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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Besseggen Ridge, WW

no permit
28 2 0
Guide 2 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List WW > Europe
4.5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 4 of 5
Distance One Way 10 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,280 feet
Elevation Gain 3,500 feet
Avg Time One Way 9 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 21.66
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Historic, Perennial Waterfall, Perennial Creek & Peak
Backpack Possible & Connecting
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
7  2016-09-01 rvcarter
21  2015-07-10 arizona_water
Author arizona_water
author avatar Guides 8
Routes 114
Photos 1,079
Trips 117 map ( 1,352 miles )
Age 29 Male Gender
Location Salt River Valley
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jul, Aug, Sep → Early
Seasons   Late Summer to Early Autumn
Sun  9:55pm - 10:43am
0 Alternative
Nearby Area Water
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A Classic Norwegian Hike
by arizona_water

Likely In-Season!
The Besseggen Ridge is a fantastical trek across a granite backbone that was formed over the millennia by dramatic glacial activity. This description is for the ridgeline walk, one way, from Gjendesheim to Memurubu. Along the way, you will pass deep lakes, expansive glaciers, and stunning vistas of Norwegian peaks that are capped in snow year-round. There are herds of reindeer that live in Jotunheiman and are often visible from the ridgeline. You are also likely to see mountain goats, and if you're lucky, maybe an arctic fox!

Make every effort to begin this hike in the morning, as root finding is increasingly difficult hiking from E to W and you will need adequate daylight to hunt for cairns.

The Jotunheiman National Park is full of prehistoric sites dating to 3000BCE. There is evidence of early dairy farms and many hunting spears have been found near the glaciers.

You can hike either West-bound or East-bound, and unless you plan on hiking it both ways in one day, you will need to take a ferry to/from the trailhead. The trekking hut at Gjendesheim is both the starting point for the West-bound trail and the launching point for the ferry. Ideally, you can arrive into Gjendesheim in the morning and begin your trek from here. Upon reaching Memurubu, take the ferry back to Gjendesheim. Alternatively, spend the night at the hikers lodge in Memurubu. It is very remote and supplies are brought in by ferry, thus increasing the costs of meals. Definitely worth it though!

Water Sources
The glacier runoff along the trail tastes amazing. Be sure to purify though. There are many reindeer who would love to show you a thing or two about giardia!

Backcountry camping in Jotunheiman National Park is allowed, but there are specific rules governing how far from a lake shore you must be. See for more info.

Check out the Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2016-04-22 arizona_water

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Besseggen Ridge
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Bessengen Ridge is a classic Norway hike completed by thousands annually, but luckily only a few dozen on this day. Beautiful area with the opportunity to see two fjords from the ridge. Because of wind, cold and rain, I didn't make it to the viewpoint most photos of the area will show, but the views are outstanding regardless. This place is a little off the beaten path but not too far north of Beistolen. We found a "cabin" about 30 miles to the north. Excellent day. Spotty wifi so I'll close and try to get a few pix up.
    Besseggen Ridge
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Last summer (2015), Melody and I traveled across Western and Central Europe with nothing but our 28 liter daypacks.
    We wanted to be able to travel on foot as much as possible without having to store any luggage while we were out hiking. I also had the Besseggen on our itinerary, and knew it would be a one-way hike. I wanted to hike this West-bound and stay the night at a remote hiker-lodge, then take the ferry back to the trailhead the next day.

    The hike:
    We arrived at the trailhead at 2pm local time. Yes, this is a very late time to start a 10+ mile hike with 3500 AEG. But let me explain this decision... ;)
    We left Oslo on the first train out to Otta, at 8am We then took a bus from this little village on to Gjendesheim which is a hikers hut in Jotunheiman National Park. Now, normally people who hike the Besseggen Ridge stay the night her at the hut, or camp nearby. But we were on a tight schedule and sunset was not until 11:15pm! So my thinking was: "great, we'll arrive at 2pm and be on the trail by 2:15! and we can easily make it 10 miles by 11:15pm." : rambo :

    We were on the trail by 2:30pm with 2 liters of water each (and without water purification equipment). The first few hours were a dream, climbing between granite boulders and glacier-fed waterfalls. Everyone we met was hiking the opposite way, East-bound. People kept looking at us strangely, as if to say, "it's afternoon and you're going the wrong direction." We crossed several snowfields that were sketchy, but the few Norwegians that were hiking down them were having no trouble. :roll:

    As I said, we were the only West-bounders, so by 5 pm we had the trail to ourselves, and passed only a couple stragglers headed East. The relative solitude was perfect as we approached the crux of the Besseggen Ridge and began the descent down the backbone. This is a tricky section of steep screen on a very narrow track that drops a solid 800 feet to lowest point on the ridge. From here you can clearly see Gjende and Bessvatnet lakes (this is my HAZ profile picture).

    We saw several herds of Reindeer! And a few mountain goats. By 7:30pm we were almost out of water, and the route was very difficult to find. There was still plenty of daylight, of course, but the track disappeared through the scree around several small glacial lakes. Eventually, we located a cairn that had fallen over and made our way around even more small tarns! The lake water was freezing and light blue. But I still wanted to jump in.
    We made it to Memurubu hiker's lodge around 9:15pm, just in time to get the last dinners served! :DANCE:

    Incredible views. World-class hike. An unforgettable experience.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Oslo:
    Take the train from Oslo S (main rail station) to Otta. From Otta, there is a bus that runs twice daily to Gjendesheim.
    page created by arizona_water on Apr 22 2016 8:55 am
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