Stodnafossen (Stødnafossen; I think is pronounced “STUED-nuh-foss-un”) was a waterfall that Julie and I didn’t anticipate seeing going into our first trip to Norway in June 2005.
We only spotted it upon leaving the really long (24.5km) Lærdal Tunnel (Lærdalstunnelen) then heading into the town of Lærdal.
And that was when we noticed this conspicuous waterfall backing the residences of the east side of town, which we simply couldn’t ignore.
Naturally, we tried to find a sign or some kind of sanctioned infrastructure to better experience this waterfall, but we had to settle for miscellaneous roadside views.
When we returned in July 2019, we sought to get a more sanctioned and closer look just like we tried on our first visit to Norway.
However, we once again only managed to find views within the residential neighborhood as we did not successfully find neither infrastructure nor trails in support of this waterfall.
So our experiences pretty much degenerated into pulling over in one of the quiet residential streets, getting our views, and then moving on.
I don’t know if this apparent lack of infrastructure was because we didn’t look hard enough or if it was really just one of those waterfalls taken for granted.
But whatever the case, it perplexed us why there couldn’t be signage or lookouts for it given how easy it was to see it from the main Rv5 road.
After all, it fell on the Åselvi River over 88m at its steepest run (according to my measurements on Norgeskart) and apparently had a healthy waterflow both times we’ve seen it despite not being sourced by an obvious large drainage like a lake or glacier.
Of the waterfalls that we visited in the Lærdal Valley, I felt that this was probably the most compelling one even though it seemed like Sjurhaugfossen had a bit more fanfare as well as infrastructure devoted to it.
We found Stodnafossen on the eastern outskirts of the town of Lærdal or Lærdalsøyri.
While we could see it from the Rv5, we were unsuccessful in finding the official trailhead and viewpoint, if it exists.
In any case, you can route to the town of Lærdalsøyri by any number of methods, including GoogleMaps or other similar apps.
For geographical context, Lærdal was about 31km (under 30 minutes drive) south of Årdalstangen, 36km (over 30 minutes drive) north of Aurland, 41km (over 30 minutes drive) north of Flåm, 90km (under 2 hours drive) south of Skjolden, 206km (over 3 hours drive with a ferry crossing) northeast of Bergen, and 284km (over 4 hours drive) northwest of Oslo.
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