Jotunheimen National Park is located in the mountainous region of Jotunheimenin the north-central part of Norway. The national park encompasses an area of 444 square miles (1,151 sq km) although the entire Jotunheimen area is much larger.
There are over 250 summits that reach a height of 6,000 feet (1,900 m) or higher. Galdhopiggen reaches a height of 8,100.4 feet (2,469 m) and Glittertind peaks out at 8,087.3 feet (2,465 m) accounting for the two highest mountains in Northern Europe.
The region is comprised of hard gabbro rock which has been cutaway by glaciers creating a stunningly picturesque landscape with panoramic views of mountains, glaciers, valleys, and various waterways that seem endless.
Gjendevatnet lake is a glacier-fed lake that sits at 3,228 feet (983.9 m) above sea level and offers emerald-colored water that reflects the mountain neighbors that overlook the water’s surface. Bessvatnet lake sits at 4,504 (1,372.8 m) feet above sea level with additional stunning views.
Wildlife is typical of the arctic regions with elk, deer, lynx, reindeer, and wolverines being the more popular species. Fishing is welcomed and most of the lakes and rivers provide opportunities to catch trout.
The Jotunheimen region accounts for the densest collection of mountain peaks higher than 6,000 feet (1,900 m) with the two highest mountains in Northern Europe as the pinnacle attractions. The name actually means, “home of the giants.”
The region is largely undisturbed wilderness with waterfalls, rivers, lakes, glaciers, mountains, valleys, and northern lights. It is the adventures dream with challenging hikes and stunning panoramic views and endless mountain and valley terrain.
Galdhopiggen is the tallest mountain in Norway, all of Scandinavia, and northern Europe standing in at 8,100 feet (2,469 m). Although it is not technically challenging, it is a difficult ascent of approximately 4,000 feet (1,300 m).
During the summer months, it delivers snow-skiing delights through the Galdhoppigen Ski Center. There is snow year-round but the weather is more tolerable during the summer months.
Trails of Jotunheimen National Park
There are over 50 marked trails that traverse the park providing travelers with an endless opportunity to hike and explore the endless wilderness.
Besseggen Hike: This 8-mile (13 km) trail is the most challenging trail in the park. It features an elevation gain of more than 3,500 feet (1,066.8 m) and requires the entire day to complete.
Galdhopiggen Trail: Although this is the highest point in the park, it is not as demanding of a hike as Besseggen. The trail starts at 6,000 feet from the Juvasshytta mountain lodge which is accessible by car. You then trek up 2,100 feet (640 m) to the summit. It is still an adventure because you must use an experienced guide who will use a rope-assisted trek across a glacier.
Kyrkaja fra Leivreassbu Trail: This is a 5.7-mile (9.17 km) trail that leads to astounding panoramic views of the mountains while overlooking a lake. It is rated difficult and hikers should be in good physical condition. For those that embark on the journey, they will not be disappointed with the views. This takes between 3.5 to 4 hours.
Langeskavien Trail: This trail is rated difficult. It is 9.8 miles (15.77 km) out and back. The strenuous trail provides views of the remarkable mountainous landscapes. There is a good bit of elevation change. You should be in good physical condition. It takes about 6 hours to complete.
- Endless mountains
- Galdhopiggen (tallest mountain in Northern Europe)
- Glittertind (the second highest mountain in Northern Europe)
- All Trails, Best Trails in Jotunheimen National Park, https://www.alltrails.com/parks/norway/oppland/jotunheimen-national-park, retrieved June 2020.
- Forbes, Jotunheimen National Park Hiking in Norway’s Home of the Giants, https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidnikel/2019/04/08/jotunheimen-national-park-hiking-in-norways-home-of-the-giants/#155bf5d25afe, retrieved October 2019.
- Jotunheimen, Jotunheimen National Park, https://jotunheimen.com/en/, retrieved October 2019.
- Life in Norway, Jotunheimen National Park, https://www.lifeinnorway.net/jotunheimen-national-park/, retrieved October 2019.
- Lonely Planet, Jotunheimen National Park, https://www.lonelyplanet.com/norway/central-norway/jotunheimen-national-park, retrieved October 2019.
- Visit Norway, Jotunheimen, https://www.visitnorway.com/places-to-go/eastern-norway/the-jotunheimen-mountains/, retrieved October 2019.