About Vesleulfossen (Vestlufossen)
Vesleulfossen was said to be Rondane National Park’s tallest waterfall at a reported 180m.
It was probably for that reason alone that we made the detour out to this part of Central Norway from the fjords to see this waterfall.
After all, it was in a different setting than what we had been seeing up to this point.
I vividly remember my adventure to this waterfall largely because I was fighting the onset of darkness while also trying not to get lost.
I guess it wasn’t often that I got to start a hike at 10pm and still not require some kind of flashlight though I admit I was pushing it in this instance.
Perhaps my own personal struggles in seeking out this falls was kind of my analog to the trials and tributations of the famous fictional character Peer Gynt.
Speaking of Peer Gynt, it turned out part of the trail I was on to get to the waterfall followed the Peer Gynt Trail.
I didn’t know who he was when I was doing the hike, but I would find out later that he was the main character of Norwegian poet Henrik Ibsen’s most famous work (with the same title).
It chronicled an aging hero returning to his roots in Norway in search of his soul after having traveled the world and somehow losing his way.
I admit I hadn’t read the work so this summary was based on what I learned from research. However, I could certainly appreciate somewhat how much of a symbol he was to Norwegian culture and identity.
Hiking to Vesleulfossen along the Peer Gynt Trail
So from the car park (see directions below), I walked along the road past a locked gate and towards the Store Ula River (“Big Howling River”?).
After crossing the bridge over the river, I was then walking along the Peer Gynt Trail, which headed north along the river.
Along this stretch, there were several private and public mountain cabins (hyttas) on both sides of the river.
The Peer Gynt Trail was marked with plenty of red arrows as well as signs.
After about 2km (about 30 minutes) from the trailhead, I ended up at either the last or next-to-last cabin.
Hiking to Vesleulfossen after leaving the Peer Gynt Trail
Hidden behind one of those cabins, there was a spur trail leaving the Peer Gynt Trail.
That spur trail was marked with a rock cairn as well as blue painted arrows on some of the rocks.
I know I’m a little vague about this description because I happened to miss this turnoff earlier on in the hike.
In fact, I kept on the Peer Gynt Trail before I checked my GPS and paper map, which ultimately clued me in to realizing that I had gone way too far.
In any case, I scrambled westwards beyond the cabin closest to the spur trail where I ultimately picked up that trail.
It continued for about another 20 minutes (almost 1km) to an informal viewing area where I was finally able to see Vesleulfossen between trees.
I’m sure I could’ve continued downhill even further to get closer to the bottom of the waterfall, but it was getting dark and I had to be content with whatever photos that I took.
I’m sure someone reading this might fill me with regret telling me that a better view wasn’t much further from my turnaround point…
On the return leg of the hike, I had to make sure I rejoined the Peer Gynt Trail shortly east of the last cabin.
The trails were poorly marked and I managed to confuse the trail with other use trails so once again I got lost and had to backtrack until I finally saw the familiar bridge over the Store Ula River near the start of the hike.
So overall, it took me two hours to do this entire excursion though I’d imagine it should be less since I wasted some time getting lost and trying to find my way.
Finally, even though Vesleulfossen was the official name of this waterfall, I have also seen it spelled Vestlufossen and Veslulfossen.
Something that I only realized when I tried to better understand the Norwegian language was that the name of the falls was a compound word combining vest (“west” or “west of”), Ula (the name of the river possibly meaning “hooting” or “howling”), and foss, which I’m sure you’ve seen this word numerous times on this website.
So if you put it all together, it would be the West Ula River Waterfall as opposed to Storulfossen (Big Ula River Waterfall further to the east).
See the Storulfossen page for driving directions to get to Mysusæter from Otta. Once you see the 3-way intersection mentioned on that page (this time ignoring the toll road heading northeast on the right to Spranget), keep left and follow this road to a car park in about a minute or two (about 250m from the intersection). Beyond this car park, there was a locked gate keeping us from driving further, and this was where we began the hike.
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