Skåla Hiking Trail
Experience one of the classic hiking trails of Norway
- Destination: Nordfjord
- Season: June–September
- Difficulty: Medium
- Distance: 13 kilometers (out‑and‑back)
- Elevation Gain: 1,790 meters
- Duration: 6–8 hours
Skåla is a giant in Norwegian hiking history, travelled by tourists for more that a 100 years. The trail takes you from the ocean and up to 1848 m.a.s.l. and gives you great views of the local fjords and the Jostedalsbreen glacier. On the top you find Skålatoppen, a DNT cabin where you can spend the night before going down again.
Skåla is a pretty demanding hike as you need to climb up the 1800 meters to the top. However, it is a very manageable hike on a well-maintained trail. In 2009, Nepalese sherpas built a stone trail midst the most demanding parts of the hike, making the trail a lot easier to climb.
The original cabin at the top of Skålatoppen was built using local rocks and initially constructed in 1891. In 2016, the additional cabin, Skålabu, was built and with it doubling the bed capacity from 20 to 40 beds. Staying a night at the cabin is highly recommended and you will get to experience an amazing sunset and sunrise.
The trailhead starts just 2 km outside of Loen. There is a small paid parking lot where you can park your car by the road. The drive to Loen from one of the main cities in Norway is quite long, so you probably want to see more of the area once you go there. For example check out Loen Skylift bringing you up to Mt Hoven in just 5 minutes.
If you travel by bus you have the option to go by Norway Bussekspress route NV431 from Bergen or Trondheim to Stryn. Or similarly route NX146 by Nettbuss from Oslo to Stryn. From Stryn there is a 15 minute bus ride to Loen by local bus(14-703).
The trail starts by the main road going west from Loen. From Loen, look for a sign next to a small gravel road heading up to the left, directing you to Skåla. Follow this gravel road to the very end where the trail starts. The trail continues for about 2 km through the birch forest before it heads towards Skålavatnet at 1150 m.a.s.l.
After passing Skålavatnet, the trail will eventually get steeper and you will find the great stone trail built in 2009. Once you get all the way up, look around and make sure you grasp the beauty of this area. Be a bit careful at the peak itself as there are steep cliffs around the cabin.
- Make sure you check out the newly opened Loen Skylift while you are in the area.
- The mountain running race Skåla Opp is on every year. So if you are in the area in August look for all the runners going up the mountain.
- 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 dry food, chips etc. that you can buy at the cabin.
- Take care in bringing enough drinking water. Except for melting snow it is hard to find running water after Skålavatnet at 1150 m.a.s.l.
- There are restrooms at the cabin you can use. The nearest restrooms to the trailhead are located at Tjugen Camping. You will need to ask for permission to gain access.
Where to stay
In Loen, you will find several hotel options like Hotel Alexandra and Hotel Loenfjord. Or you can choose to stay overnight at Lo-Vik Camping or Tjugen Camping. Loen is only about 2 km from the start of the trail.
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