- How to get to the trailhead
- Hiking during the “white nights”
- One more reason to camp overnight at Trolltunga
- Baby on the trail
Hiking to Trolltunga, a spectacular pointed cliff in Norway, is on the “to do” list of many travellers, including us. Trolltunga is a rock hanging over the lake Ringedalsvatnet 700m high. The cliff and “tongue” at the end provide stunning views that consistently make it to travel magazines’ covers and inspirational Facebook memes. The hike to Trolltunga is described as rather hard and strenuous and it usually takes about 10-12 h both ways (23 km in total).
Reading this information didn’t bring piece to my mind and there were even some moments of doubt since this would be the first long, serious hike for our almost 3-month-old baby girl Lia.
Lia proved to be a good travel companion when she went abroad being just 6 weeks old and in her 7th week she started collecting her plane badges, but that’s a story for another time. However I must say that wandering cities and chilling at the beach is a totally different undertaking than a strenuous hike for 12 hours including camping in the snow. Anyway, since we are not a very easily intimidated couple we decided to test our skills and hike to Trolltunga anyway. By doing this we probably made Lia one of the youngest, if not the youngest, visitor of this scenic site.
To simplify our journey we decided to camp on the cliff. In this way we didn’t feel rushed and we knew we would have all the breaks we need for Lia. Luckily we had all the equipment since we had been renting a car and camping throughout our entire trip in Norway. I have to admit the decision to make this hike a two days adventure was a great decision!
How to get to the trailhead?
The trailhead starts at Skjeggedal. If you have a private car, go to Tyssedal that is 6 km from Odda and from there follow signs that will bring you to the parking lot. Parking in Skjeggedal is 200 NOK for a day according to their website, however when there they have different prices for how long you stay. Since the trailhead is next to the parking and the parking office is at the other end, it is best to first go on the hike and not register your car and pay your parking until you get back. Not only to save time but they come around a couple times a day, mark your license plate, the time they checked and put a paper in your window asking you to pay. When they put this paper they nicely assume you could have just arrived so you pay from that point. We got the paper like many cars but they apparently gave it to us the next day saving us over 100 NOK.
For information on public transport to the trailhead visit this website.
Hiking during the “white nights”
We arrived to the trailhead around 5 pm and by 6 pm we were ready to start our hike. Jose, my husband, was carrying all the gear and I was carrying Lia in a baby carrier on my back. Luckily for me, she was only about 6 kg at that time!
The first kilometer was the hardest one, it was as steep as climbing a staircase and the 1km sign marker was the most disappointing since you really feel like you should have completed at least half of the trek! Three kilometers later we had to cross one of the rivers. Normally there are only creeks that are crossed by rock hopping, however since there was a lot of melting snow the river was flooded with a really strong current. The rocks were slippery and up to 30cm(1 foot) under flowing water. We didn’t risk crossing it barefoot so we had to wet our hiking boots, no other way especially with baby on board. We used the old trick of putting our wet feet with socks into plastic bags so that they warm up while we were walking(much like how a wet suit works). However I would prefer to have had new warm socks instead of the plastic bags!
Despite cold feet and the killing first kilometer we were very cheerful on the trail. The scenery was fantastic with every kilometer bringing us new views: high green trees turning into 1 meter deep snow, summer turning into winter within hours. Unforgettable experience!
We were the only people on the way up with the constant flow of tourists coming back from their one-day trips. The flow continued up to 9 pm and after that the trail was absolutely ours… you know that feeling when you realize it is just you lost in nature, without a single soul around for kilometers. This part of the journey was as memorable and rewarding as seeing the epic Trolltunga itself!
We knew we could camp any time, as we didn’t expect to reach Trolltunga the same evening however we just felt on the roll and kept walking further and further. Lia didn’t mind our hike at all. At 11 weeks old, babies are mostly sleeping, so was she. She woke up couple of times and we had 20 min stops to snack, breastfeed, and refill water. Luckily there was no shortage on water; clean spring water everywhere!!
By pushing further and further we reached Trolltunga at 1 am, wearied but extremely happy! Happy to finally see this famous troll’s tongue magically overlooking the lake as well as proud of us to make it till the very end.
