About Besseggen ridge

  • Difficulty: Demanding
  • Distance: 13.6 kilometers (point-to-point)
  • Elevation Gain: 1,300 meters
  • Duration: 6–9 hours

The popular Besseggen ridge is a route route of about 6-9 hours hike (breaks included). The Besseggen hike takes you over the spectacular, steep, and some places very narrow which plunges four hundred meters straight down into the lake below. With the dark blue waters of the Bessvatn lake on one side, and the emerald green waters of Gjende on the other, the journey across the ridge offers great views of the unique scenery, which the area is well known for. Encompassed by the raw, varied and beautiful Jotunheimen wilderness, the entire route offers gorgeous views of its magnificent surroundings. Needless to say, there are many great sights and opportunities for fine photos, on what will no doubt be a memorable trip.

The common route over Besseggen ridge goes from Gjendesheim to Memurubu, or the other way around – which is the easier option. Most people choose to hike Besseggen this way. To do so, they hop on the Gjende boat to Memurubu and hike eastwards, and will thereby be climbing upwards rather than downwards on the steepest parts of the track.

Hike across Besseggen
Hike across Besseggen – (Photo by Chris Arnesen – Visitnorway.com)

As the start and endpoints Memurubu and Gjendesheim are connected by the Gjende Boats, one does not have to hike the same track twice. Should you however wish to do so, it is possible to spend the night at either Gjendesheim- or Memurubu mountain lodges, depending on where you started out from, and take on the journey back fresh and rested the next morning.

Reason to go to Besseggen

National Geographic has listed Besseggen as one of the world’s top 20 most exciting hikes, and it is not hard to understand why. Every year more than 60,000 visitors conducts the trip during the short summer season, and it is not without reason that it is one of Norway’s most famous- and most visited tracks.

The route takes you through the very heart of Jotunheimen’s wild and beautiful wilderness, and offers spectacular sceneries, as well as close encounters with nature, and quite possibly animal life. On your journey, you may very well encounter a herd of reindeer, and you may taste fresh clean mountain water right from the source.

Hike across Besseggen
Hike across Besseggen – (Photo by Chris Arnesen – Visitnorway.com)

Here you will get to embark on personal challenges, crossing demanding passages, and putting your fear of heights to the test, which will no doubt leave you with a great sense of mastery in the end. All this whilst breathing in the freshest of air.

Besseggen hiking map

Besseggen is located in the municipality of Vågå, in the eastern part of Jotunheimen. The route is about 13-14 kilometres long, and rises 1,000-1100 meters. The highest point of the trip is Veslfjellet, at 1,743 m.

History

The entire area of Gjende, in which Besseggen is located, became famous when Norwegian author and playwright, Henrik Ibsen, had his character Peer Gynt travel over the steep mountain ridge in his famous play with the same name. Some years later, the Norwegian Trekking Association (in Norwegian: Den Norske Turistforening, DNT) marked up their first ever walking route, over the famous ridge, and the rest is history. It has since become one of Norway’s most popular mountain hikes, frequently visited by people of all ages and various nationalities.

Whom the trip fits for

This trip is considered demanding, and is recommended for experienced hikers and people in good physical health. The ridge is both steep, demanding and windy, and the track becomes extremely difficult in rainy weather.

Hike across Besseggen
Hike across Besseggen – (Photo by Visitnorway.com/Espen Kristiansen/Field Productions)

In order to make sure your trip is a good experience, you should be well prepared, and plan your trip according to the weather. Even when sun and good weather are forecasted, the weather conditions can change quickly. Therefore, you should always check the forecast and ask local experts for advice before you set of on your trip. They often have knowledge of signs of rain and increased wind, even when the weather forecast has predicted calm and nice weather.

What you need to bring:

  • Map and compass
  • A fully charged cellphone
  • Food and snacks
  • Drinking water
  • Comfortable hiking shoes
  • Wind- and waterproof jacket and pants
  • Hat and mittens
  • Thermal underwear
  • Toiletpaper
  • A sitting pad
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Blister plasters and a simple first aid kit
  • Money and/or card
Hike across Besseggen
Hike across Besseggen – (Photo by Visitnorway.com/Espen Kristiansen/Field Productions)

Best time to go to Besseggen?

In winter, the ridge is filled with ice and snow, which can make it a dangerous place to roam. The snow usually lies until early June, and the season to cross Besseggen is summer and fall, between mid-June and mid-October, which is when the Gjende boats run.

During high season in July and August, as well as on weekends, a great number of tourists hike this trail. At this time, the track can be somewhat crowded, and the boats fill up quickly. If you plan your trip outside the high season and on weekdays, there are fewer people around, and you can better enjoy the tranquillity of nature in these wonderful surroundings.

Hike across Besseggen
Hike across Besseggen – (Photo by Visitnorway.com/Espen Kristiansen/Field Productions)



All our excursions across Besseggen ridge

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For more options, see all our excursions.