Avdalsfossen is a scenic powerful waterfall in the Utladalen near Øvre Årdal, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway.
From Øvre Ardal, the Utladalen is easy to access over road Fv301. In the center of Øvre Ardal just follow the signs for Utladalen. At the end of the road there is a big parking and the first big waterfall is already visible: Hjellefossen. From the parking you already have a fantastic view on Hjellefossen. I forgot to measure the height of the waterfall, but the visible height is at least more then 200 meter. The total height of Hjellefossen is 365 meter, one of the bigger waterfalls in Sogn og Fjordane.
Avdalsfossen is a little bit further into Utladalen and can be reached by following the path along the river Utla. On your left hand Avdalsfossen shows up after 20-25 minutes. The water of the Slufsedøla en de Gravdøla drops down in a single drop over 175 meter and is fed by melted snow from the mountain range Hurrungane.
Avdalsfossen is named after the farm Avdalen Gard that goes back to the 16th century. Avdalen Gard is a beautifully situated mountain farm up at Avdalsfossen. The farm and the cultural landscape has been restored back to former glory, and is now available for the public. At Avdalen Farm you find a summer cafè and accommodation to sleep. Just after Avdalsfossen you see the sign for Avdalen Gard. More information about Avdalen Gard can be found on the official website of Avdalen Gard.
A little bit upstream on the river Utla there is also a nice, small scenic waterfall called Høljafossen with emerald green colors. I missed this waterfall years ago, but July 2017 I got a good view on Høljafossen. Although Høljafossen isn’t very big, I like this waterfall very much.
Further on, from the farm Vetti Gard, the trail gets tougher. The trail goes up (sometimes steep) and you have to pay attention where to walk. Please go on, you will rewarded with a view on an enormous waterfall, Vettisfossen. With a single drop of 273 meters and with a lot of power Vettisfossen is truly voted as the most beautiful waterfall in Norway. Vettisfossen is named after Vetti Gard. Vetti is a farm with a long history that goes back to the 17th century. The meaning of the name Vetti supposedly means something along the lines of “fairy tale meadow”. Nowadays you can spend the night at Vetti Gard.
The hike to Vettisfossen (from Hjelle parking) takes approximately 2-2,5 hour. The roundtrip took me 5 hour, including (a lot of time) taking pictures of all those waterfalls. There are a lot of hikes you can make in Utladalen. It is possible to walk to the top of Vettisfossen (from Vetti Gard, there is a sign) or to go up on the other side of the valley to see Vettisfossen from above. At the suspension bridge you have to go to Stølsmaradalen.
Here you also find another waterfall Stølsmaradalsfossen. It should be over 300 meters high but I can’t find many photo’s to be sure how it looks like. The hike goes steeply up to an altitude of 950 meter with an elevation of appr. 650 meter!!! The view must be amazing.
For the real fanatic hikers there is another huge waterfall further on hiking in the valley, Midtmaradalsfossen, a really nice waterfall over 300 meters high. Not as powerful and impressive as Vettisfossen but nevertheless good enough to visit next time going there. I think the hike from Vetti takes another two hours????
Best time to visit Utladalen and its waterfalls is hard to say because they fall down from both sides of the valley. I would say, start the tour somewhere around 10 or 11 a.m. Then you have enough time for the hike and on the way back you can see Hjellefossen in the sunlight without backlight.
Utladalen is certainly one of the most beautiful hikes I ever made. There aren’t many walks with such scenic views passing 4 of the most beautiful waterfalls of Norway.