World Waterfall Database

Nordre Mardalsfossen

Molde, Møre og Romsdal, Norway

Status: Cataloged
This waterfall has been surveyed in person by the World Waterfall Database.
Regulated Flow
This waterfall has been regulated by Hydroelectric development and may no longer flow consistently. The waterfall may have reduced flow, seasonal flow, or may no longer flow at all due to the diversion of its watercourse.

Detailed Info

The lesser of the two major waterfalls along the branches of the Mardøla River, Nordre Mardalsfossen is a long horsetailing fall found in the same valley which harbors the more impressive and globally recognized Mardalsfossen, and as a result Nordre Mardalsfossen suffers from a significant amount of overshadowing. Based on one meter topographic data the falls have a total drop of 442 meters (1,450 feet), broken up into four distinct steps. The three uppermost drops are smaller back-to-back cascades which drop a total of about 87 meters collectively and can't be seen from the valley below. The main tier then veils and slides an additional 355 meters (1,165 feet) down a long pitch of bedrock which features angular fractures which allows the falls to exhibit an interesting slide-plunge-slide dynamic.

Like neighboring Mardalsfossen, the Ytste Mardøla has been regulated in the Grytten hydro system since 1977 and is reduced for the majority of the year. However it appears that for any of several possible factors, this fork of the river may not be affected by the diversion to the extent as the Inste Mardøla. One factor is certainly the larger drainage area of the Ytste Mardøla, which covers approximately 48 square kilometers and feature several small glaciers and numerous lakes. It may also be that water diverted from the Inste Mardøla at peak runoff might overwhelm the diversion system and permit more of the Ytste Mardøla to flow down its natural course instead of into the diversion tunnels – we believe this to be the case simply because when we surveyed the falls in June 2011 it was flowing heavily while Mardalsfossen was greatly reduced in volume (the seasonal flow had not yet been "turned on"). Whatever the cause, it appears the falls flow more consistently than Mardalsfossen does even though the river is similarly regulated. Sources have told us that like Mardalsfossen there is a minimum required release of water between June 20 and August 20, but it's not clear how much that release may be.

History and Naming

Nordre Mardalsfossen is the Colloquial name of this waterfall.

Has also been known as:

  • Mardølafossen
  • Ytste Mardalsfossen

Despite its proximity to the more famous Mardalsfossen this waterfall doesn't seem to have ever been given a commonly accepted name. We've seen it listed as Mardølafossen in the past, but since it's only on a branch of the river and not the main stem this is not a terribly accurate or appropriate naming scheme. The river's proper name is Ytste Mardøla, but the falls seem to be referred to about equally as Nordre (Northern) Mardalsfossen or Ytste (Outer) Mardalsfossen.

Our Thoughts

The great thing about the waterfalls of the Mardøla, aside from both of them being absolute world class waterfalls, is that no matter what time of year is chosen for a visit, one of the falls should be flowing. When we visited in June 2011, Mardalsfossen was flowing but not heavily, while Nordre Mardalsfossen was downright thunderous and its roar greatly overpowered that of Mardalsfossen. During the peak of the summer travel season both falls should be flowing with considerable power and even late in the year Nordre Mardalsfossen may be flowing well when Mardalsfossen has been “turned off”. Waterfall hunters visiting Norway should make this valley an absolute top priority.

Location & Directions

Coordinates:   Unknown

Nordre Mardalsfossen is found in Eikesdalen in the municipality of Nesset. From the junction of Routes 62 and 660 in the town of Nesset, follow Route 660 south for almost 17km to the small town of Eresfjord and turn left onto Route 192, which is signed for Eikesdalen and Mardalsfossen. Follow Route 192 for 6km then bear left onto Route 191, still watching for signs for Eikesdalen and Mardalsfossen. Follow Route 191 along the shore of Eikesdalsvatnet for another 21km and turn right onto a gravel road (for which there is a toll of NOK 30) just after crossing the river, again following signs pointing to Mardalsfossen. Follow the gravel road for another 2.5km to the large parking area about 130 meters beyond the bridge over the Mardøla. From the parking area, simply follow the signed trail which leads to the base of Mardalsfossen in about 2 kilometers. Nordre Mardalsfossen is visible from the trail in the same area that Mardalsfossen is visible.

