This time last year we went hiking in Norway using their mountain huts for accommodation. A lot of them have unpronounceable names as you can see from the title of this post. Having never done any wilderness hiking I was a really nervous (Edd of course didn’t think it was a big deal). Having been unable to find much information about the hikes or the DNT huts from the local turistatjon at Krossbu, I thought I would let you know the details.
You can just about see Krossbu Turistatjon in the background. We drove there from Flåm and stayed the night at Krossbu before setting out on a hike to Skogadalsbøen DNT hut. They do communal evening meals and the living rooms were really lovely however I wouldn’t recommend the private rooms. Grim would be putting it mildly.
We bought a membership for the Norwegian DNT trekking association when we were in Oslo. It gave us a discount on DNT huts throughout Norway.
There are two glaciers nearby. We hiked alongside the closest one first and then continued onto the path leading to Skogadalsbøen.
We were really lucky with the weather. There was still snow on the ground but the temperature was near 18°C in the sun.
We basically followed this river for most of the walk. Sturdy hiking boots are definitely recommended.
I can’t tell you how relieved I was to see a sign for Skogadalsbøen! After hiking for hours in the middle of nowhere, it was nice to know that we weren’t lost.
The gates and bridges weren’t terribly well kept and the paths weren’t very well signposted. Health and safety seemed to be non-existent – we definitely weren’t in Britain anymore – but in a good way!
As we got closer the rocks and marsh became fields of wildflowers and finally we found our destination.
It was just the cutest old school wood cabin in the middle of nowhere! They have a generator for electricity in the evenings when they cook a 3 course meal but after that it is candlelight. This cabin was staffed by kids on their break from school or university and as we entered they were practicing some Norwegian folk music for the nightly concert.
The interiors are very basic but extremely comfortable. The food is okay and very expensive. We stayed in one of the dorm rooms with bunkbeds. Every few weeks they helicopter in food and supplies.
The area around the hut was once the home of a number of summer mountain farms. The hut was built in 1888 by the DNT (Den Norske Turistforening) which is the Norwegian trekking association. They maintain the trekking trails and mountain huts and encourage simple, secure and environmentally friendly outdoor pursuits. Hiking seems to be intrinsic to Norwegian life in the summer. Everyone we met on the trails and in the huts were Norwegian and they couldn’t have been more welcoming and friendly. The communal evening meals ensure that you meet and have a proper conversation away from modern world distractions.
That evening after dinner we watched the weather change to rain and wind as we cosied up to the fire and sipped on our expensive beers by candlelight (I suppose they had to be helicoptered!). The common room is ringed with windows looking out over the valley. The kids working there played music and sang a haunting song as the darkness descended.
Next morning we packed up and headed back to Krossbu. We would loved to have continued onto the other huts but with our car in Krossbu we couldn’t find a sensible way to loop back. There are some other incredible looking huts in the area and you can hire a guide to hike over one of the glaciers. If we were doing it again I would have taken the bus from Oslo to the park and then planned a long distance hike.
The rainfall overnight created roaring rivers out of yesterdays meek streams.
After a fairly grim hotel room at Krossbu on our first night, we opted to camp outside for a way more reasonable fee and took advantage of the cosy common rooms until bedtime. Temperatures dropped to about 2°C during the night but I still think we made the right decision.
The interiors were old school cabin and brightly coloured. Again the food and drinks were expensive but hey – that’s Norway for you!
A few more photos:
You’ve probably seen from previous posts that we took a sabbatical and travelled around Europe last summer. We drove to Scandinavia at the beginning of July and hiked around Jotunheimen at the end of July. The weather was mainly good but being Scandinavia it is best to pack for all weathers. We drove from Flåm to Krossbu.
Our first night, we stayed at the Krossbu Turistatjon. It’s a private hotel with private and dorm rooms. We booked a private room. It was really expensive so I wouldn’t recommend it and it was cold and a bit damp. Our second night we stayed at the Skogadalsbøen DNT hut. We didn’t need to book it in advance for a dorm room. We had a membership card that gave us a discount. Both hostels provided evening meals, snacks and drinks. The DNT huts allow you to prepare sandwiches for lunch from the breakfast buffet for an extra fee. You can also fill up flasks with tea or coffee. The streams in the park provide you with the cleanest water. On our last night back at Krossbu we camped outside for around £30 and used the common areas in the hostel to hangout until nightfall. We had dinner there too.
The hike was relatively easy, but hard to follow in places as you have to walk through streams that can be deeper than you would like. Take proper ankle hiking boots. Follow the red T signs that have been painted onto rocks. These can be hard to spot at times.
Next time I would take the bus from Oslo to Jotunheimen and plan a longer distance hut to hut hike now that I have a bit more experience with the system. There are unserviced huts where you list what provisions you have used on a form and how many beds, fill out your credit card details and pop it in a box and get charged at a later date. Some huts don’t have provisions and you may need to get a key for the hut in advance – best to check this out with the DNT directly.