Jotunheimen Tour
6 stages . 7 nights . Jotunheimen National Park
The Besseggen Ridge in the Jotunheimen National Park
Jotunheimen Tour
Jotunheimen Tour
6 stages . 7 nights

Jotunheimen Tour
Self-guided walking holiday

Key information

Start: Gjendesheim, Norway
End: Gjendesheim, Norway
Season dates: and 15 July to 15 Sept 2024
Length: 6 days' walking (8-stage option also available)
Typical walk: 15km, 820m ascent
Total distance: 90.5km or 56.5 miles
Highest altitude: 2,258m, optionally 2,469m
Grade: Black 3 on our main route (Walking grades)
Purple 3 with easier alternatives on Days 2, 5 and 6
Black 4 with ascent of Galdhopiggen
Group size: 2 or more trekkers

From GBP 1,330 per person

Norway stands out as a country for hiking; the Jotunheimen is a gem among the nation's National Parks. It’s the highest in its mountains; it contains Norway's highest peak, Galdhopiggen (2,469m); and it's the most popular for walkers. We cross high plateaus, walk under imposing peaks, and traverse deep valleys running with streams, rivers and waterfalls. In a single day, hikers see glaciers, sweeping valleys, flourishing meadows, and Nordic forests.

The Norwegian approach is orderly, with a time-honoured reverence to preserving natural spaces and maintaining the parks for the next generation. You'll find little sign of human life other than the huts and the paths. Our tour is a circular route through the park over 6 or 8 days. In 6 days you cover most of the park’s varied landscapes but if you have more time, the wilder and trickier Eastern side can be explored further. (This replaces the Leirvassbu-Gjendebu stage with a 3-day loop via Skogadalsboen and Fondsbu). The huts are comfortable and provide an amazing Norwegian hut experience which our hikers have thoroughly enjoyed.

With so few foreign walkers, it's easy to feel warmly adopted into the Norwegian lifestyle. We hope you'll enjoy the cultural experience and sense of fellowship among walkers, Norwegian and otherwise, that is formed through the shared experience in the hills and the adherence to the simple, sensible norms of hut life.

Walk self-guided to enjoy the scenery at your own speed or please ask us for details of hiking with a leader. We organise scheduled guided trips of the Jotunheimen Tour accompanied by one of our International Mountain Leaders, but can also organise a private guided tour tailored to your group.

Alternative trip options
Looking for other trips in Scandinavia:
Kungsleden - Follow the famous King's trail in Lapland
Rondane Tour - A shorter hut-to-hut hike in Norway
Our 6-stage Jotunheimen Tour is suitable for strong hikers who are happy to walk for long distances over uneven terrain several consecutive days. Due to the spacing of huts along the trail, it isn't possible to shorten any of the stages, but longer and shorter itineraries are possible. We describe the options in detail and please ask if you'd like more information.

Make the trip shorter
Making the trip shorter is possible by starting your trek at either Spiterstulen or Leirvassbu (each accessible by bus from Lom) to complete the final 4 stages (from Spiterstulen) or 3 stages (from Leirvassbu) of our classic 6-stage route back to Gjendesheim. It is also possible to skip the final 2 stages along lake Gjende by taking the ferry from Gjendebu to Gjendesheim. (Due to the spacing of huts, it isn't really possible to complete the entire route in fewer than our normal 6 stages.)

Add a night in Spiterstulen
We don't include a rest day as standard on our Jotunheimen Tour. If you'd like to add in a rest day, we'd recommend taking one at Spiterstulen, as this gives you the option to have a day to relax, perhaps taking the morning bus to Lom and afternoon bus back, or to climb Galdhopiggen. At 2,469m Galdhopiggen is Norway's highest mountain and can be summitted on a day trip from the Spiterstulen hut. This day is graded at Black 4. Please let us know if you'd like to add an extra night here.

Make the trip longer
A great way to extend your trip is to add 2 further stages, making 8 stages in total (9 if you also include the ascent of Galdhopiggen). This fantastic extended tour would see you hike to Leirvassbu as normal and then split off to walk to Skogadalsboen, Fondsbu and then Gjendebu before completing the final 2 stages as normal. It's worth noting that the stage from Skogadalsboen to Fondsbu is probably the toughest of the whole tour due to its length and its bouldery terrain, often with no visible path.

