The 8 Best Hikes in Jotunheimen National Park Norway

The 8 Best Hikes in Jotunheimen National Park Norway

In Jotunheimen National Park, it is easy to find hiking destinations that are just right for you, as there are a huge number of routes and destinations that vary in length, duration, and level of difficulty. The area also has a comprehensive network of DNT mountain huts, whose atmospheric huts offer a comfortable stay if camping is not your thing.

Jotunheimen National Park is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise and end of the rainbow for those who love hiking in the mountains. Jotunheimen is Norway's most mountainous region. In Jotunheimen you will find Norway's highest mountains, turquoise lakes, green valleys and even one of the world's TOP 20 most exciting hiking trails.

Jotunheimen National Park was established in 1980, but the area has attracted hikers, skiers and mountaineers long before that. The Scenic Road 55 Sognefjellsvegen runs on the northwest side of Jotunheimen, so the region is also perfect for a road trip in breathtakingly beautiful scenery.

In Jotunheimen National Park, it is easy to find hiking destinations that are just right for you, as there are a huge number of routes and destinations that vary in length, duration, and level of difficulty. The area also has a comprehensive network of DNT mountain huts, whose atmospheric huts offer a comfortable stay if camping is not your thing.

In this article you will find tips for the best day hikes and short easier trips in the Jotunheimen area. These hiking trails do not require climbing equipment or special skills and are also suitable for solo hiking.

If you've already seen enough of those scenic sights of Lofoten and Senja, head for central Norway and Jotunheimen in the summer, and enjoy life in these amazing destinations!

1. Galdhøpiggen – the highest mountain in Scandinavia

The number one on the list is Galdhøpiggen, the highest mountain in Norway and at the same time the highest mountain of northern Europe, whose peak rises 2469 meters (8,100 ft) above sea level. You can easily hike from Spiterstulen mountain station to Galdhøpiggen without glacier equipment. The route is long and demanding of fitness, but not difficult at any point.

At the top, you should take a proper lunch break and admire the unimaginably beautiful panorama of the snow-capped mountains of Jotunheimen. There is also a small cafe at the top of Galdhøpiggen, with benches outside.

Of course, the best thing about hiking Galdhøpiggen, in addition to the scenery, is the feeling when you know you are at the highest point in some area. Because of its ease, Galdhøpiggen is a good choice even for the first big mountain.

  • Galdhøpiggen hike: 13 km to the top and back
  • Duration: 6-8 h
  • Good to know: Although the hike is easy, only go in good weather and start your trip in the morning.

See also: Galdhøpiggen hiking route, arrival, accommodation and tips

2. Besseggen – one of the TOP 20 hikes in the world

National Geographic has listed the Besseggen Ridge hike as one of the 20 best hikes in the world. And no wonder: the 13-kilometer hike is one big beautiful landscape from start to finish. The route offers views from the heights to the turquoise Lake Gjende and the clear blue shimmering Lake Bessvatnet and the surrounding steep Jotunheimen mountains.

Besseggen can be hiked in both directions. It is more popular to start with a boat trip to Memurubu, where the steep ridge is climbed up. Going down is somewhat more difficult. Besseggen is one of the most popular hikes in Norway, which also means lots of people on the hiking trail. On weekdays and low season, you can also enjoy the peace of nature.

  • Besseggen hike: 13 km
  • Duration: 6-8 h
  • Good to know: If the Besseggen ridge causes too much difficulties during the hike, you can go around the mountain by another route next to Lake Bessvatnet, so there is no need to return to the starting point.

See also: Besseggen hiking route, pictures of the ridge, boat trip and tips for staying the night

3. Fannaråken – a classic hike from Turtagrø

Fannaråki or Fannaråken in Jotunheimen National Park is perhaps a less known mountain outside of Norway. However, the hike from Turtagrø is a classic. Many go to Fannaråken hoping for a wonderful sunrise and expect to see the western Jotunheimen mountains in golden light.

The Fannaråken hike goes through the beautiful Helgedalen valley and then climbs up to the snow-capped mountain. There are wonderful rugged landscapes all around you throughout the journey. Fannaråkhytta is the highest mountain hut in Norway at 2068 (6,785 ft) meters. Admiring the sunrise is convenient if you spend the night in a hut and if the weather is good.

  • Fannaråken hike: 15 km
  • Duration: 8-9 h
  • Good to know: Fannaråken hike is classified as demanding. In snowfall or otherwise bad weather, it can be difficult to see route signs.

Is it worth climbing Fannaråken in bad weather? Read about the freezing hike on Fannaråki and pick up tips for your trip

4. Glittertind – Norway's second highest mountain

If you head to Galdhøpiggen and Spiterstulen, climb Glittertind at the same time! Glittertind is, right after Galdhøpiggen, the second highest mountain in Norway with its height of 2457 m (8,045 ft). You can go to Glittertind from either Glitterheim or Spiterstulen. When leaving Glitterheim, you have to cross the Glitterbrean glacier, so without equipment and guides, the only option left is Spiterstulen.

