A lot of hikes are made popular thanks to social media and for good reason. The most iconic of them, in my opinion is Trolltunga (Troll’s Tongue) hidden in the Norwegian wilderness. It doesn’t need an introduction but here is one anyways.
You’re usually spoilt for choices when it comes to hiking in Norway; there’s Preikestolen, Kjerag, Månafossen and Galdhøppigen, just to name a few however Trolltunga is the cream of the crop. A challenging yet beautiful hike, it will take you amongst the mountains, across a plateau and into the wild. It is everyone’s aim to sit on the edge of this outward rock formation, perched 700m above a lake called Ringedalsvatnet, or 1100m above sea level.
Difficulty: 4.5/5 stars
Season: Mid June – Mid October
Area: Hordaland, Norway
Before I go in-depth about the hike, please read the following for your own safety:
While I encourage everyone experience nature and hiking in Norway, please be aware of your limit. I highly recommend doing some training leading up to it (if possible) so you can enjoy it as much as possible. You are in the mountains and although she’s a beaut, she will show no mercy. That said, DO NOT attempt the hike between Mid October – Mid March, weather conditions are not conducive and are unpredictable for hiking. In some instances, emergency rescue may have to be called in. You are a long way from the nearest town and if anything were to go wrong, you will be waiting quite a while.
From mid March to mid June, there are guided hikes and if you fancy doing this solo, go between mid June to mid October. Plan accordingly. The weather can change with little warning so layers are good and always check the weather forecast leading up to the hike, it’ll be a good idea to bring proper equipment/clothing. It is important to avoid hiking during strong winds and/or rain; we wouldn’t want you getting blown away. If you want to set your inner mountain goat free, wear sturdy hiking boots – with good ankle support.
Be safe, prepared and plan accordingly.
Let’s continue, shall we?
Depending on your fitness level and speed, this 22 – 23 km return hike takes anywhere between 7 – 12 hrs. Like all things, pace yourself especially if you’re not accustomed to long hikes. Visit Norway classifies this hike as “expert” so don’t say you weren’t warned! If you are in need of a trekking pole but don’t fancy splurging on one, no worries, go back to the basics! There are quite a few wooden sticks lying around that can be used to aid your journey, if you start before the rush. Trust me, it makes all the difference. In the beginning, you are immediately overwhelmed with the first incline, spreading over the first kilometre. It is a long hard uphill battle but don’t be discouraged, the views along the way up are stunning. The second incline is a little less challenging but no less rewarding. You’ll be buzzing looking at the scenery.
Personally, the most challenging bit of the hike are these two inclines that are over a 4 km stretch. After these 4 kilometres are over, give yourself a massive pat on the back. You’ve done the hard yards and now it’s comparably easier. The next 7 km are littered with lakes, streams, piles of snow and views of the surrounding mountains; one can easily forget how far you’ve walked. Throughout the route, there are signs every kilometre indicating how far you’ve walked – honestly, it motivates me even more! En route to Trolltunga, you’re welcomed to previews of Ringedalsvatnet below and it is spectacular, definitely spoilt if you’re looking for a resting spot. Even to today, still baffles me how blue the waters beneath are.
The remaining 7 kms are good to help gain some ground. It is generally pretty ‘flat’ with little incline/declines to overcome. Be sure to look out for the Red T’s as sometimes the path isn’t as obvious and going the wrong direction is possible. After 11 kms of hiking, you have arrived at your final destination. Woo, go you! While the main attraction is otherworldly, I prefer the views over the lake, walk up the left side of Trolltunga and there’s a fantastic panorama.
What I’ve noticed people failing to mention is that to get that instagrammable moment, you may need to wait just a little longer. By that I mean, there is a queue to pose on the rock. Surprisingly, it all occurs quite systematically. I suppose everyone knows what you’ve had to go through and there’s a common sense respect amongst hikers.
My tip: get there early, start the hike at first light. If you are able to, camp over night as you may get the entire place to yourself before everyone else arrives.
Once you’ve decided that it’s time to make your way back to reality, follow the Red T’s down. The time it takes to get down is significantly shorter. Just words of caution, if you have bad knees like myself, take it easy because overall it will take a toll on your joints. Be careful where you step as it is easy to accidentally roll your ankles. Well, there you have it. That’s a brief look at the hike.
As of September 2016, I’ve completed this hike thrice – first in June 2012 and the twice more recently in July and September 2016. During the period of 2012 – 2014, Nepali Sherpa’s have been flown in to make improvements to the trail, even until today, there are still ongoing improvements being made by the Trekking Association. Most of what’s there now wasn’t there when I first hiked it. A few examples of some changes are the bridge over a small river, wooden planks to prevent stepping into mud, ropes to help pull yourself up and some barriers in the beginning of the hike. The overall hike is now safer and easier to complete compared to 4 years ago.
The starting point of this monstrous hike is approximately 17km from Odda (or 11km from Tyssedal). There is a parking spot at the foot of the hike but it doesn’t come cheap; 200NOK parking for up to 15hrs and 400NOK for up to 24hrs. In Norway, wild camping is legal however for Trolltunga, you are only able to camp after 3 km into the hike. Alternatively, there are also several camping spots in the surrounding areas. Like all wilderness hikes, toilet blocks are only available at the parking lot and you’re going to have to go off trail to relieve yourself otherwise – highly recommend bringing a plastic bag for ALL your waste. Don’t leave anything behind!
Essentially, that’s an overview of the entire hike. As this season is coming to a close within the next couple of weeks, hopefully this can help you prepare for your journey to Trolltunga next season! There’s nothing better than getting lost in nature and this is a definite must do on everyone’s list. Go forth and get lost!
Pin it for later 🙂
Peace, love and good vibes.