Hike with a leader
Hike with confidence in the company of our fully qualified International Mountain Leaders (IMLs), with the navigation, accommodation and all arrangements taken care of. You're welcome to walk on any dates within our season and we can adjust the hike to suit your needs. Please ask for more details.

Jotunheimen Tour: 15 July to 15 Sept 2024
Dorms Private Rooms
Groups of 2+
3 stages
(4 nights)
GBP 860
Singles 90
GBP 910
Singles 110
6 stages
(7 nights)
GBP 1,190
Singles 90
GBP 1,330
Singles 110
Main Trip
8 stages
(9 nights)
Extended Tour
GBP 1,410
Singles 90
GBP 1,610
Singles 110
Baggage transfer
Not available

Where we stay
The Norewgian hut system is possibly our favourite of any nation and typifies the Norwegian culture. For example, it is expected that you will be trekking with a thermos flask, as is the Norwegian way. Each evening guests line up their flasks on a trolley, labelled with their name and hot beverage of choice, and miraculously come breakfast they are full. Food in the huts is chiefly Norwegian; it's hearty mountain food for dinner as you might expect! A packed lunch is also incuded at every hut. Guests make sandwiches from the breakfast buffet and wrap them in special DNT greaseproof paper. There is an art to the Norwegian hut sandwich!

The huts are comfortable, spacious and organised, with most offering the option of private rooms. Meals are taken at communal tables and give an excellent opportunity to dine and chat with local hikers. Norwegians are proud of their excellent English. As standard we'll book your final night at the Gjendesheim hut. If you prefer to stay your last night in a hotel in Otta, this is can be an option depending on bus times. Please just ask us.

Private rooms
At the huts there is the option for private rooms which we can book for you if requested.

Single Room Supplement
The single room supplement covers the additional cost of booking single rooms if you opt for a hotel night in Otta. Unfortunately, because of the way the huts operate, it's not possible to book single rooms at any of the huts.

Solo Travel
We do not take bookings for solo walkers on self-guided trips. If you are still interested in this trip, we do have availability on our guided trips.

DNT Membership
We are delighted to be able to include membership of the Norwegian DNT as part of your trip cost. The DNT (Den Norske Turistforening) is the Norwegian trekking and travel association and your membership will be valid for the year of your trip. Membership allows us (and you) to access discounted rates at huts and this saving is accounted for in our prices. Memebership also gives you benefits like discounts in DNT shops and discounted stays at huts across Norway (and Sweden), and also supports the maintenance of the national parks.

In the run-up to your trip we will ask the date of birth of everyone in your group, as it's required for the DNT membership, and also a phone number to which your membership details can be texted. You can then use the DNT app on your Android or iPhone to show your membership to hut wardens and others.

Nights in Oslo
Please let us know if you would like us to book nights in Oslo at the start or end of your trip. The buses to Gjendesheim are quite infrequent and we don't recommend arriving in Oslo on the same day that you plan to travel to Gjendesheim.
Our approach to the Jotunheimen Tour
This Tour is a wonderful circuit of the Jotunheimen National Park, visiting the main valleys of the Park and experiencing the best of hiking available, in one week. We link fantastic catered huts with solid days of walking in the amazing Norwegian scenery. We also offer the option, as an additional extra, to climb Norway's heighest mountain (Galdhopiggen).

People at Alpine Exploratory
Latest research on the Jotunheimen Tour by Alpine Exploratory's Nicky

The Terrain
The terrain encountered on the Tour is predominantly rocky. Most days are generally a combination of boulder fields - where progress is slower and care must be taken - and good paths. On the rocky sections the path is less well-defined, but cairns mark the way, generally visible on the horizon for navigation in poor visibility. Small streams are quite common and mostly easily crossed. Throughout summer there is a good chance of snow patches lying on the higher paths (and the snow slopes of Glittertind are guaranteed) but the lower paths are likely to be snow-free. There are also short sections of scrambling where hands will be needed for stability. These sections are on the high end of of normal mountain walking, but they are not via ferrata.

Is it for me?
If you’re a confident hiker with experience of mountain walking and navigation then you should love the Norwegian hiking style. We recommend extra care when considering the Jotunheimen for those with old injuries or niggles in their knees and ankles that tend to get worse on uneven terrain. As the terrain is more consistently rocky underfoot than our other trips, especially on our 8-stage hike, sure-footedness is key.

