Vedalsfossen and the Hjolmodalen Waterfalls

Hjolmodalen, Hordaland County, Norway

About Vedalsfossen and the Hjolmodalen Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

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

Waterfall Latitude: 60.38748
Waterfall Longitude: 7.12342

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.

Valursfossen_257_06252019 - The main drop of Vedalsfossen
The main drop of Vedalsfossen

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.

Vedalsfossen_009_cropped_06252005 - Vedalsfossen in full contextual view with a hokey wide-angle lens as taken back in 2005
Vedalsfossen in full contextual view with a hokey wide-angle lens as taken back in 2005

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.

Hjolmodalen_006_jx_06252005 - Sharing the narrow unpaved road through Hjølmodalen with sheep on our 2005 visit
Sharing the narrow unpaved road through Hjølmodalen with sheep on our 2005 visit

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.

Berastoldafossen_005_06252005 - This was the tier of Berdølofossen we saw when the road through Hjølmodalen started to switchback up the mountain
This was the tier of Berdølofossen we saw when the road through Hjølmodalen started to switchback up the mountain

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.

Vedalsfossen_003_jx_06252005 - Near the top of the switchbacks leading up to the Hardanger Plateau and the Valursfossen Trailhead, we were almost at eye level with Vedalsfossen. This photo was taken back in June 2005
Near the top of the switchbacks leading up to the Hardanger Plateau and the Valursfossen Trailhead, we were almost at eye level with Vedalsfossen. This photo was taken back in June 2005

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.

Authorities

Vedalsfossen 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.

Hardanger_driving_017_06252019 - You never know which surprise waterfalls you're going to encounter when driving in Norway. Shown here was one that tumbled somewhere behind or between Eidfjord en route to Øvre Eidfjord
Eidfjord_kommune_004_06232019 - The adventure into Hjølmodalen's narrow mountain road began past the sign you see up ahead in this photo on this single-lane road at Øvre Eidfjord
Eidfjord_kommune_005_06232019 - Looking up towards a pair of thin waterfalls tumbling towards Øvre Eidfjord
Valursfossen_002_06252019 - On the narrow Hjølmo Mountain Road, which as you can is pretty much a single-lane unsealed road
Valursfossen_005_06252019 - Looking up at Vedalsfossen from the single-lane road in 2019
Valursfossen_011_06252019 - Beyond Vedalsfossen, we then encountered Berdølofossen, which was a series of crashing cascades on the Berdølo Stream
Valursfossen_012_06252019 - Berdølofossen spraying the first hairpin turn on the Hjølmo Fjellvegen
Valursfossen_014_06252019 - The next hairpin turn where Berdølofossen was a little harder to see on the Hjølmo Fjellvegen
Valursfossen_016_06252019 - Looking over the brink of Berdølofossen from the clearing at the end of the set of switchbacks climbing alongside this waterfall
Valursfossen_021_06252019 - Looking towards some of the waterfalls on the way back down to get out of the mountain road in Hjølmodalen
Valursfossen_246_06252019 - Somewhat contextual view of the full height of Vedalsfossen from afar as I descended back down into Hjølmodalen
Valursfossen_253_06252019 - All zoomed in on Vedalsfossen's main drop in Hjølmodalen
Valursfossen_262_06252019 - Context of Vedalsfossen and the narrow mountain road through Hjølmodalen
Valursfossen_266_06252019 - Looking directly up at Vedalsfossen in the narrow valley of Hjølmodalen
Simadalen_011_06252019 - More waterfalls seen tumbling down the walls as I was about to leave Hjølmodalen
Eidfjord_kommune_008_06232019 - After visiting Hjølmodalen, I had to drive back into the sleepy residential town of Øvre Eidfjord
Simadalen_013_06252019 - Looking towards a waterfall spilling towards Øvre Eidfjord with a farm providing a sense of scale of how big some of these waterfalls are
Simadalen_016_06252019 - Looking towards another one of the waterfalls spilling into Øvre Eidfjord after leaving Hjølmodalen
Hjolmodalen_001_jx_06252005 - Looking at a pair of tall waterfalls seen from Øvre Eidfjord from back in June 2005.  These could very well be the waterfalls on both the Svello and Reipo streams
Hjolmodalen_002_jx_06252005 - Looking at a pair of converging thin waterfalls probably on the Reipo stream from back in 2005
Hjolmodalen_003_jx_06252005 - Looking back at the Reipo Stream Waterfall (Reipofossen?) revealing more of its upper sections from back in 2005
Hjolmodalen_004_jx_06252005 - Looking back at the tall waterfall possibly on the Svello stream (Svellofossen?) back in June 2005
Hjolmodalen_001_cropped_06252005 - Full contextual view of the waterfalls facing Øvre Eidfjord at the mouth of Hjølmodalen in June 2005
Hjolmodalen_005_jx_06252005 - Another cascade seen as we were headed deeper into Hjølmodalen in 2005
Vedalsfossen_001_jx_06252005 - We started to get views of Vedalsfossen as we were roughly 4km south of town
Vedalsfossen_002_jx_06252005 - More sheep by the road wondering what the heck we were doing during our first visit here in 2005
Vedalsfossen_001_06252005 - We only had a narrow window to view Vedalsfossen before the cliffs and the vegetation started to conceal it again
Berastoldafossen_001_jx_06252005 - After Vedalsfossen, it didn't take long before we started to notice Berdølofossen
Vedalsfossen_015_06252005 - Further up the mountain road through Hjølmodalen, we were able to get these fleeting glimpses of Vedalsfossen from high up the switchbacks

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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).

Valursfossen_003_06252019 - Context of the pullout closest to Vedalsfossen on the Hjølmo Fjellvegen
Context of the pullout closest to Vedalsfossen on the Hjølmo Fjellvegen

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).

Valursfossen_018_06252019 - This clearing sat at the very top of the cascade series belonging to Berdølofossen.  It could very well be the same clearing where Julie and I saw a three-wire bridge over the brink of that waterfall!  But it wasn't there when we came back in 2019
This clearing sat at the very top of the cascade series belonging to Berdølofossen. It could very well be the same clearing where Julie and I saw a three-wire bridge over the brink of that waterfall! But it wasn’t there when we came back in 2019

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.

Sweep showing an elevated distant view of the falls from a switchback in the Hjolmo Fjellvegen


Video showing the bottom up view of the falls and tracing parts of its lower cascades into the Hjolmo River below

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Tagged with: hjolmodalen, hjolmo, vedalsfossen, berdolofossen, berastoldafossen, hardanger, hardangervidda, hordaland, norway, waterfall, eidfjord, ovre eidfjord



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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