Hiking Sandbotnen beach to Ryten Summit, Lofoten, Norway

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles

There are a few options for climbing Ryten. And connecting other summits and beaches.

A beautiful day, I opted to start on Sandbotnen Beach, messing around for an hour before finally starting up the super popular Ryten hike.

With side trips that ended up about 12km and 673m elevation gain.

Click PLAY or get a glimpse on YouTube.

I stayed at the excellent nearby Lydersen Rorbuer hostel.

It is amazing to see beautiful sand beaches well above the Arctic Circle.

Sandbotnen beach, Lofoten

It’s muddy to start, though — for a welcome change in Norway — there are some helpful boardwalks.

Part way up there are some pretty lakes.

Sheep near the top of the mountain.

The weather was typical: sunny, rainy, windy, calm … with threatening lightning. 😀

That’s Kvalvika Beach way down below. I didn’t make the detour but wished I had done so.

Kvalvika Beach

Great views from the top.

Ryten summit cairn

On the way down, clouds formed in the cooler valleys.

There’s a mountain hut on Ryten.

Of the many famous day hikes I’ve done in the Lofoten archipelago, Ryten is one of my favourites.

related – Earth Trekkers Trip Report

Hiking out of Bodø, Norway

The gateway to the wonderful Lofoten archipelago is the town of Bodø, the end of the train line north.

It’s usually cheaper and easier to fly as the train is a 17 hour overnight journey from Oslo. The town is so compact that you can easily walk from the airport to the train station.

On my two trips to the awesome Lofoten hikes, I’ve spent quite a few days in Bodø — supposedly in transit.

It’s worth wandering the streets of Bodø.

ALSO — there is some hiking available walking from the centre of town.

I went first to Bestefarvarden. An interesting scramble among rocky cliffs overlooking the sea.


The “hike” starts close to this beach, well above the Arctic Circle.

I left a Summit Stone there.

Click PLAY or get a glimpse on YouTube.

From there, I walked through an industrial zone to reach the city fortress (redoubt). Small, but interesting. With good views over to Bodø centre.

In addition, many tourists visit Saltstraumen, a small strait with one of the strongest tidal currents in the world. 

There’s more to Bodø than only a transit point.

HOW to Hike Huayhuash, Peru

The best hike in the world for me personally was the Huayhuash Circuit,

We did rent a cook tent and hire a mule driver, but decided on our route independently.

Huayhuash is dangerous. Hikers have died there. This is arguably the best hike in the world but is appropriate only for robust, experienced high altitude trekkers

The greatest danger is altitude sickness. We hired horses instead of mules so we could evacuate by horse, if necessary. Smart trekkers do some acclimatization treks out of Huaraz before catching the bus to Huayhuash.

Click PLAY or watch tips and gear recommendations on YouTube.

Best Laidback Hikes, Banff National Park

By Lukas Saville:

The rugged terrain of the Canadian Rockies might seem a little imposing at first glance, but once you do a bit of research and immerse yourself in this breathtaking landscape filled with jagged peaks, crystal clear lakes, and sprawling forests, you’ll find that it is fairly accessible for most outdoor enthusiasts. 

With its charming village and easy access to a wide variety of hiking routes, there is no better place to begin exploring the Rockies than in Banff National Park. Whether you are new to hiking and want to take in the natural beauty of the mountains for the first time, or are a seasoned outdoorsman looking to kick back with your grandkids on a relaxing adventure, there is no doubt that you will be able to find a hiking trail in Banff that will perfectly suit your needs. 

With that in mind, I’ve put together a great little list of the best laidback hikes in Banff National Park that will certainly make for an amazing day outdoors, no matter your age or skill level. Just don’t forget to pick up your Parks Canada Pass before setting out on your adventure!

6 Best Laidback Hikes 

  1. Moraine Lake Hike – Distance: 3.4km | Elevation: 38m | Time: 0.5-1h

This breathtaking hike will expose you to some quintessential Rocky Mountain views for a minimal amount of required effort. Gorgeous mountain peaks and the glittering surface of Moraine Lake make this an absolute must-hike if you are in the area.

