Jotunheimen National Park hiking in Norway is one of the best places to get out into the mountains in the whole country, as far as my experience went.
First of all, I should give a massive disclaimer! It was in 2008 that I hiked in the Jotunheimen National Park so this post is way overdue, so to speak.
But it was one of the best hikes I have done so wanted to put what it was like onto my blog.
I have met other travellers since who have been hiking in Jotunheimen National Park and we talked about our experience and nothing seems to have changed so this article is ‘up to date so to speak for your own trip there.
On another note back then I used only the 2-megapixel camera on my phone (oh, how times have changed) so the images are pretty bad, but I added 2 stock pics to give a better impression (see cover pic).
Jotunheimen National Park Hiking
At the beginning of the Jotunheimen National Park hiking can be done in a few different areas but the Besseggen Ridge hike is one of the most popular and can be combined with a longer hike over the course of a few days. I added on a few different places and ended up staying 5 days hiking in Jotunheimen.
There are lodges at the main starting points for hikes into Jotunheimen and the one I started from is the closest one to the Besseggen ridge. I hiked along that route, past the Besseggen Ridge, and then onwards for a few more days until reaching another lodge on the edge of the national park.
I started late in the day on the first day. When I head out I only went an hour or so before camping for the 1st night in a rocky area out of the way from the main route.
Early the next day I continued for a proper long day of hiking. After a few hours, I reached the famed Besseggen Ridge.
The Besseggen Ridge is one of the most popular hikes in Jotunheimen but can be tricky, especially if it is slippy.
Thankfully there had been no rain which did make it easier to get down, but if you have a fear of heights, beware!
There is only a few metres of ridge to scramble down and on each side is a steep drop of around 100 metres, maybe more.
Technically if you didn’t want to go for a few days hiking in Jotunheimen National Park you could do Besseggen Ridge in a day. Leave early, cross the ridge, then head back to where you started from to sleep for the night at the lodge.
At the bottom of the ridge on one side is a small lake and hiking just beyond that is where I camped for the night.
It was a cloudy night with a quite strong wind which flapped around the tent giving little sleep. But waking the next day to a beautiful mountain range and a sunny sky my spirits were lifted and was bright and ready for hiking.
There were no ridges to hike along from now on, just easy hiking along the bottom of the mountains following frozen lakes and the occasional patch of snow.
It was a long day but an easy enough trail apart from a few wet patches. I took the opportunity to wash my clothes in a stream (without a soap) as it was a sunny day.
For the 3rd night of camping in Jotunheimen National Park, I chose a peaceful spot by a frozen lake. It was an open area with no shelter but the wind was low and no-one else was around. I had a great sleep here!
Waking the next day to the snowy mountain vista, I took my time getting ready as it was such a lovely camping spot.
The hike, on what was to be the last long hiking day, was quite easy like the day before, following the bottom of mountains until having to climb a little onto a more rocky area, but it wasn’t tricky like Besseggen Ridge, just a bit of upwards rocks and that was it.
Streams came down from the mountains from the melting snow.
The last night of camping was in a rocky area but I was too tired at this point to find a ‘perfect’ camping spot.
For your information I used a Terra Nova Laser Competition 1 tent back then which I found excellent due to its combination of lightweight and comfort. It’s a decent size for 1 person looking to go hiking light.
As this was an old hike and I have upgraded my tent since then, the newest version of this tent is the Terra Nova Laser Compact 1 (you can buy one with that link) which I recommend.
After the last night of camping, it was only a 2-hour hike to the final lodge at the end of the hike where I managed to hitch a ride down to the main road where I continued my journey northwards to Trondheim and then the Lofoten Islands.
Jotunheimen National Park hiking is some of the best hiking in Scandinavia that I did.
As far as long distance hiking in Norway goes Jotunheimen National Park has some good ones like this that lasts around 4 days.
Ok, it’s not massive long-distance hiking like the Kungsleden Trail in Sweden I did a few weeks after Jotunheimen National Park that takes at least 1 week to do part of it, or a month to do it all, but 4 days is a good time to see some of what the best of the park has to offer.
Hiking in Norway
There are so many excellent hikes to do in the country but hiking in Jotunheimen National Park and crossing the Besseggen Ridge is one of the best hiking in Norway you can do.
Be sure to take travel insurance for your hiking in Norway trip just to be safe! I use World Nomads Travel Insurance (get a quote with that link) and have found them to be excellent.
For a guide to hiking in south Norway, I can suggest Hiking in Norway – South: The 10 best multi-day treks guidebook.
Take a look at my article on how to go backpacking in Scandinavia cheaply.
And also check out my 10 best books about hiking that I recommend reading to get you in the mood for a hiking adventure.
And my other hiking guides for more hiking advice.
Go ahead and take in the natural beauty of the Jotunheimen National Park!
There are so many other hiking trails in Norway to do that you will never get bored of hiking there!
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