Name of Waterfall



Rjukanfossen is found along Rv 37 about 9 kilometers west of the town of Rjukan, just east of the eastern portal of a tunnel. Parking is found at the western portal of the tunnel and a trail runs along the cliffs which the tunnel bypasses, providing views into the canyon and of the falls.Rjukanfossen is a formerly powerful waterfall along the river Måna near the town of Rjukan in the municipality of Tinn. Often the falls are cited as dropping anywhere from 110 meters to as much as 165 meters, however these measurements are either partially or entirely related to the measure of elevation change from various points where the river is diverted into the hydroelectric systems, or a measure of the head of the penstocks of the original Vermork generating station. Based on one-meter contour topographic maps, the actual height of the falls is about 80 meters (260 feet), give or take. A second waterfall, Kvernnhusfossen, is located just 150 meters upstream from the top of Rjukanfossen and just above it is a small dam where some of the river is diverted - taking this second waterfall and the height of the dam into account, the elevation change lines up with some of those more commonly cited figures.
Because of the height of the falls and the great volume of the river, Rjukanfossen has been utilized as a source of hydroelectric generation for over one hundred years. While the falls do flow semi-regularly, because of the diversion of the river upstream, they are greatly reduced from their natural stature and only flow for short periods when the river’s volume rises above the capacity of the power station. We attempted to survey the falls in early June 2011 only to find the falls flowing with just a trickle of water (in addition to road construction which had closed access to the viewpoint).Norsk Hydro opened the Vermork power station at Rjukan in 1911, the largest in the world by generating capacity at the time, the electricity from which was used to power factories producing saltpeter (fertilizer). Later the power station was used to produce Heavy Water and during the Nazi occupation of World War II, attempts were made to use this Heavy Water generation to aid in building atomic weapons, which resulted in Norwegian resistance fighters sabotaging the facility and knocking it out of production in 1943. Vermork was decommissioned in 1971 and became a museum in 1988. The current hydroelectric power station is located underground. The name Rjukan translates to “smoke”, referring to the significant amount of mist and spray which is ejected from the base of the falls.

Other Names


Total Height (ft)


Tallest Drop


Number of Drops



80 degrees

Watershed or Feeder Stream