Mjølkevegen is a cycling route in southeastern Norway stretching between Vinstra in Gudbrandsdalen and Gol in Halingdal. The majority of the route passes through the beautiful region of Valdres, in areas such as Beitostølen, Vang, and Vaset. Mjølkevegen has been voted as one of the nicest cycling routes in all of Norway. The entire route is 250 km long and takes 4-6 days, but you can easily choose to cycle sections of the route which takes 1-3 days instead. Two recommended options are to cycle the Miniature Mjølkevegen or to stay at Vaset and do day trips. The latter is especially suited for families with small children as you can decide how far you want to go each day. The whole route is well marked so it is easy to make the right turn at every road junction along the way.
Mjølkevegen, “The Milk Route”, was originally the road that was used to collect milk from the many free-range dairy cows in the mountains. You will cross three major valleys along the Mjølkevegen route. First, Gudbrandsdal valley, then the Valdres valley, and eventually ending up in the Hallingdal Valley. However, most of the route is going through a landscape 800-1100 meters above sea level. You will bike through both mountainous areas and lightly forested areas. With the exception of the three valleys, the biking is fairly flat and never very challenging.
Most of the route follows gravel roads, but some sections are covered by asphalt roads. Car traffic is very minimal and almost non-existing on large parts of the route, making it perfect to enjoy the peaceful Norwegian mountains. The route goes through a very sparsely populated area and Beitostølen is the only town along the route.
Except for Beitostølen and Storefjell, all the accommodations are quaint classic Norwegian mountain lodges with a restaurant and a small, but very friendly staff. You should book your room in advance as they can be very popular during the summer months.
Make sure you know where the accommodations, restaurants, and grocery stores are before you start your trip, as there can be quite large distances between these facilities. You get the full picture by using the map on the main Mjølkevegen page.
It is possible to rent a bike although it is a bit cumbersome as you cannot pick-up a bike and drop it off at a different location. Your best bet is to check with the sporting goods stores Intersport at Fagernes, Filefjell or Beitostølen.
From the start in Vinstra, you will quickly get some great views of Jotunheimen National Park, a highly mountainous area with many impressive peaks and great scenery. Jotunheimen serves as a great backdrop for most of the route and even though the mountains get less visible the farther you go towards Gol, there are plenty of other great views all along Mjølkevegen.
Vinstra to Ruten
If you want to challenge yourself to the whole route, be prepared for some steep downhills and uphills. If you choose to start in Vinstra you need to bike up to Ruten Fjellstue. This leg is about 30 km and takes you from Vinstra, at 200 m.a.s.l, up quite a steep hill, until the road flattens at Feforvatnet, 950 m.a.s.l. Continuing towards Ruten Fjellstue, the road goes a bit up and down before you reach Ruten at 850 m.a.s.l. However, if you want a more comfortable start on your Mjølkevegen adventure, and you are staying at Ruten Fjellstue, you can book at pick-up service from the train station.
Ruten to Haugseter
From Ruten, the route goes down to 650 m.a.s.l and along Olstappen lake before climbing back up to 1200 m.a.s.l. when you reach Kaldfjorden lake. From there the route goes down to Vinstre lake and to Haugseter Fjellstue. This second leg is about 43 km. Keep an eye out for reindeer grazing in the area.
Haugseter to Beitostølen
The third leg, which is 24 kilometers long, towards Beitostølen, is fairly flat before it dives down towards Beitostølen which is situated at 950 m.a.s.l. The first part of this leg continues along Vinstre lake before you reach road 51. This is the busiest road along the entire route and in July there can be a lot of cars, so stay safe on your ride down to Beitostølen.
Beitostølen to Ryfoss
From Beitostølen, you continue towards Raudalen and Slettefjell. This is a rather tough leg as you have to go from 750 to almost 1300 m.a.s.l at the top of Slettefjell. It also gives you some really great views from the top. On the other side of Slettefjell, you will follow the gravel road all the way down the mountain before you go east towards Ryfoss. This leg is about 35 km. If you want to stay overnight along this stretch, you need to take a small detour to Sørre Hemsing.
Ryfoss to Vaset
Starting in Ryfoss, you will have another day of biking up 500 meters of elevation, all the way up to the mountain and to the Syndin lakes. After reaching the Syndin lakes, the roads are easy going all the way to Vaset. This leg is about 38 kilometers long. At Vaset we recommend a stay at Vasetstølen or the Gomobu Mountain Lodge.
Vaset to Storefjell
This 30 kilometer-long stretch is an easy ride with very few steep hills. From Vaset, follow the Mjølkevegen signs to Gomobu and Brattåsen, and continue towards the summer farm area of Tyrisholt and Langestølen. At Langestølen, you can make a stop at Langestølen Café before continuing on the Mjølkevegen route to Furuset and in the direction of Storefjell Resort Hotel.
Storefjell to Gol
This last leg is only about 22 kilometers long and moves slowly down from 950 to 200 m.a.s.l. This stretch har been signposted away from the main road to avoid traffic. Once down in Gol, you need to bike through the city center to get to the train station on the other side of the city. However, you also have the option of booking a transportation service from Storefjell Resort Hotel to the Gol train station which will give you a slightly more comfortable end to your Mjølkevegen adventure.
Alternative route from Eidsbugarden to Slettefjell
An alternative to cycling across the Slettefjell mountain is to take the boat M/B Bitihorn, between Bygdin and Eidsbugarden. The boat takes 1 hour and 45 minutes and costs 250 NOK pp and an extra NOK 100 for your bike. This boat route is a real hidden gem in Jotunheimen National Park. Remember to book in advance (for persons as well as bicycles). The boat operates daily between the end of June and the beginning of September.
The gravel road along lake Tyin is a great biking route with few cars and an amazing backdrop of the Jotunheimen mountains behind you. Just remember to stop and take a brief break sometimes to enjoy the great views along this road. Stop by the Tyinholmen Mountain Lodge for accommodation or a meal or make a small cycling detour into the breathtaking Koldedalen valley.
At the end of the lake, you will reach the main road going between Tyinkrysset and Øvre Årdal. This is an asphalt road with more cars, but you will only ride along this road for some kilometers before reaching Tyinkrysset. From Tyinkrysset, go eastbound and follow the old Kings Road towards lake Vangsmjøsa. At the start of the lake, there is a very brief moment where you have to follow the main road E16 before you follow the gravel road going along the north end of the lake. Follow this road all the way to Slettefjell toll booth where you will meet the route coming from Beitostølen. Just 3km from the tool both you will find Sørre Hemsing if you need accommodation before traveling further on. Accommodation needs to be pre-booked.