Norway is known for it’s countless fjords, each meticulously carved by waterfalls and glacier melt. Most of these fjords are embraced by towering arms of land, rising up from the seawater in steep ridges and sharp cliffs. So it’s no wonder that most of the hikes will send adventurous hikers up thousands of feet over minimal horizontal distances.
Aaron and I don’t mind a strenuous hike here and there, but I’m all about the photos. Too much huffing and puffing, and I don’t get as much photography in. Therefore, we tend to prefer moderate hikes with wonderful scenic opportunities – much like this one.
One of our first real hikes in Norway was to Brekkefossen – a stunning waterfall near Flam. It was one of the few short hikes we could find that wouldn’t leave us incapacitated from exertion for the rest of our trip.
We parked in Flam and made our way down the little road and to the trailhead. Along the way, we passed cute pastoral farms and a few friendly yaks. We climbed the rise, revealing the fjord below and behind us. We unknowingly caught our first glimpse of our destination behind a quaint farmhouse. I immediately had to send a picture to my dad to tell him he missed out on some prime retirement real estate!
The trail proper branches off to the right, about a mile from the main parking lot in Flam. It’s clearly marked with a wooden sign, so we couldn’t miss it.
This is where the real fun began.
The trail quickly ascends, and it took us along a rocky path and through sparse trees. Despite the shade, it was already quite hot. The exercise only added to the heat.
Unfortunately, this is a well-known hike, and it’s rather popular. As such, we passed (and were passed by) plenty of other hikers.
Gravel gave way to dirt amidst large rocks, and we were forced to mind our feet more than the views. When we stopped for some water, though, we glanced behind us and could see the valley stretching into the distance.
The path finally leveled out, and venturing beyond a clearing of grassy boulders, we finally arrived at the main viewpoint.
With the magnificent waterfall to the left and the stunning expansive vista to the right, it was a prime location, indeed. We rested on the rocks and soaked in the energy of the place, reveling in the sheer beauty surrounding us.
Sadly, the sun was out, full-force, so pictures were less than optimal. To make matters worse, I had lost Aaron somewhere along the way, so I didn’t have him around to be the subject of my shot.
But in Norway, we were almost never without service, so he was only a quick text away (I’m really not used to having any kind of service when I’m hiking!). Evidently, he had continued up the trail, to the “waterfall behind the waterfall.” Well, now what did that mean?
The waterfall behind the waterfall
Leaving the rest of our group at the viewpoint, I opted to follow Aaron. No way could I let him go have an adventure without me!!
I ascended more. This part of the trail was much shadier, and I had had a chance to cool down a bit. However, the warmth quickly kicked back in, especially with the later hour.
In the end, the effort was well worth it. The trail ended at a secluded pool, nestled in a grassy hill and fed by a much smaller fall than the towering behemoth I had just left. It was peaceful here, and there were far fewer people who were willing to hike farther than they had already. This gem felt much more like the hikes at home, the tourists drawn off the trail by the alluring viewpoint below.
While I enjoyed the upper fall, the view really was far superior at the first stop. We made our way back down to join the others.
Along the way, we passed some grazing sheep.. just chilling.
Aaron was amazed when we reached the main outcropping that overlooks Brekkefossen. I honestly think he did the hike right. By saving this for last, he could fully appreciate the upper fall, while I found it somewhat anticlimactic.
I once more had my photo subject. Thanks, Aaron, for being my focus point! I also made him jump in front of the falls. Because that’s what I do. I make Aaron look silly for the sake of my photography.
And as I set up the camera on a tripod for a group shot, I was thrilled to see some brief clouds roll in to diffuse all the harsh light! I was pleased.
Back to Flam
We happily departed, making our way back to Flam for some way over-priced lunch.
This trail was quite mild compared to most in Norway; it only gained about a thousand feet. Perhaps our next visit to Norway will include a day-long hike to the epic Trolltunga or somewhere else with epic views of fjords far below, but for this trip, this hike was just the right size. Adventurous enough to keep me entertained, while scenic enough to keep my camera busy.
It was a good day. But I would soon find out our experiences in this beautiful country were about to get even better.
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