Experiences and tourist destinations

Everyone has heard about Besseggen and Galdhøpiggen, but Jotunheimen offers so much more! Jotunheimen has over a hundred peaks that tower more than 2000 meters above sea level, but the area also has lush valleys that are perfect for nice family trips. Take a trip to Utladalen to see the Vettisfossen waterfall and a number of other majestic waterfalls in the lush cultural landscape with hayfields and grazing animals!
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Nasjonalparkstyret for Jotunheimen og Utladalen
Statsforvaltaren i Innlandet
Postboks 987
N-2604 Lillehammer
E: sfinpost@statsforvalteren.no

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Title Address Description
Jotunheimen nasjonalpark
Jotunheimen, Lom, Norge
Lom Nasjonalparklandsby og Lom fjellmuseum
Brubakken 2, 2686 Lom, Norge
Otta stasjon
Otta stasjon, Otta, Norge
Vågå skysstasjon
Vågåvegen 37C, 2680 Vågå, Norge
Gjende parkering
Unnamed Road, 2683, 2683 Tessanden, Norge
Gjendebåten
Gjendevegen 231, 2683 Tessanden, Norge
M/B Bitihorn
Bygdisheimvegen 320, 2953 Beitostølen, Norge
Besseggen
Besseggen, Vågå kommune, Norge
Galdhøpiggen 2469 moh
2686 Lom, Norge
Glittertinden 2452 moh
Glittertind, Lom, Norge
Fannaråken 2068 moh
Fannaråki, Luster, Norge
Smørstabbtindene
Smørstabbtindan, Lom, Norge
Hurrungane
Hurrungene, Årdal, Norge
Falketind 2067 moh
Falketind, Årdal, Norge

Plan your trip in advance

 

Familiarize yourself with the route you want to take and the equipment you may need on your trip. If you intend to cross a glacier, you should join a guided tour or book a skilled glacier guide to go with you.

Remember that the weather can change quickly, and snow and cold temperatures are not uncommon during the summer months.

Read advice and rules about hiking in the mountains here

 

People hiking

Besseggen

Besseggen is one of Norway’s most famous hiking trips. The 14 km trip runs between Gjendesheim and Memurubu, along the mountain ridge high above Gjende lake. 

Most visitors start by taking the boat from Gjendeosen to Memurubu, and then use the whole day to hike over the mountain back to Gjendesheim. The view from the top, with the emerald green Gjende lake to the south and the blue Bessvatnet lake to the north, is worth the steep climb up the ridge!

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The hike over Besseggen: 

  • Normally, the trip takes 5 to 9 hours (including breaks).
  • The total climb in altitude of the trip is over 1000 meters, with the highest point being 1743 m on Veslfjellet mountain!  
  • Besseggen has some rather steep sections where you need to use your hands to scramble up.

Read more about the trip at besseggen.net

Remember:

  • Sturdy mountain boots are absolutely necessary on this trip.
  • Bring along windproof and waterproof clothing, a warm hat and mittens, and remember that the weather changes very quickly in the mountains!
  • Make sure you bring along food and something to drink.
  • Go to the toilet before you start your trip.
  • Bring a map and compass, and learn how to use them! Tell someone where you intend to go.
  • Headlamp

Hiking along Gjende lake

For those who wish to take a trip that is a bit easier than Besseggen, it is nice to walk along the north side of Gjende lake. This is also a good alternative in the event of bad weather. The trail runs along the side of the lake and over the crags, where visitors can enjoy a great view. The trail passes partly through rocky and slightly rugged terrain, so this is no walk along the beach. Normally, the trip takes 3 to 5 hours (including breaks). Birch forests grow on the south-facing, chalky hillsides along Gjende lake, all the way up to 1200 m above sea level, and here visitors will find species that normally grow in much lower lying land. These species include lily of the valley, cinnamon roses and wild strawberries.

Besseggen..

Galdhøpiggen

Standing at 2469 masl, Galdhøpiggen is the highest mountain in Northern Europe. You can start the trip from Spiterstulen (1100 masl), or from Juvass Cabin (1840 masl), where there are guided tours to the summit every day during the peak season. Several companies offer guided glacier trips over Styggebreen glacier.

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If you start your trip from Spiterstulen in Visdalen valley, you don’t require a glacier guide if you choose to take the T-marked route up the hillside. This is the route that Steinar Sulheim, Ingebrigt N. Flotten and Lars Arnesen took on the very first ascent in 1850.  

On the trip from Visdalen valley, you also get to experience two additional 2000 meter peaks; Svellnose and Keilhaus topp. There are more meters to climb and the trip is more physically demanding than the hike from Juvass Cabin, but you are not dependent on having a glacier guide and you can walk at your own pace.

