Vidfoss

Oddadalen, Hordaland County, Norway

About Vidfoss


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2005-06-24
Date last visited: 2019-07-24

Waterfall Latitude: 59.988
Waterfall Longitude: 6.5627

Vidfoss (or Vidfossen) was the third waterfall we saw within Oddadalen (the Odda Valley) as we were heading north towards the town of Odda.

It was an attractively wide yet tall waterfall (allegedly 300m in height) that possessed an interesting shape quite unlike any of the other waterfalls we had seen before.

Vidfoss_001_06242005 - Vidfossen as seen on our first trip in June 2005
Vidfossen as seen on our first trip in June 2005

It appeared to fan out midway down its drop then spread out as if it was shaped like an off-centered broom.

We literally saw this waterfall less than 15 minutes after leaving the famous Låtefossen, but we felt this waterfall more than held its own compared to its more famous neighbor.

Experiencing Vidfossen

Julie and I made our visit after noticing Vidfoss making its conspicuous tumble while driving north on the Rv13 towards Odda.

Once we were compelled to make a stop for it, we then had to find a place to pull over (see directions below).

On our first visit in June 2005, there seemed to be a few options to pull over and take a look.

Oddadalen_050_06232019 - Vidfossen when we returned in June 2019
Vidfossen when we returned in June 2019

However, on our most recent visits in June and July 2019, there seemed to be fewer places to stop (see directions below).

Back on that first visit, Julie and I could get out of the car, cross the road, and walk onto a grassy field that seemed to be part of a farm.

It was from the middle of this field that we got the photo you see at the top of this page.

On our subsequent trip, we actually had to park further down the Rv13 at an informal pullout, then I had to walk along the narrow road (no shoulder mind you) before getting a good look at it.

As you can see from the photo above, I didn’t quite make it all the way back to the same spot we had seen it on our first trip 14 years prior.

Some Vidfossen Properties

Vidfoss_005_06242005 - Julie checking out the falls (somewhat illustrating just how big this one really was)
Julie checking out the falls (somewhat illustrating just how big this one really was)

According to the maps, Vidfoss was fed by highland lakes such as Midtstolsvatnet as well as other small lakes and tarns.

All of these sources were fed by the melting glacial ice of the vast Folgefonn Glacier (Folgefonna).

Thus, I believe the falls ought to have reliable year-round flow though its volume can noticeably vary as the Summer wears on.

We witnessed this for ourselves when we came back to Vidfossen while passing through in late July a month after our visit earlier on in the trip.

That said, I have seen photos of the falls in lesser flow, so it could very well be that we happened to have caught it at peak flow during our first visit in June 2005.

Oddadalen_056_06232019 - Vidfossen seen with a little less volume in June 2019 than it did in June 2005
Vidfossen seen with a little less volume in June 2019 than it did in June 2005

It might have also been aided by the fact that it had been raining in the days prior to and during our first visit.

That said, on our second and third visits, Norway had a seemingly unusually high precipitation Summer in 2019 (while the rest of Europe was suffering from a long heat wave).

Yet, it seemed to have less flow than on our first visit in June 2005.

So there really isn’t a hard and fast rule about its behavior other than it can diminish fairly quickly without sustained precipitation.

Finally, a quicky thing about this waterfall was that unlike most of the other waterfalls through Norway, it didn’t seem to be normally called “Vidfossen”.

Rv13_100_07242019 - Vidfossen seen a month later in the Summer of our 2019 trip looking like it had a little less volume
Vidfossen seen a month later in the Summer of our 2019 trip looking like it had a little less volume

In other words, I had noticed the definite article “-en” at the end of the word tended to be absent in its name.

This convention was reflected in Norgesglasset (now called Norgeskart, but I still do not know for sure why that was the case.

Regardless, it can go either way how the falls can be referred to so I tend to use them interchangeably.

Why Fewer Pullouts?

It surprised me to see that there were more railings and walls erected along this stretch of the Rv13 through Oddadalen.

These barricades tended to cover up old pullouts and openings, and this made experiencing waterfalls like Vidfossen more difficult.

Oddadalen_064_06232019 - This look along the Rv13 should kind of tell you how few pullouts and how little shoulder room is available around Vidfossen
This look along the Rv13 should kind of tell you how few pullouts and how little shoulder room is available around Vidfossen

I didn’t understand why this happened until I spoke with a local during a hike on a different excursion.

She told me that over the years, tourists have been using their yards as toilets, which they found to be very disrespectful.

So they had to take matters into their own hands to manage the problem, and this was how they did it.

While WCs can be fairly infrequent through rural stretches like this, the respectful thing to do would be to use gas station and restaurant stops as opportunities to use the facilities.

Some reserves may have WCs as well, but nature calls are definitely frowned upon in Norway as their attitudes towards their land definitely differ from what most tourists may think.

Authorities

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

Oddadalen_068_06232019 - Another look at Vidfossen doing its thing in late June 2019
Oddadalen_069_06232019 - Looking back along the Rv9 that I had to walk (notice the barricades on the side of the lake) just north of the farm by Vidfoss during our drive through Oddadalen in June 2019. Those barricades were set up so people wouldn't indiscriminantly stop and use their lands as toilets
Rv13_108_07242019 - We noticed this cascade on the main river through Oddadalen as we were driving south between Strondsfossen and Vidfossen in late July 2019
Rv13_106_07242019 - Our last look at Vidfossen as we were passing by in late July 2019
Rv_13_001_jx_06242005 - This was our first glimpse of Vidfoss in June 2005 as we were driving north on Rv13 after leaving Låtefossen.  It literally got bigger the further north we drove!
Rv_13_002_jx_06242005 - See? Vidfoss kept getting bigger and bigger as we got drove to it on our first time here in late June 2005
Vidfoss_002_06242005 - Finally, we got a frontal look at the impressive Vidfoss on our first visit in June 2005

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Like several of the waterfalls in Oddadalen, spotting Vidfossen was straightforward.

However, being able to pull over and get a less stressful view of it wasn’t.

Vidfoss was about 7km north of the famous Låtefossen along Rv13, which had two lanes in the particular stretch by the falls.

Oddadalen_047_06232019 - This was the informal pullout at the barricaded road leading to Hildal
This was the informal pullout at the barricaded road leading to Hildal

On our first trip in June 2005, we used to be able to find some nearby pullouts or shoulders (I recalled there was somewhat of an informal area for parking on the east side of the road) so that we could get out of the car and get a less hasty view of the falls.

However, on our second trip in June 2019, that was no longer sanctioned.

So we actually had to drive maybe another 200-300m further before finding an informal pullout at a barricaded fork in the road for Hildal.

This pullout was right before a bridge. This was where we managed to stop, and there only seemed to be room for just a single car.

Oddadalen_052_06232019 - This was the bridge just north of Vidfossen where we took a pullout right before crossing it
This was the bridge just north of Vidfossen where we took a pullout right before crossing it

I don’t think this pullout was sanctioned, but I couldn’t identify anything else in the immediate area to experience Vidfossen outside of a car.

For some geographical context, Odda is 17km (under 30 minutes drive) north of Skare, 42km (about 45 minutes drive) north of Røldal, 72km (about 1 hour drive) northeast of Etne, 134km (about 3 hours drive with a ferry crossing) east of Bergen, 179km (over 3 hours drive with some ferry crossings) north of Stavanger, and 323km (about 5 hours drive) west of Oslo.

Semi-circular sweep taking in Vidfossen from alongside the Rv13 (the old pullouts don't work anymore)

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Tagged with: odda, hordaland, sorfjorden, sorfjord, tyssedal, oddadalen, fjord, norway, waterfall



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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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