Barden mountain (659 m) is located on the north side of the island of Senja in Norway, close to Segla and Hesten. All three mountains can be hiked from Fjordgård. Segla and Hesten are more famous than Barden, but the Barden hike is a local favorite – and it was also my favorite in Senja.
Senja island is Norway's second largest island after Lofoten. Although Senja has equally fairy-tale landscapes and far fewer tourists, Fjordgård is full of people during the nice summer months. Few people end up at Barden, so you can enjoy the incredible scenery in peace.
Barden is a particularly spectacular evening destination on a clear day, as the summit offers panoramic sunset views to Segla and the Mefjorden fjord, North to Husøy, and East to Grytetippen and Keipen and South to the island's highest mountain, Breitinden.
Getting at Barden
You can start your adventure to Barden from two directions: from Fjordgård and from the Mefjordbotn side before the tunnel. From Fjordgård, the trailhead starts at the same point as the Segla trail. From the Mefjordbotn side, it’s the same trailhead as to Daven and Keipen. There are big signs in the area, and there is no risk of getting lost.
Parking and camping in Fjordgård has changed due to the large number of tourists. In 2022 parking and wild camping were already prohibited in Purkneset, a larger parking area was currently being built. A large parking area can be found at the southern end of the village above the school building, and you have to pay for parking. Consider a full-day ticket if you plan to visit alos Segla and Hesten. On the Mefjordbotn side next to the road, there are ample spaces for several cars and parking is free.
Barden is one of the easiest trails to reach a high peak and stunning views on Senja island. The route has a lot of flat terrain and duckboards. Barden hiking trail is great for trail running - in the route description you will find everything essential for a great running excursion as well as for hiking!
Barden route description from Fjordgård
The trail begins with a steep ascent from the parking lot behind the school along a wide gravel path. The trail is very rocky at first, but it gets better quickly. The first leg runs in a lush mountain birch forest.
Before reaching the tree line, the trail splits in two. Continuing directly to the right, you get to Segla, for Barden you head to the slightly smaller trail to the left. There is a green sign at the intersection, from which it is 2.5 km left to Barden. There are also signs here, that say that the area is a drinking water area, and you are not allowed to camp there. However, wild camping higher up on Segla and Hesten is common.
During my short trail running trip, I saw a camp by Lake Storevatnet, and near the signpost I passed a group carrying huge backpacks and from Barden I could see a red tent on the slopes of Segla. On the peaks of Segla and Hesten, there are no tent sites due to the steepness and rockiness, but there are many platforms on the lower slopes. A tent village doesn’t really beautify the landscape, but you get amazing sunset and sunrise views if wild camping in the mountains.
The trees disappear gradually and the next couple of kilometers you can run on nice flat marshland. Most of the trail is covered with duckboards, so you don't get your shoes too wet or muddy. Sometimes there is so much space between the duckboards that you have to jump over the mud or go around the puddles.
Between Lake Storevatnet and the Arnakken peak, there is first a steep slope with wooden stairs built on it. With the help of the stairs, the slope is an easy job. After that, the gentle ascent and flat path continues again on duckboards. At the end of July, you can find juicy cloudberries along the trail.
Next, the trail starts to climb towards the top of Barden and the ground is dry enough so that there are no more duckboards. The trail runs first through a small, lush forest, with some boggy areas and big rocks here and there. You don’t have to scramble on the trail at all, and the rocks are fast passed.
The steepest slope is covered with smooth grass, where the path zigzags towards the top. The scenery opens up to the Øyfjorden fjord. If you are not used to the mountains of Norway, you may feel a tiny sense of exposure at this point, as the path runs right on the edge of the slope on the Grytetippen side. Halfway up the slope, there is a nice rock where you can take a break to crap your energy bars and rest your eyes in the view.
After the steep slope, you can run again in the beautiful mountain scenery on the plateau near the top. There is another path coming from the left, the alternative route from Mefjord side. There is a moderately ascending nice path from the plateau to the top.
At the top of Barden, you should enjoy the scenery, even if you are on a trail running trip, especially on a warm and clear summer evening. You can admire the scenery in every direction, and the smooth stones invite you to sit down and watch an incredibly beautiful sunset behind Segla mountain. There is also a mailbox at the summit, where you can write your signature.
You can also trail run Barden as a longer ring route, as from the top you can continue to Segla along a narrow (and probably a bit airy) ridge. The trail to Segla is clearly visible when you look at the ridge from Barden. There is also a lot of flat ground at the top of Barden, so you could wild camp easily there. You should bring plenty of water with you, as it is not easily available at Barden.
Barden hiking trail is classified as moderate. In my opinion, the trail, at least from the Fjordgård side, is quite easy. Compared to e.g., the Senja’s Sukkertoppen of the same level of difficulty, the Barden trail is less technical.
The statistics on my sports watch showed a total distance of 6.5 km, an ascent of 625 m and a time on the move 1 hour 20 minutes. The total time spent on the adventure was just as much (or more) as it would be on a hike, with photography breaks and admiring the sunset until the last rays!
Senja Barden info
- Destination: Fjordgård (Mefjordbotn), Senja, Norway
- Distance: 3.3 km one way from Fjordgård
- Difficulty: (easy to) moderate
- Duration: 3-4 h (hiking, faster by trail running)
- When to go: June to September
- Where to stay: wild camping in the mountains, hotel accommodation in Fjordgård