Vinnufossen and the Sunndal Waterfalls

Sunndalsora / Oppland, More og Romsdal County / Oppland County, Norway

About Vinnufossen and the Sunndal Waterfalls


Hiking Distance: roadside
Suggested Time:

Date first visited: 2005-07-03
Date last visited: 2019-07-16

Waterfall Latitude: 62.66215
Waterfall Longitude: 8.67017

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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.

Sunndalen_002_jx_07032005 - Vinnufossen as seen on our first visit back in early 2005, which preceded all the tourism infrastructure that has since followed over the years
Vinnufossen as seen on our first visit back in early 2005, which preceded all the tourism infrastructure that has since followed over the years

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!

Sunndalen_058_07162019 - Contextual look at Vinnufossen from the pedestrian and bike road between the rasteplass and the Vinnu airport turnoff as seen in 2019
Contextual look at Vinnufossen from the pedestrian and bike road between the rasteplass and the Vinnu airport turnoff as seen in 2019

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.

About Vinnufossen

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.

Sunndalen_023_07162019 - Looking up at Vinnufossen after scrambling around the picnic area near Holskeidet in July 2019
Looking up at Vinnufossen after scrambling around the picnic area near Holskeidet in July 2019

It was almost as if we had a flashback of how waterfalls fell like veins in many of the mountains of rain-soaked Fiordland in the South Island of New Zealand.

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).

Sunndalen_101_07162019 - Looking towards Vinnufossen with the sun setting behind the massif supporting both the falls and the Vinnubreen Glacier
Looking towards Vinnufossen with the sun setting behind the massif supporting both the falls and the Vinnubreen Glacier

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

Sunndalen_048_07162019 - Waterfalls coming down like veins as seen when I turned around from the foot of Vinnufossen and looked at the other wall of Sunndalen in 2019
Waterfalls coming down like veins as seen when I turned around from the foot of Vinnufossen and looked at the other wall of Sunndalen in 2019

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).

Sunndalen_089_07162019 - It's hard to tell one waterfall apart from another, but on my 2019 re-visit to Sunndalen, I believe these waterfalls were on the adjacent drainages just east of Vinnu.  Whether the stream on the left is Skorga or the pair on the right is Skorga, I'm not sure
It’s hard to tell one waterfall apart from another, but on my 2019 re-visit to Sunndalen, I believe these waterfalls were on the adjacent drainages just east of Vinnu. Whether the stream on the left is Skorga or the pair on the right is Skorga, I’m not sure

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.

Sunndalen_015_jx_07032005 - One of the other waterfalls tumbling down Sunndalen Valley though I suspect this one was on the north-facing cliffs
One of the other waterfalls tumbling down Sunndalen Valley though I suspect this one was on the north-facing cliffs

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!

Authorities

The waterfalls on this page reside in the Sunndal Municipality near Sunndalsøra in Møre og Romsdal County, Norway. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.

