Grytetippen (885 m, 2903 ft) and Keipen (938 m, 3077 ft) belong to the highest and most majestic mountains on the northern side of the Norway’s Senja Island. From the top of Grytetippen you can see almost all of Senja's most famous mountains: dramatic Segla and on both sides Barden and Hesten above Fjordgård village, Senja's highest mountain Breitinden in the southwest and the popular Riven near the island of Husøy.
Senja island is Norway's second largest island after Lofoten. Called sometimes Lofoten's little sister, Senja offers just as fairytale-like landscapes with sharply defined mountains, and until recent years with significantly fewer tourists. In the Fjordgård area, most hikers head for Segla and Hesten, so Grytetippen and Keipen offer the best trails for those who love peace.
Grytetippen, like Barden, is a very popular destination in Senja for watching the sunset, as the most stunning landscapes open up to Segla bathing in the sunset, and towards the fjords and the sea. When climbing the mountain at sunrise, you can enjoy the golden rays intensifying from behind Keipen and amazing silence.
Despite its height and its red (=challenging) classification, Grytetippen is relatively easy to climb. At the same time, you can also visit the neighboring Keipen and the small Daven peaks. The trail continues from Daven to the ridge leading to Barden, and from Barden you can continue to Segla and further down to Fjordgård. The route to Barden starting at the tunnel is not suitable for those afraid of heights.
You can go to Grytetippen from two different starting points: either next to the tunnel between Mefjordbotn and Fjordgård, in which case the route goes near Daven’s peak, or from another signposted place around kilometer south of the tunnel on the Fylkesveien road. Next to the tunnel, you follow a signpost with signs that say "Keipen", "Barden" and "Daven", when you leave the road, the sign says "Keipen Grytetippen".
When starting from the tunnel, the length of the Barden round trip is 7.5 kilometers (4.66 miles) and the estimated duration according to Norwegian standard is 5-8 hours. It’s 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) to Keipen and back in the same time. When starting from the road to Grytetippen and back, the distance is 9 kilometers (5.6 miles).
On the south side of the tunnel, there are large spaces on both sides of the road where you can park your car. There are frequently similar smaller patches along the roads in Senja. There is also a small road extension for cars near the starting point of the Grytetippen-Keipen trail.
Camping in Senja
Camping in the Mefjordbotn area is a bit challenging. The terrain is boggy and steep next to the road. There may be so many cars on the road, especially large vans, that you can't set up a tent for them either.
Parking and camping in Fjordgård has recently changed due to the increased number of tourists. In Purkneset, parking and camping were already prohibited in the summer of 2022, a larger parking area was currently being built. A large paid parking area can be found at the southern end of the village above the school building.
In the small Fjordgård, there are some hotel rooms available for accommodation, but they must be booked well in advance. Therefore, it is not easy to find overnight accommodation near Grytetippen trailhead, except for hikers with a van and very adventurous hikers.
It was the last hot week of July, Grytetippen was the last mountain I climbed in Senja. I enjoyed the mountain power hiking and training for trail running, as my usual uphill training views are quite not the same.
It was already getting dark in Fjordgård when I arrived from the trail run in Barden. Finding a place to stay for the night was difficult. On the north side of the Fjordgård tunnel there were some exotic spots next to the road. Judging by the remains of fire pits, people regularly spent the night on the exotic spots. And the best spot was already taken by a van.
Since I wanted to get to the mountain before sunrise, it made the most sense to camp on the south side of the tunnel anyway. The parking space next to the tunnel was also full of vans. The first decent camping place was around a kilometer (4265 feet to be exact) from the Grytetippen-Keipen trailhead along the road.
Despite my good intentions, I was very slow to get up and moving in the morning. I didn't make it until half past seven AM. The sun was already lighting up the mountain tops as I walked briskly on the road. In the silence of the morning, I heard only my footsteps and the distant sound of the stream flowing from the slopes of Keipen.
Right next to the road, there was no visible path. I jumped over the ditch and climbed onto the bank and started to navigate towards the signpost. The soil was grassy and wet, dotted with patches of turf. Footprints could be seen here and there on the slope.
I followed tracks that ran close to the stream. The beautiful stream that flows as waterfalls stays on the right side as you walk, so you don't have to cross it at any point. In ten minutes, I reached a great spot to sip water and look at the road below and the surrounding lake landscape.
Round wooden markers painted red were attached to the curvy birch trunks. Meaning, I found the official trail.
Very muddy slope lasted for about an hour and three hundred meters of ascent. There were drier spots at times, but I was happy with my Inov Rocklite 400 Goretex hiking boots. Trail running shoes would have bloated from the wet peat in just ten minutes.
The terrain became open and the scenery in the direction of the road already looked great. There were some big, nice stones next to the trail, on which I had to sit for a while with a water bottle and camera. Several small streams glistened on the slopes of Skarelvfjellet, which merged into a large stream.
Between three hundred and four hundred meters of ascent there was another slightly steeper slope, but at this point the trail was dry and comfortable to walk on. There were hardly any signs, but the brown path stood out clearly in the middle of the green vegetation.
After a kilometer and a half of climbing, the slope suddenly became gentler. The path went on a flat highland through an unnamed 588 meter (1929 ft) peak. Magnificent landscapes opened up already at this point to the west in addition to the south.
