The Besseggen Ridge hike in Norway belongs on every adventurer’s bucketlist. Jotunheimen National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Norway, and Besseggen Ridge hike is a spectacular trail across the mountains and over a beautiful fjord. Located in the eastern part of Jotunheimen, the Besseggen Ridge hike is one of the most popular hikes in Norway.
My friends and I hiked Besseggen Ridge on our second day in Norway, on a sunny and fiercely windy day. If you love a good outdoor adventure, Norway is the place for you, and the Besseggen Ridge hike is a must!
Many of the hikes in Norway, including the Besseggen Ridge hike, are not “easy” trails. A hike like this does require some level of fitness and preparation to have a good day. Read on for everything you need to know about the Besseggen Ridge hike!
The Besseggen Ridge Hike: Complete Guide
Know Before You Go
Jotunheimen National Park is home to 200 mountain peaks, glaciers, and beautiful fjords and the Besseggen Ridge hike is in the middle of it all.
There are a few things you need to know before venturing out on the Besseggen Ridge hike. The first thing is, the hike is one way. This is not an out and back loop. Rather, you will be taking a ferry at the beginning (or at the end) of your hike down to the far end of the fjord. The ferry schedule can be found here. There is a fee (about $20 per person) for the ferry.
Many people choose to camp overnight, and you can do so without prior permission in Jotunheimen National Park. There’s a parking lot for the Besseggen ridge hike, and you’re welcome to a pitch a tent in the grass by the lot. As a rule of thumb, you cannot pitch a tent within 150 meters of an inhabited building, but that doesn’t really apply for this particular hike. Don’t light fires near woods and forest in the summer months.
The Besseggen ridge hike is 8 hours, so make sure that you have plenty of water and food. A full packing list is next up.
Getting to the Besseggen Ridge hike does require a vehicle. Parking costs 100 Nkr, approx. $10 USD. Rather than camp, my friends and I stayed in Vinstra, a small town about 2 hours away, and drove up in the morning.
Over 60,000 visitors make the hike every summer, and one of the ways this shows itself is through corrosion of the land. Please stay on the trail, for your own safety and to protect the environment.
What to Expect on the Besseggen Ridge Hike
The Besseggen Ridge hikes will take you to some of the most breathtaking views in the world, but you’ve gotta work for it!
- Watch out for wind. It was sunny with blue skies the day I hiked Besseggen Ridge, but that didn’t stop the wind from whistling up the fjord. Prepare yourself for vicious gusts of wind. Make sure that you can cover your face if needed!
- Stay on your feet. There are waterfalls along the trail (just another thing that makes Jotunheimen National Park awesome), and the rocks nearby are wet. The entire trail was fairly slick and muddy, so make sure you have good footwear.
- Get in shape before you go. The Besseggen Ridge hike is physically demanding. Expect to not only walk and hop along rocky trails, but also to climb with your hands, hoisting yourself up the mountains using by gripping rocks and chains.
- The views get better and better as you climb. Fog rolls through the fjord, and rays of sun press through to light up the water. In a photograph, the setting appears still and perfect, with no hint of the howling wind!
What to Pack for the Besseggen Ridge Hike
The Bessegen Ridgehike takes a full day, so make sure you’ve got everything you need!
- Snacks: when you’re hiking, it’s best to snack often, rather than sitting down for a big meal. Bring snacks like trail mix, crackers and cream cheese, fruit and nut bars, or anything else high-calorie / low-bite. Nuts and seed based butters and snacks are great for hiking!
- Water: bring at least 2 litres of water per person on the hike, and leave more in the car for afterwards.
- Footwear: this trail requires hiking shoes. Do not wear sneakers.
- Jacket: bring a jacket with a hood, preferably one that is waterproof and wind-resistant. I was pulling mine up to protect my face from the wind!
- Sunglasses: I didn’t have these with me, but wish that I had for the wind!
- Gloves: bring a light pair of gloves. I took mine on and off a lot, but was always happy to have them when it was time to use my hands to grip a bold chain or wet rocks.
- Camera: I hike with a Canon Powershot. It’s light weight, fits in my pocket, and takes great photos.
Tips for Hiking Besseggen Ridge
This is not a particularly difficult hike, but it does require you to be in shape and to have the right equipment. Good hiking shoes, a jacket, sunglasses, and a back pack containing lots of snacks, water, layers, some band-aids and a flashlight are necessary to enjoy the experience.
- Camp! We were envious of the campers, it gives you an early start to the hike the next morning, and it is a beautiful location. A small info-centre/ convenience shop has all the necessities if you forget anything.
- Not a camper? We stayed at this lodge in Vinstra and drove over in the morning, it is about a 2 hour drive.
- Parking: a vehicle costs 100 Nkr, or approx. $15 CAD.
- The ferry: 120 Nkr per person.
- The season: end of June to mid-September.
- Difficulty: moderate. Walking and climbing.
- More information on Visit Norway’s website.