Stretching out from the mountain as if reaching for the sky, Trolltunga cliff hovers 700 meters above lake Rindalsvatnet at a total of 1100 m amsl. With a magnificent view of the scenery below and the possibility for some awesome pictures, Trolltunga has become increasingly popular over the last couple of years. Today, it is one of Norway’s most popular tourist destinations. However, it’s not an easy hike, so make sure you learn everything you need to know in order to make your hike as safe and enjoyable as possible.
Destination: Skjeggedal, Odda, Hordaland
Distance: 23 km
Vertical meters: 700 meters
Time: 10-12 hours
Season: Spring, Summer, Autumn,
At the start of the trail you will find signs pointing you in the right direction, and a sign informing you on what you have to bring along on the hike. Among other things, the recommendations include a flashlight, hiking boots, extra clothes and enough food. You should be able to find water in the many rivers or streams along the trail, but it is a good idea to at least bring enough for the first part of the hike. It’s important to bring a flashlight as the darkness sets in quite early during the late summer and in the autumn, and has taken many tourists by surprise.
As the Norwegian weather can be quite unpredictable, it is always a good idea to bring some extra clothes, as they might be just the thing that can separate a great hike from a terrible one if you get wet or cold. Hiking boots are essential. Most parts of the season the trail is partly covered in snow, and good boots will keep your feet dry and comfortable. If you are hiking during spring or early summer, we recommend that you bring gaiters too. Hiking boots with ankle support will also be better for your feet, as they give you better protection against ankle sprains.
Trolltunga is only available by hike, and the hike is quite long. The hike to Trolltunga starts in Skjeggedal, about 7 km from Odda, and covers about 23 km(in total). It takes about 10-12 hours to hike up and down, and you should calculate at least 5 hours just for for the hike up. Preferably, you should leave Skjeggedal no later than 10am if you don’t plan on spending the night.
The easy or hard start?
The traditional start of the trail goes through the forest, and is very steep. Some people prefer to walk up a gravel road nearby instead (walk to the right from the parking lot instead of to the left). This is a longer and less interesting trail than the forest. By taking the forest trail, you get the worst inclination over and done with fast. We chose the gravel route on our way down, as it is more comfortable for tired feet.
The long walk
After walking in the forest for some time, you’ll probably think that you have covered several kilometers. Think again. We were surprised when we reached the sign congratulating us with having covered just one kilometer. These signs are placed along the whole trail, indicating how far you have walked, and how far you have left (which is always longer than you’d expect). These signs also give recommendations as to where you should turn around, if the time is past a certain time of day.
After exiting the forest, you’ll reach a more open scenery. If you’re hiking in the springtime, you’ll probably start to see and walk in snow from this point. From this point and onwards, the trail alternates between quite steep inclinations and flatter areas, but after having walked for about four kilometers, the trail flattens out a bit, with just a few steeper hills from time to time for the last six/seven kilometers.
Trolltunga is available from mid June till mid September, depending on when the snow melts. From March you can join guided tours using snowshoes or skis. Do not attempt to hike Trolltunga during the winter, or in heavy rain, snow, or fog. This can be really dangerous, and numerous tourists have had to be rescued in demanding rescue operations over the last few years, because of a lacking respect for nature.
We really recommend spending the night in the mountain when hiking Trolltunga. If you wish to camp, you have to bring your own tent. There are no designated camping areas, but once you pass the cabin area in the beginning of the trail, you are free to set up your tent just about wherever. Keep in mind that it’s probably not a good idea to pitch your tent in the middle of the trail, and not very idyllic either 😉 Find yourself a secluded spot, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings!
There are two emergency shelters around six and eight km into the trail. These are for emergencies only, so don’t rely on using them for camping (they’re not comfortable either).
Skill level and equipment
When attempting to hike Trolltunga, you should be in generally good shape, but you don’t have to be an athlete. Calculate enough time, bring enough supplies, good shoes and gear, and you should be fine. Great gear doesn’t have to be expensive, as long as it keeps you dry, comfortable, and blister free 🙂 A lot of people prefer using walking poles when hiking in this kind of terrain. Although we don’t use them ourselves, we recommend that you use some if you aren’t that used to hiking in rough terrain. They can provide great stability assistance as well as a bit of relief for your legs.
As previously mentioned, the weather can change quite quickly in the Norwegian mountains. For this reason, bring an extra set of warm clothes, and a wind and waterproof jacket even if the sun is shining when you leave Skjeggedal. Extra socks are also a great tip, as you might get wet on your feet if there is snow or if you step into a puddle.
You’ll get hungry at some point, so remember bring good food, some trails snacks and enough water. Any hike could be ruined because of a lack of snacks 😉 There are streams where you can fill your bottle along the trail, and it is safe to drink the running water (never drink still standing water).
If it is sunny, remember sunscreen and sunglasses. We got really burnt on our hike. Especially if there is snow; this will reflect the sun rays and reinforce them.
How do I get there?
There are several possibilities, the easiest ones being by bus or car.
Take highway 13 (rv 13) to Tyssedal, which is about 6 km from Odda. From Tyssedal, there are signs pointing you in the direction of Trolltunga and Skjeggedal. After about 7 km you will reach the parking lot in Skjeggedal. You can park your car in Skjeggedal for 300NOK per day. You can rent a car in your nearest city here.
By public transport
Between June 15th and September 15th, you can take the Trolltunga shuttle from Odda to the starting point of the trail in Skjeggedal. The bus stops at hotels and camping sites in Odda. The bus can also give you a lift back in the afternoon/evening.
There is also a public bus that goes to Trolltunga, route number 995 (Skyss.no).
From Bergen you can take route number 930 (skyss.no), and from Oslo you can take Haukeliekspressen to Odda(nor-way.no).
Where to stay?
If you are hiking Trolltunga in one day, we recommend spending the night in Odda. This way you can start the trip early, and get there before the majority of other people arrive. You can stay at the hotels in Odda or rent smaller cabins and huts.
As pictures from Trolltunga have spread over various social media and the destination has become increasingly popular, people (especially tourists) have started underestimating the difficulty of the hike. The hike is actually one of the more demanding one day hikes we have ventured on, and we met a lot of people along the trail who were definitely not prepared for the level of difficulty of this hike.
Follow the tips we have given you, and weather permitting you should be able to have an amazing hike, giving you memories for a lifetime:)
PS: You can also check out the Trolltunga hike on google maps!
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