Glittertind is a demanding mountain hike that can take a whole day. The route may have a lot of sinking snow on steep climbs. There may be a snow cap at the top, so you shouldn’t go right to the edge. At the highest peak, you stand on a glacier. In clear weather, panoramic views of the Hurrungane mountain range open from the top.

  • Glittertind from Spiterstulen: 10 km one way
  • Duration of the hike: 9-10 h
  • Good to know: Glittertind is a significantly more demanding route compared to Galdhøpiggen, but also a peaceful destination.

5. Vettisfossen and Vetti Gård – the highest waterfall

Vettisfossen is one of Norway's highest waterfalls and the country's highest protected waterfall. The route starts in the Øvre Årdal area from the Hjelle parking lot to the Utladalen valley. The path is practically an even gravel road until Vetti Gård. Starting from Vetti Gård, the path is varying degrees of gravel and rocks.

The best thing about the Vettisfossen route are the numerous smaller waterfalls and the deep turquoise roaring stream that the path runs next to. The route is easy and is great for an evening run. Those who want more kilometers and a challenge can go around to the top of the waterfall, which opens up great views of the valley.

  • Vettisfossen route: Hjelle – Vettisfossen 6 km one way
  • Duration: 3-4 hours
  • Good to know: The easy and great route is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels

6. Gjende lake trail – flowers and lake views

You don't always have to climb high to get to beautiful landscapes! On the northern shore of Lake Gjende, a path runs through a lush forest where you can see numerous flowers and other vegetation. An easy gravel path starts from the beach by Gjendesheim and continues close to the water's edge at the foot of Besseggen. The trail is great for both a quiet evening walk and a trail run.

Alternatively, you can go up the slope to the lookout point, from where magnificent views of Lake Gjende open up. The Besseggen route goes from the same point.

  • Gjende Lake Trail: 10 km to Memurubu
  • Good to know: An easy and scenic route, a good alternative to the Besseggen hike if you want to skip climbing the mountains.

7. Ridderspranget - The Knight's Leap

Ridderspranget, 'The Knight's Leap', is an incredibly beautiful and narrow gorge, where the River Sjoa roars as rapids. The place got its name from a love drama from the 14th century, where, according to legend, a knight jumped over the gorge. This is a case of 'do not repeat after me'.

Hiking Ridderspranget is easy and fast. By car, you can drive to the parking lot from Road 51, from where it is a short walking distance to the gorge. There is a dry toilet and benches for picnics in the area. In addition, the info boards tell the stories of the place.

  • Ridderspranget trail: 2 km
  • Duration: less than 1 hour
  • Good to know: You have to be really careful on the edges of the rock, so you don't accidentally fall into the current. Do not try jump over the gorge, it is really dangerous.

8. Knutshøe – Besseggen's little brother

Next to Besseggen rises the 1517-meter-high Knutshøe on the south bank of Lake Gjende and on the east side of the Leirungsdalen valley. From the top, you can see the turquoise shimmering Lake Gjende, the Besseggen ridge and the 360-degree surrounding rugged mountains. If Besseggen seems too crowded, you can experience almost the same scenery on the quieter Knutshøe.

Knutshøe can be hiked as a ring route by going over the ridge to Gjende and from there along the valley back to the starting point. You can also hike the ridge to the top and return the same route. Knutshøe is classified as demanding and the route has a few airy spots on a narrow ridge. So, it is not necessarily recommended if heights cause anxiety.

  • The length of the Knutshøe route as a ring route: 13 km
  • Duration of the hike: 3-4 hours
  • Good to know: there’s sometimes steep climbs and scrambling as well as airy places, and the hike is not recommended at all in bad weather.

If you are after more challenges, there are popular but difficult mountain hikes such as Falketind and Uranostind. It is recommended to go on these routes only with a guide, as they include crossing glaciers and suitable equipment.

The large national park area of Jotunheimen also offers long scenic hiking trails. Popular starting points for multi-day treks include Memurubu, Gjendebu, Juvvasshytta, Leirvassbu and Spiterstulen.

Safety in the mountains

When going to the mountains, you need to know the basics of mountain safety. The key is to understand the weather forecasts enough to not go to the mountains in bad weather. In addition, clothing should be suitable for demanding hikes and weather.

Remember to always bring extra energy and enough warm clothes, a headlamp, a first aid kit and a fully charged mobile phone with you for the trip. Always inform someone, for example at the reception of a mountain lodge, where you are going and when you expect to return.

See more hiking routes, for example, on the Visit Jotunheimen website!

Norway Jotunheimen national park Besseggen Fannaråki Galdhøpiggen Hiking Mountains


Keimiötunturi – Amazing Views and the Purest Air in the World
Pyhän Jyssäys in Winter – The Charming Pyhävaara in Kuusamo