Hjellefossen is a powerful waterfall in the Utladalen near Øvre Årdal, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway.
It isn’t hard to find Hjellefossen. The hike into the Utladalen (and Vettisfossen) starts at a big parking just in front of the Hjellefossen. An huge amount of water tries to find its way down, a real spectacle to see.
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.
Most people walk up the Utladalen visiting the famous waterfalls Avdalsfossen and Vettisfossen. Surprisingly most people don’t pay much attention to the most beautiful one. Hjellefossen at the beginning of the trail. Too bad because I think this waterfall deserves much more attention. Luckily Google finally displayed the name Hjellefossen on its map.
There is a path on the left side of Hjellefossen going into the Hjelledalen. There is also a trail going to Vettismorki and the top of Vettisfossen. This a long and intense walk, so I choose to stay down and walk up along the river Utla. A few hundred meters further again wou will have a nice view, from the side, on Hjellefossen (behind the house).
A little bit further you will reach the Utladalen Naturhus with a museum opened in 1998 and houses an exhibition containing information about the natural and cultural history of the valley of Utladalen as well as the western part of Jotunheimen. The house also has a café that is open during the summer.
The trail along the river Utla goes further on to Avdalsfossen, still at the beginning of the trail. Avdalsfossen is very photogenic waterfall and is also a very powerful waterfall with a single drop of 175 meter!
A little bit upstream 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 takes approximately 2-2,5 hour. The roundtrip time 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????
Hjellefossen is between spring an summer always very powerful. Best daytime to visit all Utladalen 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.