylen

Although this trail option was the longer of the two, it was also the more sanctioned one considering it ultimately led up to the Summer pasture at Sanddalsstøylen.

For the first 300m of the hike, I followed the same path from the public car park as mentioned above.

However, instead of crossing the bridge on the left, I kept right on the tractor road, when then proceeded to climb steeply over a couple of switchbacks.

At the second switchback, I managed to get a more elevated view back towards the attractive Sanddalsvatnet lake backed by tall mountains supporting the Myklebustbreen Glacier.

Myklebust_107_07192019 - Looking back towards Sanddalsvatnet from the second switchback on the trail leading to Sanddalsstøylen
Looking back towards Sanddalsvatnet from the second switchback on the trail leading to Sanddalsstøylen

After about 900m from the footbridge, I reached a house or cabin with my first look at Sanddalsfossen along this trail since before the bridge.

After perhaps another 100m of walking, the road reached a fork, but I didn’t proceed any further at this point.

That’s because the views of Sanddalsfossen were quite good as I was now mostly above the trees that would have blocked my line of sight (an issue with the lower approach).

The main trail or road actually kept going beyond the brink of Sanddalsfossen and ultimately Sanddalsstøylen about 3km from where I stopped.

Myklebust_112_07192019 - After the switchbacks, I finally started to see Sanddalsfossen again
After the switchbacks, I finally started to see Sanddalsfossen again

The fork in the trail on the right seemed to approach a lighter cascade and ultimately to a different pasture called Fossheimstøylen.

The fork in the road on the left led down towards the other side of the rubble dam.

After having my fill of the unobstructed views of Sanddalsfossen, I then headed back on the mostly downhill road.

When I returned to the car, I wound up logging about 45-60 minutes to cover the roughly 2.6km round trip.

Authorities

Sanddalsfossen resides in the Gloppen Municipality. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.

Myklebust_056_07192019 - Looking back along the Fv693 towards the signed car park for Myklebustdalen
Myklebust_062_07192019 - Looking back over the road bridge on the Fv693 where I was about to turn up the hill and hike to Sanddalsfossen
Myklebust_064_07192019 - View of Sanddalsfossen from near the trailhead for it
Myklebust_066_07192019 - Getting past this barricade to continue hiking towards Sanddalsfossen and ultimately towards the Sanddalsstøylen
Myklebust_067_07192019 - Approaching some stuff that actually was set up that way to conceal a footbridge leading closer to Sanddalsfossen
Myklebust_071_07192019 - Concealing the footbridge towards the Sanddalsfossen from the lower approach
Myklebust_076_07192019 - On the tractor road on the other side of the footbridge to continue the lower approach to Sanddalsfossen
Myklebust_077_07192019 - Following the tractor road to get even closer to the bottom of Sanddalsfossen
Myklebust_079_07192019 - Approaching the small rubble dam and power station fronting Sanddalsfossen
Myklebust_082_07192019 - The path going around the reservoir but would ultimately stop short at a fence where Sanddalsfossen couldn't be seen due to trees getting in the way
Myklebust_095_07192019 - Back at the somewhat concealed footbridge with Sanddalsvatnet in the background
Myklebust_147_07192019 - Looking back towards Sanddalsvatnet from the second switchback of the trail leading up to the Sanddalsstøylen as well as the upper approach to Sanddalsfossen
Myklebust_114_07192019 - From the upper approach to Sanddalsfossen as well as the Sanddalsstøylen, I was able to get this top down look at the rubble dam and small-scale hydro plant that the lower approach accessed
Myklebust_117_07192019 - Fork in the road where the left side went down to the other side of the dam while the right side continued onwards to the brink of Sanddalsfossen and ultimately to Sanddalsstøylen
Myklebust_124_07192019 - Closer examination of the Sanddalsfossen from the upper approach
Myklebust_126_07192019 - Last contextual look at Sanddalsfossen before I turned back
Myklebust_138_07192019 - Heading back down to the foot of the Myklebustdal Valley
Myklebust_161_07192019 - Back at the Fv693 with the public car park in view
Myklebust_001_jx_06302005 - Looking towards the attractive Myklebustdal Valley from near the Sanddalsfossen Trail on our first visit back in 2005
Sanddalsfossen_001_06302005 - Start of the trail we took to get to Sanddalsfossen in 2005.  That red house had a sign that said 'PHS 1929', which I wasn't sure what the significance of what that sign meant (public high school 1929?)
Sanddalsfossen_004_jx_06302005 - Sign near the start of the trail as seen on our first hike in 2005
Sanddalsfossen_009_06302005 - Closer look at Sanddalsfossen from across the clear man-made pool on our first visit in 2005
Sanddalsfossen_010_06302005 - An even more zoomed in look at Sanddalsfossen from as far as we could get within the property in 2005
Sanddalsfossen_012_06302005 - This fence prevented me from continuing further to get closer to Sanddalsfossen
Sanddalsfossen_018_06302005 - Walking on the gravel path heading back towards the start of the trail as I concluded my brief visit to Sanddalsfossen in 2005

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Sanddalsfossen sat within the quiet Myklebustdalen Valley. The key town accessing this was Byrkjelo.

From Byrkjelo sentrum, we then left the E39 to go north on the Fv60 for about 900m before turning right to go onto the Fv693 into Myklebust.

Myklebust_055_07192019 - The public car park in Myklebustdal Valley and my starting point to do the Sanddalsfossen hike
The public car park in Myklebustdal Valley and my starting point to do the Sanddalsfossen hike

We then drove about 4km to the public car park on the right.

For some geographical context, Byrkjelo was 20km (under 30 minutes drive) north of Skei, 40km (about 45 minutes drive) southwest of Olden, 57km (about an hour drive) southwest of Stryn, 63km (about an hour drive) northeast of Førde, 81km (over an hour drive) north of Sogndal, 132km (about 2.5 hours drive) southwest of Geiranger, and 238km (under 4 hours drive with a ferry crossing) northeast of Bergen.

360 degree sweep from the trail to Sanddalstoylen with perhaps the best and most sanctioned view of the falls as well as some neighboring falls


Checking out the falls from near the hydro dam

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Tagged with: gloppen, sandane, myklebust, myklebustdalen, byrkjelo, skei, sogn og fjordane, norway, waterfall, sanddalsvatnet



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