By The Numbers

The information presented in this table is meant to help identify and clarify the physical aspects of the waterfall for comparative purposes. While we try to ensure this information is as accurate as possible, sometimes it will prove necessary to either estimate or flat out guess at certain characteristics where either enough information isn't readily available, is not known, or we were not able to confirm a given trait upon surveying. This information may be changed at any given time to ensure accuracy.

Total Height

The Total Height listed for the waterfall represents the difference in elevation from the top of the uppermost drop, to the bottom of the lowermost drop of the waterfall, including all stretches of interstitial stream in between. Stream between two tiers of a waterfall is counted in its overall height regardless of whether or not that section of the stream would be legitimately considered a waterfall on its own right, were it to be isolated. Waterfalls with only one drop will of have the height of only the single drop listed here.

Tallest Drop

The Tallest Drop figure represents the height of the largest single drop within a multi-stepped waterfall. Waterfalls with only one drop will have the total height of the waterfall repeated here.

Num of Drops

The Number of Drops in a waterfall is a tally of the total number of distinct drops which make up the waterfall. Stretches of interstitial stream in between two or more distinct drops of a single waterfall are NOT considered to be distinct drops of the waterfall unless the section of stream in question would otherwise qualify as a waterfall were it to be isolated.

Avg Width

The Average Width of the waterfall represents the breadth of the waterfall from bank to bank under typical flow conditions, or if the waterfall has been Cataloged, under the conditions which it was most thoroughly surveyed. Often this number will be approximated because of a lack of approachability to many waterfalls. We often utilize Google Earth to measure the width (where imagery is of sufficient quality and resolution to allow it.

Maximum Width

Maximum Width represents a hypothetical measurement of roughly how wide a waterfall could get during peak streamflow or flood conditions. For smaller waterfalls, this figure will generally not differ much from the Average Width measurement, but for broader waterfalls - especially those that feature a crest that isn't constricted - this figure can at times be consideraby larger. Like the Average Width measurement, this measurement will take into account the difference in width at the top and bottom of the waterfall as much as possible, but will often be made based on the width of the crest of th falls alone.


The Pitch of a waterfall is an estimated - often very roughly - measure of the average slope or steepness of a waterfall. The Pitch figure only takes into account sections of stream which are actively falling. Pools or stretches of level stream in between two or more successive drops of the falls will not factor in this figure. As an example, a waterfall which features two truly free-falling leaps separated by several dozen yards of flat stream will have a Pitch of 90 degrees. Similarly, a waterfall with two drops separated by a pool, one with a true free-falling drop, and one with a Horsetail type fall will average the two, so while the Plunging drop has a Pitch of 90 degrees, if the Horsetail drop has a Pitch of 45 degrees, the total Pitch will be roughly 67 degrees.


The Run of a waterfall is a measurement representing the total linear distance on the ground between the top and bottom of a waterfall. This figure is not often easy to establish with a high degree of precision and as such will often be estimated. Waterfalls with a longer Run will usually either be less steep, often cascading type waterfalls, or will feature multiple steps separated by shorter stretches of a more gradual gradient streambed.


The system of classification of waterfall forms we use is a heavily modified derivative of the classifications outlined by Greg Plumb in his "Waterfall Lover's Guide to the Pacific Northwest" books. While plumb uses eight distnct forms, we wanted further granularity and opted to break down the hierarchy twofold: first based on the overall pitch of the waterfall, and then based on what shape the fall takes as it makes its descent. There are five primary Categories of falls in this system: Plunge, Horsetail, Steep Cascades, Shallow Cascades, and Rapids. Additional deliniation is then applied depending on characteristics such as the breadth of the falls, whether it splits into two or more channels, whether it falls in multiple successive drops, etc. For more information on our waterfall form classifications, see the Help page.


