About Vinnufossen and the Sunndal Waterfalls
Vinnufossen was a waterfall that we had never identified even though we had seen and photographed it as part of our late evening drive through the Sunndal Valley on our first trip to Norway in early July 2005.
On that drive, we saw a large concentration of waterfalls as we went east from Sunndalsøra to Åmotan (via Gjøra) and eventually to Oppdal.
Our dismissal of this waterfall as one of the dime-a-dozen waterfalls draping Sunndalen changed when all of the sudden we started seeing internet literature claiming that this waterfall was the sixth tallest waterfall in the world at 865m in total height.
Along with that notoriety came a bunch of photos from other people. And so that compelled me to compose this page to show how we’ve experienced the falls.
We won’t get into trivial things about what’s taller than what and whether this waterfall truly should be considered as one of the highest in the world (especially if most of such lists are likely to be bogus in the first place).
However, it wasn’t until recently when I was cleaning up our website writeups of the waterfalls in Norway and revisiting our photos did I realize that this was the waterfall these folks were talking about all along!
Talk about serendipity!
When I returned to the Sunndal Valley 14 years later, I noticed better tourism infrastructure (including a Vinnufossen Rasteplass) that definitely wasn’t there when Julie and I were here in 2005.
With all the added infrastructure and pedestrian or bike paths paralleling the Rv70, there seemed to be enough official support to bring this waterfall out of obscurity and into the internet spotlight.
In any case, this particular waterfall (or should we say waterfalls) stood out to Julie and I because it tumbled down the mountain Vinnufjellet like veins.
Except in this case, we were dealing with fine weather (though on my return visit, I had to wait out a rain storm before the fine weather came).
The series of thin waterfalls (many of which I’d imagine might be more on the temporary or ephemeral side) were said to be fed by the Vinnufonna Glacier.
So it could be argued that the falls should be considered permanent given its glacial source (albeit in danger of disappearing in the near future due to Global Warming).
Anyhow, Vinnufossen was one of the first waterfalls we encountered as we drove east of Sunndalsøra into the valley Sunndalen.
It was probably a good thing we saw this waterfall earlier rather than later when we started to get waterfall-fatigued from the sheer quantity of waterfalls we encountered as we drove through this scenic valley.
This waterfall was roadside and quite easy to spot, but given the fairly high rate of speed on the Riksveien 70 through Sunndalen, we could have easily passed by and missed it if we weren’t still on the lookout for waterfalls during the drive.
With the added infrastructure, we could walk about 1km east of the rest stop along the pedestrian road paralleling the Rv70. Then, there was a narrower path that veered inland from there for a more bottoms up look at Vinnufossen.
Since we were pretty content with our views without needing to do this walk, we didn’t do it so we can’t say more about it.
The Other Sunndalen Waterfalls
Speaking of waterfall fatigue, indeed Julie and I saw many more waterfalls along Sunndalen, but we really had no way of properly associating the waterfalls we photographed with their proper watercourses on maps (at least not as of our first visit in 2005).
In a way, it was reminiscent of our drive through Romsdalen where there were simply way too many waterfalls to track.
When I came back in decent weather 14 years later, I made it a point to try to document and identify the key waterfalls neighboring Vinnufossen since most of the notable waterfalls were concentrated on the western side of the Sunndal Valley.
A couple of the notable waterfalls that I’ve managed to notice and document were the Skorgafossen (because it was on the Skorga) and the Fossafossen (because it was on the Fossa).
The Skorga Waterfall was said to have an 860m cumulative drop with a similar volume to Vinnufossen and thus could be claimed as also one of Norway’s tallest (or in the world for that matter).
Of course, there were also several others tumbling side-by-side on the opposite north-facing wall of Sunndalen.
And while those minor waterfalls were harder to single out by name, there was one more named waterfall further to the east called Storefallet that was near the town of Lønset.
It was said to require a mere 800m from the Rv70 to get a good look at it, but in both of our visits in 2005 and 2019, we missed on it so we can’t say more other than it’s there.
And yet there were still more waterfalls that we didn’t bother to identify as there were too many to stop for let alone take pictures of.
So keep in mind that what we’ve shown on this page is nothing but a fraction of all the waterfalls that could be seen in this remarkable stretch of road!
The waterfall-laced part of Sunndal Valley was pretty much concentrated on its western side just east of the town of Sunndalsøra.
The picnic area or rasteplass (rest place) closest to Vinnufossen at Holskeidet was about 5.6km east of the roundabout intersecting the Rv70 and the Fv62.
There was plenty of parking space in this rasteplass as well as a WC, and one could choose to walk after leaving the car here to really get to explore the surroundings as well as getting a more direct view of Vinnufossen.
For some additional context, Sunndalsøra was 104km (90 minutes drive) southeast of Kristiansund, 128km (2 hours drive) east of Åndalsnes, 187km (over 2.5 hours drive) southwest of Trondheim, 235km (3.5 hours drive) east of Ålesund, 466km (6 hours drive) north of Oslo, and 578km (over 8.5 hours drive with ferry crossings) northeast of Bergen.
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