Skjervsfossen (I think is pronounced “SHERVS-foss-un”) was a large waterfall of about 150m in cumulative drop over its two main sections.
The upper tier possessed a steep twin drop that was said to be about 70m tall.
The lower tier was a thick sloping cascade comprising the remaining 80m drop below the road cutting across the two main sections.
When Julie and I first visited this roadside waterfall back in June 2005, this was practically a mandatory stop as the Rv7 passed through this road eventually leading to Voss.
However, a tunnel that bypassed the Skjervsvegen was built since that first visit.
Thus, I’d have to believe that this waterfall would see a bit less traffic than in the past, we certainly didn’t feel as much of a tourist crush here on our June 2019 visit even though it was still popular.
In any case, there were a few different ways that we experienced Skjervsfossen, which we’ll get into below.
Experiencing Half of Skjervsfossen
The most obvious way to experience Skjervsfossen was by stopping at a pullout almost next to the road bridge spanning the Storelvi.
After leaving the car, I could then walk towards the bridge before veering onto a short footpath leading all the way to the base of the upper drop of Skjervsfossen.
At the bridge itself, there was some signage as well as a lot of spray blowing right at the bridge.
Walking the short footpath further upstream and closer to the falls yielded some less turbulent spots just outside the spray zone. I even noticed a bench set up in such a spot.
Anyways, since the lower half of Skjervsfossen fell downstream of the road bridge that the Skjervsvegen passed over, this perspective only allowed me to experience essentially half the waterfall.
It didn’t take long to experience the bottom of the upper tier of Skjervsfossen, but I easily could have climbed up the steps, which would lead towards the overlooks near the brink of the falls as well as some historical relics.
However, since I knew there was a separate car park up there, I didn’t bother with climbing all the way these steps (knowing I’d have to go back down eventually).
Experiencing the Top of Skjervsfossen
Of all the ways to experience Skjervsfossen, this one had perhaps the largest parking area with the fanciest restroom facilities.
The WC here was so fancy that it was worth going in there to check out the high ceilings as well as the view out the window towards the rushing Storelvi streaming past.
From the car park, I then went downhill on a short path that ultimately took me to a handful of spots overlooking Skjervsfossen.
Not only were there overlooks right at the brink of the falls, but further down the trail, I took advantage of overlooks that let me look across the upper part of the upper tier of Skjervsfossen.
I also noticed some historical relic that looked like some kind of bunker, which I’ll get a little more into further down in this page.
The Best View of Skjervsfossen
It turned out that the best spot to view Skjervsfossen (as you can see at the top of this page) happened to be right at the topmost switchback on the road climbing (or descending) the Skjervet.
Given how much infrastructure had been devoted to both the bottom and top of the upper drop of the falls, I was surprised to see how this best view only had an unsigned pullout as well as a very wide hairpin turn, which I took advantage of to experience this.
In other words, in order to get the view you see at the top of this page, I had to drive up to the last switchback, then I had to stop at one of the small pullouts before getting out of the car to view the falls.
I essentially had to view the falls from the road so it was a good thing that the hairpin turn here was very wide.
Otherwise, I could imagine seeing myself getting clipped by some of the larger vehicles (like buses) needing to make wider turns.
Now if the pullout spaces here are too limited, I suppose you could walk the switchbacking roads.
However, that would involve walking at least 500m uphill from the lower pullout by the bridge, or another 500m downhill from the upper car park near the brink of Skjervsfossen.
It’s even possible to make this road-walking part of a longer loop that would take advantage of the steps connecting the bottom and top of the upper drop of Skjervsfossen.
That walk would be a loop of about 1.8km.
A Little Skjervsfossen History
According to the signs here, the power of the waterfall (especially during Spring floods) at Skjervsfossen drove sawmills, which took advantage of the high density of trees in the area.
Over the years, when electricity came to Norway, the mill at the waterfall was replaced by more modern ones closer to Granvin.
That allowed the area around this waterfall to reforest, especially after the second World War.
And thus, as you can see in the photos on this page, the scenery was refreshingly lush and green.
Speaking of the war, this area saw some fierce battles between Norwegian soldiers trying to defend their turf against the invaders from Nazi Germany.
The steep terrain here initially allowed the well-positioned Norwegians to thwart the initial attacks, but eventually, the Germans ultimately attacked from other spots and inevitably started using this spot as their own outpost.
I noticed some kind of bunker near the top of Skjervsfossen, and I suspected that this was one such development from World War II.
Skjervsfossen resides in the Granvin Municipality. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
Skjervsfossen essentially sat on the bypass road avoiding the Tunnsbergtunnelen. This road was formerly the main road before the tunnels were built.
In any case, I’ll describe the driving directions from Voss as well as Granvin.
From the Voss to Skjervsfossen
From Voss, we’d drive east on the Rv13 for for about 13km, then, we’d turn left to go onto the Skjervsvegen (there should be a sign pointing the way to Skjervsfossen).
We then followed this road for about 1.6km before encountering the upper car park and WC on the left.
Overall, this drive would take around 15 minutes or so.
Continuing on the Skjervsvegen, the switchback with the desired view of the entirety of the waterfall was at about 500m further down the road from the upper car park.
There were a handful of spots to leave the car on the side and temporarily get the view before getting back in the car.
Finally, after another 500m further down the hill, we reached the lower pullout on the left.
From the Granvin to Skjervsfossen
From the town of Granvin (just outside the long Vallaviktunnelen), we’d drive about 6km north on the Rv13 until we leave the Jobergtunnelen.
Shortly after leaving that tunnel, we then turned right to leave Rv13 and go onto the Skjervsvegen (it was signposted for Skjervsfossen).
We followed this smaller road for another 4km or so where the pullouts for Skjervsfossen were just on the other side of the bridge on the right side of the road.
Another 500m beyond the pullout was the last of the hairpin bends, where there was a pullout on the right (inner) side of the curve.
Here’s where I stopped the car, got out, crossed the road, and then enjoyed the view.
Finally, in another 500m beyond the last of the hairpin turns, I then reached the car park right above the brink of Skjervsfossen.
Overll, this drive would take about 15 minutes.
For context, Granvin was 26km (under 30 minutes drive) east of Voss, 29km (over 30 minutes) west of Eidfjord, 66km (a little over an hour drive) north of Odda, 134km (over 2 hours drive) east of Bergen, and 342km (over 5 hours drive) west of Oslo.
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