The Trolltunga Hike, Norway
Get ready for a photo bomb with photos from the hike to the Trolltunga cliff. I did the Trolltunga hike with a friend in the middle of July 2019. It was the last day of our road trip together in Norway. We both thought the hike was really beautiful and much more than just the popular stone formation that is the goal of the hike.
Planning the hike
We hadn’t booked any transportations or hotels before the trip and figured we could organise all of that when we were in Norway. One reason that we didn’t book anything was the weather uncertainty, we wanted to wait and see which day would be the best for the hike. When we finally met and began our roadtrip we started to plan the exact route for the trip and decided that we would do the hike to Trolltunga on our last day.
The Trolltunga hike really is one of the most popular things to do in Norway. It is located by the Hardangerfjord close to the town of Odda. I think many recognise the iconic photo with the pointy cliff hanging above the water. The water is actually a lake called Ringedalsvatnet, a lake that serves as a reservoir for a power station in Tyssedal.
The hike is a little more than 10 km one way, depending on where you start your hike. We started from Mågelitopp and hiked 10.3 km before we got to the Trolltunga cliff. And then it was the same distance back… If you’re planning on doing the hike to Trolltunga as a day hike, it is recommended that you start early in the morning. But of course you can start later in the day too and then bring a tent and sleep somewhere along the trail. Either way, like always when you’re out in the nature hiking, don’t forget to bring plenty of water and food.
It was sunny during our whole hike with almost no clouds at all. Just about one hour after we were done and back at the hotel the storm clouds rolled in and it started to pour down. There was also a lot of thunder. We kept thinking about all the people we met on our way down who were heading towards Trolltunga. Can’t have been very nice to be up there on the hiking trails in that weather… So it’s really important that you check the weather forecast before you go on this hike. You are pretty alone up there. Even though there are two rescue cabins along the trail they are only for emergencies.
Accommodation around Trolltunga
Beware, in this area (around Odda and Tyssedal) there aren’t any good spots at all for putting up a tent. We drove around and searched for a place and couldn’t find one. We went to three camping sites too (some quite far away actually) and they were all full! At last we ended up booking a very nice hotel in Tyssedal where we could prepare for the hike and relax afterwards. Just wish we would have done that before driving around for hours… But with that in mind, plan ahead and book something, either a hotel or a camping spot.
Getting to the starting point
There are 3 different parking lots on different distances from the starting point. P1 is located down in the town of Tyssedal and has 220 parking lots. P2 is much closer to the starting point in Skjeggedal and has room for 180 cars. This is where the starting point has been for many years. But from here the first 4 km hike is just on a serpentine road uphill. Since a couple of years there’s also a third parking lot, P3, located by the “real” starting point in Mågelitopp. But this one only has room for 30 cars, so you would have to book that spot in advance. I call it the real starting point because from here you can’t get any further by car and the real hiking trail begins.
There are shuttle buses trafficking the road to the starting points. One company does the transports between Odda, Tyssedal, P1 and P2. And then there’s another company for the transport from P2 to P3. So you have to get two different tickets if you want to go all the way. Check online for the timetable and book it in advance if you can. It’s also best to be by P2 in good time so you don’t have to wait for too long. On the way back, be ready to wait in line for the bus from P3 to P2. We had to wait for quite long to get from Mågelitopp to P2 and then wait for the next bus back to Tyssedal. And after that long hike all you want is to get back and take a shower.
The hike itself
We chose to go by bus as far as we could and start hiking as early as possible. Since we booked the buses just the days before we couldn’t choose the earliest departure, but it was early enough. We had brought our breakfasts with us and ate them while waiting for the second bus at P2. And around 07:30 we started our hike from Mågelitopp. The first 500 meters or so is on an easy trail with small lakes and mountains surrounding you. It was a very beautiful morning and I knew right away it would be a great day of hiking!
Quite early on the hike it’s time to get some altitude. You walk on a steep almost 400 m rise. It was quite nice that at this hour the hillside was in shade, it was sweaty enough without the sun heating us too.
But then finally at the top you really get your reward with the nicest view of the mountains and glaciers.
The Trolltunga hike is a very popular hike, and as you can see on the photos we were not alone on the trail. So this hike isn’t for those of you who don’t like company on the trails. Around 80 000 persons hiked the trail in 2016 and it’s getting more and more popular every year.
After that strenuous hike uphill the trail gets a little easier with some parts going up and some down. And the view is just beautiful everywhere!
After about 6 km you get to a spot where you can get the first look of the lake. A perfect place for a break to rest your legs and have a snack. Can you see the tent on the photo below? A pretty nice view from there to wake up to right?
And finally after more than 10 km we arrived at the famous Trolltunga cliff! It was more of a “finally” feeling than a “wow” feeling at first. The last kilometers we just wanted to reach the target and always thought it was waiting around the next corner. I also think it’s really hard to get that “wow” when there is so much people around you, especially for nature experiences. But of course it was really nice to see it. The view to the lake Ringedalsvatnet was really nice.
As expected there were so much people around the cliff. We arrived just around lunch time so many people were sitting down eating lunch, but the line to go out on the cliff was very long too. When we got there we sat down and had lunch too. It was fun to watch people going out on the cliff making different poses. But it was actually really hard to watch some people go out there on the very edge. But from a different perspective one can see that the cliff is actually quite wide and not that scary.
At first we didn’t stand in line for a photo cause we were happy with just seeing it. But after a while we changed our minds and thought we should have a photo, now that we had walked all the way there. So we stood in line and for almost 2 hours… And then it was over in a couple of minutes. Some people were standing on the cliffs making all kinds of poses and people after them in the line thought they should hurry up. So, because of that we were in a hurry and tried to be effective and fast. We wanted a photo of both of us out there so I handed my camera to a stranger…
And well, I’m sorry, but I wasn’t really happy with the results of the photos. But, at least we have some proof that we have been out there on the Trolltunga cliff. :)
When we had gotten our photo we continued to some other cliff formations just nearby. You can get some nice photos here too without the look of everyone in the long line on you.
When we were done with the photo session it was time to head back. I guess this is one of the downsides with this hike, you have to walk the same trail back again. Not the most fun 10 km to walk all the way back to the starting point. The previously mentioned 400 m rise was almost harder to take downhill. It affects the knees (and my toes) a lot more than hiking uphill.
But all in all of course a very nice hike! The downsides are all the other people on the trail, the time consumption and “hard” way getting to the starting point and that you walk the same trail twice. The upside is the very beautiful nature and scenery. The views are amazing. But check out a map of Norway and see how many mountains, fjords and lakes there are, I’m sure you can find another place just as beautiful as this one.