Mjølkedalsbreen Hiking Trail
Discover glacial waters and soaring peaks
- Destination: Jotunheimen National Park
- Season: June-October
- Difficulty: Demanding
- Distance: 16.3 kilometers (out‑and‑back)
- Elevation Gain: 540 meters
- Duration: 6-9 hours
Hiking from Eidsbugarden to Mjølkedalsbreen Glacier allows you to experience a diverse mountain landscape. Observe how rapidly the vegetation changes as you ascend from the lush shrubs at Eidsbugarden to the bare peaks surrounding Store Mjølkedalsvatnet Lake. Here you'll experience a morainic landscape shaped by the powerful glacier.
Mjølkedalsbreen Glacier is situated in the famous Jotunheimen National Park. "Jotun" is an old Norse word for "giant," thus Jotunheimen means the home of giants. Hiking among the magnificent peaks surrounding the glacier, you'll understand why.
The trail is well-marked, ascending gradually the first 3 kilometers up to a plateau facing Store Mjølkedalsvatnet Lake. If wishing a less demanding hike, descend from here, as the view from the plateau is in itself is worth the effort. The path continuing to the glacier lacks markings and becomes rocky. If proceeding, it's essential to watch your step and follow the map closely.
Drive on road E16 (Lærdal - Fagernes), before exiting towards Tyin Lake and Eidsbugarden. Follow signs towards Eidsbugarden on the eastern side of Tyin Lake. Paid parking is available at Eidsbugarden and Fondsbu. Parking costs NOK 80 for 24 hours.
By boat from Bygdin
From the end of June through August, as well as weekends in September, M/B Bitihorn travels between Bygdin Hotel and Eidsbugarden, across Bygdin Lake. Visit the JVB boat website for schedules and prices for the boat ride. Bygdin is situated in the east end of the lake Bygdin and 50 kilometers north of Beitostølen. You can either drive to Bygdin Mountain Hotel and park your car there or take the bus from Oslo.
From Eidsbugarden Hotel, follow Vinjevegen Road north-east, in the direction of Mjølkedøla River, the river running in between the cabins. Cross the bridge and continue until you reach the red-marked trail running alongside the river to the left.
Follow the trail as it travels uphill through the valley. After about one kilometer, the trail flattens out a little. You’ll see some small peaks situated between the rivers, and the trail continues uphill to the right of these peaks. The following 600-meter stretch is the toughest part of the hike, with an elevation gain of 180 meters. Enjoy the sweeping views of Store Mjølkedalsvatnet Lake and Mjølkedalsbreen Glacier when you reach the plateau. Choose whether to end your hike here, or continue to the glacier.
The path leading to the glacier is unmarked. Hike along the hills to the left of the lake until you reach the lake’s northwestern edge. There are rocky sections along this stretch, where you’ll have to tread carefully. While it’s easiest to hike to the left of the first hill, the best way to tackle the subsequent hills is to mount them. Once you’ve hiked past the first hill, you’ve entered Jotunheimen National Park.
Reaching the northwestern edge of the water, you’re surrounded by the majestic peaks of Storegut (1,968 m.a.s.l.) and Langeskavlen (1,878 m.a.s.l.). The section along the waterline is very rocky, so you’ll need to be extra careful here. Continuing from the lake to glacier, you’ll come to a river where you have to cross. Plan your crossing carefully, and watch out for loose or slippery stones. A walking stick might come in handy to help you keep your balance.
Continue through the small valley on the other side of the river. Upon reaching the tiny lake in front of the glacier, it’s very important to hike along the western (left) side of the lake. This is both to avoid the danger of an avalanche from Storegut, and because of the rocks and clay on the eastern side. Nature is fragile here, and every trace will have a lasting impact.
Ascend the 1,413-meter high peak on the western side of the lake to get a magnificent view of the glacier and the soaring peaks of Mjølkedalspiggan (2,040 m.a.s.l.). Descend along the same trail.
Fill up your water bottle in Mjølkedøla River. The blue color of Mjølkedalsvatnet Lake is exceptionally beautiful because of the incoming sand, clay, and silt from the glacier. It’s not recommended to drink the glacial water in the lake because of the sediments.
There are rocky sections along the trail. Wear mountain boots to protect your ankles.
A walking stick might come in handy to help you keep your balance when crossing streams and rocky sections.
Where to stay
This historic hotel is situated on the shore of Bygdin Lake. Visit the website (in Norwegian) to book a room for your stay in Jotunheimen National Park. For English information, call +47 413 86 000.
Fondsbu LodgeThis staffed DNT lodge is also located at Eidsbugarden. Visit the website to learn more and call +47 970 74 218 to reserve a room in the off-season. Learn more about DNT and how to become a member and access the cabin during the peak summer season.
Questions or comments? Let us know.