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   Sogn Og Fjordane, Norway

This waterfall has been surveyed, mapped and measured in person by the World Waterfall Database.
Photo of Tjøtafossen Visitors to the famous Briksdal Glacier almost always focus their attention on the glacier and the stunning cerulean meltwater lagoon at its foot. The neighboring glacier, Tjøtabreen also pokes its nose over the edge of the valley but it terminates high above the valley floor and as a result it sends its meltwater streaming thousands of feet down the smooth wall of the valley, creating a sight nearly as impressive as the Briksdal Glacier itself. Though Tjøtafossen isn’t quite as prominently visible as nearby Volefossen, it’s a substantially taller waterfall and can be quite a bit more voluminous during the warmest summer months, making it arguably the most significant waterfall in Oldedalen.

The falls begin immediately as the stream emerges from beneath Tjøtabreen, sliding down the smooth granitic cliff in a narrow zigzagging pattern. After about two-thirds of its total drop, the stream spreads out over a much broader reach of the cliff, forming a very prominent veiling horsetail as the falls terminate in the barren tundra-like landscape below. The total height of the falls from the toe of the glacier to its base is about 2,420 feet. However, as the glacier recedes or advances the top of the falls may be covered up or further revealed, so the height may shift one way or another. Additionally, due to the non-vertical pitch of the falls, the falls suffer from pretty severe foreshortening and do not appear from its base to be anywhere near as tall as it actually is. The most prominently visible portion of the falls accounts for about 1,300 feet of the total drop.


  • Tjøtafossen is the Unofficial name of this waterfall

The falls are unofficially named for the stream (Tjøtaelva) and glacier (Tjøtabreen).

Our thoughts

When we surveyed Tjøtafossen in June 2011, the weather was not terribly cooperative but the falls were fully revealed while much of the surrounding landscape was shrouded in fog. Despite the cooler temperatures a substantial volume of water was flowing over the falls and while we had for the longest time suspected Tjøtafossen would be among the most significant waterfalls in Norway, actually seeing in person really solidified our postulation on the subject. This waterfall is impressive, there are no two ways about it.

Location and directions

Take Route 60 south from Stryn to the small town of Olden and make a left onto Route 724 immediately before crossing the river (note, a new road was being built when we visited, so expect directions to change in the future), watching for signs pointing to Briksdalsbreen and Oldevatnet. Follow the signs to Briksdalsbreen, proceeding all the way to the end of the road at the Visitors Center 22km from Olden (stay to the right after crossing the river for day use parking, for which there is a fee). Walk past the visitor center and lodge, following the gravel road and signs pointing towards Briksdalsbreen. The trail climbs steadily for 2km to the border of Jostedalsbreen National Park where the falls first come into view. The best views are from about half of a kilometer further, just before reaching the shore of the glacial lagoon below Briksdalsbreen.

Tjøtafossen is shown in the center. Additional nearby waterfalls (if any) can be found in the list below.

Additional Nearby Waterfalls

Name of Waterfall Distance
Kleivafossen 0.88 mi / 1.42 km
Volefossen 1.59 mi / 2.55 km
Melkevollfossen 2.1 mi / 3.37 km
Hølgamefossen 3.06 mi / 4.9 km
Kvamefossen 3.41 mi / 5.46 km
Rustøyfossen 3.72 mi / 5.95 km
Neslefossen 4.5 mi / 7.2 km


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Photo of Tjøtafossen Photo of Tjøtafossen

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Photography tips

The falls face north and will see direct, even sunlight for the majority of the day. Because the trail to Briksdalsbreen is on the opposite side of the river from the falls, spray is not at all a problem, but foreshortening remains an issue even at distance. Also be wary of people wandering into your frame unaware of their surroundings (and on a warm summer day, expect there to be a lot of people - especially if any cruise ships are docked in Olden).

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