Jotunheimen National Park

Norway

Jotunheimen National Park is the gateway to Norway’s tallest peaks. Enjoy the view from Northern Europe’s highest mountain Galdhøpiggen, or hike the famous Besseggen ridge.

Discover Jotunheimen National Park

Jotunheimen is home to a massive number of outdoor adventures. From glacier hikes and ski touring to easy walks with great views, there truly is something for everybody. Base yourself at one of the many tourist cabins, lodges, or boutique hotels and explore the area on day trips. Alternatively, travel from cabin-to-cabin over several days to fully immerse yourself in the high mountains.

Besseggen ridge is one of Norway’s most famous hikes, rising above the emerald green Gjende lake. Galdhøpiggen (2,469 m.a.s.l.) and Glittertind (2,465 m.a.s.l.) are the two most popular summits to climb. Knutshøe, with views over Øvre Leirungen lake, is another must. In the west, hike up Utladalen valley to see the spectacular Vettisfossen.

For skiers, spring offers longer days and wonderful conditions for ski touring. Pick one of the many options along the Valdresflye and Sognefjellet scenic routes or head deep into the park, stopping at Leirvassbu or Eidsbugarden to experience snow-covered Jotunheimen at its finest.

Practical information:

Regardless of the season, local guides and activity providers offer a range of adventures for both adults and children. In summer, take a guided hike on the Bøverbrean glacier or join a ski touring trip to Sokse in the spring. For something a little different try dog sledding, rafting, or horseback riding.

The area is filled with excellent accommodation options for all budgets, close to the popular routes and attractions. Alternatively, pitch a tent and find some solitude deep in the national park.

Why choose Jotunheimen NP?

  • Discover the highest mountains in Norway
  • Take a boat ride across the Gjende lake and hike Besseggen ridge
  • Trek or ski between cosy tourist cabins and lodges
  • Meet a local guide for ski touring or a glacier hike
  • Find exhilarating activities for the whole family, such as dog sledding, rafting and horseback riding
  • Explore two Norwegian scenic routes, Sognefjellet and Valdresflye

For access to all our Jotunheimen information and trail maps on the go, download the Outtt app. Save your favorite adventures and maps for offline use!

Ski touring on Sokse. Photo: Live Andrea Sulheim

Hiking Kyrkja. Photo: Live Andrea Sulheim

How to get to Jotunheimen National Park

Jotunheimen is located in the middle of Southern Norway and is accessible from either Oslo or Bergen. Daily buses run to key entry points and connect with boats in the summer and a snowcoach in the winter. Two Norwegian scenic routes are key access roads to the national park. Note that the roads are closed in part in winter due to snow. To check if they are open, visit Norwegian Scenic Routes.

Oslo to Jotunheimen National Park
The NW161 Valdresekspressen bus runs from Oslo and stops at several different points in Jotunheimen. For most of the year the bus runs only as far as Beitostølen. From the end of June into September there are two extended departures, one to Lom and another continues further to Leirvassbu. Gjendesheim is also a popular stop along the route.

The NW160 Valdresekspressen bus from Oslo stops at two points commonly used to access the western parts of Jotunheimen, Tyin and Årdalstangen.

Check times and buy tickets on nor-way.no.

When driving from Oslo, whether in a car or on the bus, the 49 km scenic route Valdresflye makes for a stunning arrival into Jotunhuemen. Beginning in Garli, just north of Beitostølen, and continuing to Hindsæter, the route takes in mountain farms and exposes the traditions of the high mountains.

Bergen to Jotunheimen National Park
The NW162 Øst-VestXpressen bus runs between Bergen and Lillehammer. It stops in Fagernes, corresponding with the NW161 Valdresekspressen for travel into Jotunheimen.

For those driving from the fjords in the west, the 108 km scenic route Sognefjellet between Gaupne and Lom travels from the innermost part of the Sognefjord across the highest mountain pass in Norway.

Boats within Jotunheimen National Park
In the summer months there are two boats that run deeper into the national park.

  • The Gjende ferry runs on the Gjende lake from Gjendesheim via Memurubu to Gjendebu. This boat trip is commonly taken as part of the Besseggen ridge hike and can be very busy. Buy tickets in advance to skip the lines and avoid any stress.
  • M/B Bitihorn runs on the Bygdin lake from Bygdin via Torfinnsbu to Eidsbugarden. The timetable corresponds with the Valdresekspressen bus route.

Snowcoach within Jotunheimen National Park
From February to early May a snowcoach connects Tyin to Tyinholmen and Eidsbugarden. The timetable corresponds with the Valdresekspressen bus route. It is mandatory to reserve a seat. Check times and buy tickets on jvb.no.

Valdresflye, from Bitihorn. Photo: Werner Harstad / Statens vegvesen

The best time to visit Jotunheimen National Park

With its massive mountains and cosy tourist lodges, Jotunheimen is a popular destination for both skiing and hiking. Norwegians and visitors alike flock to the area at key points in the year to make the most out of the conditions.

