Simadalen, Hordaland County, Norway

About Skykkjedalsfossen

Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2005-06-25
Date last visited: 2019-06-25

Waterfall Latitude: 60.49875
Waterfall Longitude: 7.242

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

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 hydroelectricity harnessing that had been going on thanks to the Sima Power Plant nearby.

Simadalen_017_06252005 - Skykkjedalsfossen

That power plant was said to have an output power that was the second highest in Norway at the time of our first visit back in 2005 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 that trip, we weren’t prepared for its vigorous flow.

Maybe the stream responsible for this waterfall was spared, but the surrounding waterfalls weren’t?

Hydroelectricity in Simadalen

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!

Simadalen_032_06252019 - Context of Skykkjedalsfossen with a power pylon fronting it, which hinted that there was definitely hydroelectric activity going on here
Context of Skykkjedalsfossen with a power pylon fronting it, which hinted that there was definitely hydroelectric activity going on here

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.

The lakes included 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.

Simadalen_034_06252019 - Looking towards the head of Simadalen where Rembedalsfossen was supposed to be
Looking towards the head of Simadalen where Rembedalsfossen was supposed to be

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.

That said, I thought it would stretch the definition of how far apart waterfalls had to be in order to be counted together.

I even thought suggesting this waterfall having a 300m drop was a bit of a stretch, especially when compared against the imposing Vettisfossen, which seemed way taller than this one.

Experiencing Skykkjedalsfossen

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.

Simadalen_040_06252019 - My 2019 visit to Skykkjedalsfossen was marred by very fast moving clouds that then parked themselves right in front of the waterfall itself
My 2019 visit to Skykkjedalsfossen was marred by very fast moving clouds that then parked themselves right in front of the waterfall itself

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.

When I came back to this area in 2019, I actually took the single-lane road all the way to its end, where there was a cul-de-sac to turn around.

Simadalen_013_06252005 - Looking towards the head of Simadalen where the waterfall Rembesdalsfossen was supposed to be
Looking towards the head of Simadalen where the waterfall Rembesdalsfossen was supposed to be

It appeared that some people actually camped here though it wasn’t clear to me if that was sanctioned or not.

Neighboring Excursions in Simadalen

Although we didn’t get a chance to do this during our June 2005 and June 2019 visits 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…


Skykkjedalsfossen resides near the town and municipality of Eidfjord in Hordaland County, Norway. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.

Simadalen_019_06252019 - One of the big appeals of visiting Skykkjedalsfossen was getting to experience the scenery around both Simadalsfjorden and Simadalen
Simadalen_022_06252019 - A thin waterfall with a god beam in the distance as seen from Simadalen out towards Hardangerfjorden
Simadalen_028_06252019 - Driving the narrow road towards the head of Simadalen and Skykkjedalsfossen
Simadalen_029_06252019 - Looking towards the thin and regulated waterfalls at the head of Simadalen as of 2019
Simadalen_031_06252019 - Clouds were starting to roll in during my 2019 visit to Skykkjedalsfossen
Simadalen_038_06252019 - These same clouds ended up shrouding Skykkjedalsfossen.  Pictured here was when they were just starting to obscure the waterfall!
Eidfjord_001_06252005 - Looking towards Eidfjorden from the Quality Inn Eidfjord Hotel from our 2005 visit
Simadalen_022_06252005 - On the way towards Skykkjedalsfossen, as I reached the mouth of the valley Simadalen, I took a look back towards a tall but thin waterfall over Simadalsfjorden
Simadalen_020_jx_06252005 - Looking across Simadalsfjorden towards some thin cascades as we headed towards Simadalen
Simadalen_015_jx_06252005 - Looking towards a pair of mountain cascades across Simadalsfjorden, where the one on the right might be on the stream Åsåna
Simadalen_028_06252005 - Entering the attractive valley of Simadalen as we were getting towards the head of Simadalsfjorden in 2005
Simadalen_007_jx_06252005 - Looking across Simadalen Valley towards some obscure waterfall
Simadalen_001_06252005 - This was a signposted trail leading to a mountain hut called Rembesdalssætra
Simadalen_004_06252005 - We finally started to get a glimpse of Skykkjedalsfossen on our first visit in June 2005
Simadalen_007_06252005 - Looking towards the head of Simadalen where the waterfall Rembesdalsfossen was supposed to be
Simadalen_009_06252005 - Closer look at the thin pair of waterfalls near the spot where Rembesdalsfossen was supposed to be
Simadalen_015_06252005 - Another look at Skykkjedalsfossen (or Skytjefossen) from the road in 2005. Note the annoying power lines and power pylon
Simadalen_019_06252005 - Finally a somewhat cleaner look at Skykkjedalsfossen without the annoying power lines
Simadalen_022_jx_06252005 - Driving the road out of Simadalen and back to Eidfjord on our first visit in 2005 when we had experienced better weather than on our 2019 visit
Simadalen_001_jx_06252005 - Looking across the Simadalsfjorden towards a tall and thin waterfall during our 2005 visit

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.

Simadalen_027_06252019 - Driving deep into Simadalen as I was pursuing Skykkjedalsfossen
Driving deep into Simadalen as I was pursuing Skykkjedalsfossen

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 at a cul-de-sac near the head of Simadalen a little closer to Rembesdalsfossen (also called Løfallfossen, which was practically trickling due to regulation apparently).

For some geographical context, Eidfjord is about 51km (about 45 minutes drive) southeast of Voss, 70km (over an hour drive) north of Odda, about 90km (under 90 minutes drive) west of Geilo, 310km (4.5 hours drive) west of Oslo and 153km (2.5 hours with a ferry crossing) east of Bergen.

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Nearly 360 degree sweep showing head of Simadalen before panning over to Skytjefossen just as clouds had rolled in and had obscured the falls

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Tagged with: simadal, simadalen, eidfjord, hordaland, norway, waterfall, kjeasen, simadalsfjord, simadalsfjorden

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