Skåla Hiking Trail
Experience one of Norway’s classic hiking trails
- Destination: Nordfjord
- Season: June-September
- Difficulty: Expert
- Distance: 14.3 kilometers (out‑and‑back)
- Elevation Gain: 1,800 meters
- Duration: 6-8 hours
Skåla is a giant in Norwegian hiking history, visited by tourists for more that a 100 years. The trail takes you from the ocean up to 1,848 meters and provides great views of the local fjords and the Jostedalsbreen Glacier. On the top you will find Skålabu and Skålatårnet, DNT cabins where you can spend the night before going down again.
Skåla is a very demanding hike as you ascend 1,800 meters to the top. However, if you’re in good shape and have appropriate hiking footwear it is a very manageable hike on a well-maintained trail. In 2009, Nepalese sherpas built a stone trail along the most demanding parts of the hike, making climb a bit easier.
The original cabin at the top of Skåla, known as Skålatårnet, was built using local rocks and initially constructed in 1891. In 2016 an additional cabin, Skålabu, was added which doubled the capacity from 20 to 40 beds. Staying a night at the cabin is highly recommended for the amazing sunset and sunrise.
The trailhead is 2 kilometers east of Loen towards Lovatnet Lake. There is a small paid parking lot.
If you’re travelling by bus you can take Norway Bussekspress route NV431 from Bergen or Trondheim to Stryn. Or similarly Nettbuss route NX146 from Oslo to Stryn. From Stryn it is a 15 minute bus ride to Loen by local bus.
The signposted trail starts from the roadside opposite the parking lot. Follow the gravel road until you reach the trail through the forest. The trail continues for about 2 kilometers, constantly ascending through birch forest. Shortly after passing the treeline the trail turns and heads towards Skålavatnet Lake at 1,150 meters above sea level.
After passing Skålavatnet, the trail will becomes steeper and you will find the stone trail built in 2009. Once you reach the top, explore a bit to fully take in the beauty of the area. Be a bit careful at the peak itself as there are steep cliffs around the cabin.
- Make sure to check out the Loen Skylift while you are in the area.
- The running race Skåla Opp takes place in August every year.
- If you want to stay overnight at the cabin, you need to bring you own sleeping bag. The cabin itself is open all year, but unstaffed. You will however find some basic supplies that you can buy at the cabin.
- Take care to bring enough drinking water. Except for melting snow it is hard to find running water after Skålavatnet Lake.
- There are toilets at the cabin you can use. The nearest toilets to the trailhead are located at Tjugen Camping. You will need to ask permission to gain access.
Where to stay
Stay in one of the self-service DNT cabins on top of Skåla. Read the ultimate guide to staying in tourist cabins in Norway.
Alternatively you can stay in Stryn (which is a larger town than Loen) and stay at the beautiful Visnes Hotel.
Questions or comments? Let us know.