Norway’s first certified national hiking trail
Powerful riverside experience
Fosseråsa is one of the finest and best interpreted footpaths in Geiranger. The trail is signposted from the centre of Geiranger to the Storsæterfossen, which is one of many majestic waterfalls in the world heritage village. The hike offers a wealth of experiences, and has three distinct legs:
1st leg – to the Norwegian Fjord Centre
Start from the Joker general store in the centre of Geiranger and walk in a south-easterly direction (to the right) on the municipal road, past the school and Geiranger caravan site, then cross the bridge. On the far side of the river, take the road uphill to the left. At Gjørva you will pass the quaint old power station and step onto a staircase constructed from weathering steel. The 327 steps will take you all the way to the world heritage visitor centre for the West Norwegian Fjords.
Length: 0.9 km
Altitude: 90 metres above sea level
Duration: ca. 20 min
• The hydropower station at Gjørva, dating from 1928, the third to be built in the village
• The waterfall trail and the weathering steel staircase with fjord-facing viewing platforms
• Storfossen waterfall
• The Mjelvaverket hydropower station dating from 1907, probably the first such station to be built in the inland parts of Sunnmøre county
• World heritage visitor centre (the Norwegian Fjord Centre) with exhibitions, café and shop
2nd leg – to Vesterås
From the Norwegian Fjord Centre, continue across the wooden bridge towards Hotel Union. Turn right and walk uphill along the road for a distance of 100 metres or so, then turn left as signposted. A gravel footpath crosses the field and continues to the wooded hillside called ‘Mørkja’, where the old road to Vesterås used to go. The path is part gravel, part stone pitch. Some sections have yet to be upgraded, but there is a clear, wide footpath all the way, meandering upwards on the sheltered wooded hillside. The trail ends at the Westerås mountain farm.
Length: 1.5 km
Altitude: 230 metres above sea level
Duration: ca. 45 min
• The footpath
• The remains of old hay sheds
• Broadleaved deciduous woodlands
• Old stone walls
• Idyllic woodland walk, accompanied by bird song
3rd leg – to the Storsæterfossen waterfall
From the Westerås mountain farm, walk along the path in a south-easterly direction (to the right) past the chalets, then turning immediately onto the tractor track on the left. There are signposts where the paths meet. The tractor track crosses the steep meadows. Then walk to the left through a small gate, where you rejoin the trail. Large sections of the hairpin bend trail are stone pitch from here up to the Storsæterfossen waterfall. At the halfway point, the trail joins the old footpath from Vesterås. This may be an alternative route for your return walk, but please note that this route has not been upgraded for visitors, it is a natural footpath, and the terrain is rather more demanding. The Storsæterfossen waterfall is at the entrance to the magnificent valley of Vesteråsdalen. From the main trail there is a short spur that takes you down to the plateau above the waterfall. You can walk onwards from here on a narrow ledge behind the cascading waters. A fence provides protection from the gorge below.
Length: 1.5 km
Altitude: 240 metres above sea level
Duration: ca. 45 min
• Westerås mountain farm
• The cultural landscape surrounding Vesterås
• Storsæterfossen waterfall
• Panoramic views of the fjord and mountainscapes
• Wildflower meadows
The trail is signposted at the starting point and at all crossroads. A number of information panels have been erected along the way, providing details of the local natural and cultural history. All the interpretive texts focus on the role played by water.
The Fosseråsa hiking trail is popular, and the first leg is particularly well used. However, it is possible to enjoy the trail virtually undisturbed – on your own, accompanied by nothing but the sound of the water rushing, the birds singing and the wind whispering amongst the leaves. It is a truly enriching experience!
You will take more enjoyment from your walk if you are wearing sensible clothes and shoes and bring the right equipment:
• Wear walking boots or good trainers.
• Dress according to the weather. Remember that as you climb to higher altitudes, it may get colder and windier. Particularly in the autumn and spring it may be a good idea to bring a hat and a windproof jacket. Wearing a woollen inner layer is also a good idea.
• It is a good idea to bring a local walks map. This is available for NOK 10 at Joker, the tourist information office and the world heritage visitor centre / the Norwegian Fjord Centre.
• If you haven’t got the right gear, you can borrow a knapsack (deposit payable) ready-packed with a first aid kit, maps, picnic cups etc. from the world heritage visitor centre. Other relevant outdoor equipment is available for hire from the same place.
• Order your ‘Waterfall Picnic’ and drinks from Cafe Ole in the centre of Geiranger. Put in your order the day before you plan to do your walk by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 95 24 64 88.
Travel without a trace – enjoyable scenic experiences for all
Please do your best to travel without a trace. This helps ensure that other people will also have enjoyable scenic experiences, and it saves our flora and fauna from being harmed or disturbed.
• Tidy up after yourself and take all your litter home.
• Make use of any toilet provided. The countryside is not a loo. If you need to go when you are out and about, deposit any stools in a hole in the ground dug at least 60 metres away from water and at a good distance away from any footpath.
• Do not disturb any wild animals or birds.
• Never pick a plant that is listed. Feel free to pick a bunch of any other wildflowers, but leave the roots where they are.
• Close all gates behind you, and do not disturb grazing livestock.
• Remember that dogs must be kept on a leash 1 April – 31 October to protect grazing livestock.
• Heed the ban on lighting fires in woodland areas between 15 April and 15 September.
• Leave all cultural heritage remains be, including old stone walls.
• Never build a cairn to commemorate your visit. Instead, write your name in the visitors’ books where these are provided.
We hope you will have a great walk along the Fosseråsa trail
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