Suitable for all ages and skill levels, you will need to time your hike to avoid the crowds, as the large volumes of visitors and limited parking can be a bit frustrating. Even still, this is the perfect hike to take in the beauty of Alberta.

  1. Peyto Lake Viewpoint Hike – Distance: 2.6km | Elevation: 80m | Time: 0.5-1h

Located along Icefields Parkway, the Peyto Lake Viewpoint Hike is a quick and easy adventure that should be on everyone’s list. 

Featuring two scenic viewpoints overlooking the pristine Peyto Lake and surrounding mountains, this is a great bang for your buck excursion that won’t take up too much of your time.

  1. Monarch Viewpoint Hike – Distance: 7.2km | Elevation: 175m | Time: 1.5-3h

Stunning meadow scenery and a fun gondola ride characterize this spectacular family-friendly adventure in Banff. The Standish Viewing Deck, Rock Isle Lake, and of course Monarch Viewpoint are all highlights of this 7.2km hike, making for an action-packed day on the trails.

Although kids will need to be able to ride a chairlift, the views on this hike are simply too good to avoid!

  1. Bow Lake Hike – Distance: 3.4km | Elevation: 2m | Time: 1-1.5h

Another short and scenic hiking route along the Icefields Parkway, the Bow Lake Hike is a great option that the entire family will love. Spend some time strolling by the water’s edge, taking in the breathtaking views of the mountain terrain that encompasses the shimmering waters of Bow Lake.

The trail here is flat, well-maintained, and easy to navigate, making it perfectly suited for young children and the elderly.

  1. Johnston Canyon Hike – Distance: 6.3km | Elevation: 122m | Time: 2-3h

While busy, the Johnston Canyon Hike is an amazing hiking trail that will lead you through a scenic canyon landscape to a picturesque series of waterfalls. Families and those less-inclined to traverse more rugged terrain can simply stop at the lower falls; however, you can also continue on to the upper falls, which are more impressive.

Due to the popularity of this route in the peak season, you will need to plan on starting your hike before 8AM to avoid the crowds. Additionally, the path can be slippery, so parents should always travel with children, keeping them close through wet areas.

  1. Lake Agnes Tea House Hike – Distance: 7.5km | Elevation: 353m | Time: 2-4h

Last – but certainly not least – is the Lake Agnes Tea House Hike, which is an incredible adventure in Lake Louise. Featuring some of the most splendid views in all of Banff National Park, the Lake Agnes Tea House is the perfect excursion for families, as everyone can get out for some exercise and enjoy some amazing scenery – with a delicious hot chocolate of course!

This route isn’t limited to families, so head up solo or with your friends and hike some of the connecting trails that explore this beautifully scenic landscape.

Other ways to explore the Rockies

After you’ve fully exhausted this list of trails – which shouldn’t take too long – you might be wondering how you can continue unlocking all of the wonders that Banff and the surrounding Rocky Mountains have to offer. 

There are plenty of different solutions that can help you take your outdoor exploration to the next level, starting with booking an unforgettable adventure tour in the Canadian Rockies. For anyone who isn’t a keen planner, booking a tour can be a great way to experience some of the most pristine mountain landscapes in the world, all with the help of experienced professionals who know the area inside and out. 

On the other end of the spectrum, if you are comfortable enough to hit the trails on your own or with a few friends, then a good GPS app – such as the 10Adventures Trail App – is a great option that will enable you to tackle the outdoors at your own pace. Featuring detailed route descriptions, maps, and the ability to track your activity, a trail app can go a long way in helping to keep you safe and on the right path!

No matter what direction you end up choosing, the Rocky Mountains – and Banff National Park in particular – are full of some amazingly scenic and laidback hiking trails, making it the ideal place to begin exploring the natural beauty that Canada has to offer.

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