Taking on the epic day hike to Trolltunga in the The Hardangerfjord region of Norway is one challenge, but hiking there, camping at the top of Trolltunga and returning the next day presents a whole other perspective of the journey… and subsequently a lot more questions prior to the trip. Which is why I’ve created this informative guide to the Trolltunga hike intended to help to answer any questions you might have before you embark on one of the best hikes in Norway.
You’ll walk on snow, scale the side of rocky mountains, get up close and personal with waterfalls, view epic waterfalls from near and afar, hike across smooth terrain and rough terrain… in those moments the hiking trail to and from Trolltunga is filled with stunning scenery and life-affirming moments. Prepare to feel overwhelmingly humbled by the pure scale of nature, rise to the challenge, clamber along those mountain ridges and see and feel nature in some of it’s finest moments.
Here’s a full guide to hiking and camping in Trolltunga including kit you’ll need for hiking to Trolltunga, where to camp around Trolltunga and how to get that famous photo at Trolltunga safely and without the crowds.
Camping Before And After the Trolltunga Hike
You have a few options of where to stay prior to the hike – here are two:
- Odda Camping
Set on the lakefront and buzzing with travellers, due to convenience, this is where most people spend the night prior to, and after their hike to Trolltunga. It’s conveniently located in the heart of Odda close to small shops and mini-markets where you can buy essential food items. There is also a bus that runs from Odda to Trolltunga if you don’t want to take your car and pay for parking while you hike which is an added bonus to staying in Odda.
- Eikhamrane Camping & Rullestad Camping
Prior to the hike, we stayed at Eikhamrane Camping which is located about 30km north of Odda. With beautiful views and fjordside camping spots, it makes for an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of Odda if you’re looking to get a little more off the beaten track. After the trip we drove about 30km south west of Odda on the route towards Stavangar and stayed at Rullestad Camping – great little campsite nestled between farmland and a lake complete with a waterfall.
THE Trolltunga Hike
Most guide books will tell you that the hike is 11km one way, but it’s actually 14km. Make sure you mentally prepare yourself for those extra 3 km, but it really is a great warm up for the rest of the hike.
The trail begins from the car park in Skjeggedal with a steep gravel road – 3km with approximately 14 hairpins (yes, we counted!). Some people pay extra and choose to park up at the top of this road. The possibility is there, but you’ll find that most people do walk. It will add about 45 minutes to 1 hour to your hike on the ascent, and about half the time depending on your speed on your descent so do account for that. The official hike according to most guidebooks starts at the top of that gravel road and starts with a walk across a subtly undulating plateau; the landscape here is pretty spectacular and helps relieve burn from that short gravel road warm up before you commence the real climb; prepare for uneven rock steps, continuing on to hit pure slabs of rock where you might even find little area of snow to shuffle through.
After 8km, comes the really outstanding scenery! You’ll follow the fjordside along a mountain ridge, it’s undulating with lots of ups and downs, and it offers lots of photo opportunities or chances to stop and soak up the awe-inspiring natural landscape.
Most importantly, look out and follow the red ‘T’. This becomes more important as you reach the end of the trail, where the visible trail gives way to rocky, mountainous terrain where it can be possible to veer off the track easily. Once you’ve reached this sign in the picture below, you can start unpacking your pocket size bottle of red wine and/or whisky that you bought at the airport on the way over. Because you made it!
Numerous times on the trail, you’ll cross freshwater streams meaning that there’s no need to carry huge amounts of water. I’d highly recommend taking your camping cup to scoop up water from the streams whenever you pass them if you’re feeling thirsty, along with a reusable water bottle such as a Klean Kanteen as these are a great environmentally friendly option!
I’d suggest collecting at least 2L of water before reaching the end of the hike. We located a stream close to where we camped on the ridge behind Trolltunga, meaning that we didn’t have to worry about fresh water at all. Should you not locate a stream, you will need water for cooking and drinking during the evening / morning.
For all you super adventurous types, it is possible but you do need the right kit so be sure you’ve got all your camping essentials. There are plenty of options for places to set up camp, but there are several points to note; beware of boggy areas, be sure to scope out a flat piece of land as there are pieces available, and if you are seeking a really sheltered area then it’s best to scope out the area before you reach the 11km sign.It was noticeably warmer down there for us, but we really wanted to wake up to that incredible view across the fjordland so we decided to really put our MSR Hubba Hubba tent (and ourselves!) through it’s paces instead.
It’s very open on top of the mountain side that sits above Trolltunga so the wind does have a chill to it, but if you have a good tent and you are well prepared with the correct kit, you’ll stay warm. We camped about 300m back from the cliff-side up behind Trolltunga. Although we couldn’t see the famous Trolltunga rock ourselves, we had a wonderful view out across the fjord which was spectacular to unzip our door to the following morning.
GETTING THAT PHOTO
When you reach Trolltunga, chances are the infamous Trolls Tongue will be busy – there’s a 100% chance there will be a queue to have your picture taken. We’ve heard recent reports from Mark’s brother, who queued for over one hour to get that photo. When we arrived at the site at 4:30pm we decided to spend our evening setting up camp, then headed to to the rock just to have a look, sit on the cliff side above it, take a few pictures and enjoy our reward – whisky and red wine (not mixed together!). So we recommend to head down first thing in the morning to get your picture, especially if you know the weather is going to be good, but it’s recommended to double check the forecast.
Be aware of the positioning of light (if you’re super picky like I am!). The light when we arrived in the evening was actually beautiful I wish we’d taken our photos then. I love dusk and dawn light, these are definitely my favourite times to photograph anything at all! But the reality of it is, unless you wake up at 3am to get your photo on Trolltunga, you won’t really get your dawn because of how far north Norway is. In the morning the sun will be behind you as you stand facing out on the rock, meaning the cliff side above will cast a huge shadow across Trolltunga. Dramatic yes – and could be the look some of you want to go for, but the light in the evening will be better if you don’t want those shadows.
OTHER TOP TIPS
There are survival cabins dotted along the trail, all of which are detailed in any good hiking maps. These usually have a flare and some kind of communication device in them.
The free camping laws mean that camping up in the wilderness beside Trolltunga is possible, please remember to be responsible and leave only footprints and take only photos. We saw lots of people leaving their used toilet paper in lots of visible places, which isn’t pleasant for the next person to come and enjoy in the future.
THE TOILET SITUATION
There’s not one. Seriously, no toilets guys and girls. So you’ll be taking wild number 1s and number 2s. Just be considerate to your fellow hikers and go well off the trail and remove all your used toilet paper to dispose off responsibly.
Needless to say, there’s few food options once you’ve left Odda, so be sure to stock up with anything you need including filling snacks like trailmix and bananas and whatever else you love fuel your adventure while hiking.
Be sure you’re wearing good, broken in hiking boots.
When to go
Mid June – mid September. If you want to go outside of these time you’ll need a specialist guided trip.
Get to Skjeggedal early if you can, but if that car park is full there is an overflow car park. We arrived at 9am and it was full so we parked in the overflow and got a shuttle but to the main car park where the hike begins – there is a fee for this.
PIN IT FOR LATER