Along with a glacier guide from Spiterstulen, visitors can hike via the Svellnosbrean or Eventyrisen glaciers, and experience a fabulous walk over the ice before embarking on the final climb towards the roof of Norway.

People hiking at Galdhøpiggen

Enter the glacier – Climate Park 2469

Climate Park 2469 is located at the foot of Galdhøpiggen, a good alternative if you don’t wish to take the trip to the roof of Norway. The area is accessible for everyone, with built-up walkways over the frosty polygon field and up to the spectacular ice tunnel filled with ice sculptures and archaeological treasures. Visitors can enter the glacier every day from mid-June until the end of September. On the way to the tunnel, you learn about the history of hunting in the area, climate change, thawing permafrost, melting snowdrifts and animals and plants that have adapted to life in the harsh mountains.

Read more

Children looking at ice sculpture

Glittertinden

Glittertinden is the second highest peak in Norway. The previously huge snowdrift on the top meant that the peak used to be slightly higher than Galdhøpiggen, but its height is actually 2452 masl when measured from the mountain rock.

The easiest route up the mountain is from Glitterheim, but you can also walk from Spiterstulen, or walk up one side and down the other. There is snow on the ground towards the top of the mountain for large parts of the summer, and visitors can rent glider sledges at Glitterheim which make the descent extra fun!

Glittertind mountain

Fannaråken

Fannaråken is a popular destination both on foot and on skis. With its outstretched ridge, the peak is a characteristic motif in the landscape. During the summer season, you can visit the highest tourist cabin in the country. The peak is especially popular with skiers during the spring when the Fv. 55 road over the Sognefjellet mountains is cleared of snow around 1 May. After the road has been opened, the most common starting point is the pond at Preststeinvatnet lake.

During early winter, it is nice to take the trip from Sognefjell Cabin. During the summer, guides can lead you over the glacier if you take the trip from Sognefjell Cabin. From Turtagrø and Helgedalen valley in the south, visitors can hike up without a guide or having to cross a glacier.

Mountain in sunset.

The Smørstabbtindane peaks

The Smørstabbtindane peaks are a characteristic photo motif that can be taken from the Fv. 55 road over the Sognefjellet mountains. The peaks are popular destinations for mountain climbers during the summer and for summit trips on skis during the winter and into the spring. The peaks are especially popular with skiers during the spring, starting from Krossbu or other places located on the Fv. 55 road.

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During the summer months, visitors require a skilled glacier guide in order to reach the top safely. Most of the routes cross glaciers, with the exception of the trip to Store Smørstabbtinden. The tourist companies along the Fv. 55 road, Leirvassbu and many independent companies offer glacier guides and guiding. Those that don’t suffer from a fear of heights can follow the mountain pass from Store Smørstabbtinden and reach several peaks without having to cross glaciers. The highest peaks in the range are  Storebjørn (2222 masl), Store Smørstabbtinden (2208 masl), Sokse (2.159 moh), Veslebjørn (2150 masl), Kniven(2133 masl) and Skeie (2118 masl). AOther peaks in the range that surround the Smørstabbrean glacier are Kalven, Sauen and Geite.  

There is an ongoing discussion regarding the names of some of the peaks.

Mountains.

Vettisfossen 

The Vettisfossen waterfall has a free fall of 275 meters and is considered the king of waterfalls. The waterfall was protected back in 1924, and is Norway’s and Northern Europe’s highest unregulated waterfall. 

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The trip to the foot of the waterfall is approximately a 4 hour round trip from the parking lot at Hjelle (6 km one way). The trip takes visitors along the Vettisvegen road to Vetti Farm, and then on the waymarked path that leads under the waterfall. You can also walk up the steep path from Vetti to Vettismorki to see the waterfall from above, but this trip takes a couple of hours longer.

Ulrik Bøyesen, a priest from Lærdal, visited Utladalen in 1818, and he is the first person to describe the Vettisfossen waterfall: 

“Not a drop of the perfectly perpendicular waterfall touches the mountain wall.”   

Vettisfossen waterfall.

Hurrungane Mountains

This mountain massif in the south of the national park has more than twenty peaks that are over 2000 meters high. Several of the peaks require visitors to have good glacier and climbing skills, but there are many companies that offer mountain guiding if you are not that experienced. 

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The Turtagrø tourist cabin has a long tradition of being a mountaineering base in Norway. The king of the Hurrungane mountains is called Store Skagastølstinden, or Storen, which towers all of 2405 meters above sea level. The British mountaineer William Cecil Slingsby was the first person to reach Storen’s summit in 1876, and he is often called the father of Norwegian mountaineering. The glacier on the eastern side of the peak was named the Slingsby Glacier. Other famous peaks are Store Austanbottstind and Store Ringstind.

