The Historical Hiking Route in Jotunheimen




The Historical Hiking Route in Jotunheimen

This summer you can join us for a full week, and around 50km of the best hiking tracks in Jotunheimen! Our historical guide will not only make sure you get a exciting and safe journey. The guide will also take you through the history behind the route, the peaks and accommodations.

We will visit some of the most well known DNT cabins in the area. Like Gjendesheim, Gjendebu, Torfinnsbu and Fundsbu. As well the privatly owned cabins at Memurbu.

For all the details, information and pictures, take a look bellow. Make sure you book your experience now! Limited places sold on first come, first service basis.

Accommodation, food and drinks:

  • All accommodation included
  • Food and drinks are served at accommodations
  • “Hiking-Board” meal plan with 3 meals a day included in the price! For more information read more here.

Transportation:

  • Bus transportation round-trip from Oslo to start and end of tour
    included
  • Transportation from end of route to start included

Luggage transportation:

  • Luggage transportation for all the stages are included.

Guide service:

  • English and Norwegian speaking guide is included.

Agenda:




Day 1: Arrival

There is no hiking program on the arrival day. Just enjoy the busride from Oslo to Gjendesheim through Valdres. And then later the dinner at Gjendesheim.




Besseggen ridge
Gjendesheim to Memurubu

Day 2: 1st stage of the Historical Hiking Route in Jotunheimen

  • Difficulty: Demanding
  • Distance: 13.6 kilometers (point‑to‑point)
  • Elevation Gain: 1,140 meters
  • Duration: 7–9 hours

The first stage of the Historical Hiking Route in Jotunheimen takes you from Gjendesheim to Memurubu over Besseggen Ridge. This route is not only one of the world’s most famous hikes, but it is located in the heart of Jotunheimen National Park and rooted in the history of Norwegian mountain life and outdoor culture.

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

From the historical cabin at Gjendesheim, the hike takes you up along the impressive Besseggen Ridge. Besseggen Ridge presents iconic views over Gjende, and Bessvatnet lakes before descending to Memrubu tourist cabin. The cabin is located on the north side of the Gjende lake.

The incredible vistas, impressive peaks, and surrounding landscape have inspired some of Norway’s most influential artists, musicians, and writers.

Besseggen Ridge has even been written into literary history by the famous Norwegian author, Henrik Ibsen, who detailed the spectacular ridge in his known piece, Peer Gynt. Some believe his writing actually refers to the majestic nearby mountain, Knutshøe. No matter what, this trek from Gjendesheim to Memurubu takes you through some of Norway’s most profound historical culture and nature.  

Despite the challenging route, more than 60,000 hikers complete the trip during the short summer season. That makes Besseggen one of the most accomplished hiking routes in Norway.

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

Trail description

From Gjendesheim, one of DNT’s original cabins, the Historical Hiking Route starts with a climb upwards towards Veslefjellet. The route will take you up the impressive stone stairs, built by sherpas from Nepal, to lessen the erosion along the trail.

After the longest climb up 800 meters, a different heart-rate awaits you as you start to hike west along the iconic and breathtaking Besseggen Ridge. The majority of hikers walk along the ridge in the opposite direction and miss the stunning panoramic views, which surround you during the descent towards Memurubu. The final downhill section can be demanding on your knees after a long day of hiking, so take your time.

The dock at Memurubu
The dock at Memurubu – Photo by Yngve Ask

Note: The trail becomes extremely difficult in rainy weather. Make sure to look at the forecast and talk with locals or fellow hikers before embarking on the trek. Due to the short season, the trail is often very crowded in good weather.

Facts

  • The tourist cabin at the beginning of the hike, Gjendesheim, is one of The Norwegian Trekking Associations’ first cabins which was opened in 1878.
  • The hike along Besseggen Ridge has been chosen as one of the world’s top-20 hikes by National Geographic.
  • To avoid the masses, aim to hike on a weekday in September.



Memurubu to Gjendebu over Bukkelægret

Day 3: The 2nd Stage of the Historical Hiking Route in Jotunheimen

  • Difficulty: Demanding
  • Distance: 10 kilometers (point‑to‑point)
  • Elevation Gain: 760 meters
  • Duration: 4.5–6.5 hours

The second stage of the Historical Hiking Route in Jotunheimen takes you from Memurubu Lodge up and over the Memurutunga plateau before descending to Gjendebu. You will experience a steady climb up to the plateau and will hike among a variety of beautiful trout-filled lakes – a great place to catch your lunch. The hike down to Gjendebu from Bukkelægret is a steep descent.

Looking back over Bukkelægeret and lake Gjende
Looking back over Bukkelægeret and lake Gjende – Photo by Yngve Ask

Memurubu Lodge has also been written into outdoor literary history thanks to a well-known book. “Three in Norway by two of them”, written by a group of English outdoor enthusiasts documenting their excursion during a summer spent in Jotunheimen in 1882. This travelogue was not your average adventure description and its purpose was to entertain the reader rather than detail the steps of climbing Norwegian mountains. Many people during this era were not able to travel and explore different parts of the world, but with this influential literary piece, readers were able to experience the excitement, trials, and tribulations of life in the Norwegian wilderness without actually being there. 

Bukkelægeret ridge overlooking Memurudalen valley
Bukkelægeret ridge overlooking Memurudalen valley – Photo by Yngve Ask

Trail description

From Memurubu, the trail climbs west, straight up to the mountain plateau, Memurutunga. You will hike for about 6 kilometers along the plateau among the lakes until you start the steep descent down to Gjendebu from Bukkelægeret.

In the steepest sections of the climb down from Bukkelægret, you will find chains and wire which help make the journey safer. As you arrive at Gjendebu, you enter the truly romantic areas of the Norwegian mountains: the rustic farmlands where you will see cows roaming the luscious mountain pastures.

Bukkelægeret ridge near Gjendebu
Bukkelægeret ridge near Gjendebu – Photo by Yngve Ask

Facts

  • “Three in Norway, by two of them” is the famous travelogue written by Englishmen during their summer spent in Jotunheimen in 1882. You can see remnants of where they camped near the Memurubu Lodge.
  • Bring your fishing pole (and be sure to buy a fishing license) if you would like to catch some fresh trout along the route from Memurubu to Gjendebu.
Memurubu lodge
Memurubu lodge – Photo by Yngve Ask



Day 4: Free time

Leisure day at Gjendebu. Try one of the hikes in the area or just enjoy the time in the mountains.




Svartdalen valley
(Gjendebu to Torfinnsbu)

Day 5: The 3rd Stage of the Historical Hiking Route of Jotunheimen

  • Difficulty: Demanding
  • Distance: 14 kilometers (point‑to‑point)
  • Elevation Gain: 610 meters
  • Duration: 6–8 hours

The third stage of the Historical Hiking Route in Jotunheimen takes you from Gjendebu to Torfinnsbu along the least vertically demanding stage of this Historical Hiking Route.

Inside Gjendines hut at Gjendebu
Inside Gjendines hut at Gjendebu – Photo by Yngve Ask

While the first two stages of the Historical Hiking Route have made an impact in Norwegian literary history, Gjendebu has made its name within the musical history of Norway. Gjendine Slålien was born in 1871 at Gjendebu and christened in the waters of Gjende lake. During the summers in the late 1800’s, she spellbound the world-renowned Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg, with her beautiful folk songs. Grieg was inspired by Gjendine and used many of her folk songs in his music which would reach worldwide acclaim.

The hike from Gjendebu to Torfinnsbu takes you through Svartdalen (Black Valley) where you are surrounded by towering peaks, many of which have been the root of arguments between mountaineers back in the days. Knutsholstinden (2341 meters above sea level) was originally thought to be the most demanding peak in the region, but William Cecil Slingsby, who was the first person to climb Store Skagastølstinden (2405 meters above sea level), brought a local milkmaid on his ascent on Knutsholstinden, to prove that it was “a ladies peak”.

Approaching Svartdalen valley
Approaching Svartdalen valley – Photo by Yngve Ask

Trail description

A few hundred meters from Gjendebu Lodge, you will begin the steep climb up into the valley, Svartdalen, for two kilometers. During the beginning of the hike, you will be shadowed by the majestic mountain, Knutsholstind (2342 meters above sea level) to the west.

After the first climb taking you up 500 meters, the hike through Svartdalen will be relatively flat for the next 8 kilometers before descending to Torfinnsbu located at Bygdin lake’s shoreline.

Bridge near Gjendebu
Bridge near Gjendebu – Photo by Yngve Ask

Facts

  • Knutsholstind (2342 meters above sea level) was thought to be Norway’s highest mountain in earlier times.
  • Torfinnsbu boasts the easiest entry to the most 2000 meter peaks of all DNT cabins.
  • This stage of the Historical Hiking Route in Jotunheimen is the least demanding in elevation gain.
Svartdalen Valley - Fresh water - Historical Route Jotunheimen
Fresh water from the streams in Svartdalen valley – Historical Route Jotunheimen – Photo by Ynge Ask



Torfinnsbu to Eidsbugarden

Day 6: The 4th and final stage of the Historical Hiking Route in Jotunheimen

  • Difficulty: Demanding
  • Distance: 19.3 kilometers (point‑to‑point)
  • Elevation Gain: 570 meters
  • Duration: 8–10 hours

The final stage of the Historical Hiking Route in Jotunheimen takes you west from Torfinnsbu. The trail then goes along Bygdin lake, climbing to as high as 1600 meters above sea level, and back down to the final destination at Eidsbugarden. Eidsbugarden is the most visited mountain area north of the Alps.

The famous Norwegian poet and mountaineer, Aasmund Olavsson Vinje, made his mark here by building the cabin at Eidsbugarden in 1868. Since then, Eidsbugarden and its neighboring lodge in Fondsbu, has attracted royals, celebrities, and outdoor enthusiasts from all around the world.

Signage at Torfinnsbu
Signage at Torfinnsbu (Photo by Yngve Ask)

In addition to building one of the most famous mountain retreats in Norway, Aasmund Olavsson Vinje also was a co-founder of The Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) and gave Jotunheimen its name. He is remembered for his poetry, travel writing, and his love and praise of the mountains of Norway.

Trail description

From Torfinnsbu, you will head west along the edge of Bygdin Lake for nearly two kilometers until the trail takes you up a steady 3-kilometer-long climb. At the lake Langedalstjednet at 1500 meters above sea level, you will have wonderful views of the peaks in the area.

Historical Route Jotunheimen
Historical Route Jotunheimen – Photo by Yngve Ask

Then the trail descends down to Bygdin Lake again. On the way down you have a beautiful view of the lake with the famous peaks Falketind and Uranostind in the background.

The next 8 kilometers will take you due west along the Bygdin lake. Sometimes the trail goes by the shoreline and sometimes further up in the terrain before you reach Eidsbugarden.

Facts

  • Eisbugarden and Fondsbu Lodge have welcomed royalty, celebrities, and hikers from all over the world.
  • This region is the most-visited mountain area north of the Alps



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