Fannaråken Hike in Jotunheimen National Park in Norway

Fannaråken Hike in Jotunheimen National Park in Norway

The majestic mountains of Jotunheimen and the mysticism of the area have inspired great artists throughout history. While hiking on a steep mountainside in the freezing wind, one could well imagine bumping into a mountain goblin!

The Fannaråken hike is one of the classic hikes in Norway's Jotunheimen National Park. Fannaråken (or Fannaråki) is a Scandinavian mountain, with a peak rising 2068 meters above sea level. From Fannaråki, stunning landscapes open up to western Jotunheimen.

Fannaråken is located in the counties of Sogn and Fjordane, south of the famous scenic road, Sognefjellsvegen, and Lake Prestesteinvatnet. The majestic Hurrungane mountain massif is around six kilometers to the North-East. The two-thousander can be reached by hiking without climbing equipment from Turtagrø.

I had decided to start my trip to Jotunheimen National Park from Fannaråki because I had seen panoramic pictures of the dramatic mountain peaks of Hurrungane, Smørstab and Jostedal glaciers and sunsets from Fannaråki. Fannaråken is suitable for solo hikers, as the route is marked and does not require climbing or glacier equipment.

I had never hiked on any high mountains before, but I had hiked in the Lofoten Islands in Norway in the summer and conquered e.g. Veggen, Reinebringen, Festvågtinden and hiked to Munkebu hut. After all, I had experience from almost 600 meters of sunny ascent.

The best time for hiking in the Jotunheimen mountains is from mid-July to mid-August. I wandered in Jotunheimen in the last week of August.

Jotunheimen National Park

Jotunheimen literally means 'home of the giants'. The area got its name from the Norwegian poet Aasmund Olavsson Vinje in 1862. The majestic mountains of Jotunheimen and the mysticism of the area have inspired great artists throughout history. While hiking on a steep mountainside in the freezing wind, one could well imagine bumping into a mountain goblin!

Jotunheimen has been one of Norway's most popular hiking and climbing areas since the 19th century. And it's no wonder: Jotunheimen has plenty of massive two-thousanders, hiking trails of various difficulty levels in amazing valleys and mountains, and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes in a large area of 1,151 square kilometers.

Two perhaps even more famous hiking destinations are also located in Jotunheimen National Park: Galdhøpiggen, the highest mountain in Scandinavia, and the exciting Besseggen hiking trail, which has been said to be one of the most beautiful hikes in the world. Naturally, after Fannaråki, I climbed Galdhøpiggen alone and then went for the Besseggen hike.

How do you get to Fannaråki in Jotunheimen?

The Fannaråken hike starts near the Turtagrø Hotel, following the recommended route. Turtagrø is located in western Norway, 66 km from Lom and 60 km from Sogndal. Fortun (10 km), Skjolden (17 km) and Øvre Årdal (32 km) are also nearby.

You can also hike to Fannaråken from Sognefjellhytta, but then the route goes over the glacier, and you should not go on an adventure on the glacier alone. You can also go up to Fannaråki from Skogadalsbøen, but first you have to get to Skogadalsbøen. The most popular route is to first hike Fannaråken from Turtagrø, and continue the journey to Skogadalsbøen, or make a longer trip via the Skogadalsbøen route back to the Helgedalen valley.

By car, you can reach Turtagrø Hotel either by the scenic route from the mountains on road number 55, Sognefjellvegen road, or from the other direction from Fortun or Øvre Årdal. Sognefjellvegen is usually opened at the beginning of May, depending on the weather. I rented a car from Oslo airport, so the most direct way to Fannaråki was through Øvre Årdal.

I was standing at the summit of Fannaråken. In good weather, you can see the stunning views of the Hurrungane mountain range and the Smørstab and Jostedal glaciers. I couldn't see anything, just white.

My intention was to stop at Vettisfossen in Øvre Årdal on the way out, but I wasted so many hours in traffic jams and hunting for a gas bottle in the suburbs of Oslo that I drove straight to Turtagrø Hotel. Gas bottles are sold at the hotel. You can also buy some other camping products in the little boutique.

You could easily think that Turtagrø Hotel sells thick mittens for the Norwegian mountain conditions, but the shop only had very thin gloves. I bought those gloves, which were overpriced and turned out to be cold in use, because I had forgotten all my mittens at home, and the weather was almost freezing cold in the mountains.

