Birgithovda Hiking Trail
Take a roundtrip hike with sweeping views of the vast Hardangervidda plains
- Destination: Geilo
- Season: June-October
- Difficulty: Demanding
- Distance: 17.9 kilometers (loop)
- Elevation Gain: 680 meters
- Duration: 6-7 hours
This hike takes you from the center of Geilo via Hakkesetstølen to Birgithovda (1,173 m.a.s.l.). From Hakkesetstølen, observe how the landscape changes as you pass the tree line and the views open up to the open Hardangervidda mountain plains. The route runs via Birgitstølen on the way back. Here you'll pass several old summer mountain farms and experience a landscape marked by hundreds of years of grazing.
The summer ski lift from Vestlia Ski Center to the top of the slalom hills makes this hike easily accessible and more suitable for a family outing. Hiking from Geilo town center to Hakkesetstølen is more demanding, as the first few kilometers run uphill.
Located on the borderline between eastern and western Norway, Geilo is easily accessible from either Bergen or Oslo. Road Rv7 over Hardangervidda, Fv50 Hol-Aurland, and Rv52 over Hemsedal is open all year round, as long as the weather conditions are not too harsh. Call the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens vegvesen) on + 47 815 48 991 to ensure that the roads are open.
The journey takes 3 hours and 30 minutes from Oslo and 4 hours from Bergen.
There's a big parking lot at Geilojordet in the town center, on the opposite side of Rv7 from the tourist office. Alternatively, if wishing to take the ski lift, park in front of Vestlia Ski Center.
From Oslo, take the bus Vy Ekspress from Oslo bus terminal. The journey to Geilo takes 3 hours and 40 minutes. Book your tickets and check schedules here.
TrainGeilo is about halfway on the train route between Oslo and Bergen. The journey takes 3 hours 30 minutes, departing five times a day. Book your tickets and check schedules here.
From Geilo Tourist Office to Hakkesetstølen
Coming out of the tourist office in the center of Geilo, take to the right and walk around the corner of the building. Walk down the stairs to the right and take the passage underneath the road. Once on the other side, follow the walkway as it travels between the farmyard and parking at Geilojordet, in the direction of Road Fv40.
Continue on the walkway as it runs eastwards alongside Road Fv40 and crosses the bridge. About 180 meters after the bridge, the walkway runs underneath the road, and once on the other side, you’ll see a large brown sign reading Vestlia Resort. Here, you can either hike uphill by following the trail description to Hakkesetstølen or save your legs for the ascent by following the signs to Vestlia Resort and take the ski lift from the ski center. Note that the ski lift closes at 5pm, so if wishing to hike to Hakkesetstølen, but be back in time to take the ski lift down, you should start your hike no later than 8:30am.
From the top of the ski lift, follow the trail straight ahead (southwards) towards Hakkesetstølen. It’s about 1,4 kilometers from the top of the lift to Hakkesetstølen.
From Hakkesetstølen to Birgitstølen
Reaching Hakkesetstølen, follow the signs to Ustetind to the right. From here, it’s about a 3.9 kilometer-long hike to Birgithovda. The terrain is mostly flat and easy-going, the upward slopes being gentle and easy to mount. Apart from a few rocky sections, the trail is easy to spot and follow.
Having passed the tree line, sweeping views of the mountain plains await. At the top of Birgithovda (1,173 m.a.s.l.), you’ll find a bench where you can relax and soak up the views. If you wish to extend the hike, follow the trail description to Ustetind.
The route runs via Birgitstølen on the way back to Hakkesetstølen. Descend from Birgithovda on the western side. Upon reaching a fork in the trail, take the red-marked trail to Birgitstølen. It’s about 4.6 kilometers from the fork to Hakkesetstølen. After a couple of hundred meters, you’ll pass a former grazing area with old summer mountain farms.
Having passed the mountain farms, enjoy as the views as open up to the forested Skurdalen Valley before the trail descends below the tree line again. From Hakkesetstølen, either take the ski lift (alternatively, walk down the slalom hills if the lift’s closed) or follow the trail description between Hakkesetstølen and Geilo.
Bring water as there are no water sources available before you reach Hakkesetstølen. Between Hakkesetstølen and Birgithovda you’ll pass several lakes and streams where you can fill your bottle.
The summer ski lift from Vestlia Ski Center is open between 10am and 5pm.
It’s possible to stay overnight at Hakkesetstølen. The lodge has a café serving hot dishes as well as coffee and pastries.
There are several shops, hotels, and restaurants in Geilo.
Questions or comments? Let us know.