The true beginning and end of the seasons varies depending on snowfalls and general weather conditions. The Norwegian national weather service provides detailed weather reports and forecasts for Jotunheimen in English.

Winter
Winter in Jotunheimen can be intense with large amounts of snow and average temperatures of -14°C, even dropping down to as low as -30°C. In most years you will be able to ski from January (or possibly earlier), but many wait until spring. Certain access roads may be closed. Activities in nearby villages like Beitostølen, which also houses a small ski resort, run every day.

Spring
The spring months of March, April, and May are the most popular for skiing in Jotunheimen. There is more daylight, friendlier temperatures, and better skiing conditions.

Summer
Most of Jotunheimen lies above the treeline at 800–1,000 m.a.s.l. with Galdhøpiggen reaching almost 2,500 m.a.s.l. In Norway, that means that summer starts quite late. It is not uncommon to be able to ski in Jotunheimen in June, but by the end of the month, you should be able to start hiking. July and August are easily the most popular months and when you can expect to see crowds in the tourist lodges and on the famous routes. On very nice days you can get lucky with temperatures above 20°C, but it is more common to experience temperatures between 10 and 15°C and even days that are much colder. Be sure to bring warm clothes even when you are traveling in mid-July.

Autumn
Summer in Jotunhiemen is short and by September you can expect much colder weather and even snow. The leaves turn a brilliant red and yellow during September decorating the area in amazing color. There is gradually less daylight from about 15 hours in September to about 5 hours in December. For hiking from mid-September you need to be prepared for the weather by bringing warm clothes and other cold weather gear.

Fishing in the Gjende lake, near Gjendesheim. Photo: Roger Ellingsen / Statens vegvesen

Hiking

Hikers from Norway and beyond flock to Jotunheimen in July and August to tackle some of Norway’s most famous trails.

Jotunheimen is home to the country’s highest peaks, beautiful lakes, and pristine wilderness. The routes are varied in both difficulty and experience, ensuring plenty of choice for all ambitions and abilities.

Guide: Hiking in Jotunheimen

The park has many tourist cabins and lodges which are excellent stops on multi-day hikes. Many offer full-board, allowing you to pack light and enjoy the trails.

There are a number of glaciers in Jotunheimen with guided hiking trips available in the summer. Check out Bøverbrean in Lom or Uranosbreen from Tyinholmen.

Recommended hikes

Besseggen

Vandring 13.1 km · 7 – 9 t

Galdhøpiggen

Vandring 5.6 km · 6 – 9 t

Skiing

Jotunheimen offers an incredible selection of ski touring adventures. Typically the seasons starts in January and ends in late May or early June, with April and May the most popular months. There is more snow on the western side of the national park than in the east, thus the skiing season is longer there.

Two Norwegian scenic routes, Sognefjellet and Valdresflye, provide access to much of the region’s best skiing. Valdresflye, in the east, opens at Easter. This area of Jotunheimen is perfect for those seeking more relaxed ski touring, with options such as Rasletinden and Fagerdalshøe.

Sognefjellet, to the west, opens in early May. This part of Jotunheimen is home to steeper mountains and some more hardcore adventures. Turtagrø Hotel, at the southern end of the route, is an excellent base. From there, Fannaråken and Store Ringstind can be easily reached. Two other popular starting points are the Leirvassbu and Spiterstulen serviced cabins, each about 10 km from the main road. The last stretch into Leirvassbu requires a 4–5 km ski and is perfect for exploring Kyrkja, Storebjørn, and Stetinden. Spiterstulen is the place to be for conquering the two tallest peaks, Galdhøpiggen and Glittertind.

Another option is to stay at Eidsbugarden at the western end of Bygdin lake. From there, Uranostind, Galdeberget, Slettmarkspiggen, and Utsikten are all accessible. Getting to Eidsbugarden on a snowcoach is a bit of an adventure in itself.

Photo: Hallgrim Rogn

Recommended ski trips

Fagerdalshøe

Skitur 6.1 km · 3 – 4 t

Uranostinden

Skitur 26.3 km · 5 – 8 t

Activities

Not only is Jotunheimen a destination for hiking and skiing, but for many other types of activities as well. Thrill seekers, animal lovers, and families are all well-served.

The village of Beitostølen is home to a number of excellent activity providers. Dog sledding trips are incredibly popular throughout the winter and continue even after the snow has melted, with special 4-wheel carts.

During the summer and fall, rafting is possible on the local rivers and lakes. The Sjoa river is perhaps Norway’s most famous river for white-water rafting. For those after smaller rapids, pack-rafting on the Raudøla river is a fun way to spend a day.

Horseback riding trips, lasting anywhere from 2 hours to a whole week, offer a unique perspective on the nature in the park.

Dog sledding near Beitostølen. Photo: Jan Egil Jægersborg

Recommended activities

Map

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