Trolltunga – a troll’s tongue
In southwest Norway, near the town of Odda
Ca. 22km (there and back again)
1400 meters in altitude
8-10 hours altogether
Advanced – because most of the altitude is in 2 short stages. It’s going to be steep, there are hundreds of stairs to climb and the path can be rocky in parts.
What to bring:
Definitely good hiking boots
Rain-proofed clothing (the weather can change quickly up in the mountains)
Water bottles (that you can fill up at the little water falls later on the track)
Compass/torch (just in case it gets foggy or dark to early)
How to get there:
There is a parking lot at the start of the trail, but it fills up quickly and it’s a bit of a drive to get up there. Which is why we recommend to leave your car in Odda and take the bus from there. It leaves twice a day from the bus station right in the city. You can park for free next to it (of course don’t leave valuables in your car). The tourist information is not far either, and they will provide information about the track, the bus and even have showers and coffee!
What the track is like:
The trail head is next to the parking lot at the lake Ringedalsvatnet, where you’ll also find a small shop and a café. You can’t miss the signs at the trail with lots of information on them. The route all together is pretty demanding, especially the first 4 km. It starts with a steep ascent with several high stairs and ropes at slippery passages. After 1 km you’ll reach a high plateau. Cross that and there’s another steep ascent but without stairs.
After 4 km (there are actually signs telling you how far along you are) the path gets way smoother. While going up and down just a little bit, you’ll encounter spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. In July, we also came along small fields of snow. We had to cross 2 little streams which was no problem – and the water was tasty and fresh.
Only shortly before you reach the goal, you’ll recognize the troll’s tongue because of the mass of hikers there. For getting your picture on the famous rock 600 meters above the lake, you’ll probably have to wait a while. Especially around noon it can get pretty crowded. 2015 a girl died there because she slipped on the last meters. So please take care, watch your steps and don’t push and shove!
Yes, the Trolltunga is becoming a popular tourist spot in summer, but it’s still one of our favorites. To get back to the parking lot, you have to use the way you came in on.
We spent the nights before and after on the campground in Odda. It’s not only beautiful nestled between some rocks and has everything you need from hot showers to a small camp kitchen – it also meant meeting travelers who had done the hike before or were planning it as well. They can tell you about the current circumstances on the track (snow etc.) and will likely cheer you up, when you meet them on the way.
Some hikers will tell you they used the wooden stairway under the cable car, which has been out of work for quite a while. Out of concerns for your safety we can’t recommend it. The wood can be slippery or broken and the stairs are steep as f… The path with the steps in the forest might not be much longer.
And here’s the ultimate advice: Who wants to enjoy the Trolltunga with a bit more privacy and doesn’t mind lemmings as dinner guests, can camp in the area next to it. The Norwegian “Allemannsretten” (a right for everybody) allows camping pretty much everywhere on common grounds. For more information, visit this official page. But it makes it even more important to treat the nature around you with respect. Especially on this popular hike we came across a lot of garbage and vandalism. So please bring bags to take your waste back and use a shovel for business number two. And of course, bring your tent, sleeping bags and some cooking gear to treat yourself!
For more pictures from the hike, visit our story.