Rv70_005_07152019 - When we came back into Sunndalen in July 2019, the same waterfall on Gryte didn't seem to be doing so well as opposed to how it performed in July 2005 (which you can see further down in this gallery).  So that made me think that there wasn't a whole lot of longevity to many of the waterfalls tumbling into Sunndalen
Sunndalen_003_07162019 - Driving east on the Rv70 into Sunndalen as I was leaving Sunndalsøra during my July 2019 visit. This photo and the next several photos came on this day
Sunndalen_005_07162019 - When the weather is good, driving along the Rv70 through Sunndalen was a feast for the eyes
Sunndalen_008_07162019 - Looking up towards Vinnufossen from the rasteplass at Holskeidet
Sunndalen_010_07162019 - Context of some of the picnic tables at the rasteplass at Holskeidet fronting an angled view of Vinnufossen
Sunndalen_014_07162019 - Looking away from Vinnufossen towards the opposite side of Sunndalen where I encountered more waterfalls
Sunndalen_018_07162019 - Contextual look at Vinnufossen with an open field at the bottom that I wasn't sure if it was private or not
Sunndalen_019_07162019 - Context of a series of waterfalls coming down side-by-side when I looked towards the north-facing wall of Sunndalen opposite Vinnufossen
Sunndalen_020_07162019 - Focused on the waterfall that I believe to belong to the Serkja Stream on the north-facing wall of Sunndalen
Sunndalen_045_07162019 - The turnoff for the Vinnu airport which was closer to where I was able to get direct views of Vinnufossen
Sunndalen_063_07162019 - Contextual direct look at Vinnufossen as seen in 2019
Sunndalen_062_07162019 - Looking further east on the Rv70 from the spot where I got a direct view of Vinnufossen
Sunndalen_072_07162019 - Driving further east of Vinnufossen as I noticed these waterfalls where I think one of them might be the Skorgafossen, which was said to be 860m tall
Sunndalen_076_07162019 - Continuing to hunt for more waterfalls as I drove further east on the Rv70 in Sunndalen
Sunndalen_077_07162019 - An interesting cascade that I noticed that I believe to be on the north-facing wall of Sunndalen
Sunndalen_080_07162019 - More angled look at the same north-facing waterfall in Sunndalen
Sunndalen_082_07162019 - Now, I was driving back to the west on the Rv70 in Sunndalen where I got this view of either a waterfall on Fossa or the Skorga with what I think is Vinnufossen way in the distance
Sunndalen_084_07162019 - Another look at the tall waterfalls just east of Vinnufossen in Sunndalen
Sunndalen_088_07162019 - As I was driving east on the Rv70, I had a hard time telling if this was Vinnufossen or the mysterious Skorgafossen or neither
Sunndalen_090_07162019 - Context of Sunndalen as I continued to drive west towards Sunndalsøra on the Rv70
Sunndalen_095_07162019 - Another contextual look at a tall waterfall that may or may not be Vinnufossen while continuing to go west on the Rv70 towards Sunndalsøra
Sunndalen_096_07162019 - This particular waterfall may or may not be on the Skorga or the Fossa.  Again, it's hard to tell, but it's still impressive nonetheless, even in mid-July 2019 flow
Sunndalen_097_07162019 - Context of a couple of the waterfalls on the south-facing wall of Sunndalen as I continued to go west towards Sunndalsøra
Sunndalen_113_07162019 - Looking right into the side valley where there appeared to be a cascade on the Grøa on the north-facing wall of Sunndalen
Sunndalen_116_07162019 - A thin waterfall tumbling towards Sunndalen as I was getting closer to Sunndalsøra along the Rv70
Sunndalsora_015_07162019 - As I was driving on the Fv62 while leaving Sunndalsøra, I encountered this interesting waterfall on what I think is the Erstadelva so it could be the Erstadfossen
Rv_670_002_jx_07032005 - The waterfall bonanza near Sunndalen began when we noticed this huge waterfall way in the distance.  In hindsight, it turned out that the waterafall in the distance here was Tagfossen as seen in July 2005
Sunndalen_001_jx_07032005 - This was our first look at what we would later discover to be Vinnufossen in July 2005. This photo and the rest of the photos in this gallery took place on this day
Sunndalen_003_jx_07032005 - This was the next waterfall (possibly on the north wall) we saw six minutes after Vinnufossen.  It could be on the stream Fossa.  Or, it could be on the Skorga.  It was hard to tell
