+ Moors, forests, stream crossings and high valleys
+ Self-catered huts, a Norwegian experience
+ The fun ski town of Lillehammer
Latest news November 2019
Our 2020 dates and prices are up! Availability is great at this early point. Please ask us about a trip - 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)
19 July to 29 August 2020
Prices in GBP
Groups of 2+
Our main LTR
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 Hornsjo
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 Hornsjo. This is a fjellhotel by itself on the edge of the moor.
Hotel at Hornsjo
Stage 2: Hornsjo to Djupslia
Red3 grade, 19.5km with 290m ascent, 230m descent
Stride out from Hornsjo to the North West past Koltjonnet, Rulltjonnet and Gossjoen. Cross the moor to link Gullbringen, Vedemslia, Brettdalen and then drop to Dupslia beyond its wooded lake.
Mountain hut (self-catering)
Stage 3: Djupslia to Vetabua
Red3 grade, 17.5km with 340m ascent, 360m descent
A sharp climb begins the course North. Pass Tauteren then follow the direction as it turns North West over high ground whether the summit of H�gtinden is included or not. After Bjorge the ground is lower and potentially more wet.
Mountain hut (self-catering)
Stage 4: Vetabua 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.
Mountain hut (self-catering)
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 Dormyrln valley. We advise further in our routecard. We also cross a stream at an interesting wooden suspension bridge, at Midtmobua. The route continues via Dorfallet. 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 Eldabu
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 Eldabu. Link the scattered cabins and tracks with forested sections and one notable viewpoint at 1,020m.
Mountain hut (self-catering)
Stage 7: Eldabu to Bjornhollia
Red3 grade, 18km with 380m ascent, 280m descent
Today is a walk in a remote valley, very slightly rising to the Vulutj�nna lakes and then descending a little more to Bjornhollia. On reaching Bjornhollia we are in the Rondane proper. Our views include the twin lakes of Vulutjonna and, later on, the imposing bulk of Veslsvulten above Bjornhollia.
Stage 8: Bjornhollia to Rondvassbu and Spranget
Red3 grade, 19km with 460m ascent, 300m 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. We stay in Otta, so at Rondvassbu we walk the 6.5km track to Spranget for the afternoon bus; this is easy, smooth and included in the day's stats above. (Staying at Rondvassbu is possible for a last hut night - please ask us - and you would walk this 6.5km in the morning. We advise on all the timings.)
Hotel in Otta
Departure day: Departure from Otta
Departure from Otta after a superb Norwegian breakfast. There are well-timed trains to Oslo via Oslo Lufthavn. Or, press North within Norway - we would love to advise.
Our usual schedule of accommodation might not be available, especially if there is not much time between booking and your trip. We book accommodation as closely as possible to this itinerary and present a schedule for you to check before we proceed.
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.
Our approach to the Lillehammer-Rondane
We strike North from Nordseter near Lillehammer across rough low moorland to firstly the large fjellhotel at Venabu and later the Rondane huts Bjornhollia and Rondvassbu.
In a contrast to our Jotunheimen and Rondane walking, the first seven stages of this trip are across rolling, open moorland. The challenges are still great as we cross rivers, potentially trickier than on our other trips, and deal with a sense of remoteness. The last stage takes to higher ground in the Rondane, crossing a low col to reach Rondvassbu.
How to get there
Your holiday starts in the town-resort of Lillehammer and ends in the local town of Otta. The most convenient airport is Oslo. Travel to Lillehammer and from Otta (following the bus from Spranget) is on the Oslo-Trondheim train line.
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.
Key information Summer 2020
Trip name: Lillehammer to Rondane
Prices Summer 2020
8 stages, per person:
Research Summer 2020
Storfossen above Lillehammer (Photo gallery)
Alpine Exploratory's service
The Lillehammer to Rondane
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