Nortinden Hiking Trail
Hike to Kvaløya's northern panoramic peak
- Destination: Tromsø
- Season: May-October
- Difficulty: Demanding
- Distance: 10.2 kilometers (out‑and‑back)
- Elevation Gain: 650 meters
- Duration: 3-4.5 hours
A hike to the top of Nordtinden, the largest peak on the northern part of the island Kvaløya, covers a variety of terrain and rewards hikers with fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding Norwegian sea, Arctic islands, and impressive mountain tops.
Nordtinden is located just 25 km northeast from downtown Tromsø, on the island of Kvaløya. The first 3 km of the hike will follow a well-maintained dirt road with a gradual incline and the second half will be a rocky, free-climbing hike with a more demanding incline following Nordtinden’s ridgeline. The best time of year for hiking in the Tromsø area is between May and September. The average summer temperatures range from 10-15 C with the lowest amounts of rainfall, less than 10 cm of precipitation per month, in comparison to the rest of the year.
Kvaløya, “whale island”, is located within the arctic circle and is the 5th largest island off of Norway’s mainland. This island boasts several fjords and 10 peaks higher than 700 moh, 3 of which are over 1,000 moh.
Head out of Tromsø on highway 862 in the direction of Kvaløya (northwest). After crossing the bridge to Kvaløya, take the first right towards highway 863-Hansnes. Follow highway 863 for 4.5 km and take a left onto Fv58 towards Skulsfjord. After 10.1 km take a sharp right turn to stay on Fv58 for another 3 km.
Shortly before you arrive in Skulsfjord, a dirt road called “Skulsfjordvegen” heads off to the right. This road is not well marked so do not be surprised if you cannot find a road sign. A few hundred meters up the road you will come to a small red building and a parking lot on the right-hand side of the road. Parking costs 20 NOK. This dirt road is the start of the hike up to Nordtinden.
There are only four bus departures per day heading to Skulsfjord from Kvaløysletta Terminal, the main bus terminal on Kvaløya. The earliest departure is before 7:00 and the latest departure to return from Skulsfjord is just after 17:00. Some days may have fewer departure times. You can find the updated bus departure times to and from Skulsfjord on Tromsø's transportation website.
There are many buses traveling between Tromsø Prostneset and Kvaløysletta Terminal.
The trip starts off on easy-going terrain on the wide dirt road in the Skulsfjord valley. There are several small trails and crossings along the way but continue on the main road for about 3 km in total. Eventually, you will see red-marked stones on the left side of the trail. It is clearly marked. Here you start the climb up the eastern rim of Nordtinden. Follow the Outtt tracked map to ensure you follow the correct trail to the top.
As you get closer to the top, the terrain is made up of smaller trails all of which will lead you to the top. The terrain is easy and well-traveled so you will have great footing along the trail. There may be areas where the trail divides into smaller paths. These will eventually connect again and will take you to the top.
At the top, you will find two big rock formations. We recommend spending some extra time at the top to explore the amazing views.
Along the hike, there are some idyllic streams along the gravel road. Further up the trail, you will not find as many water sources.
The trail is very dog-friendly but remember, however, to keep your dog on a leash throughout the year due to reindeer activity in the area.
Because the trail is not well-marked, we recommend that this adventure is not attempted in bad weather.
You will not find any public restrooms, stores or cafes are in close proximity to the trailhead. We recommend you purchase necessities before leaving Tromsø.
Where to stay
Tromsø and Kvaløya both provide a variety of nice hotels and Airbnbs. If you are looking for a special Norwegian summer accommodation, we recommend checking out Sommerøy Arctic Hotel, although this is located about an hour drive from Nordtinden.
Questions or comments? Let us know.