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A Practical Guide to Hiking Trolltunga in Norway

Rob is an avid traveller and a keen photographer who showcases his work on Flickr and sells his images through Adobe Stock and Shutterstock.

Troll's tongue, also known as Trolltunga, in Norway.

Troll's tongue, also known as Trolltunga, in Norway.

Trolltunga Hike

The Trolltunga hike is a total distance of 22 km. It starts with a steep climb for the first 1 km and is challenging, with lots of fairly steep ascents, for roughly the first 4 km. It gets a little better after that.

There are a lot of up and down sections and you will enter a number of micro-climates. If the weather is sunny when you start out, just know that it can change at any time.

The hike to Trolltunga is tough! I don't say that lightly. It is really challenging. If you have any knee problems, be prepared to feel pain. If you are out of shape, be prepared to be exhausted. I would not recommend attempting the hike if you have any health problems that may cause you trouble.

The awesome solitude of Trolltunga. The rock makes for a fantastic Trolltunga photo oportunity.

The awesome solitude of Trolltunga. The rock makes for a fantastic Trolltunga photo oportunity.

What to Wear for Your Hike

As I said above, the weather along the trek can change suddenly. Take layers! The first 1 km is a steep ascent so even if the weather is quite cold when you start you may want to begin with something light or at least something that you can take off easily.

You will sweat and when you stop for rest later, and your t-shirt is soaked through with sweat and the bitter wind is howling all around you, you will feel very cold.

Wear, or at least pack in your bag, waterproof clothing. You want to try and stay dry. You don't want to find yourself stuck up a mountain when wet through. You won't last long. A good waterproof windbreaker is essential. I wore water-resistant hiking pants with full-on storm pants tucked away in my bag to protect me from any torrential downpours.

Bring Durable Gear

Good quality, properly fitting hiking boots are essential. I can't stress that enough. And they must be waterproof. I wore the Salomon X-Ultra men's boot. They are Goretex which is breathable and fully waterproof. The boots are as comfortable as trainers but with all the protection that comes with sturdy hiking boots.

With the varying terrain along the hike, I thought these were absolutely perfect. I did lots of research before buying these boots and I'm very happy with what I got. I would highly recommend them. There is also a women's pair which my girlfriend wore and she is also very happy with them.

I warned you earlier about attempting the hike if you have any injuries or knee problems. If you are going to attempt it, and you have knee problems, then make sure you wear a knee brace and wear it from the start. Also, take some strapping with you.

Walking poles, even if you've never used them before, will come in very handy. You can get these for a good price from eBay.

What you need to know about Trolltunga.

What you need to know about Trolltunga.

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Items for Your Backpack

The hike will take approximately 10-12 hours to complete. This is a long time and will be a very long day. Factor in that you'll be walking 22 kilometres, with much of the distance being especially strenuous. You're going to need a good supply of energy to keep you going. I would recommend packing the following food:

  • Homemade porridge bars
  • Homemade flapjacks
  • Snickers
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Sandwiches (chicken, meat, or another filling high in protein)

You don't need to take lots of water as it will only weigh you down; there is a plentiful supply of fresh running water all along the hike. We took a 2L hydration pack each that we carried in a pouch in our rucksacks. However, it added unnecessary weight to our bags.

Change of Clothes!

You'll need to pack a change of clothes and keep them wrapped in a plastic bag to keep them dry. You will want spare socks, underwear, a t-shirt and maybe pants if the ones you're wearing are not waterproof. You also need to take a warm layer such as a jumper or thermal base layer in case you are forced to stay on the mountain for longer (don't worry, there are rescue huts so you won't be forced to sleep outside if anything unexpected happens and prevents you coming down the same day).

Take a hat and gloves; you may not think you need them at the beginning of the day when the weather is sunny and warm, but this can change suddenly.

I would recommend a pack of approximately 30 litres capacity. This should be enough to carry all that you need. If you take a bigger bag you'll be tempted to fill it and will only make it heavier. Make sure the bag has a waterproof cover.

Take a camera. If you have a DSLR then take it. The views at the top and at other points of the hike are incredible. Standing on Trolltunga itself is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience so you want to capture the moment in the best possible way.

This rescue hut is just beyond Trolltunga. Make use of it if you run into difficulties.

This rescue hut is just beyond Trolltunga. Make use of it if you run into difficulties.

Camping at Trolltunga

It is prohibited to set up camp anywhere in the first 3 km of the Trolltunga hike. After this point, you are free to camp anywhere. However, a lot of the terrain is steep and rocky and areas that are soft and flat may be boggy with surface water.

If you're planning on taking a tent just be aware that finding a spot to set up may not be as straightforward as you imagine. Look out for the telltale signs of where other people have camped. You shouldn't see their rubbish as they should have taken it with them but you may see some flattened grass where a tent has been pitched earlier.

Make sure your tent is a good one and is suitable to withstand changing mountain conditions. Make sure that the sleeping bag that you take is at least a 3-season bag. It can get very cold at night even in the height of summer. Take a roll mat as the ground is likely to be damp and cold.

If you're planning on taking camping equipment then you know that you're going to be carrying extra weight on what is already a demanding hike. Consider hiking to only the 4-5 km mark and pitch up there. You can then get an early night and set off bright and early the next morning ahead of the crowd who will be starting their journey 4-5km behind you from the car park.

You only have 6-7km to go and you can do this with just your daysack. Leave what you don't need in the tent and pack it up on your way back down. And remember, if you run into any difficulties, such as a storm setting in, make your way to the nearest rescue hut and spend the night in there. You may be sharing with several other people and it may turn out to be a memorable experience.

If you are camping, then abide by the leave-no-trace rule and take all of your rubbish with you, including fruit peels.

More Handy Hiking Tips

  • The starting point is Skjeggedal car park (GPS: '59.5"N 6°37'31.9"E, 6007 Tyssedal, Norway).
  • There is a car park tax for all vehicles: 1-5hrs = 100 NOK; 6-15hrs = 200 NOK; and 16-24hrs = 400 NOK. Pay in the shop.
  • It is prohibited to camp within 3 km of the starting point.
  • The hike is 22 km long.
  • The hike will take around 10-12 hrs.
  • Be prepared and dress and pack accordingly.
  • Set off early before the busloads arrive from elsewhere (around 7 am). During the peak early/mid-afternoon period the queue to go on the Trolltunga can be over an hour long—and it could be a very cold wait!
  • Set up camp 4 km into the hike and get Trolltunga to yourself early in the morning.
  • If camping, use the rescue huts if you get into danger.
  • Make a note of the emergency number: 112.
  • Make sure you have told people you are doing the hike.

Closing Thoughts

If you found this article useful or interesting please leave your comments below.

I've tried to be thorough but I know from researching my trip online that there are always some unanswered questions. If there's anything I've not covered and you'd like to know more please go ahead and leave me a question in the comments.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Robert Clarke


felishiyafiamma on September 02, 2016:

Whoa..!! I love hiking, but never heard of this place. Thank you for the information, I would really like to try this place.

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