Photo: Werner Harstad / Statens vegvesen

Norwegian Scenic Route Valdresflye: Hiking Trails and Viewpoints

Driving along Norwegian Scenic Route Valdresflye allows you to experience some of the most striking contrasts of the Norwegian landscape. The 49-kilometer long route runs from Garli to Hindsæter along Road 51. Reaching some 1,389 meters above sea level, it takes you through the vast landscape of Jotunheimen National Park with its magnificent snow-covered peaks, before leading you down the green, sloping hillsides of Sjodalen.

Whether you like rocky mountain terrain or soft forest ground, you’re sure to find hiking trails that suit your preferences along the route. While the hiking trails in the area around Bygdin Lake take you through a bare landscape and feature classic Jotunheimen views, the trails around Hindsæter run through a gentler scenery comprising forests, wetlands, and creeks.

With its central position between Eastern and Western Norway, Valdresflye can be combined with a variety of road trips, including the spectacular Geiranger-Trollstigen in the northwest.

Road Closures

The section between Garli and Maurvangen is closed during winter, normally from December to April. However, the stretch between Gjendesheim and Hindsæter is open. Access Gjendesheim from Randen (Road 51) or Sjoa (Road 257).

Check the current status and see closure dates from recent years.

Public transport

While exploring Valdresflye by car is definitely the alternative that gives you the most freedom to stop for a hike whenever you want to, Valdresflye is fairly well connected to Fagernes and it is possible to travel along Valdresflye by public transport in summer.

Bus

NOR-WAY 161 Valdresekspressen runs from Oslo via Fagernes to Beitostølen. From late June through August the route extends to include Leirvassbu (Lom), traveling past Bygdin, Gjendesheim, and Lom. There are 5 daily departures from Oslo to Beitostølen, 3 connecting Oslo and Gjendesheim, and 1 connecting Oslo and Leirvassbu. It takes about 3.5 hours to get from Oslo to Fagernes, and 7.5 hours to get from Oslo to Leirvassbu. Prices range from about NOK 390 (Oslo - Fagernes) to NOK 580 (Oslo - Leirvassbu) if you book in advance.

NOR-WAY 162 Øst-Vestekspressen runs from Bergen via Fagernes to Lillehammer and corresponds with NOR-WAY 161 Valdresekspressen from Fagernes. There’s one daily departure from Bergen to Fagernes. It takes about 6.5 hours and costs about NOK 520 if you book in advance. Alight from the bus at Fagernes and take NOR-WAY 161 Valdresekspressen towards Beitostølen or Leirvassbu.

The local bus operator, Opplandstrafikk, has several bus routes in the mountain areas of Gudbrandsdalen and Valdres. Bus 137 also operates on the route Fagernes - Gjendesheim.

View the timetable for all the above-mentioned routes, or use Entur or the NOR-WAY Bussekspress travel planner to organize your trip. You can book tickets in advance through NOR-WAY Bussekspress. There are reduced rates for children, students, and seniors.

Boat

Taking a ferry on the lakes of Bygdin and Gjende is an experience in itself. Relax whilst looking at the reflection of mighty mountains in clear blue water. All the while, the boat is taking you deeper into Jotunheimen.

M/B Bitihorn travels from Bygdin to Eidsbugarden, with a stop at Torfinnsbu. The boat runs 2 times daily between late June and August, as well as weekends in September. The timetable corresponds with NOR-WAY 161 Valdresekspressen. There’s an extra departure from Bygdin to Torfinnsbu on Thursdays and Saturdays. The crossing takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Tickets cost NOK 250 for one-way and NOK 330 for a roundtrip (has to be used the same day). There are reduced rates for children. Plan your trip, as well as pre-book tickets, through their website.

Gjendebåten travels from Gjendesheim to Gjendebu, a secluded cabin well worth a visit. The boat stops at Memurubu on the way. The boat runs 2 times daily between early June and early October. The crossing takes 45 minutes. Tickets cost NOK 200 for one-way and NOK 250 for a roundtrip (has to be used the same day). There are reduced rates for children. Plan your trip as well as pre-book tickets through their website.

Tips

  • Keep an eye out for domestic reindeer when driving along Valdresflye, especially between Garli and Maurvangen.

  • Be sure to get gas and stock up on food and other necessities at Beitostølen or Vågåmo before driving up on the Jotunheimen plateau. There’s also a grocery store at Randsverk, but no petrol station.

  • There are EV charging stations in Beitostølen, as well as at Gjendesheim and near Maurvangen camping.

  • Bitibua is a little kiosk selling locally sourced food from the Valdres region, about 5 kilometers north of Beitostølen.

  • The perfect way to relax after a long hike is staying at one of the historical mountain lodges along Valdresflye. Bygdin, Gjendesheim, Bessheim, and Hindsæter are all easily accessible from the road and serve mouth-watering local food.

  • Besides hiking, there are a number of activities in Jotunheimen, including rafting and horse trekking. The staffed DNT lodge Gjendesheim hosts a number of organized hikes and events, including hikes with a local guide. It’s also possible to cycle along Valdresflye if you can handle strong winds, long climbs, and traffic.

  • Fog can appear in the Jotunheimen mountains, making it difficult to see cairns as close as 50 meters in front of you.

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Garli to Hindsæter

Gravolskampen

Valdres

Hiking Trail
Medium
6.6 km · 2.5 – 3 hr

Gravolskampen

There are a variety of hiking opportunities on the 15-kilometer long stretch of road between Beitostølen and Bygdin. The hike from Båtskaret to Gravolskampen is a family-friendly option with great views the entire way. If the weather’s nice, be sure to bring your swimsuit as there are several lakes along the trail. 

Read more about Gravolskampen

Bitihorn

Jotunheimen National Park

Hiking Trail
Medium
6.4 km · 2 – 4 hr

Bitihorn

Bitihorn is another popular hike situated between Beitostølen and Bygdin. You can choose between hiking the mountain from the north or the south. While the southern trail is recommended only if you’re fond of climbing, the northern trail is well marked and easy to follow all the way.

Read more about Bitihorn

Bygdin - Torfinnsbu

Vang

Hiking Trail
Medium
13.9 km · 2.5 – 3 hr

Bygdin - Torfinnsbu

If you’re looking for an alternative to mountain hiking, consider hiking from Bygdin Hotel to the self-service DNT cabin Torfinnsbu. Surrounded by Bygdin Lake and magnificent mountains, this is a nice hike through relatively smooth terrain. The trip can be combined with a cruise on Lake Bydgin, either on your way to, or on your way home, from Torfinnsbu.

Read more about Bygdin - Torfinnsbu

Synshorn

Jotunheimen National Park

Hiking Trail
Medium
4.7 km · 1.5 – 2.5 hr

Synshorn

Another excellent hike from Bygdin is Synshorn. “Syn” means “sight” in Norwegian and from the top of this steep peak, you’ll have magnificent views of the surrounding Jotunheimen peaks and Bygdin Lake.  

Read more about Synshorn

Rasletinden

Jotunheimen National Park

Hiking Trail
Medium
15.1 km · 5 – 8 hr

Rasletinden

Rasletinden is one of the towering peaks situated along the west side of the road when you drive between Bygdin and Gjendesheim. The hike to Rasletinden is relatively easy, however, the ascent to the top along the ridge of Kalvehøgde Mountain is exposed.

Read more about Rasletinden

Gjendehøe

Jotunheimen National Park

Hiking Trail
Easy
6.2 km · 2.5 – 3.5 hr

Gjendehøe

At the end of the short detour to Gjende is one of the most popular entry points for hiking into Jotunheimen National Park. From here, a scheduled boat service runs across Gjende Lake to Memurubu and Gjendebu. There is a kiosk selling food, drinks, and basic supplies, as well as the Gjendesheim Lodge if you want to stay overnight. For visits of more than 2 hours, park in the large long-term parking lot at Reinsvangen.

Read more about Gjendehøe

Gjende Viewpoint

Jotunheimen National Park

Hiking Trail
Easy
1.1 km · 0.5 – 1 hr

Gjende Viewpoint

For a quick shot of Gjende Lake from above, take the trail behind the kiosk and head up the hill until you reach a small plateau. The lake stretches out before you and the mighty Besseggen Ridge runs along the shore to the right.

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Besseggen Ridge

Jotunheimen National Park

Hiking Trail
Demanding
14 km · 7 – 9 hr

Besseggen Ridge

Easily one of Norway’s most popular hikes, tackling the Besseggen Ridge requires a full day and a little advance preparation. The trek is demanding and some hiking experience and basic equipment is required.

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Hulderstigen

Vågå

Hiking Trail
Easy
5 km · 1.5 – 2.5 hr

Hulderstigen

Continuing past Gjendesheim for some 13 kilometers, you’ll find Hulderstigen, a trail taking you through the marshlands and pine forests of Stuttgonglia Nature Reserve, alongside small creeks and ponds. Learn about the nature and cultural history of Sjodalen Valley through the information boards along the trail. There’s a picnic spot with a nice view of Nedre Birisjøtjønn Lake about halfway down the trail, making Hulderstigen perfect for a family outing.

Read more about Hulderstigen

Stuttgongkampen

Vågå

Hiking Trail
Medium
10.9 km · 3 – 5 hr

Stuttgongkampen

Hiking Stuttgongkampen is another option if you want to explore the forests of Stuttgonglia Nature Reserve. The hike starts from the historical Hindsæter Hotel and takes you through a diverse landscape comprising rivers and waterfalls, forests, and mountain terrain. From the top, you’ll have stunning views of Jotunheimen peaks as well as the gentle slopes of the Sjodalen Valley.

Read more about Stuttgongkampen

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