Vardestien Hiking Trail
Step back in history
- Destination: Jotunheimen National Park
- Season: May-October
- Difficulty: Easy
- Distance: 1.6 kilometers (point‑to‑point)
- Elevation Gain: 50 meters
- Duration: 1-2 hours
For hundreds of years, cairns have been used to guide people and horses safely over the Sognefjellet mountain pass. This historic trail features cairns dating back to the mid-nineteenth century, allowing you to wander in the footsteps of travelers past.
Park your car at the parking lot by Krossbu Mountain Lodge along Road 55 (Norwegian Scenic Route Sognefjellet). Krossbu is located in Bøverdalen, about 8 kilometers south of Bøvervatnet Lake, on the left-hand side of the road when coming from Lom.
BusIn summer, the local route no. 200 (Lom-Sognefjellet-Sogndal) run across the Sognefjellet mountain pass. Alight from the bus at Krossbu. Buy your tickets aboard the bus or via the app Opplandstrafikk Billett.
Vardestien ("the Cairn Track") runs through smooth mountain terrain, but be prepared to cross wet and snowy sections in spring and early summer. The trail is sign-posted with the cultural heritage logo (brown signs with white crosses).
From Krossbu Tourist Lodge, go to the main road (Road 55) behind the annex. Follow the road until you reach the first right turn. Look for the big cairns along the old trail running on the left-hand side of the main road.
After about 300 meters, Vardestien meets Road 55 again. Follow the main road for about 150 meters until you see Vardestien continuing on the right-hand side of the road.Having hiked about 3.5 kilometers along Vardestien, you’ll reach Fantesteinen (“the Tramp Rock”), a large boulder on the left-hand side of the road. From here, you’ll have an excellent view of the pristine Fantesteinsvatnet Lake. From Fantesteinen, it’s only about 400 meters left until you reach Sognefjellshytta Mountain Lodge on the left-hand side of the main road.
The old cairns are cultural heritage. Please be careful with the cairns and don’t build new ones.
If wishing for a longer hike, Vardestien continues down to Turtagrø Hotel, a further 17 kilometers from Sognefjellshytta. If deciding on this longer hike, remember to bring extra clothes, a map, and a compass. The weather may change rapidly at an elevation of 1,400 meters above sea level.
- In the old days, it was unsafe to travel across the Sognefjellet mountain pass, as tramps were ravaging this area unreachable by the long arm of the law. Legend has it that vagrants used Fantesteinen (“the Tramp Rock”) as a hiding place. People wishing to cross the mountain thus had to travel together in groups to be safe. Located 1,434 meters above sea level, Fantesteinen is the highest point along Norwegian Scenic Route Sognefjellet.
- Stock up on food at the grocery store in Bøverdalen. Krossbu Mountain Lodge also has a café open to visitors.
Where to stay
Krossbu Mountain Lodge offers hotel accommodation as well as camping facilities. They serve communal three-course dinners. There’s also a café where you can buy hot food throughout the day. The lodge is open between mid-April and mid-September.
Sognefjellshytta Mountain Lodge offers hotel accommodation and serves communal meals. The new, modern common room linking the two traditional buildings is worth a visit. The combination of wood and glass disperses the light through the room and imparts the changing moods of weather and light at this high altitude. The lodge is open between Easter and mid-September.
Questions or comments? Let us know.