About Vedalsfossen and the Hjolmodalen Waterfalls
Vedalsfossen was actually one of many roadside waterfalls that we encountered while driving on the narrow and steep mountain road through the Hjølmo Valley (Hjølmodalen; [pronounced “YEUWHL-moo-dal-un”]).
Although we entered the valley in anticipation of seeing this waterfall as it had a lot of fanfare prior to our visit in June 2005, it turned out that it didn’t quite live up to the hype.
As you can see in the photo immediately above and below, I had to exercise the camera’s zoom in order to bring it closer thanks to its distant position from our vantage point.
Part of the notoriety was due in part because the falls was said to be was one of the taller waterfalls in Norway.
However, the truth was that only its uppermost visible drop was probably the only real legitimate part of the falls.
The remainder of the Vedalselva River (also labeled Vedøla on the maps) cascaded and twisted until it joined the Veig River, which was the river that ran through the base of Hjølmodalen.
In fact, there were so many other roadside waterfalls that we encountered in the valley that were every bit as legitimate and as scenic as Vedalsfossen that we decided to include them on this page.
Our tour of Hjølmodalen
Speaking of the other waterfalls, our tour through Hjølmodalen began from a country road that went south from the town of Øvre Eidfjord (Upper Eidfjord).
Right away, we could see there were some tall and thin waterfalls already within sight of the town.
It was hard for us to tell which waterfall was which at the time, but according to Norgeskart, it seemed like the streams responsible for these waterfalls came from the streams Staupo, Svello, and Reipo, respectively.
As we proceeded further into the Hjølmo Valley, the road narrowed to the point that it was practically a single-lane unpaved road.
We were sharing this road with sheep, and we often wondered whether this was supposed to be a drivable road or not given how steep and narrow it was.
In any case, after about 4.5km south from Øvre Eidfjord, we then started to see Vedalsfossen come into view to our right.
Viewing this waterfall was pretty much an exercise in finding a small informal pullout then taking photos before going back in the car.
The sheep that were around us seemed to pay no mind to us once they realized that we weren’t herding them.
After having our fill of Vedalsfossen, barely 600m or so further south in the valley, we then started to see a very tall cascade conspicuously tumbling down the mountainside before us.
Although the falls looked very impressive from a distance, we were never really able to get a clean satisfying look of its total drop from any one spot.
We wouldn’t be able to see the hidden lower tiers of the cascade until the narrow road started to switchback up the mountain alongside the falls.
According to Norgeskart, this cascade was on the Berdølo stream so it could be called Berdølofossen.
We had previously thought it was called Berastøldafossen.
It turned out that this was the last of the main roadside waterfalls we saw in Hjølmodalen.
Further progress along the narrow road yielded only partial views of the cascade which then appeared more like steep rapids seen in sections.
The road would ultimately lead to several car parks, including a couple that were trailheads for Valursfossen as well as other backcountry trails on the Hardanger Plateau (Hardangervidda).
We have a separate writeup for Valursfossen so we won’t say more on this page.
In order to access Hjølmodalen, we first had to get to the town of Øvre Eidfjord, which was about 7km southeast of Eidfjord or a little over 10km west of the lower car park for Vøringsfossen along the Rv7.
Once we were in Øvre Eidfjord, we turned onto the road Sæbøvegen and continued to go south as the road became Hjølmovegen after intersecting with the road Hagavegen (which by the way also could be another road to take to leave the Rv7).
Hjølmovegen was then the road that pretty much went into the valley as it became unpaved, steep, and single-lane.
We also shared this road with sheep so we had to always stay alert.
This road could be scary if you’re not used to driving these kinds of roads (in a stick shift, no less), but you should be fine if you take your time and stay calm.
Anyhow, there could be hairy situations where a car could be coming the other way.
I believe the convention for passing under these circumstances is that whoever’s going uphill should be given the right-of-way and be allowed to pass (i.e. the person going downhill is supposed to yield).
I don’t know how well this rule is adhered to, especially since it might be easier to just let whoever is closer to a pullout to do just that (regardless of whether he’s going uphill or downhill) and then let the other person pass.
As described in the write-up above, the closest pullout to Vedalsfossen was about 2.3km from the sign at the start of the Hjølmo Fjellvegen (Hjølmo Mountain Road) or roughly 4.5km south of the Rv7 at Øvre Eidfjord.
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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