Norwegian Scenic Route Valdresflye: Hiking Trails and Viewpoints
Foto: Werner Harstad, Statens vegvesen
Driving along Norwegian Scenic Route Valdresflye allows you to experience some of the most striking contrasts of the Norwegian landscape. The 49-kilometer long route runs from Garli to Hindsæter along Road 51. Reaching some 1,389 meters above sea level, it takes you through the vast landscape of Jotunheimen National Park with its magnificent snow-covered peaks, before leading you down the green, sloping hillsides of Sjodalen.
Whether you like rocky mountain terrain or soft forest ground, you’re sure to find hiking trails that suit your preferences along the route. While the hiking trails in the area around Bygdin Lake take you through a bare landscape and feature classic Jotunheimen views, the trails around Hindsæter run through a gentler scenery comprising forests, wetlands, and creeks.
With its central position between Eastern and Western Norway, Valdresflye can be combined with a variety of road trips, including the spectacular Geiranger-Trollstigen in the northwest.
Road closures The section between Garli and Maurvangen is closed during winter, normally from December to April. However, the stretch between Gjendesheim and Hindsæter is open. Access Gjendesheim from Randen (Road 51) or Sjoa (Road 257).
Public transportation While exploring Valdresflye by car is definitely the alternative that gives you the most freedom to stop for a hike whenever you want to, Valdresflye is fairly well connected to Fagernes and it is possible to travel along Valdresflye by public transport in summer.
Bus NOR-WAY 161 Valdresekspressen runs from Oslo via Fagernes to Beitostølen. From late June through August the route extends to include Leirvassbu (Lom), traveling past Bygdin, Gjendesheim, and Lom. There are 5 daily departures from Oslo to Beitostølen, 3 connecting Oslo and Gjendesheim, and 1 connecting Oslo and Leirvassbu. It takes about 3.5 hours to get from Oslo to Fagernes, and 7.5 hours to get from Oslo to Leirvassbu. Prices range from about NOK 390 (Oslo - Fagernes) to NOK 580 (Oslo - Leirvassbu) if you book in advance.
NOR-WAY 162 Øst-Vestekspressen runs from Bergen via Fagernes to Lillehammer and corresponds with NOR-WAY 161 Valdresekspressen from Fagernes. There’s one daily departure from Bergen to Fagernes. It takes about 6.5 hours and costs about NOK 520 if you book in advance. Alight from the bus at Fagernes and take NOR-WAY 161 Valdresekspressen towards Beitostølen or Leirvassbu.
The local bus operator, Innlandstrafikk, has several bus routes in the mountain areas of Gudbrandsdalen and Valdres. Bus 137 also operates on the route Fagernes - Gjendesheim.
View the timetable (in Norwegian) for all the above-mentioned routes, or use Entur or the NOR-WAY Bussekspress travel planner to organize your trip. You can book tickets in advance through NOR-WAY Bussekspress. There are reduced rates for children, students, and seniors.
Boat Taking a ferry on the lakes of Bygdin and Gjende is an experience in itself. Relax whilst looking at the reflection of mighty mountains in clear blue water. All the while, the boat is taking you deeper into Jotunheimen.
M/B Bitihorn travels from Bygdin to Eidsbugarden, with a stop at Torfinnsbu. The boat runs 2 times daily between late June and August, as well as weekends in September. The timetable corresponds with NOR-WAY 161 Valdresekspressen. There’s an extra departure from Bygdin to Torfinnsbu on Thursdays and Saturdays. The crossing takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Tickets cost NOK 250 for one-way and NOK 330 for a roundtrip (has to be used the same day). There are reduced rates for children. Plan your trip, as well as pre-book tickets, through JVB.
Gjendebåten travels from Gjendesheim to Gjendebu, a secluded cabin well worth a visit. The boat stops at Memurubu on the way. The boat runs 2 times daily between early June and early October. The crossing takes 45 minutes. Tickets cost NOK 200 for one-way and NOK 250 for a roundtrip (has to be used the same day). There are reduced rates for children. Plan your trip and pre-book tickets through Gjendebåten.
Tips • Keep an eye out for domestic reindeer when driving along Valdresflye, especially between Garli and Maurvangen. • Be sure to get petrol and stock up on food and other necessities at Beitostølen or Vågåmo before driving up on the Jotunheimen plateau. There’s also a grocery store at Randsverk, but no petrol station. • There are EV charging stations in Beitostølen, as well as at Gjendesheim and near Maurvangen camping. • Bitibua is a little kiosk selling locally sourced food from the Valdres region, about 5 kilometers north of Beitostølen. • The perfect way to relax after a long hike is staying at one of the historical mountain lodges along Valdresflye. Bygdin, Gjendesheim, Bessheim, and Hindsæter are all easily accessible from the road and serve mouth-watering local food. • Besides hiking, there are a number of activities in Jotunheimen, including rafting and horse trekking. The staffed DNT lodge Gjendesheim hosts a number of organized hikes and events, including hikes with a local guide. It’s also possible to cycle along Valdresflye if you can handle strong winds, long climbs, and traffic. • Fog can appear in the Jotunheimen mountains, making it difficult to see cairns as close as 50 meters in front of you. • Dogs must be kept on a leash from 1 April to 30 September.