There is also a road toll between Øvre Årdal and Turtagrø, which can be paid with a credit card. Since plans rarely go perfectly, I drove that Tindevegen toll road three times, because I couldn't miss the adventure to Vettisfossen. Tindevegen, which is shaped like a serpentine at both ends, is also usually opened at the beginning of May.

If you stay at Turtagrø Hotel, you can park your car in the hotel's parking lot for free. On the other hand, if you are camping or sleeping in the back seat of the car, leave the car in the free parking lot on the other side of the road. I got at Turtagrø so late in the evening that it was just starting to get dark and it also started raining. You can probably guess where I spent the night.

Fannaråken should be climbed in good weather, just like mountains in general. The only problem is that if you travel from another country, you can't choose the weather. I've been a master at collecting crappy hiking weathers, and Fannaråken was no exception!

Fannaråki hike from Turtagrø to Fannaråkhytta

I woke up when it was still dark so that I would have time to admire the sunrise. I had dreamed of camping somewhere on the slope of Fannaråki and going up when the first golden rays lit up the mountain. What a doomed idea. Heavy dark clouds hung low and water dripped from the sky. The weather report promised that it would clear up only in the afternoon.

The path towards the Helgedalen valley starts directly from the parking area. First, you walk a short rocky and sometimes sandy path over cliffs and descend a gentle slope down into the valley. Shortly before the dark brown buildings, the path turned into a mud field. You can try to go around the spot along the rocks on the very right edge.

A fairly flat gravel road of about two kilometers passes through Helgedalen, along which hiking was very fast. The road was framed with willow bushes gnawed by sheep and fell birches. And the sheep that munched on the bushes. After a couple of kilometers, the gravel road begins to rise up, making a zigzag on a steep slope. Before the last bit of road that crosses the stream, there is a sign at the junction for Fannaråken and Skogadalsbøen.

Fannaråki's narrow and stony path reached a stream a couple of hundred meters away. The stream flowing down from the mountains as waterfalls could easily be crossed at the backwater without getting your shoes wet. The next couple of hundred meters led close to Ekrehytta, which is a rental cabin. I had originally thought that I would camp somewhere north of Ekrehytta, but in the very steep and rocky terrain it would have taken a long time to find a place to camp.

From Ekrehytta, the path began to climb steeper and steeper up the mountainside, first along the gurgling stream, then turning right towards the top of Fannaråken. The path goes along steep slopes in the same way as the roads in Norway, narrow zigzag. There’s no exposure, so the route does not cause any problems for those who are afraid of heights, and the rain does not make the path in any way slippery, but the steepness requires some fitness.

The large red T letters were often found on top of a large pile of stones, and you could usually spot the next large pile from the previous sign. There were also signs along the route, urging people to stay on the marked path so as not to damage the sensitive vegetation.

After a steep section, the hike becomes easier for a while when the slope becomes gentler. At this point, you should have already started to see wonderful scenery, but the visibility was about twenty meters. Fortunately, I could see the path and it had a solid gravel base.

Suddenly the ground started turning white and small snowflakes started flying from the sky. Snow and ice sagged on top of the T-marks. There was practically no path at this point, the mountain was just an endless pile of stones. When the clouds veiled everything in light grayness, the sight was rather dull.

On the right side, a vertical drop stood out near the route. There was no danger of slipping, but in a blizzard, you might even get lost too close to the edge. Fortunately, I also realized to make sure that I always saw the next T sign before continuing on from the previous sign. Without signs on the mountain, it would have been relatively easy to get lost even without a blizzard.

Of course, you shouldn't climb a mountain in zero visibility. However, I wanted to visit the top because I had spent a lot of time getting to Fannaråki and I had already hiked for several hours. The last ascent was a gentle wade in the snow. Fannaråkhytta just stood out from the whiteness.

Fannaråkhytta and Fannaråken summit

Jotunheimen's Fannaråkhytta mountain hut is at the highest located DNT cabin in Norway. Fannaråkhytta is a popular place to stay, for example for sunset and sunrise admirers. There is no electricity or running water in the hut, a bed must be reserved in advance. I didn't go knocking on Fannaråkhytta's door, even if the warmth was tempting.

