Besseggen Ridge, Norway

World → Europe →  Norway → Besseggen Ridge

One of our top 10 day hikes in the world

Besseggen Ridge

In Norway’s most popular National Park – Jotunheimen

Home of the Giants“.


  • 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.


  • 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


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.


  • make arrangements to get to Gjendesheim

  • though costly, it’s nice to have your own vehicle in Norway
  • 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

Best Travel Guidebooks

Best Web Pages

Best Trip Reports


Click PLAY or watch some SAFETY tips on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch a flyover on YouTube.

Questions? Suggestions? Leave a comment on this page. Our editors will reply.

%d bloggers like this: