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Hiking in Norway
Norway is a wonderland for hikers, for more than one reason:
- The Norwegian countryside is
stunningly beautiful, with a vast array of mountains, fjords, forests, and
tundra to explore.
- In the Arctic part of Norway, during summer the Midnight Sun makes
possible hiking in full daylight at any hour.
- Norwegian law provides very generous wilderness land access
rights to the hiking public.
- Norway has an extensive system of well marked and mapped hiking
trails, with much of the basic trail information available online.
- Norway's numerous mountain lodges and cabins provide places where
a hiker could stop for a break or stay overnight during an outing.
Whether your interests involve day trips or longer treks, the
choices are quite extensive and exciting.
Here are some recent day trip hikes I took on an autumn trip to Norway:
- Reindalseter – a DNT trail to the lodge at Reindalseter, in the mountains of Tafjord.
- Valldal – in the mountains
over Valldal, in Norddal.
- Runde – on the bird island of Runde, west of Ålesund.
These examples only scratch the surface of what you can do hiking in
The Norwegian Trekking Association
In planning a trip to Norway, any visitor interested in hiking should
get familiar with The Norwegian Trekking Association (Den Norske Turistforening, or simply DNT).
- Trails –
DNT maintains around 20,000 km of hiking trails, with each trail marked with
a painted red letter 'T' at regular intervals. There is no
charge to the public for the use of these trails.
Cabins and Lodges –
They also maintain hundreds of cabins of different types, including
staffed lodges where food and drink are served. One can pay for lodging
using a debit or credit card on site. Note that you need to be a
DNT member and give a deposit before your outing to obtain a key for
many of their cabins.
Guided Tours – DNT also offers
guided trekking tours for a fee, some with English speaking guides.
Other Information –
Consult DNT's website for the details needed to plan a trip, including
descriptions of their trail routes, cabins
and lodges throughout Norway.
Be aware that many DNT facilities have seasonal periods where they
are closed or unstaffed, as noted in the DNT website. Plan your trip
Printed Trail Maps
For a visitor planning a hiking trip, a good map to take with you is
Printed maps, typically at 1:50000 scale, are available to show trail
routes and detailed topography.
Such maps can readily be bought in bookstores within Norway.
Two major publishers of such maps include Ugland IT (which publishes
the DNT's trail route maps), and Statens Kartverk. Keep in mind that
maps may show, and distinguish, marked and unmarked trails.
Maps of Norway at this scale seem hard to find outside of Norway.
You may be able to find them for sale online, for example at mapsworldwide.com.
If you can't get a suitable printed map before you arrive, you could plan
using the online map resources below, and buy a printed map
when you arrive.
Online Trail Maps
While you should always get a printed map to take with you on a hike,
there are some online maps available that show hiking trails
in enough detail to help you decide where you want to go:
- The DNT website provides
interactive maps showing their trail
routes and cabin and lodge locations. Look under "Routes and cabins",
select "Mountain areas", then select a specific area, and you have the
option to show a map.
- Statens Kartverk makes detailed maps available online through
Norgeskart map service.
These maps are quite detailed and show many hiking trails and terrain
relief details in addition to roads, place names and structures.
Once you get to Norway, buy a good printed map of the area you intend
to hike in.
Right of Access
Anyone planning to hike in Norway should understand their basic rights
and responsibilities under the Norwegian Allemannsrett ("Right of access") law.
For the outdoor lover, this law is one of the best things about Norway.
It applies to uncultivated land in the countryside, including private property, and gives everyone in Norway
the right of access and passage through such land. But in return it applies
to hikers certain responsibilities including leaving no trace of their
Make sure to read it, so you know your responsibilities as
you enjoy the fantastic hiking environment Norway provides.