Sunndalen_004_jx_07032005 - This next waterfall was photographed a minute after 'Fossafossen' on the south wall of Sunndalen.  It could be on the stream Grøa (Grøafossen?) or one of several brooks - Busbekken (Bussbekkfossen?), Fagerbekken (Fagerbekkfossen?), Porsurdbekken (Porsurdbekkfossen?), Lysa (Lysafossen?), etc.  Hard to tell.
Sunndalen_005_jx_07032005 - Here's a more direct view of the mystery waterfall that could be on Grøa, Busbekken, Fagerbekken, Porsurdbekken, Lysa, etc.
Sunndalen_006_jx_07032005 - This photo was taken one minute after the previous photo, so it could also be on any of the streams Grøa, Busbekken, Fagerbekken, Porsurdbekken, Lysa, etc., except we know that it must be east of the previous waterfall photo.
Sunndalen_007_jx_07032005 - Angled view of some north cliff waterfall in Sunndalen.  This photo was taken 2 minutes after the previous one.  So it could be on Lauvåa (Lauvåafossen?) or Kviturbekken (Kviturbekkfossen?).  Or, maybe, it looked tall enough to be on the Skorga or Fossa
Sunndalen_008_jx_07032005 - This impressive pair of waterfalls in Sunndalen was taken a minute after the previous photo.  Since there were a pair of waterfalls, the streams must be close together.  So based on this data, I presume the falls might be on the Skorga or Fossa.  But if we had gone further east, then they could be on Bjørnhjellbekken (Bjørnhjellbekkfossen?) and Røyhjellbekken (Røyhjellbekkfossen?)
Sunndalen_009_jx_07032005 - We backtracked to get a cleaner look at the tall waterfall that could very well be on Skorga or Fossa.  I said earlier that it could be on Lauvåa (Lauvåafossen?) or Kviturbekken (Kviturbekkfossen?), but back in 2005, we didn't take very good records.  This photo was taken in the same minute as the previous photo so they must be very close
Sunndalen_010_jx_07032005 - We got another look at the waterfall pair that I suspect would be on Bjørnhjellbekken (Bjørnhjellbekkfossen?) and Røyhjellbekken (Røyhjellbekkfossen?).  It was also taken in the same minute as the previous photo confirming that they're close.  Plus, the home fronting the falls further hints that it might belong to Leirvollen or Bjørnhjellen
Sunndalen_014_jx_07032005 - Yet another tall unnamed falls on the south wall of Sunndalen.  This photo was taken 4 minutes after the previous photo.  It could be on Røta (Røtafossen?), Nonsdalsbekken (Nonsdalsbekkfossen?), Spenna (Spennafossen?), Stordalsbekken (Stordalsbekkfossen?), Verma (Vermafossen?), or even Grøvla (Grøvlafossen?).
Sunndalen_016_jx_07032005 - This photo is of the same waterfall as above.  Since there were many waterfalls we didn't bother to photograph before this one, trying to figure out which one it was is a total wild guess
Sunndalen_017_jx_07032005 - This photo was taken 1 minute after the previous photo.  I believe it was on the south cliff of Sunndalen, but it could very well be on Nonsdalsbekken, Stordalsbekken, or it could be one of the nameless streams.  Who knows?
Sunndalen_019_jx_07032005 - We were quite waterfall-fatigued by this point so we skipped even more waterfalls.  11 minutes passed before we took this photo because we simply couldn't ignore how big, tall, and  attractive it was!  This waterfall was near the Åmotan turnoff in Sunndalen and it could be on Haukåa (Haukåafossen?), Gryta (Grytafossen?), Litldriva (Litldrivafossen?), or I could be totally off and it was merely one of the brooks or nameless streams (though I doubt it given its volume)

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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.

Sunndalen_021_07162019 - Looking back towards the Holskeidet Rasteplass nearest to Vinnufossen with some waterfalls on the other side of the valley across the Rv70
Looking back towards the Holskeidet Rasteplass nearest to Vinnufossen with some waterfalls on the other side of the valley across the Rv70

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.

360 degree sweep showing neighboring waterfalls as well as an angled view of Vinnufossen from the rasteplass


Sweep starting off with Vinnufossen before repositioning and showing other neighboring waterfalls in Sunndalsora before ending it off back at Vinnufossen

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Tagged with: surnadal, sunndal, sunndalen, sunndalsora, oppland, more og romsdal, norway, waterfall, trondheim



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning 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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