Valursfossen certainly had to be one of the most memorable waterfalls (let alone hikes) that Julie and I had ever done.
This wild and powerful waterfall on the Velg River was said to be 262m tall but I also saw a more credible figure in the literature saying its main drop was 70m.
In any case, the falls was our tremendous reward for the somewhat scary drive (see the Vedalsfossen page for more about the drive) and hike to get here.
When I close my eyes and think about how we ended this day, I can’t help but recall the warm glow of the evening sun on both Valursfossen and the moorish highlands.
Moreover, we were all alone in such scenery when we probably would’ve been close to bedtime back at home as we had witnessed the waterfall at around 8pm.
Indeed, it felt magical and it was still one of those moments that was hard to capture in words but certainly lives on in memory.
Hopefully we can impart some of that magic to you through this page.
The Hike to Valursfossen
I really think such pleasant memories of the reward for such a unique and naturesque experience made us not think too much about how difficult (relatively speaking) this hike was for us.
You see, we had to hike about an hour each way through an obstacle course of muddy bogs, rocky scrambles requiring the use of all of our limbs, and hunting for sparsely located painted red Ts.
Those trail markers were courtesy of the Norwegian Hiking Organization DNT or Den Norske Turistforeningen (kind of like the Norwegian Sierra Club, if you will).
Distance-wise, Julie and I did this hike as a 5.2km out-and-back hike on our first visit back in 2005.
When I returned 14 years later, I actually did a loop hike that encompassed both trailheads, which spanned a distance of about 7.3km when all was said and done.
Anyways, speaking of the two trailheads, I’ll describe each one separately in the succeeding sections.
The Hike to Valursfossen: The Out-and-Back Hike from Hjølmmaberget
We started off by hiking from the car park at the very end of the Hjølmo Fjellvegen or Hjølmo Mountain Road (see directions below), which I believe is official known as Hjølmaberget.
From there, we followed a well-used trail that went past a bridge and some signage before going over a small stream.
Once past that stream, we walked about another 400m before we reached a trail junction next to some relics or ruins.
Back on our first visit in 2005, the signage made no mention of Valursfossen. However, on my latest visit in 2019, it seemed like the signage was more obvious.
So turning right at this trail junction (and not heading towards Vivelid), we then traversed an undulated terrain that crossed a couple more thin streams as well as plenty of boggy sections.
After a little over 500m of this interlude, we then reached another trail junction surrounded by a sparse scattering of mountain cabins at a place that I believe is called Veanuten.
From there, we then followed a sign pointing the way to Valursfossen, where not long thereafter, we began the first of many steep climbs as the trail would continue undulating over the Hardanger Plateau.
Barely 100m from the trail junction at Veanuten, there was a nice view over the context of Hjølmodalen down below.
Continuing further for another 1.5km, the trail degenerated into a combination of rocky scrambles and slushy bogs.
We really had to choose our steps carefully (especially if the ground was saturated with rainfall or snowmelt in the early Summer) during this stretch.
For those head-scratching moments where it wasn’t obvious where we needed to go next, we found red Ts to help guide the way.
Eventually after what seemed like forever (due to the boggy and primitive conditions, which meant progress was slower), we ultimately started to see Valursfossen from a distance at about 1.6km from the trail junction at Veanuten.
In order to get cleaner views of Valursfossen, we had to descend lower and closer to the edge of the rapidly declining cliffs.
Once at the end, that was when we were able to see the main tier plunging some 60m-70m (allegedly) before sloping another 202m into the shadows of the gorge below.
There was also another powerful but smaller waterfall further upstream (which the maps called Røvskorfossen), but it can only be partially seen from this vantage point.
We didn’t pursue getting a better view of it as we were content with the main falls itself.
So this was our turnaround point, and the hike felt much easier on the way back than on the way in.
While the main trail seemed to continue well beyond the general waterfall viewing spots, in both of my visits here, it was simply too great of a time commitment to delve deeper into the vast Hardanger Plateau so we never bothered with them.
I believe the continuation of the trail ultimately went to some village in a remote valley called Vivelid.
By the time Julie and I had returned to the upper car park on the Hardanger Plateau, we ultimately spent around two hours away from the car.
The Hike to Valursfossen: Long Loop Hike Encompassing Valursfossen and Both Trailheads
There was also a lower car park and trailhead about 1.8km before the end of the road at Hjølmaberget.
While I easily could have described this hike as an out-and-back hike, I think the steep scrambles on the stretch between this lower trailhead and the mountain cabins at Veanuten made me reconsider having to go through that again in the opposite direction.
From the lower Valursfossen Trailhead (see directions below), I crossed a bridge then walked past a couple of cabins while following the Veig River.
Barely 150m into the hike, I already noticed a gushing waterfall on the Veig though it was difficult to experience due to vegetation obstructing the views of it.
As I had warned earlier, this stretch of trail was actually quite rough and served to foreshadow the non-trivial hiking between Veanuten and Valursfossen.
Some of the rocky scrambles required the use of all my limbs, and the thought of having to descend those steep sections on the way back essentially made up my mind about not going through those steep sections in the opposite direction.
Nevertheless, after a little over 900m of this rough hiking, I finally started to see the mountain cabins as well as a reassuring trail sign pointing the way to Valursfossen.
From there, I hiked the remaining 1.6km to the waterfall itself, which follows the description given in the previous section (so I won’t repeat it here).
When I return to this trail junction at Veanuten, that’s where I had a choice of returning the way I came (something I chose not to do), or hiking the trail described in the previous section in reverse to Hjølmaberget.
By the time I made it back to the upper car park at Hjølmaberget, I had walked on the order of 5.5km.
That said, since my rental car was still sitting at the lower trailhead, I had to walk the road the remaining 1.8km back down the switchbacks and ultimately to the lower car park to complete the loop hike.
Given that most of this road hiking was all downhill, I didn’t find the extra hiking too bad.
All things considered, I wound up spending a little over 3 hours on the hike of the entire circuit, including all the photo and water breaks.
Good Luck Socks?
Another thing I remembered about our first visit was that I even had forgotten to bring my hiking socks for this hike.
To this day, I still keep those socks as a reminder of this adventure as well as acting as a good luck pair of socks whenever I found myself needing to wear dress socks at work or in more formal occasions.
From Eidfjord, we had to drive some 7km on Rv7 towards the township of Øvre Eidfjord (Upper Eidfjord).
From there, a local county road leaves Rv7 and headed south into Hjølmodalen (the county roads were Sæbøvegen or Hagavegen ultimately becoming Hjølmovegen).
The road quickly became an unsealed and narrow single-laned road shared with sheep.
This section of the drive was also described on the page for Vedalsfossen, which was across the valley to the right about 4.5km from Rv7.
Beyond Vedalsfossen, the Hjølmovegen road proceeded another 4km climbing up steep switchbacks alongside the cascading Berdølofossen.
Near the top of the switchbacks, there was a signposted car park near the bridge for Valursfossen.
This was the lower car park for Valursfossen, but in my mind, the preferred and easier hiking came from the upper trailhead.
So we continued about another 2km to the road’s end at the top of the plateau.
That was where we found the upper car park, and that was where I’d recommend the hike should begin from.
For some geographical context, Eidfjord is about 51km (about 45 minutes drive) southeast of Voss, 70km (over an hour drive) north of Odda, about 90km (under 90 minutes drive) west of Geilo, 310km (4.5 hours drive) west of Oslo and 153km (2.5 hours with a ferry crossing) east of Bergen.
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