Hiking Guide: Trolltunga

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

32 Replies to “Hiking Guide: Trolltunga”

  1. Wow, what views! Great tips about when to do it, I can’t imagine doing this in the dead of winter. The waste thing gets me every time. So many people think the world is their trash can and just walk away from the mess they’ve made. Good tip on bringing plastic bags!

    1. Thanks Maggie! Oh you and I both… The hike is tough as is, can’t imagine having snow and ice on top of that.

      It was honestly really upsetting seeing how much waste was left behind, sometimes everyone needs a reminder to help save our environment I guess.

  2. Wow those photos! The one of you at the top is insane! Some awesome tips, sounds like an amazing experience 🙂

    1. Hahah the naked one? Such a good laugh! We were lucky to have the place to ourselves so I can get a cheeky snap on the rock 😛
      Definitely an amazing experience, photos don’t do it any justice!

  3. Wow! The views along this hike are amazing. I never thought I was capable of long hikes until I did the Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand this past spring, which was also around 22 km. Sooo challenging but worth it. I wonder how Trolltunga compares!

    1. I’ve never heard of it, just gave it a google… Oh wow, that looks like such a beautiful hike! Well, I guess you’ll just have to visit Norway and give Trolltunga a shot and let me know!

      I’ll have to check out Tongariro Crossing when i’m in NZ (whenever that may be!).

  4. Oh my gosh – that view is BEAUTIFUL! Good for you for making a hike like this. Added to my bucket list 🙂

    1. Thank you! It was a toughy especially with camping equipment but so glad I did it. Definite addition to everyone’s bucket list 🙂

  5. Gosh, what a view! I’ve never gone hiking before, but I guess I must plan something when I’m in Norway. Although I’d love to take a picture like that in the middle of a rock & on top of those clouds, I’m afraid of heights!

    1. Great view, hey!
      I’m afraid of heights too – just don’t look down while you’re on the rock 😉 It’s slightly inclined upwards so it’s not as scary as it looks..

  6. My sister and I hiked Trolltunga for the first time in July 2016, and it was probably the most physically demanding thing we’ve ever done. Of course the views are completely worth it, and I’m so glad we did it, but you safety tips are so key to having an enjoyable experience. We saw some hikers that were completely ill-prepared, and I really have no idea how they made it. Now that I’ve done it once (and although it destroyed my knees), I am already looking forward to going back! This time I will train better for it.

    1. When in July out of curiosity? Would be funny if we did it the same day (although that may be unlikely).

      It takes a lot of you, doesn’t it? The first time I did it, I barely hiked before this so wasn’t in hiking shape and we did it in such bad conditions.. It was raining majority of the time so we were talking through massive puddles of mud. Not enjoyable at all! Was more prepared the second time and enjoyed it a lot more… thought others could learn a thing or two from me!

      Maybe i’ll see you there next season 😉

  7. Wow well done! I never knew where this place was! It looks spectacular but I’m glad you gave tips about safety. It looks so worth the effort!

    1. Thanks Cliodhna!
      I think safety is as important as the views.. Don’t want anyone to go into this hike ill-prepared because of me!

  8. I never get enough of Trolltunga pics, it is on my list since forever, very good post, detailed, think is totally worth to camp there in order to enjoy it at the fullest, saved the post for April, maybe May or even June, as to be as warm as possible, thank u

    1. You and I both! I’ve got way too many of the same photos but can’t bare to delete duplicates hahah.

      Thank you for giving this a read, Mirela! Definitely worth camping (had the opportunity to the 3rd time I hiked).. Maybe I’ll see you there – if i decide to hike it again! 😀

  9. Wow, it really looks amazing. I do love hiking but not sure I am quite ready for this (appreciate the warning), so it’s definitely something I can work towards.

    1. Don’t worry Anisa… I believe you can do it, just gotta put your mind to it! If you love hiking, I’m sure you’ll power through this!

  10. These images are breathtaking! I’d love to do this someday. From the sound of it, I need to make sure I get into really good shape first 🙂

    1. The photos still make my heart skip a beat.. Being in shape definitely does help you enjoy the hike a lot more. I remember doing this hike the first time and I wasn’t what I would call “hiking fit” so it was a struggle and a half! The other two times were definitely more enjoyable as I had more hiking experience. Thought everyone could learn from my mistakes 🙂

  11. Wow what an amazing journey! Those pictures you took all look so beautiful 🙂 I dont know how I wouldve been able to do this myself

    1. Such a great hike! Thank you so much Glenda 🙂

      I’m sure you would manage just fine.. It’s not all that bad and the views are worth it 😉

  12. Such an informative post – thank you for sharing your tips! We are looking at potentially visiting Norway/Finland next fall so will definitely be bookmarking this post for our trip. I can’t believe you’ve done the hike 3 times: what a trooper!

    1. Thanks for reading this Flo! Oooh, that’s exciting 😀 I’m slowly piecing together a Norwegian road trip guide so whenever that’s ready, I can let you know and hopefully it’ll help you out!

      Hahah I know, I can’t believe it myself.. Every time I do it, I always say “not again”!

  13. Wow this hike looks amazing, although it does look quite difficult i’m not sure if I’m ready – might need to train a bit first! The views and incredible scenery definitely look worth it though, really fantastic photos and great tips! 🙂 added to my bucket list.

    1. It is amazing yet challenging at the same time. Hahah i’m sure after a bit of training, you’ll be able to do it!

      Thanks for giving this a read Zoe! 🙂

  14. This is on my bucket list. I haven’t been to any of the nordic countries yet, but this is SO high on my list and I can’t wait to do this when I finally visit! This hike sounds incredible and thanks for the tips!

    1. I haven’t visited a couple of the nordics either! It’s a nice hike and you should definitely do it if you’re ever in the region. No worries, hopefully these tips are helpful for when you visit 🙂

  15. What an awesome guide! Looks like an incredible hike.

  16. […] Remember these cool pictures of Norway you see on Instagram all the time? The ones where people pose for dramatic photos standing close to the edge of a rock formation with a lake in the background? That’s Trolltunga (Troll’s Tongue), a popular hike in Norway, which I would love to go on one day. Caroline has completed the hike thrice and gives a great description of what to expect! Read the full post here. […]

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