Enjoy Besseggen’s younger sibling with a spectacular view of the delta Øvre Leirungen and Gjende river
- Destination: Jotunheimen
- Season: June–October
- Difficulty: Demanding
- Distance: 12.1 kilometers (loop)
- Elevation Gain: 690 meters
- Duration: 4–6 hours
Knutshø, towering 1,517 meters above sea level, is known to many as Besseggen’s tough younger sibling. The trip gives you breathtaking views of the green Gjende river. You’ll even pass a sandy beach and be able to see the masses of hikers scrambling across the Besseggen ridge. At the top, you get beautiful views of Besseggen, Besshø, Gjendevann, Bukkehåmaren, and Surtningssue. The view is truly magical.
The hike is quite challenging and you’ll need to scramble through some parts of the hike, so we don’t suggest to hike it if you’re afraid of heights. It’s very important that you only hike in good weather. The trail is not marked, yet it’s relatively easy to follow the path. Avoid veering too far left at exposed places, it is steep and there is a danger of "getting stuck" at a dead end. So, we recommend you do not go alone.
Please note: This trip is very demanding for dogs. Dogs who have been on challenging trips, and have experience climbing through loose rock will be better prepared. You will need to assist your dog multiple times throughout the hike, no matter the dog’s size.
We suggest using a car to access Knutshø. The parking lot, Vargbakken Parkering, is located on the west side of highway 51, Valdresflya, just south of Gjendesheim.
If driving isn’t an option, take any bus going towards the “Gjendesheim” bus stop. Before boarding, ask the bus driver if they are willing to stop at Vargbakken. (It’s not an official bus stop). If you are traveling from Oslo, it’s easiest to go via NW 161 Valdresekspressen.
One of the most demanding parts of the trip is at the beginning with a lot of vertical climb. If you have bad knees, this may help to assess if this is a trip for you. After crossing the river, you can clearly see the first ridge to climb. The trail crosses over a few rock fields, requiring some scrambling, is followed by relatively easy and comfortable hiking terrain. There are steep drop-offs on each side of the trail, so be very aware at all times. The final challenging part of the uphill climb is the scrambling required just before you are on the top of Knutshø.
Water: There are virtually no drinking sources along the way, however, if you are walking down to Øvre Leirungen, there is plenty of options both for drinking and swimming.
Where to stay
Gjendesheim Tourist Lodge is very popular place to stay before and after hiking Besseggen, and it’s conveniently located close to Knutshø. The Gjendesheim bus stop is located very close by and it has plenty of parking available.
With the Right to Roam law, you are able to camp anywhere for free as long as you follow the guidelines.