I was standing at the summit of Fannaråken. In good weather, you can see the stunning views of the Hurrungane mountain range and the Smørstab and Jostedal glaciers. I couldn't see anything, just white. It was almost impossible to keep your eyes open because of the icy wind, which, when checked afterwards, was gusting at about 26 meters per second.

My camera and all other equipment and clothes immediately gathered a white ice crust around them. The air felt shockingly cold and I pulled my down coat over the shell jacket, as I couldn't imagine taking the jacket off underneath. The most unforgettable sunrise of my life would not happen on the Fannaråken hike. I set off on the return journey immediately.

The icy storm wind had frosted the red spots especially on the side of the return route. Fortunately, my own footprints were still distinguishable from the snow. I decided to walk quickly, because the weather was quite challenging, and there was a long stretch of snow ahead. I hadn't expected such bad weather, but I learned a lot about hiking in the mountains that day.

In the wind and with zero visibility, hiking alone on a two-thousander felt a little uncomfortable. Suddenly, two young, lost-looking men in fairly light clothes popped up from behind the boulder. The men asked for advice to get to the top of Fannaråken. I warned about the weather and the edge of the cliff. At the same time, I felt better, as there were other people on the mountain in bad weather, and I was already on my way down!

Finally, I could spot the snow line, and at the same time, the clouds revealed a bit of the scenery. I saw the Helgedalen valley opening up in front of me, winding roads and rivers at the bottom of the valley. If I tried hard, I could see the outline of the mountains surrounding the valley. I stayed for a while to watch the clouds play over the valley.

Below the snow line, the air warmed up quickly and the red spots stood out well again. Ekrehytta could already be seen below. I had missed my lunch at the Fannaråki summit, but the western slope finally opened up amazing landscapes, although there were still clouds in the sky. I sat on the rocks and enjoyed warm soup and rye bread I had brought from Finland.

After eating my lunch, I went down the same path again past Ekrehytta. The waterfalls were now more visible than in the morning fog, I admired them for a while. A couple walked towards me, and we chatted for a long time. As they continued on their way, I noticed that one small round part had disappeared from my camera. I looked for it for a while but couldn't find it.

I descended the gravel road down into the valley and crossed the mud field again. The jingling of sheep bells could be heard from the bushes, but the sheep were no longer on the road. Shortly before the trail arrives back at the parking lot, it passes by a beautiful turquoise river. I went to admire the stream and then returned to the car.

Hiking Fannaråken had been an amazing first experience of Jotunheimen National Park in my mountain adventure in Norway!

The clouds disappeared, now it would have been a good time to go to Fannaråken. I went for a journey to the Vettisfossen waterfall, where of course I arrived a little late. But for once there was something useful about failed plans: thanks to a late evening hike, I discovered adventure running at Vettisfossen!

Read also: Galdhøpiggen hike: at the top of Scandinavia


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Turtagrø Hotel

Fannaråken hike

  • Destination: Jotunheimen National Park, Luster, Norway
  • Route length: 15 km from Turtagrø (ascent approx. 1200 meters)
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Travel time: day trip 8 hours
  • When to go: July to August
  • Where to stay: in a tent without amenities, at Turtagrø Hotel with amenities (and then there's the back seat of the car for real adventurers :D)

Equipment for the Fannaråken hike from Turtagrø

  • Good shoes: hiking shoes, etc. (people also trail run the route)
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen (you never know)
  • A warm hat and gloves
  • Wind and waterproof shell clothing (at least a jacket)
  • Change clothes (fleece, sweater, etc., sufficiently warm)
  • Backpack (20-30l)
  • Food and water
  • A headlamp
  • Map and compass
  • First aid kit

Norway Jotunheimen national park Fannaråki Hiking Mountains Summer



  • Marcus

    14.8.2023 17:08

    Thanks for a great post. This was very informative. I was a little confused about the timing of your trip. Did you run. Into icy conditions, even in August? Thanks for clarifying as we are planning a trip there soon.

    • Aino | In the Woods, Dear

      Aino | In the Woods, Dear
      9.9.2023 22:09

      Hi, thanks for your comment! This was a hiking trip, so no running. But, I think you could run the mountain even in the end of August if it's not early winter, with a nice weather and some traction device for trail running shoes for the top :)

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