Trolltunga – 23 km to see a troll’s tongue

The impression is almost surreal. Trolltunga − a flat, narrow and a more than a dozen meters long rock hangs 700m above a lake that winds like a snake. Formed by a glacier 10 000 years ago is now the main attraction of Norway.  Ironically – one of the most challenging and hard to reach. Demands are cruel −  to get on a trail we wake before 6:00 am.

Very early morning the camping is full of hustle and bustle. The site is rather small and a majority of guests come here just for one night  to  catch the tongue and move on. Just like us. With a dawn above us, we struggle with packing sleeping bags and tent. Modest breakfast, quick shower and we are ready to hit the trail.

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Trolltunga’s trail starts in Skjeggedal. To reach this point we need to leave our car on a parking in Tyssendal. This is as far as you can drive after 7:30 am. Road leading uphill is now closed. If you want to go further, you need to arrive earlier. So we pull the break to find some place here, in Tyssendal. For a parking we need to fork out 100 NOK / day – not the cheapest one, I say. From here a shuttle bus takes us on 10 km ride up on a steep and narrow road.  Obviously, it is not for free – 50 NOK per person (one way). Well…. we are in Norway. At least we are lucky to sit and have some snack.

Start

The trail is a few steps from a bus stop. And the it becomes hard. On slippy, rocky steps and through muddy slop we manage to climb 400m, considering 1km of distance it is a rather tough hike. If such a warm up is not enough for you, don’t bother −  soon there will be a similar ascent. A short rest, a sip of water and some sweet snack helps us to get back on track. Meanwhile, the landscapes flattens. We reach a large valley with a bunch of small, wooden huts scattered around. Each in a proper distance to another. A good place for a quiet weekend. But a longer stay? Maybe no…

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Naming it droves would be an exaggeration, but you would be hardly alone on the trail. Surprisingly, movement is in both directions.  Those with tents and huge backpacks are going down. Imagine camping roughly above Trolltunga and you’d feel a tinge of jealousy.

Next, luckily last, precipitous elevation is ahead.  After climbing it we reach an altitude of 1100 m and will stay on this level until the end.  The track will not get you bored  −  some parts go a little bit up on stones, other are on flat large rock or mud. And with each mile, the vantage points become more and more magnificent.

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After whole five hours, we reach the destination. Trolltunga, a troll’s tongue, protrudes shamelessly like a trampoline above a swimming pool. And like on swimming pools, there is a queue. A long one. 45 minutes of waiting is too much for us.

It is kept quiet that a few meters behind there is another tongue – not so long, not so narrow,  but totally free of tourists. No one hurries us here, there are no urge, no push. Just a perfect place for a photo and joy of views.

We spend some time to recharge the batteries, give some rest to our feet (by soaking them in small pond) and we are ready to go back. 11 km of a walk are ahead of us.

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And the worst part is obviously the one that welcomed us. Slippy and narrow. Due to exhaustion, we try to make each step extra careful. One more step, and one more.

The whole trip takes us precisely 10h, and according to endomondo we made 23 km and walked up 1,200 m. Now we need to wait for a bus… We don’t care if it cost 20 NOK or not.

Trolltunga – practical guide and details

The Trolltunga’s trail:

  1. It takes 10-12 h both ways and is 23 km long.
  2. It goes 1,200m up and down.
  3. Difficulty level: challenging – without good hiking shoes and proper form I would not recommend it.
  4. The trail is open from mid-March until mid-October, but without a professional guide, you may walk only from 15th June to 15th September.
  5. Check the weather – during rains or winds the track becomes extremely dangerous.
  6. Download offline maps prior to setting offNorgeskart for iOS and Android are very precise and accurate.
  7. Stock up on food and water − there is no place to buy anything, and there is only one stream of fresh water to refill bottles.
  8. Make sure you get on track before 10:00 am, recommended time is 8:00 am.
  9. Near 7th km there is small, wooden shelter for max 6 people.

How to get to Trolltunga:

  1. To Skjeggedal you can drive a car in the evening or early morning − it costs 200 NOK / day. If you are a little bit late, leave your car in a parking (100 NOK / day) in Tyssendal and take a bus (50 NOK / person way up, 20 NOK / person way down).
  2. From Odda (there are the nearest camping and two shops) bus goes to Tyssendal, for timetable check VisitNorway.com

In Skjeggedal:

  1. There are toilets (clean)
  2. There is no shower

Slipping in the wild:

  1. Near Trolltunga and on the trail it is OK to camping in the rough – like in most parts of Norway
  2. Near Skjeggedal or Tyssedal you will not find any place.

Map of Trolltunga

Maps are available here: https://www.norgeskart.no/#12/39474/6695405