If you’re in Norway, you should definitely make your way to the fjords and do some hiking. There are a few well-known hikes that offer dramatic view points at the top, and one of my favorites is Trolltunga.
Located outside the town of Odda, Trolltunga, or “Troll’s Tongue” is a large, flat, tongue shaped rock jutting out 700m above lake Ringedalsvatnet. It’s quite a lengthy and demanding hike, but hey, who knows when you’ll be back in Norway?!
So here’s my guide to hiking Trolltunga
What to Expect
Now from our party, 3 people finished the whole hike (including myself) and 3 people decided to nix it about an hour in for fear that they wouldn’t finish before the sun went down. We began quite late in the day, around 11am, and many hikers at the base warned us that there wasn’t enough time. We only had this day for the hike, and we weren’t going to miss it.
I made this hike in August, so the weather stayed clear for nearly the whole day. Clouds began rolling in while we were snapping photos at the top and it began to sprinkle on our walk back. It never fully poured, but it very well could have and I’d count us lucky.
I wouldn’t say this hike is the hardest I’ve ever done but it’s definitely not easy. The rock scramble and inclines during some parts are pretty demanding and can be dangerous if wet. If you think you may struggle with it but have your heart set, plan to camp overnight so you have plenty of time and don’t rush.
I loved being in nature and never felt overwhelmed by a rush of tourists (until waiting in line for a photo at the tongue). The air was fresh, the landscape was unique and ever-changing, and the views of the fjords along the way were some of the best I’d ever seen.
If you’re planning to do the whole hike in one day, get to the base before 9am. There’s a shuttle that takes you to the actual start of the hike. You’ll cut off an hour of walking up a gravel road this way.
The trail is very well marked and we had no trouble making our way to the top. I can’t speak for winter when there’s snow on the ground, but I wouldn’t say you need a guide for this hike in the summer.
Allow plenty of time at the top for a rest and photo taking. You’ll want to soak up the views and not rush the fruits of your labor
I typically pick up a walking stick along the way, but there were absolutely none. I’d probably invest in a travel one if I were to do it again.
Camping at the top or along the way is a great idea. I wish we did this but unfortunately we weren’t quite prepared. It’s a whole different packing list for this since it can get cold at night, but it’s worth it to catch the epic sunrise with no other hikers around.
Are You Fit Enough?
This is difficult to assess on your behalf, but I’ll give you an idea of where I stood.
I don’t work out regularly but I was walking about an hour a day, 5 days a week for a month up to the hike (as a commute in a city, not as training). I never felt winded or tired during the hike but about 2 hours before reaching back to base, my knees began aching. From then on, they got worse and worse and by the end, my whole legs were in pain.
The next day my body was feeling it but it was more of a post-workout ache.
How Long Does It Take?
From absolute base to the cliffs edge and back again, it took us around 7 hours to hike the 24km. We spent about an hour at the top relaxing, having snacks, and taking some photos. We didn’t break too much along the way but we didn’t power walk through it either.
If we had left earlier, we could have cut off the pointless gravel road between the parking lot and the hike start.
What Gear to Bring
Sunscreen/Sunglasses – I don’t go anywhere without sunglasses anyway, even if it’s a bit overcast. As for sunscreen, this is a must even if it’s cloudy. You should know by know that UV rays still get through the clouds!
Hat – Nice to keep the sun off and your head warm
Layers! – It’s best to have a few layers that you can take off as you start building up a sweat.
Light Rain Jacket – You’ll work up a sweat hiking so a light jacket is great in case of rain
Extra Socks – Just in case!
Camera/Phone – for photos, a map, face-timing the friends that didn’t make it, etc. Note: We did have service at the top and a bit along the way.
Snacks – I always pack a celebratory snickers bar for the summit of any hike.
Water – A given. There are plenty of fresh streams to fill up along the way as well.
Simple First Aid Kit – Make sure there are blister plasters if you didn’t break in your shoes
Wet Wipes – You will have to “go” and there’s no toilets along the way. Bring these and a baggie to dispose of them.
Hiking Shoes – It get slippery and the weather can turn, so hiking shoes that have a good grip are a really good idea.
Walking Stick – not necessary but probably helpful for the walk down
Flashlight – it’s good practice to bring one when hiking, regardless if you plan to be there at night
When to Hike Trolltunga
August was probably as good as it could’ve gotten and we were extremely lucky. The summer of 2017 was relatively rainy and cold until August so I personally couldn’t attest for hiking in June or July.
Normally it’s suggested that July-August is prime time for hiking without a guide. The shoulder seasons of March-June and October are open but only with a guide. All other times, the mountain is closed, and for good reason. It’s so dangerous with ice, wind, cold, low visibility.
I hope you end up braving this hike. It’s well worth the time and effort, so don’t be nervous and just crush it! Feel free to come back and leave a comment with how your hike went!