Skykkjedalsfossen (I think it’s pronounced “SKIK-sheh-dahls-foss-un”) was an impressive plunging waterfall deep in the narrow Simadal Valley (Simadalen). Prior to our visit to this falls, Julie and I were aware of the degree of hydroelectric harnessing that had been going on thanks to the Sima Power Plant that was said to have an output power that was the second highest in Norway at the time at 1120 MegaWatts. So we came in with lowered expectations thinking the falls wouldn’t have much volume. However, when we saw the falls in person during our June 2005 trip, we weren’t prepared for its vigorous flow despite the hydro regulation further upstream. We could only imagine just how much crazier this waterfall (as well as other neighboring waterfalls in the valley) would have been had it been allowed to flow freely!
From looking at the map in Norgeskart (formerly Norgesglasset), we could see that most of the harnessing of watercourses feeding the Sima Power Station at Kjeåsen involved regulation of several major lakes including Rembesdalsvatnet and Langvatnet among others. Actually, it seemed like Skytjedalsvatnet (the lake directly responsible for this waterfall) was mostly spared from the power diversion, which might explain why it was the only waterfall in Simadal Valley with seemingly normal flow.In any case, the map also indicated to us that Skykkjedalsfossen was also called Skytjefossen, while further upstream of Skytjedalsvatnet was another waterfall called Skytjedalsfossen. Our Adventure Roads in Norway book said that this was supposed to be one of the highest waterfalls in the country at 605m with a 300m freefall, and it could very well be that it was the drop going into Simadalen that we saw that had the 300m drop while the upper tier way further upstream might account for the larger overall drop (though that would stretch the definition of how far apart waterfalls had to be in order to be counted together).
Even though this waterfall was roadside, Julie and I were a little annoyed with the power lines getting in the way of our photographs. So we scrambled beneath the power lines and pylons to improve our view, and the result was the photo you see at the top of this page.
A bonus to our waterfall visit was that we saw a handful of other thinner waterfalls draping along the eastern end of Simadalsfjorden as well as Simdalen. We didn’t have the energy nor the time to look into identifying each of these smaller waterfalls, but we pretty much treated them as supplemental features to an excursion to Skykkjedalsfossen. Further up the valley from Skytjefossen, we could see a bare rock wall with some power lines where Rembesdalsfossen was supposed to be. Instead, there were some thinner waterfalls tumbling around the former location of Rembesdalsfossen.
Although we didn’t get a chance to do this during our June 2005 visit to Norway, there was said to be a historic farm above the Sima Power Station at Kjeåsen. Supposedly, it involved going up a narrow single-lane S-tunnel winding its way up to the top of the mountain where there was said to be mindblowing views of the valley and the fjord. There were also other hikes leading higher up to the Hardanger Plateau though truthfully we would be hesitant to do them knowing that most of the scenery and waterfalls would be compromised from the hydro developments. That said, maybe we’ll consider doing these side excursions next time…
From Eidfjord, we took a county road (Simadalsvegen or Road 71) that followed Simadalsfjorden east to Simadalen. Continuing east through the valley, we passed by the turnoff for Kjeåsen and some scattered residential homes before the road started to become narrow and unpaved within the Simadal Valley itself.
After a few minutes of driving on the unpaved road (about 12km from the Quality Inn Eidfjord Hotel), we eventually saw Skykkjedalsfossen to our right besides some hideous power lines and pylons.
If you’re curious, the unpaved road eventually ends near the head of Simadalen at Rembesdalsfossen (also called Løfallfossen, which was practically trickling due to regulation apparently).
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