The Waterfall Trail (“Fossestien”) leads along the Gaula River and follows old trade routes between Gaularfjellet in Balestrand and Viksdalen in Gaular. The complete trail is 21 kilometers long and includes 14 waterfalls and 7 mountain lakes. The route is easy to access from four different parking lots, and you can adjust the length and difficulty by breaking the trail down in shorter legs.
Fossestien follows the Eldalen Valley. It takes you from wild mountain landscape, past old mountain farms and mountain lakes, and into forest covered valleys. Sheep and cows graze along the trail in the summer, and around 80 milking goats reside at the traditional mountain farm Langestølen.
Hov Hyttegrend offers cabins and facilities for tents, as well as shuttle services to Fossestien every morning in the high season.
Flatheim Farm is a traditional B&B. They offer comfortable beds and facilities for camping, as well as guided trips and a summer café with local refreshments.
In Balestrand you can find a choice of hotels, B&Bs and self-catering apartments. Historical Kviknes Hotel was the favourite of famous painters in the 1800s.
Near Sande on the the Sunnfjord side of Gaularfjellet, Villa Åmot offers a unique cultural experience. In Jølster and Førde you will find both self-catering apartments and hotels.
- Wear good hiking shoes
- Bring more food and water than you think you need
- Keep your dog on a leash
- Do not feed the animals; they do prefer their mountain grass
- The lakes along Fossestien are good for fishing. Buy your fishing licence on inatur.no.
- The well near Torsnesstølen is an artwork called “Mirage” by Marianne Heien. This well is one of ten, with the other nine in villages in Malawi.
- The Gaula river was protected in the 90s after a long debate. The river is one of 379 that has been protected in Norway since the 1970s.
Tips and hints
- Free parking
- There are toilets at Utsikten Viewpoint, 5 kilometers east of the main trailhead
- Flatheim Farm, near Likholefossen, runs a summer café with local pastries and refreshments from late June to early August
Coming from Balestrand, follow Norwegian Scenic Route Gaularfjellet (Road 55 towards Dragsviki and then Road 613) to the Vetlefjord and up the hairpin bends to the Utsikten Viewpoint.
Coming from Sunnfjord, follow Norwegian Scenic Route Gaularfjellet (Road 613 from Moskog or Road 610/613 from Sande) towards Balestrand.
There are four parking lots along Road 613 that provide easy access to Fossestien. There are maps and trail markings for Fossestien from each parking lot. From east to west, they are:
The trail runs from east to west, with Torsnesstølen the highest point. For an easier, downhill hike follow the trail east to west in the direction of Eldal. Note that in Google Maps, there is a point labelled “Start Point Of Fossenstien” (sic), but this is at Eldal at the bottom of the valley and is better as the finish point.
There is shuttle service from Hov Hyttegrend every morning at 10am in summer. The shuttle stops at different starting points along Fossestien so you can choose to hike 5, 8, or 13 kilometers back to Hov Hyttegrend. The cost is NOK 40 per person.