Besseggen Ridge, Norway

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One of our top 10 day hikes in the world

Besseggen Ridge

In Norway’s most popular National Park – Jotunheimen

Home of the Giants“.

AT A GLANCE

  • Jotunheimen National Park has most of the highest mountains in Norway
  • Besseggen … or Besseggi … in Jotunheimen, is a thrilling ridge walk with alpine lakes on either side:  Gjende and Bessvatnet.
  • recommended from the end of June to mid-September
  • 13.3km (8.25mi) plus one-way ferry
  • 6-9 hours
  • 950m elevation gain
  • highest point, Veslfjellet (1743m)
  • dogs on leash allowed
  • trail runners enjoy it

Why We Like This Hike

  • in good weather it’s stunning and unique. Unforgettable.
  • route is well signed. You won’t get lost.
  • Gjende lies almost 400 m lower than Bessvatnet. And the two lakes are different colour, depending on the light.

  • good chance to see reindeer in the wild
  • in 2005 the Norwegian government installed stepping stones in some sections to reduce erosion
  • the Norwegian Mountain Touring Association maintains a number of mountain lodges in the area, if you prefer. Some consider this one of the best developed hut hiking areas in Europe.

Considerations

  • very dangerous in wet or snowy conditions
  • very dangerous in low visibility
  • bring clothing for wet, cold and wind
  • Footing is rocky. Be careful when making steep, wet down climbs.
  • There is a chain assist at one point
  • more than 50,000 hikers each year. It’s crowded on a fine day.
  • check an interactive elevation map

Cost

Norway is a VERY expensive nation. Everything is costly.

The ferry ticket one-way costs 160 Norwegian krone (2019), about $18.

One of the few ways to save money is to camp for free. Norway has a freedom to roam law.  You can camp at almost any unfenced area.

Trekking Guides

  • None needed. But if you really want one, click through to Gjendeguiden.

Logistics

  • make arrangements to get to Gjendesheim

  • though costly, it’s nice to have your own vehicle in Norway
Gjendesheim
  • at the boat launch is expensive Gjendesheim lodge with 185 spaces  in 1-, 2- or 4- bed rooms. They have dormitories in a separate house. (We camped for free.)
  • the restaurant is available for all
  • Besseggen is a loop with a ferry section.

You walk between Memurubu and Gjendesheim. Memurubu has a lodge and camping, as well. Independent hikers tend to camp outside the official areas at either end.

  • In Gjendesheim buy a one-way ticket on the Besseggen Boat. There’s no real reason to book in advance online.

  • easiest logistics are to camp the night prior at Gjendesheim. Then take the first boat in the morning to Memurubu. Hike back.

Local Information

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Movies

Click PLAY or watch some SAFETY tips on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Click PLAY or get a quick glimpse of the adventure on YouTube.

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