Aurlandsdalen Hiking Trail

Hike a classic route through the lush Aurland valley

  • Photo: Nora Serres

  • Photo: Guri Romtveit

  • Photo: Guri Romtveit

  • Photo: Guri Romtveit

  • Photo: Nora Serres

Essential info

  • Destination: Sognefjord
  • Season: June-September
  • Difficulty: Demanding
  • Distance: 19 kilometers (point‑to‑point)
  • Elevation Gain: 400 meters
  • Duration: 5.5-7.5 hours

About Aurlandsdalen

The trail through the beautiful Aurlandsdalen (Aurland Valley), is considered one of Norway’s truly classic hiking routes. This popular hike between the small settlements of Østerbø and Vassbygdi traces the Aurland river as it descends through the valley, providing stunning views the whole way.

You’ll come across mountain farms, waterfalls and plenty of opportunities to soak up the Norwegian nature. It makes for a perfect day trip from Flåm where you can enjoy a post-hike beer and feast at the Ægir brewpub.

By starting in Østerbø the trail is downhill, making for a much easier hike and constant views down the valley. If steep climbs don’t worry you it’s certainly possible to start hiking from Vassbygdi and follow the suggested route in reverse. You could also choose to only hike as far as Sinjarheim to experience the valley without investing a whole day.

Getting there

The trail begins from the Aurlandsdalen Turisthytte (a DNT cabin).

Aurlandsdalen is an easy day trip from Flåm, just take the local bus in the morning to the cabin. Check the timetable and stop locations on Entur. Grab a cup of coffee before hitting the trail or even better, travel up the night before and stay at the cabin for an authentic Norwegian cabin experience.

The same bus runs back to Flåm from in front of the store in Vassbygdi at the end of the trail. The buses are not very frequent so it’s a good idea to look up the times beforehand. Check the timetable and stop locations on Entur. You can also catch the bus from here back to the cabin at the trailhead if need be.

From June to September there is an increase in local buses serving the area. Outside of this time it can be difficult to get around with public transport.

If you’re interested in a multi-day adventure, this trail forms the third and final day of the fantastic 57 kilometer journey from Finse to Vassbygdi.

Trail description

The hike starts alongside the Aurlandsdalen Turisthytte.

The trail is a mostly dirt track that is very well marked with DNT signposts. It might be muddy if it’s still early in the season or there has been recent rain. Being a popular route, you will likely be sharing the trail with a good number of other hikers. It’s a safe trail in general, but it can be narrow and there are some steep drops in parts so stay alert and always stop when enjoying the view.

After around 3 kilometers you’ll come to the turn off for Bjørnestigen. This alternative route is steeper and tougher, climbing up from the river, but offers better views. It then descends, rejoining the main trail. This route adds an extra hour or so to the hike.

Just after the Bjørnestigen trail rejoins the main trail you’ll see a sign indicating a small detour to the Vetlahelvete (Little Hell) cave. Pop in to experience the eeriness of this glacially-formed pothole.

After about 10.5 kilometers you’ll be hiking right by the river. It’s a beautiful spot for relaxing on the warm rocks and enjoying lunch.

12 kilometers along the trail, you’ll start ascending to the 17th century Sinjarheim mountain farm, home to a tribe of goats enjoying summertime in the mountains. Shortly after, as your legs are starting to tire you’ll meet some beautiful waterfalls pouring down the steep hillside.

Once you reach the end of the end trail and enter Vassbygdi you’ll come across a small local store selling ice creams and drinks (yes, they sell beer). This is where the bus stops to pick up passengers heading to Flåm or back to the cabin. As the afternoon wears on a small crowd of tired hikers forms at the picnic benches outside, rewarding themselves with a cold treat as they wait for the bus.

Amenities

  • Aurlandsdalen Turisthytte in Østerbø sells meals and snacks, as well as providing accommodation. Read our ultimate guide to DNT cabins in Norway.
  • There is small store at the bus stop in Vassbygdi
  • Water is available from streams along the trail

Where to stay

There are a range of accommodation options in Aurland and Flåm for all budgets. The historic Fretheim Hotel offers luxurious comfort for those looking to pamper themselves after a long hike.

If you prefer an early start, or are walking up the valley, you can stay at Aurlandsdalen Turisthytte which offers rooms and camping as well as meals and snacks.

Map

Questions or comments? Let us know.

Download trail descriptions, maps, and guides in the Outtt app.

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