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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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