We were able to hike that late due to the “white nights”, a period of time when it doesn’t get completely dark, it is always bright outside! Rather odd but wonderful feeling when you check your clock and realize that it is already midnight and it is still as bright as if it is 8 pm. This plus the feeling of complete loneliness in the mountains fueled our strengths and made us finish the trek.
Upon our arrival we saw maybe 5 other tents and people hanging out at the “tongue”. To my surprise the “tongue” itself was much larger than it looked on the pictures and to set up a tent wasn’t a problem. The only problem was a very strong wind so we had to relocate the tent more inland later at night.
One more reason to camp overnight at Trolltunga
We woke up with the sunrise…breathtaking view, the view you want to wake up to!
The weather was beautiful…sunshine with a blue sky, the lake glimmering in the distance and snowy peaks of the mountains peacefully observing us. We had all the morning to take tons of pictures, to have breakfast with steaming coffee sitting on the “tongue” and socializing with other travellers. We were no more than 10 people camping overnight and everyone had his own moment of peace on an iconic cliff. It was a magnificent peaceful morning until hordes of tourists started pouring in. By the time we packed our stuff there were so many people that they had to stand in a queue in order to take a picture. And more people were coming. The peaceful and beautiful trail we took just 10 h ago turned into a busy highway. It was time to say good-bye to Trolltunga and start heading back.
It took us 5 hours to come back with multiple stops. It was also extremely hot and we were sore from the previous day. By the time we made to the parking lot I was exhausted with my knees trembling. All we needed was to take shower and rest.
The only person who felt great all this time was Lia. She slept well, ate well and while awake she was enjoying all the attention from the travellers who wouldn’t expect to see such a young tourist in the mountains. To be completely honest, I could hardly believe it myself.
All in all we called Trolltunga hike a big success. Now looking back at our experience I am so happy that we managed to put aside all our worries and just do it! We proved to ourselves that as a family we can do anything and that a baby isn’t stopping you from doing anything!
Baby on the trail!
We didn’t have any discomfort hiking with our baby girl Lia. She did just fine. We felt very comfortable with timing and knew we could have as many stops as we need. I think not being rushed is one of the most important “ingredients” of a successful hike.
Also thanks to the fact that we hiked in the evening and during the night Lia slept most of the time allowing us to quickly progress on the trail. On our way back the next morning, we had to make more stops so that she could stretch her little legs.J
During our hike I was breastfeeding Lia as well as giving her a little bit of formula. For the formula we brought an extra purchased bottle of water while we, Jose and I, were drinking spring water.
Also there is a little shop near the parking lot where you can buy filtered water to make formula as well as ordinary milk (for older kids) and beer (for parents 😀 )
As for the diapers, bring several plastic bags since there are no trashcans on the trail.
We did this trip with a 12 weeks little girl and we also met couple of families with older kids (7-9 years old). If you consider doing this hike with children, don’t hesitate as long as you are comfortable with your physical condition and you start early or even better camp overnight.
- If you have a chance to stay overnight bring your own tent and supplies since there are no amenities.
- If you camp, bring warm cloths. It gets cold at night
- If you are on a one-day trip, start as early as possible to beat the crowds
- Bring extra socks or shoes if you have
- There is plenty of drinking water in the mountains, so no need to carry liters of water
- Pack your own lunch and snacks
- Bring sun lotion, the sun is very strong in the mountains
- Have comfortable shoes, if possible hiking shoes
- Weather is always changing; umbrella and a rain jacket wouldn’t hurt
- There are showers at the parking lot
It’s free to hike Trolltunga and you do not need any guide! The trail is well marked and it’s impossible to get lost, even if you try J
The only cost is the parking lot in the case you have a car.
Visa to Norway
The famous hike Trolltunga is in Norway and Norway is a part of the European Schengen zone. Nearby airports are Stavanger and Bergen. Car rental isn’t cheap but the “free to camp” law in Norway and the cost of hotels make car rental one of the best options. (Hitch hiking and camping being the cheapest)