Jotunheimen Overview

Jotunheimen National Park, situated in the heart of Norway, is a majestic landscape that epitomizes the rugged beauty of the Scandinavian wilderness. Established in 1980, the park spans an impressive area of approximately 1,151 square kilometers (about 444 square miles), making it one of Norway’s largest and most popular national parks. Jotunheimen, which translates to “The Home of the Giants,” is aptly named, as it houses some of Norway’s highest peaks, including Galdhøpiggen and Glittertind, which stand as towering sentinels above the landscape at heights of 2,469 meters (8,100 feet) and 2,465 meters (8,087 feet) respectively.

The park’s diverse terrain is characterized by dramatic mountain ranges, over 300 towering peaks, deep valleys, glacially formed lakes, and expansive glaciers. This striking natural beauty provides a backdrop for a wide variety of outdoor activities, making Jotunheimen a haven for adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. The park offers an extensive network of trails for hiking, ranging from accessible paths that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys to challenging treks across remote wilderness areas.

Jotunheimen National Park is also renowned for its rich biodiversity. The varied landscapes create habitats for a range of flora and fauna, including rare alpine plant species and wildlife such as reindeer, arctic foxes, and a variety of bird species. The pristine lakes and rivers within the park are popular for fishing, offering opportunities to catch trout and arctic char in the clear mountain waters.

In addition to its natural wonders, Jotunheimen is steeped in Norse mythology and folklore, adding a layer of cultural significance to the landscape. The park’s dramatic scenery has inspired countless legends, making it a place where visitors can not only explore the natural beauty of Norway but also connect with its cultural heritage.

Jotunheimen National Park invites visitors to immerse themselves in one of Norway’s most spectacular landscapes, offering unforgettable experiences in the great outdoors and a profound connection with the natural world.

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Park Map
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Jotunheimen National Park Pictures

Jotunheimen National Park Trails

Besseggen Ridge

Rating: Challenging

Distance and Elevation Gain: 8.7 miles one way, with an elevation gain of about 3,600 feet (1,100 meters)

Description: Besseggen Ridge is one of Norway’s most famous hikes, offering breathtaking views of Gjende and Bessvatnet lakes.

The trail involves a steep climb and requires good physical condition.

Hikers are rewarded with stunning vistas of the surrounding mountains and the unique phenomenon where two lakes appear different colors due to their varying mineral compositions.

Galdhøpiggen Summit

Rating: Challenging

Distance and Elevation Gain: 3.1 miles one way, with an elevation gain of about 2,300 feet (700 meters)

Description: Ascending to Galdhøpiggen, Norway’s highest peak at 8,100 feet (2,469 meters), this trail offers a challenging yet rewarding hike.

From the summit, hikers can enjoy panoramic views of the Jotunheimen range. The final ascent is on snowfields, and it’s advised to join a guided tour for safety.

Glittertind Peak

Rating: Moderate to Challenging

Distance and Elevation Gain: 4.3 miles one way, with an elevation gain of about 2,400 feet (730 meters)

Description: The trail to Glittertind, Norway’s second-highest peak, offers a mix of rocky paths and snowfields.

It’s less crowded than Galdhøpiggen but equally rewarding, with expansive views over the national park and its rugged terrain.

This hike is best undertaken in good weather to navigate the snow-covered areas safely.

The Fairy Tale Ice

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 6 miles round trip, with an elevation gain of about 1,600 feet (488 meters)

Description: This enchanting trail leads hikers through mystical landscapes towards a glacier.

The path goes through verdant valleys and past rushing streams before reaching the icy expanses of a glacier.

It’s a magical experience, offering a mix of Norway’s best natural beauty.

The Hurrungane Circuit

Rating: Challenging

Distance and Elevation Gain: Varies, up to 12 miles round trip, with significant elevation gain depending on the route chosen

Description: For experienced hikers and mountaineers, the Hurrungane area presents a rugged terrain of sharp peaks and glaciers.

This circuit offers multiple routes, each showcasing the raw beauty of Jotunheimen’s high mountains.

It’s a true adventure, crossing exposed ridges and requiring advanced navigation skills.

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  • Jotunheimen, Jotunheimen National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Life in Norway, Jotunheimen National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Lonely Planet, Jotunheimen National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
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