+ Moors, forests, stream crossings and high valleys
+ Self-catered huts, a Norwegian experience
+ The fun ski town of Lillehammer
Latest news May 2019
Please ask us about a trip during our 2019 season. Thank you.
Trek Norway's wild land and stay in its self-catering huts, a classically Norwegian experience. We start at the jolly mountain town of Lillehammer, 2 hours North of Oslo, staying in one further hotel before setting off for the huts. One hotel night at Venabu comes part-way.
This tough and sometimes remote trek is over moorland and through woods, mainly staying in the DNT's self-catering cabins. We explain in detail how these work - which is very well! The final days enter the Rondane national park, higher hills above, and an option on the last stage's routecard is to detour into the heart of the national park.
Introduced as the SAGA trek by the DNT, Norway's trekking organisation, this trek is an obvious one from the map to link the chain of hills from Lillehammer Northwards to the Rondane. Without an obvious town in which to finish and with the draw of Snohetta, a famous hill within Norway, the SAGA route finishes with the ascent of Snohetta and descent to the valley. This Lillehammer-Rondane trek is the first, lower, more self-catering based half of this overall trek and can be combined with our Rondane-Snohetta for the full route.
LTRsg Lillehammer to Rondane (Self-guided)
21 July to 1 September 2019
Prices in GBP
Groups of 2+
Our main LTR
|Baggage transfer||Please ask us for details|
Here is our normal schedule of 8 stages.
Arrival day: Arrival in Lillehammer
The train runs regularly from Oslo to Lillehammer, via the airport. It is enjoyable to look around this small town with its disctinct outdoors focus.
Hotel in Lillehammer
Stage 1: Nordseter to Hornsjø
Red3 grade, 12.5km with 260m ascent, 220m descent
Begin with the bus from Lillehammer to Nordseter, a ski area with chalets and a shop. This is on the edge of the rolling upland. The hill path runs to Nysaetra and ytre Reina then strikes out across the slopes of Kriksfjellet before the final tracks to Hornsjø. This is a fjellhotel by itself on the edge of the moor.
Hotel at Hornsjø
Stage 2: Hornsjø to Djupslia
Red3 grade, 19.5km with 290m ascent, 230m descent
Stride out from Hornsjø to the North West past Koltjønnet, Rulltjønnet and Gåssjøen. Cross the moor to link Gullbringen, Vedemslia, Brettdalen and then drop to Dupslia beyond its wooded lake.
Stage 3: Djupslia to Vetåbua
Red3 grade, 17.5km with 340m ascent, 360m descent
A sharp climb of Åstkjørkja begins the course North. Pass Tauteren then follow the direction as it turns North West over high ground whether the summit of Høgtinden is included or not. After Bjørge the ground is lower and potentially more wet.
Stage 4: Vetåbua to Jammerdalsbu
Red3 grade, 23km with 350m ascent, 140m descent
This stage gives easier walking than those before: more 'mountain and moorland' rather than 'lowland and lakes'. From the various viewpoints, there is a definite feel of heading north towards the mountains: each day they are getting nearer.
Stage 5: Jammerdalsbu to Venabu
Red3 grade, 25km with 370m ascent, 580m descent
This is our last of 4 days in the wilds before the sanctuary and comfort of Venabu. Today contains a more difficult river crossing than typical, occuring in the Dørmyrln valley. We advise further in our routecard. We also cross a stream at an interesting wooden suspension bridge, at Midtmobua. The route continues via Dørfallet. Find Venabu as a big grouping of hotels in a prominent position overlooking an expanse of moorland. Dinner is superb.
Hotel at Venabu
Stage 6: Venabu to Eldåbu
Red3 grade, 17km with 260m ascent, 180m descent
This gentle stage involves relatively little ascent as it crosses the landscape to the edge of the moor at Eldåbu. Link the scattered cabins and tracks with forested sections and one notable viewpoint at 1,020m.
Stage 7: Eldåbu to Bjørnhollia
Red3 grade, 18km with 380m ascent, 280m descent
Today is a walk in a remote valley, very slightly rising to the Vulutjønna lakes and then descending a little more to Bjørnhollia. On reaching Bjørnhollia we are in the Rondane proper. Our views include the twin lakes of Vulutjønna and, later on, the imposing bulk of Veslsvulten above Bjørnhollia.