The watershed which a waterfall occurs within, if it is specified, will be based on the ultimate distributary watercourse to the ocean. For example, Washington's Palouse Falls occurs along the Palouse River - which is a tributary to the Snake River, which is itself a tributary to the Columbia River, which ultimately enters the Pacific Ocean, so Palouse Falls would then fall within the Columbia River watershed. Streams which empty directly into the ocean, or into a minor basin which then empties to the ocean will often have this field left blank.


The name of the watercourse which the waterfall occurs along. If the watercourse is not known to have an officially or colloquially recognized name, this field is left blank.

Avg Volume

The volume of water present in the stream at the location of the waterfall. This is often the most difficult figure to pin down because accurately measuring streamflow is not a simple process. We will rely on USGS data as much as possible, and attempt to take into account seasonal fluctuations in stream levels if possible. There is no guarantee that this figure will be accurate, and in cases where there is no USGS data to use, it may be a very, very rough estimate at best.


If known, the primary source of the watercourse which produces the waterfall will be listed here. This is helpful in determining whether a waterfall may flow more consistently during certain periods of the year - streams which originate in Springs, Lakes, or Glaciers will often flow more consistently throughout the year than those fueled by simply Runoff. The source of the stream may also be either unknown or undetermined.

Flow Consistency

A rough estimation of how many months out of the year the stream which produces the waterfall will actually hold water. The vast majority of waterfalls featured on this website will technically be truly perennial waterfalls (those that flow all year long), but some may see their flow dwindle greatly in the late summer months. This figure will not take into account the winter months when the waterfall may freeze, because in such cases the waterfall will very often be inaccessible. Entries which specify a Flow Consistncy of 12 Months should in general have an acceptable flow at any time of year (but may be better during certain periods - see below).

Best Flow

A general estimate of the best period of the year during which time the falls will be considered at optimal conditions, or flowing at their best. There may be variance within the range specified where the flow will be better or worse, but visiting at any time in the range specified (if available) will generally present the waterfall in its best light.



Cataloged Icon
Waterfalls which are Cataloged we have visited and surveyed in person. Statistical information should be quite accurate (for the most part), and exact measurements will often be available (information is not guaranteed to always be up to date). Detailed information, directions, and photographs will almost always be available.
Confirmed Icon
Confirmed Waterfalls are known to exist, should be relatively accurately mapped and geotagged, and the statistical information available will often be dependable. If height information is presented, it may be estimated but should be accurate. Directions will not likely be available.
Unconfirmed Icon
Unconfirmed Waterfalls are often marked on a published map, but we have yet to confirm the exact location and / or whether or not its stature is significant enough to qualify for listing in the database. Statistical information may be estimated and may be inaccurate. No directions.
Unknown Icon
Waterfalls marked as Unknown are either suspected to exist based on heresay or a hunch, or we have received unverified information suggesting a waterfall may exist near the location provided but cannot corroborate it in any way. Geodata may not be accurate, the location may not be known at all, and statistical information will be estimated and highly inaccurate.
Inundated Icon
Inundated Waterfalls have been submerged beneath lakes or reservoirs, usually a result of impoundment of a river behind a dam, and most often no longer functionally exist (there may be rare exceptions). We maintain records for these features out of historical importance.
Subterranean Icon
Though not common, some waterfalls can be found entirely underground within cave systems. Access to subterranean waterfalls can vary from easy via developed walkways to requiring a high level of extremely technical spelunking skill, including familiarity with ropework and a distinct lack of claustrophobia.
Disqualified Icon
Waterfalls which have been marked as Disqualified do not have the necessary stature or features to qualify as a legitimate waterfall according to our criteria. We will maintain records for entries with this status where the feature is well known and / or may have been historically referred to as a waterfall at some point in time.
Posted Icon
Posted Waterfalls are known to exist, and we may have a large amount of information associated with them, but are located on private property and are not legally accessible to the general public. Accessing waterfalls with this status should not be attempted without first being explicitly granted permission of the property owner.

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