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Exploring Norway: 5 Can’t-Miss Hikes

Norway has topped my ‘opportunities list’ for some time now, offering some of the most splendid access to pristine hiking, backpacking, and general mountain and ocean adventures that you can ask for in a single location.

It’s the kind of place that doesn’t really make sense when you see it in photographs, with mountains rising thousands of feet and dropping nearly straight into the ocean—yet finding your way to a summit often only requires some hiking boots and willpower.

With a long list of potential locations to explore, my bag stuffed with gear, and a flexible schedule, I set off to the western fjords and Lofoten Islands. My goal was to camp at some of the more iconic Norwegian locations, from Trolltunga to Reinebringen. One of the most incredible qualities of Norway may not actually be its landscapes, but its laws. Since ancient times the people have had the right to roam freely in open lands, no matter who owns them;  in 1957 the government of Norway passed the Outdoor Recreation Act to preserve this right and ensure that everyone has access to nature. This essentially allows you to hike, explore, and camp nearly anywhere in the wilds of Norway!

After spending nearly a month roaming around the country, touring as many locations as I could get to, these next five hikes are the premier treks, one’s that I will definitely be exploring again during my next visit!

Rampestrenken

The Hike: A quick jaunt up the Rampestreken in the town of Andlasnes is a classic introduction to Norwegian hiking. Norwegians, it seems, prefer the method of straight up the hill rather than the switchbacks that we’re used to on the west coast.

Allure: This hike proves you don’t have to hike far to get high. Beautiful views over the city and fjords, with the option to extend the hike along the ‘Romsdalseggen’ for a full day hike.

Rampestreken-C

Hike Stats:

  • Round trip Length: 2.5 mi / 4 km
  • Elevation Gain: 1762 ft / 537m to the lookout platform
  • Hiking Time: 2-3 hours

Park in the gravel lot [location] and follow the signs up the hill.

Trolltunga

The Hike: Trolltunga lives up to its reputation as one of the premier treks in the western fjords of Norway. As if to prepare you for the hike to come, the trail starts out with 1+km of stairs before several river crossings, topping out with a total elevation gain of 1100 meters. In late spring, there are still large snowfields, but the melt provides source for stunning waterfalls cascading into the fjords below.

Allure: Beyond the opportunity to hike along some of the most stunning glacier carved fjords in Norway, there is little that will surpass the feeling while standing on the end of “The Troll’s Tongue” 700 meters above the lake below.

TrolltungaHike Stats:

  • Roundtrip Length: 13.7 mi / 22 km
  • Elevation: 3608 ft / 1100 m
  • Hiking Time: 8-10 hours

Park in the paid car park [location] and follow the signs to the start of the hike.

Preikestolen

The Hike: While you won’t likely find a day during the season to hike Preikestolen without some company, spend the night and there is a chance you’ll be able to enjoy the sunrise in solitude.

Allure: Similar to Trolltunga, you can test your vertigo tolerance while standing 604 meters over the Lysefjord—and the hike is quite a bit shorter.

Preikestolen

Hike Stats:

  • Roundtrip Length: 4.7 mi / 7.6 km
  • Elevation: 1148 ft / 350m
  • Time: 4 hours

Park in the paid car park [location] and follow the signs to the start of the hike.

Reinebringen

The Hike: Reinebringen is likely the most well known hike in Reine, and for good reason. Once you reach the summit in a short but steep scramble up the back side of Reinebringen mountain, you are gifted with a real taste of all that is the Lofoten islands.

Allure: The view from the top of Reinebringen is second to none in the Lofoten islands, but use caution—this hike is short and very steep, and can become quite slippery when wet.

Reinebringen-3Hike Stats:

  • Roundtrip Length: 1.2mi / 2km
  • Elevation: 1470 ft / 448m
  • Time: 2-3 hours

Turning in to the town of Reine [location] there is a gravel car park on your left.  Park here, then continue on foot south towards the tunnel on the footpath to find the start of the hike.

Kvalvika

The Hike: One of the more accessible hikes in the Lofoten Islands is Kvalvika,although that fact certainly shouldn’t discourage you from crossing the pass to this secluded beach. While you’re over there, maintain the spirit of the folks who filmed ‘North of the Sun’ and bring some trash back with you.

KvalvikaAllure: If the idea of a sandy beach below picture-perfect mountains isn’t enough reason, extend the hike to the neighboring Ryten mountain for a birds-eye view of the beach below and the surrounding mountains.

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Hike Stats (Kvalvika):

  • Roundtrip Length: 2.4 mi / 4km
  • Elevation: 200m
  • Time: 2-3 hours

Hike Stats (Kvalvika to Ryten Mountain):

  • Roundtrip Length: 2.4 mi / 4 km
  • Elevation: 1781ft / 543m
  • Time: 2-3 hours

Traveling 2.5km south out of the village of Fredvang [location] you will see an iconic small red barn on the water’s side of the road, with a paved car park; the hike begins here.  This lot may become full in the summer months, so arrive early to ensure a spot, but be courteous if the lot is full, you will find unpaved lots slightly further south.

Gear Guide for the Norway Backcountry

gear

Weather conditions are as fickle as the coastal Norwegian landscape is varied, so it’s important be prepared when heading out for single and multi-night outings in the backcountry. Here are some of my favorites:

Camp Gear:

Clothing:

  • Pants: Black Diamond Modernist Rock Pant: Nothing beats a pair of pants you can go from the hike to the town pub. Stretch fabric provides all the range of motion you’ll need.
  • Puffy: Black Diamond Cold Forge: No matter what the season, a puffy provides packable warmth.
  • Shell Jacket: Black Diamond Helio: On trekking trips in Norway—or any backcountry trip, for that matter—lightweight, dependable rain protection is vital.

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