Tjugenfossen or Skålefossen is the hidden gem of Norway. This waterfall is actually (not) very well hidden and is located along a busy hiking trail near Loen (Stryn) in the region Sogn og Fjordane, Norway.
Actually it is a funny story why I mentioned that Tjugenfossen is hidden waterfall. I visited the waterfall long ago and I couldn’t remember where the waterfall was located exactly. So I asked about a dozen people if they had seen a big single drop waterfall but nobody knew about a waterfall. At this time I doubted if this was the wright location. I consulted my own website with the (probable) location and continued my hike.
All those people walked by one of the most beautiful waterfall in the region without knowing they passed Tjugenfossen on a hundred meter. Only thing they had to do is go of track and follow the sound of thundering water….
The walk to Tjugenfossen starts at a big parking (with a fee) 2 kilometer from Loen, heading for the Lovatnet. The parking is so big because it is the trailhead of a very popular hike to the mountain Skåla (1848 m). After a few hundred meter walking along a meadow there is sign where you can go left and go right. Going to the right is more difficult but also more fun. And at the beginning you will pass a smaller version of Tjugenfossen.
The trail leads through a forest and can be steep on some parts. In a left bend in the road you have to go right onto a path. This is close to the point where the normal path joins the path along the river. After you go off track you soon will reach the viewpoint on Tjugenfossen. The walk takes 40-50 minutes and is easy if you take the path to the left. If you go right the trail is a little bit more challenging. In 2 kilometer the elevation is 363 meter.
It is possible to walk further to the mountaintop Skåla. Years ago I went a little further to where the rivers Fosdola and Skaleelva join each other. Here you will see another waterfall (actually two) that I named Fosdølafossen. From here the trail goes steep up to what must be the best viewpoint of the region. More information you will find on the picture at the right.
Back to Tjugenfossen: it is an unofficial named waterfall but I asked some locals (which didn’t speak English) but I think they confirmed that Tjugenfossen is the right name. You can’t find the name on Google maps or even not on Norgeskart, which most of the time is very accurate. On Google maps I placed a point of interest with some pictures.
Tjugenfossen is a powerful waterfall, fed by melted snow and ice from the Skålabreen glacier. Skålabreen is a side arm of the bigger Tindefjellbreen that is part of one of the biggest glaciers in Europe, Jostedalsbreen with a surface of 487 km².
Skålabreen is the source of the river Skåleelva that feeds Tjugenfossen together with the river Fosdola. Tjugenfossen is much higher then I thought before: the river Fosdola thunders down in a single drop over 75 meter but is in total 95 meter high.
The amount of water in the river is in summertime enormous, a good time to visit Tjugenfossen.The waterfall falls towards the southwest. If you want that the waterfall is covered totally in the sun then best time to visit Tjugenfossen is from noon.
When visiting Loen and the Lovatnet there are certainly other great things you can do. My highlight was (years ago) our visit of Bødalen. At the end of Lovatnet there is a small (dust) road (with a fee) going up to a parking at the end of the road near the gorgeous Bødalsbreen. On the way you will meet two great waterfalls: Høysteinfossen and Huldrefossen. From the end of the road you can walk to the Bødalsbreen. On teh way you will great views on the valley and a waterfall in front of the Kåpevatnet which I named Kåpefossen. This walk belongs to my top 5 best walks I ever made in Norway!
You also can go to Kjenndalstova, a restaurant with a tremendous view on one of the biggest waterfalls in the world, Ramnefjellfossen. Unfortunately the Lovatnet and the Ramnefjell is also responsible for a tragic story. In the 20th century in 1905, a large piece of the mountainside broke loose of Ramnefjellet and crashed into the Lovatnet lake. It caused a tremendous flood wave which swept away the small villages Bødal and Nesdal, 61 persons lost their lives. 31 years later a same kind of disaster happened which costed 41 people their live. And in 1950 another landslide broke loose but didn’t caused casualties. The water in the Lovatnet wasn’t deep enough anymore to create a huge wave.
Kjenndalstova is a nice place to have lunch or just a perfect spot for a drink. It is also possible to make a boat trip on a tourist boat or to rent a Boat/Canoe.
But this is still not the end of the valley. The road (with a fee) goes further into the valley taking you all the way up to the end of the Kjenndalen. Here you will have a great view on the glacier Kjenndalsbreen (part of Jostedalsbreen) and two waterfalls on each side of the valley. The biggest one on the east side of the valley is named and is called Krunefossen.
From the parking a path leads to the base of the Kjenndalsbreen, a great and impressive view.