Steep Breitinden mountain rose behind Mefjordbotn and I thought that maybe I would not have summited the mountain even if the road had not been cut. Also, the ridge leading to Barden seemed impossible to pass in places because it was so narrow and contained steep climbs. I could see the signposts from afar.
From the direction of the tunnel, another blue-marked path, Daven's route, came onto the platform. Blue and red marks alternated in the rocks as the trail meandered its way up the slopes facing the Ørnfjorden fjord. From here you could finally see the sail-shaped Segla. Even though the trail ran right on the edges of the mountain, there was no airy or difficult places.
An easy plateau lasted for about a kilometer, after that it was the steepest climb of the entire route to the saddle between Grytetippen and Keipen. The red marks were quite faded, and it took a while to find the right way to climb. White piles of snow glistened in places between the rocks.
The entire climb was rocky – small and large boulders and gravel. The climb was not particularly difficult, but I liked to lean back a little while looking at the scenery in the direction where I came from. The vans parked in front of the tunnel shone like bright lights in the middle of the greenery.
Approaching the saddle, the trail branched off towards both peaks and at the same time eased again while it arrived at the mountain top plateau. I could walk the last four hundred meters on the rocks without much effort. I sat there by the cairn at the top, happy, with the sun shining behind a light curtain of clouds.
At the top of Grytetippen, there are numerous smaller rock piles in addition to one larger one. On the northern edge, there are several worn spots where people have sat and taken selfies. My stomach can't stand very airy edges, but luckily at Grytetippen, you can enjoy the scenery in all directions standing on solid ground.
The water of the fjords looked deep blue in the middle of the green mountains. The colorful buildings of Fjordgård dotted the shore of the fjord and the trails going up to Segla and Barden and Hesten stood out clearly all the way up. The sea past the village and the island of Husøy seemed to merge with the sky on the horizon.
If the morning had been warm t-shirt weather, at the top of Grytetippen the wind was so strong that the air turned freezing. I put on a light down jacket over the long-sleeved running shirt I use on winter days and started looking in the direction of Keipen.
Keipen is the fourth highest mountain in Senja, with one of the largest cairns on top. From the saddle between Grytetippen and Keipen, there would be about two hundred meters of ascent to the top. It would take less than an hour to go to Keipen.
Nevertheless, the hard work of one day – the previous afternoon climbing on Hesten, the evening Barden trail run and the early morning conquest of Grytetippen in the middle of taking care of my iron deficiency told my legs that there will be no more climbing to the next peak. Or maybe it was more about my mind than the legs - I didn't feel like climbing anymore.
It didn't really bother me to visit only Grytetippen, even if it would have taken almost the same effort to visit the higher Keipen. I don't keep any logbook or list of the mountains I 'conquered', and sometimes the conquests remain a bit vague, as I don't feel the need to touch the highest rock. The weather was the most wonderful and I had already seen the amazing landscapes of the area from many mountains. I left with a good mood for the return journey.
The slope down from the saddle between Grytetippen and Keipen was perhaps even more difficult going down than going up. The poles were a great help in supporting my macaroni-like legs when the gravel was slipping under the shoes. There were also enormous flowers and grasses growing on the slope, each one more beautiful than the other, which I couldn't resist photographing.
After a long plateau, I met an older Norwegian woman on the slope, with whom I stayed to chat. For some reason she thought I was a local at first. The clouds had disappeared, and the sun was shining hot again. I wished good luck for the hiker for the last climb. I was also glad to finally get to the stream - my water bottles were already empty.
I met a couple of different groups of hikers on the boggy slope at the beginning of the trail. I was satisfied when I had the whole mountain to myself in the early hours of the morning. Grytetippen hike had been a great exercise and nature experience.
The statistics from my sports watch said the total distance was 9 km (5.6 miles), the ascent was 891 m (2923 ft). It took a good six hours power hiking, admiring the scenery, eat a Norwegian sweet bun and snap hundreds of photos. I reached the top in about three and a half hours.
Husøy village and island
Seen from the top of Grytetippen, the fishing village of Husøy is located on the eastern shore of the Øyfjorden fjord. From the trailhead of the Grytetippen trail on the Fylkesvei road, you can reach the small and cute village in twenty minutes by car. The island can now be reached via a bridge. There is a small Joker grocery store and a restaurant in the village.
If you're traveling by car in Northern Norway's Senja, in addition to conquering Grytetippen and Keipen (or Segla), you should stop by Husøy to feel the atmosphere of a summer fishing village - and enjoy delicious buns with coffee.
And if your leg muscles have been killed on Senja, you can head next to the Lyngen area for easier and more relaxing hikes. My next leisurely outdoors day included a nice Lyngstuva tour and the wonderful Blåisvatnet - right after stopping at picturesque Sommarøy island!
Grytetippen and Keipen hike
- Destination: Fjordgård / Mefjordbotn, Senja, Norway
- Distance: 4,5 km (2.8 miles) one direction from Fylkesveien road
- Difficulty: moderate challenging (marked as red)
- Duration: 5-8 h
- When to go: from June to September
- Where to stay: camping in the mountains or next to the road, hotel accommodation at Fjordgård