Three stages on our normal 6-stage trek involve some Black-graded terrain, all of which can be missed by taking paths at Purple grade as described in our routecards. It is however impossible to avoid all sections of boulderfields which characterise the Jotunheimen. The Black-graded sections are the Glittertind ascent (routecard JHT2), the Bukkelaegret beyond Gjendebu (JHT5) and the Besseggen ridge (JHT6). The Besseggen ridge is a highlight and it would be a shame to miss it; we can advise further on its difficulty.

Our 8-stage trek includes a fourth section of Black terrain, being the extensive bouldery ground around Uradalsvatnet and Kvitevatnet (JHT8) that is difficult to bypass. Thus we recommend our 8-stage trek only to parties happy with especially bouldery and rocky ground.

Jotunheimen Tour Walking Guide - more about the trail

The making of our Jotunheimen Tour - photos from our research trips
Boulder field on the ascent of Glittertind
Boulder field on the ascent of Glittertind (Stage 2)
Boulder field on the ascent of Glittertind
Trekkers on the Besseggen Ridge (stage 6)
Boulder field on the ascent of Glittertind
Very steep section of descent from Glittertind (Stage 2)

How to get there
Your holiday starts and ends at the roadside mountain hut of Gjendesheim. The most convenient airport is Oslo, with travel from Bergen also feasible. Travel to Gjendesheim is on the excellent Norwegian bus network, and a bus runs directly from Oslo.

Of special note about the Jotunheimen Tour is that travel must be carefully planned. This is because, unlike on our Alpine routes, Norwegian buses and trains run 2 or 3 times a day as opposed to every hour throughout the day. We'd like to make sure your arrangements are suitable and we are here for advice any time. We recommend booking a night in Oslo before travelling to Gjendesheim. Please ask if you would like us to book you a night in Oslo.

If your plans include extra time in Norway then travel times are less critical. Please let us know your ideas and we'll be glad to advise what to see in Norway, and how to get about.

At Alpine Exploratory we travel widely in the countries we visit and we love to try unusual routes to the mountains, so equally we love to advise hikers on their travel plans.

Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price. We take care to give the most useful notes possible about all the travel options. We supply these both on booking and in your info pack, and we offer personalised tips at any point. The aim is that our trekkers arrange their travel by the simplest and most scenic means as suits their plan.
Reindeer on the route
Reindeer on the route
  • Bespoke accommodation itinerary - tailored to suit your particular requirements
  • Breakfast every morning
  • Dinner at each hut plus a packed lunch and a refill of your thermos flask on each day walking (this would be 6 nights our main trip)
  • Detailed Routecards JHT1-6 (or JHT1-9 on our extended tour plus JHT10 for the ascent of Gladhopiggen) of the Exploratory system, printed on waterproof paper
  • The 2 topographical hiking maps needed
  • Downloadable GPX Tracks covering the route
  • Membership to the Norwegian DNT for the year of your trip
  • Expert advice and local information
  • A comprehensive 'Season Update' following our pre-season recce
  • Full support during your trip from the Alpine Exploratory team (9am until 9pm in Scandinavia)
Not included
  • Travel to and from your trip
  • Local transport whilst on the trip unless specified
  • Travel insurance
  • Additional snacks and drinks not specified above. Evening meals if not staying in a hut on your final night
  • Baggage transfers (not available on this route)

Baggage transfer

Although baggage transfer isn't available on this hut-based trip, it's no problem to leave your baggage at the Gjendesheim hut while you trek. There is one possibility of luggage, using the ferry along lake Gjende. This can be organised on the ground and we give details in the info pack.
Got questions about the Jotunheimen Tour?
Feel free to ask us any questions you have about any aspects of your planning and preparations! Lucy, Steph, Nicky, Rob, Evie, Ben and Amy will reply with expert advice. We spend a lot of time walking our routes and more broadly exploring ski and hiking trails around the world so do feel free to ask anything at all.

Enquiry Form
Jotunheimen Tour Self-guided

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The Alpine Exploratory Team
The Alpine Exploratory team in Edinburgh

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Snow covered summit of Glittertind, Norway's second highest mountain
  Summit of Glittertind on stage 2    Photos from the Jotuheimen Tour

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