This year I got the chance to travel to Norway with my family to meet our long-lost Norwegian cousins. It was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. When we were brainstorming what we wanted to do on our trip, my family and I kept coming back to the idea of hiking Trolltunga. We had all seen the pictures of people sitting out on the ‘Troll’s Tongue,’ but honestly couldn’t decide if we were fit enough to attempt it. The hike ended up being about 19 miles for us (we wandered off the beaten path a bit), and we decided to do it all in one day. We got extremely lucky and had great weather conditions, which is pretty uncommon for rainy Norway. This hike is one of the most difficult things I have ever done, both mentally and physically, but the views and memories made are more than worth it. Here’s a list of all the things that made our hike great, and a couple things I wish I had known.
-The key to nailing this hike is to be prepared. I cannot stress this enough. You will need a great pair of hiking boots (preferably already broken in), a light backpack with a bladder for water, FOOD, an extra pair of socks, and lots of layers.
-I made the rookie mistake of buying brand new boots right before this hike, so mine were not broken in at all. However, my boots were AMAZING and I didn’t get one blister on the entire 19 mile hike. I would recommend Salamon brand, because of the deep tread and variety of ankle height options. You’ll probably want to buy a boot that has mild to full ankle support, as this hike is a lot of climbing. The last thing you want is to roll an ankle and have to get rescued by helicopter (yes this happens frequently).
-The great thing about this hike is that you can fill up your water in all of the rivers near the trail. It’s completely clean and safe to drink, and you’ll find plenty of water on the trail.
–Bring snacks! Once you reach the Troll’s Tongue this is a great place to sit down and take in the views. Our group took about an hour here to eat lunch and take pictures. We brought deli meat, cheese, and trail mix and I think we ate everything we brought. Trust me, you will be starving after hiking 8 miles and you’ll need the extra fuel to make it back.
-An extra pair of socks will be life-changing. Aside from just having sweaty feet, you may come across a lot of mud/water and changing your socks halfway through will make you feel like a new person.
-Check the weather. We got very lucky and had beautiful sunny weather for our entire hike. THIS IS NOT NORMAL. Norway is known for being a rainy country where the weather can change on a dime. This can add a whole new set of obstacles to the hike. About a week before we ventured out, hikers had to be rescued from the trail because of bad weather conditions.
–Stay nearby the night before if at all possible. Trolltunga is difficult to reach; from Bergen we had to drive a couple hours to a ferry with limited operating hours, and then had to drive another hour to Odda where we stayed at the Trolltunga Hotel. You want to start the hike by 8 AM at the latest, so I would highly recommend getting to Odda (or another city near the hike) the night before.
-Stay on the path, DO NOT follow other hikers. This was the biggest mistake my group made. The trail markers are rocks with red ‘T’s spray painted on them, and sometimes the trail can be really hard to follow. We made the mistake of following other hikers in front of us instead of looking for the trail markers, which added 2-3 more miles to our hike.
Happy hiking and good luck!