Syndinstøga to Sørre Hemsing Hiking Trail
Stage 5 of Stølsruta Historical Hiking Route
- Destination: Valdres
- Season: July-October
- Difficulty: Medium
- Distance: 12.9 kilometers (point‑to‑point)
- Elevation Gain: 300 meters
- Duration: 4-6 hours
About Syndinstøga to Sørre Hemsing
The final stage of Stølsruta Historical Hiking Route takes you along the northeastern side of Nordre Syndin Lake, then downhill along Ala River before reaching the abandoned summer mountain farm Hugastølen. The trail then travels uphill, rounding Hugakollen Mountain on the northwestern side. The final stretch coincides with Kvamskleiva, the infamous first stretch of the Kongevegen route, before crossing Hemsing Bridge and continuing uphill to Sørre Hemsing Farm.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the Kongevegen route formed the main road between Oslo and Bergen. Traveling along the steep, narrow stretch of Kvamskleiva in 1833, the Englishman John Barrow described the view below him as an "abyss" and noted the lack of security measurements. Today there are solid fences along the road and Kvamskleiva has become a popular and perfectly safe stretch of the Kongevegen route. You'll' experience sweeping views of Vangsmjøsa Lake and the green hillsides of Vang along this famous road.
Traveling through a varied landscape, this undulating final leg of Stølsruta is an enjoyable hike. Although the 530-meter descent from Hugakollen Mountain to Sørre Hemsing Bridge is the longest and steepest of the entire historical route, it isn't too hard on your knees.
From Fagernes, drive 32.6 kilometers northwestwards on Road E16. Before reaching Ryfoss, turn left onto Vestsidevegen by following the signs towards Syndin-Strø. After 1 kilometer, turn right by following the signs towards Riste. Continue 1 kilometer before turning left by Kjeldeskogen Cottage. Continue 7.5 kilometers, and Syndinstøga will be on the left.
Bus connections between Vang and Fagernes
The endpoint at Sørre Hemsing is located close to Road E16, approximately 45 kilometers northwest of Fagernes and 7 kilometers east of Vang.
Vang is fairly well-connected to Fagernes by public transport. It’s about 50 minutes between Fagernes and Hemsingbrue Øylo, the stop closest to Sørre Hemsing.
Both buses NW160 Valdresekspressen (running between Oslo, Fagernes, and Årdalstangen) and NW162 Øst-Vestekspressen (running between Lillehammer, Fagernes and Bergen) travel past the bus stop. Buy your tickets aboard the bus or at reduced rates through Norway bus express’ website.
It’s also possible to take the local route 303 (Fagernes-Tyinkrysset), or the regional route 138 (Fagernes-Tyin-Lærdal) to/from Fagernes. Buy your tickets aboard the bus or at reduced rates via the app Opplandstrafikk Billett.
Use Entur to plan your trip.
A note on the markings along the route: as the route runs through a varied landscape you'll find different markings along the way. Look for poles with the Historical Hiking Route pictogram, signs, cairns as well as red markings on trees and stones.
From Syndinstøga, follow Kvissyndindvegen, a graveled road running northwestwards, in the direction of Nordre Syndin Lake. You'll see Grindane Mountain in Vang straight ahead. The road turns into a tractor road and follows the edge of the lake. This stretch is a bit muddy, but planks are provided to keep your feet dry.
When you reach the end of the lake, take the trail to the right running downhill along Ala River. The trail continues to be muddy, but it does get drier as it descends gradually through the birch forest. When you've crossed a little stream, the trail splits in two. Continue straight ahead (it's a bit confusing, as both trails are marked). There's a campfire fireplace by the river where it's nice to take a break.
Having crossed a marsh and another stream, following the signs towards Hugastølen, the trail turns into a road. Follow the road before taking the marked trail to the left. Cross the bridge and follow the road running uphill towards Hugastølen, passing the parking for Hugakollen Mountain.
Take the trail leading up to Hugakollen to the left. The trail ascends gradually, following an old fence on the right. Take a break while marveling at the abandoned Hugastølen, before continuing on the path traveling uphill to Hugakollen to the left. The trail leads you out of the birch forest, granting views of the surrounding wooded hillsides.
Continue straight ahead when the trail splits in two (the other trail leads to the top of Hugakollen). This trail is an old the cattle path traveling downhill into the forest towards the old farm Kvam. There are some stones and muddy sections, so be careful in wet conditions. The trail turns into a tractor road, and the views open up to magnificent waterfalls and Vangsmjøsa Lake. The markings lead you off the tractor road and to the right, in the direction of Kvam Farm and Kongevegen. Note that there are two signs here pointing in different directions, both reading "Kvam/Kongevegen," so be sure to take to the right.
The trail crosses a marsh and meets Kongevegen. Follow Kongevegen to the right as it runs up a little hill before descending. There's a fence provided to keep you safe, as it's quite steep on the left-hand side. On the left-hand side, there's a viewpoint offering a magnificent view of the mountains and lake surrounding the village of Vang.
Continue straight ahead when Kongevegen departs to the left. This road turns into a trail running downhill to the parking for Kongevegen. Continue straight forward, passing some buildings before reaching Road E16. This is a busy road, so be careful when crossing. Keep to the outer edge of the road until you reach Hemsing Bridge where you cross. Take the marked trail to the right, running uphill through an idyllic agricultural landscape before reaching Sørre Hemsing Farm.
- This is the fifth and final stage of Stølsruta Historical Route. You can choose to hike the entire route or hike individual stages separately.
- Be sure to wear waterproof footwear as parts of the trail are muddy.
- A considerable stretch of the trail runs along Ala River where you can fill your water bottle.
- Bring a towel and a swimsuit if you wish to take a refreshing dip in Nordre Syndin Lake or Ala River. There’s also a bathing place by Norsvinsfjorden Lake, on the right side of the road when crossing Hemsing Bridge if coming in the direction of Syndinstøga.
- There’s a grocery store in Vang, some 7 kilometers west of Hemsing Bridge.
Where to stay
Rogn Camping offers affordable cabin rental. The nearby river Begna is excellent for fishing. The camping is located along Road E16, some 4 kilometers east of Hemsing Bridge.
Stay at Vang Summer Hotel for excellent locally sourced food as well as beautiful views of Vangsmjøsa Lake. The hotel is open between mid-June and mid-August. The hotel is located in Vang, about 7 kilometers west of Hemsing bridge.
Questions or comments? Let us know.