Stage 8: Bjørnhollia to Rondvassbu
Red3 grade, 12.5km with 420m ascent, 140m descent
We climb to the Illmanndalen, the valley running East-West to Rondvassbu. The ascent and descent are mostly gentle and the string of lakes along the pass gives wild views. If staying in Otta, at Rondvassbu add the 6.5km (easy, smooth) track to Spranget for the afternoon bus. (Staying at Rondvassbu is also possible and you would take the bus in the morning. We advise on all the timings.)
Hotel in Otta
Departure day: Departure from Otta
Departure from Otta after breakfast
Our usual schedule of accommodation might not be available, especially if there is not much time between booking and your trip starting. We will book accommodation as closely as possible to this itinerary and present you a schedule for you to check before we proceed.
Your own routes
While your routecards make up the walking for the trip, you are of course free to walk wherever you choose, taking side trips or going by a different route of your own choice. Please note that if you follow your own route you will have left the holiday for the duration
Although a full baggage transfer isn't available on this hut-based trip, we can offer a service of 2 drops (Hornsjo and Venabu). You would then receive your bag at the end of the trip, if staying in Otta or another town such as Lillehammer. Please ask us for the options.
Norway's self-catering huts
This trip stays in 4 of the DNT's self-catering huts. These are distinct from the normal catered huts (Bjornhollia and optionally Rondvassbu) on this trip. The self-catered huts are stocked with supplies for dinner, breakfast and a rudimentary packed lunch. Guests arrive and find a bunk. Duvets, pillows and blankets are provided: please bring a sheet liner as you would for a catered hut. Make the fire in the stove or use the gas hobs to boil water. Choose your food from the storeroom and cook by yourself or with any other guests. In the morning there is a form on which to declare what you have used: Alpine Exploratory is later billed for your stay. This is part of the simple, imaginitive and fair style in which Norway's mountain life operates. Your info pack contains full details of how both styles of hut work.
We can adjust your trek in various ways, as follows:
Add the Lillehammer to Nordseter stage
(Grade Red3, 18km, 720m ascent and 60m descent)
For a 9-stage trek, add the Lillehammer to Nordseter stage at the start. This is an enjoyable day steadily uphill through Lillehammer's local trails, then onto the moor to the ski centre at Nordseter.
Finish at Venabu
For a 5-stage trek, leave the trail at Venabu. This is a hotel stay on the route so it makes a good last night: there is then a bus to Ringebu for trains to Oslo, or later in Summer a lift or a taxi. Having reached Venabu, pick up the trail on a future trip!
Accommodation at the end
As normal your last night is in the small town of Otta, having walked the easy 6.5km track to the bus stop at Spranget. Two options exist: firstly to stay at the wonderful DNT hut at Rondvassbu and then walk to the bus stop in the morning (possibly with Otta or Lillehammer as an extra night) or secondly to reach Lillehammer the same night. Perhaps of all these options and if time allows, an extra night in Lillehammer is the most pleasant.
More private rooms
The 4 self-catering DNT huts are dormitories-only, with sharing very much the way. Of the catered DNT huts, by contrast, we can book private rooms if available. Your 3 hotel nights are of course in private rooms. Therefore these two catered huts are where we can increase the comfort if you wish, and represent the difference between our two trip levels above.
Carry on to Snohetta
This Lillehamer to Rondane trek can be combined with the Rondane to Snohetta trek to make a continuous two-week route. This becomes the SAGA trek in full, Lillehammer to Snohetta. Please ask us for the options around Rondvassbu, the meeting point of the two routes, where it's possible for thru-hikers to save a day if they wish.
Your trip comes with a year's membership of the DNT, Den Norske Turistforening, the Norwegian trekking and travel association.
The DNT has been running since the late 1800s and is responsible for Norway's national parks, the network of 500 mountain huts, plus tourist information offices in Norwegian towns. You'll quickly get used to seeing their red T waymarks.
Membership gives lower prices in some huts, which we have factored into the cost of our Norway trips, and also gives you direct benefits like discounts in DNT shops and some others.
We are delighted that our trekkers become bona fide DNT members like so many Norwegian trekkers, thus supporting 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 number can be texted. You can then use the DNT app on your Android or iPhone to show your membership to hut wardens and others.
Key information Summer 2019
Trip name: Lillehammer to Rondane
Prices Summer 2019
8 stages, per person:
Research Summer 2019
Storfossen above Lillehammer (Photo gallery)
Alpine Exploratory's service
The Lillehammer to Rondane
Find out more
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Our booking form to get things started: