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The Stølsruta Historical Hiking Route is a 5-day trek through the mountain farm plateaus of the Valdres region. The word “støl” is Norwegian for a mountain farm used in summer. Running between mountain farm settlements, along old roads and livestock trails, the route leads you through grazing land and flowery meadows, alongside clear mountain lakes and into forests. The detours along mountain trails offer far-reaching views of the vast landscape spreading out before you.
For thousands of years, people and animals have lived together on these plains, the ancient harvesting culture shaping the surrounding flora and fauna. Although the number of summer mountain farms in Norway has decreased dramatically during the last 100 years, the summer mountain farm culture is still vibrant in Valdres. There are about 200 farms in operation today, a hundred of which you'll find in settlements on these vast expanses of land.
Beginning among the gentle forested hillsides of Tisleidalen in Northern Aurdal, the route runs northwest to the settlements of Gauklie and Tyrisholt, over the hills of Revulen and down to the settlements at Nøsen in Western Slidre. From there, the route travels along the mountainsides of Svenskeknippa and Noseknippa, before leading down to the settlement of Jaslangen. The trail continues along Movatnet Lake to Flikja before going northward alongside Gilafjellet to Syndinstøga. The final leg of the route follows Nordre Syndin Lake and Ala River, rounding Hugakollen Mountain before traveling into the valley of Vang.
Stølsruta requires endurance and planning, as it covers a total of 68 kilometers. However, the five suggested stages make the route quite manageable. Stay overnight in the tiny unstaffed cabins and mountain lodges along the trail. The most significant elevation changes are the 300-meter ascent from Nøsen to the mountainsides of Svenskeknippa and Noseknippa and the 530-meter descent from Hugakollen Mountain to the valley of Vang. There are no particularly steep or exposed sections. Undertaking the whole route is suitable for those with some mountain hiking experience and good fitness.
The route is best hiked from July to October. The first and final legs can be accessed by bus. The intermediate legs are reachable by car, making for scenic, less demanding day trips.
While the intermediate stages of Stølsruta are reachable by car only, you can access the first and final stage, Merket in Tiseidalen and Sørre Hemsing in Vang, by bus.
The regional route 139 (Fagernes-Gol) and the local route 304 (Fagernes-Sinderstølen) connect Fagernes and Tisleidalen. If planning on staying overnight at Merket and starting the hike the next morning, the closest bus stop is Bjørkestølen. If not staying overnight at Merket, a tip is to take the bus to the next stop Villmarkstunet and start the hike from there. Bus 139 takes about 25 minutes, while Bus 304 is a school route that takes about 1 hour.
The endpoint Sørre Hemsing in Vang has connections both to Oslo (NW160 Valdresekspressen) and Bergen (NW162 Øst-Vestekspressen). These express buses also stop in Fagernes. From Fagernes, it’s also possible to take the local route 303 (Fagernes-Tyinkrysset) or the regional route 138 (Fagernes-Tyin-Lærdal). The closest stop to Sørre Hemsing is Hemsingbrue Øylo.
Buy tickets aboard the buses or in advance at reduced rates. Book tickets for NW160 Valdresekspressen and NW162 Øst-Vestekspressen through Norway bus express’ website. Tickets for the regional and local routes can be booked via the app Opplandstrafikk Billett. Use Entur to check schedules and plan your trip.
At the end of each stage is an unstaffed cabin or a mountain lodge. Tyrisholt and Flikja are unstaffed cabins where there’s cooking equipment available for use, but you do need to bring food. A sleeping bag or a sleeping bag liner is also required at unstaffed cabins.
Tyrisholt is run by the Norwegian Trekking Organisation (DNT), and you’ll need a key and a membership to use the cabin. To learn more about how to use unstaffed cabins and how to become a member of the DNT, read our ultimate guide to staying at DNT cabins in Norway.
The mountain lodges are privately run, but offer discounts to members of the DNT. The lodges serve meals. The cabins and mountain lodges along the route are:
- Merket (staffed lodge, Red Cross activity center)
- Tyrisholt (unstaffed cabin, DNT)
- Nøsen Yoga Retreat Center (staffed lodge, privately run)
- Flikja (unstaffed cabin, run by Western Slidre Mountain Board)
- Syndinstøga (staffed lodge, privately run)
If you bring a tent, it’s possible to camp outside Tyrisholt and Nøsen Yoga Retreat Center for a small fee. Be aware of the grazing animals when pitching a tent along the route. If you leave food unattended, it’s likely to be gone when you return.
When to go
Stølsruta can be hiked from July to October. The route was created in 2018, and not many people are aware of it yet. Although it runs through some popular hiking areas, you’ll have the route to yourself most of the time.
The temperatures reach between 12 and 25°C during the day, with bad weather as a possibility. This means that you should bring sunscreen as well as warm and weatherproof clothing. As a considerable part of the trail travels through forests, mosquito repellent is another backpack essential.
Having the right gear and layering your clothing appropriately is key to a safe and happy hike in Norway. See DNT’s guide to packing for a summer hike.
Good to know
- Remember that cows, sheep, and goats roam freely in this area and it’s important to show respect for the grazing animals. Cows protecting their calves might chase you if you come too close. However, you should be perfectly fine if you don’t stress the animals you meet, but stop and let them move out of the way, or take a little detour around them.
- Cows protecting their calves might also try to chase dogs. Thus it isn’t recommended to bring dogs when hiking the route. If you do, be sure to keep it on a leash.
- 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.
- The route was created in 2018. Since the past year’s been dry, DNT doesn’t have the necessary knowledge of wet sections along the trail. Be sure to wear waterproof footwear as some wet parts lack footbridges.
- A walking stick might come in handy when crossing rivers, streams, and other wet sections. A stick might also be useful if the animals come too close.