Besseggen Ridge has a special status among Norwegians and hiking the ridge is considered a rite of passage, no matter your age. The iconic view is characterized by the colourful Gjende and Bessvatnet lakes. Gjende is a stunning emerald color and very long and narrow. Bessvatnet is a deep blue and among Norway’s clearest lakes.
Hiking the Besseggen Ridge is very demanding. It takes anywhere between 6 to 9 hours to complete the hike. Despite the challenging route, during the short hiking season from the end of June to mid-September, more than 60,000 hikers complete the trip. This makes Besseggen one of the most trafficked hiking routes in Norway. For a quieter hike, go early in the season or on a weekday in September.
The trail becomes extremely difficult in rainy weather, so make sure to look at the forecast and talk with locals and fellow hikers before embarking on the trek.
Gjendesheim Lodge is a full-service DNT cabin and great place to stay in this area. It is located at the eastern end of the trail.
Memurubu Lodge is a full-service private cabin at the western end of the trail. Camping is also available.
Hindsæter Hotel is located 10 minutes north of Gjendesheim by car towards Vågå.
Tips, hints and links
- Free toilet by Reinsvangen parking lot and by the dock
- Convenience store by the dock where you can buy drinks, food, and basic supplies
- Café and toilets at Memurubu
The Gjende area is a popular entry point for adventures on the eastern side of Jotunheimen National Park. Gjende is a short detour along Norwegian Scenic Route Valdresflye.
A public bus stops at Gjendesheim and connects to Oslo and Bergen. From Oslo, take the NW161 Valdresekspressen. This route runs from Oslo bus terminal to the stop Gjendesheim. Or take the route NW160 Valdresekspressen to Årdalstangen and change to NW161 Valdresekspressen.
From Oslo, head north on E16, towards Bergen, for 185 kilometers. When you reach Fagernes, follow signs to road 51, towards Vågå/Beitostølen. From Beitostølen keep following road 51 towards Bygdin. Drive past Bygdin for another 22 kilometers until you reach the signs for Gjendesheim lodge on your left. Turn here.
From Bergen drive via E16 towards Vossevangen. Then drive to Beitostølen either through Vang or Fagernes. Follow road 51 for another 34 kilometers before you see the sign for Gjendesheim.
Note: Parts of Road 51 (between Garli and Maurvangen) are closed during winter and typically open from April to December.
If you’re visiting for the day or beginning a multi-day trek, park in the long-term parking lot at Reinsvangen. The parking lot is on the right-hand side shortly after turning off Road 51 and on to the road to Gjendesheim. Parking costs 150 NOK for 24 hours and longer stays are available. Pay by card at the machine. A shuttle runs the 1.7 kilometer trip between the parking lot and the dock every 15-30 minutes.
By the dock there is free parking for up to 2 hours. You still need to collect a ticket from the machine.
For overnight guests at Gjendesheim, free parking is available by the cabin.