The Hurrungane mountains also include more accessible peaks that you can reach on your own, such as Store Soleibotntinden, which provides great views from its summit at 2083 meters above sea level.

The Hurrungane mountain massif is also a popular skiing destination during the spring. It is important that visitors show consideration regarding the wild reindeer that can be found in the area. The animals are very vulnerable after a long winter, especially when disturbed. Don’t follow the animals, keep a distance from them and choose a different route so the wild reindeer don’t use up precious energy trying to run away. Constant disturbances may block migratory routes and prevent the does from making their way to the calving area southwest of the Hurrungane mountains.

People hiking on a mountain top

Jotunheimen Historical Hiking Route

-a mountain hike in the pioneers’ footsteps

The route consists of four stages that each take a day to complete:

  1. Gjendesheim to Memurubu over Besseggen
  2. Memurubu to Gjendebu via Bukkelægret
  3. Gjendebu to through the Svartdalen valley
  4. Torfinnsbu to Fondsbu oand Eidsbugarden along Galdeberget mountain
Read more

It is possible to stay overnight at the Gjendesheim, Memurubu, Gjendebu, Torfinnsbu and Fondsbu/Eidsbugarden tourist cabins along the way.

Visitors need to be in good physical shape to hike the entire route. It is also possible to hike the route in the opposite direction, or choose just a couple of the stages if you want a easier trip. All the stages are accessible via scheduled bus services and/or scheduled boat services during the summer season, and it is possible to replace individual stages with a boat trip to Gjende or Bygdin instead of hiking over steep mountain ridges. It is also possible to send heavy rucksacks by boat on stages 1, 2 and 4.

There is a short version of the route that is suitable for a weekend trip. Visitors can take the boat from the eastern end of Bygdin to Eidsbugarden, and then hike via Veslådalen valley to Gjendebu on day 1. The next day, visitors can choose between hiking from Bukkelægeret to Memurubu and then taking the afternoon boat to Gjendesheim, or taking the morning boat to Memurubu and hiking over Besseggen to Gjendesheim.

More about the route and the history of the mountains on The Norwegian Trekking Association’s website

Cairn in the mountains

Spring skiing trip from Valdresflye

The Fv. 51 road over Valdresflye is a popular starting point for spring skiing trips to Jotunheimen. Starting from 1389 meters above sea level, there are several 2000 meter high peaks that can be reached by most people with normal skiing skills. The easiest mountain is Rasletinden (2105 masl), or you can continue on to other mountains such as Kalvehøgdene, or to Mugna and Munken. Other popular peaks that can be accessed from the Fv. 51 road on the stretch above Vargebakkane are Høgdebrotet (2226 masl) and Tjønnholstinden (2331 masl).

Winter landscape

Haute Route Jotunheimen

Inspired by the Haute Route in the Alps, this route in Jotunheimen has become a popular skiing trip after its introduction in 2013. 

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From Gjendesheim in the east, the route runs over 5 of the largest peaks in Jotunheimen, where visitors ski almost 90 km and climb 7000 meters in height before ending up at Krossbu in the west. The Haute Route is a demanding 5-day trip over the Besshøe (2258 masl), Surtningssue (2368 masl), Glittertinden (2452 masl), Galdhøpiggen (2469 masl) and Storebjørn (2222 masl) mountains.

The trip starts at Gjendesheim or Bessheim on the Fv. 51 road, and visits the tourist cabins at Memurubu, Glitterheim, Spiterstulen and Leirvassbu on the way to Krossbu on the Fv. 55 road. On certain stages, sporty visitors can visit additional peaks, and it is possible to take an alternative route by following the staked trail without having to ski over the planned peak on days with bad weather or poor visibility.


This is a trip for very experienced skiers, and it is a huge advantage for less experienced skiers to go with a guide. There are several companies that can guide you safely over high mountains and through deep valleys.

Read more and have a look at the route at Ut.no

Winterscape mountains

Falketind (Falcon Mountain)

Aasmund Olavsson Vinje named the mountain Falketind (2067 masl) – inspired by its characteristic profile.

“The black peak with its curved beak resembles a falcon,

readying itself for flight;
Its breast speckled with white spots,
and this is why he is called Falketind.”

The summit is located on the outskirts of Jotunheimen, within Utladalen Protected Landscape. It is not one of the highest peaks in the area, but the trip is demanding so many people choose to go with a guide.

Another popular peak towards the south is Uranostinden (2157 masl).

Mountain, Falketind