Besseggen Hike – How To Prepare For An Epic Adventure In Jotunheimen

This epic hike along the Besseggen ridge in Jotunheimen National Park is a must-do for any outdoor enthusiast seeking breathtaking views and a thrilling challenge. However, proper preparation is key to ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience. From steep ascents to narrow paths with sheer drops, this hike is not for the faint of heart. To conquer Besseggen and fully appreciate its beauty, follow these crucial tips for a successful adventure.

Besseggen ridge hike
Photo by Sebastien Goldberg

Key Takeaways:

  • Physical preparation: Prior to attempting the Besseggen hike, it is crucial to ensure you are physically fit and have the endurance to handle the challenging terrain and long distances.
  • Proper gear: Packing necessary gear such as sturdy hiking boots, layered clothing, food, water, map, and a first aid kit is necessary for a successful and safe adventure in Jotunheimen.
  • Weather consideration: Be prepared for unpredictable weather conditions in the Jotunheimen region by checking forecasts, dressing in layers, and carrying waterproof gear to stay safe and comfortable during the hike.

Understanding the Besseggen Ridge Hike

Location and Significance of Jotunheimen

Assuming you are gearing up for the epic Besseggen Ridge Hike, it’s necessary to understand the location and significance of Jotunheimen. Located in Norway, Jotunheimen is home to some of the country’s most breathtaking landscapes, including rugged mountains, pristine glaciers, and crystal-clear lakes. As Norway’s premier national park, Jotunheimen is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking unparalleled natural beauty and challenging adventures.

Overview of the Besseggen Ridge Trail

Ridge The Besseggen Ridge Trail is one of the most iconic hikes in Jotunheimen, offering unparalleled views of the stunning Gjende and Bessvatnet lakes. The trail spans approximately 14 kilometers and typically takes 6-8 hours to complete, depending on your pace and fitness level. This challenging hike involves steep ascents, narrow ridges, and rocky terrain, making it suitable for experienced hikers seeking a thrilling adventure in the Norwegian wilderness.

Another important feature of the Besseggen Ridge Trail is the famous Besseggen Ridge itself, a narrow, razor-sharp ridge that separates the azure waters of Gjende and Bessvatnet lakes. Hikers will traverse this precarious ridge, experiencing heart-stopping views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Historical and Cultural Importance

Importance The Besseggen Ridge Hike holds significant historical and cultural importance in Norway. The trail has been a popular hiking destination since the late 19th century when it gained fame for its stunning vistas and challenging terrain. Today, the hike remains a favorite among locals and visitors alike, attracting adventurers from around the world seeking a taste of Norwegian wilderness and culture.

Overview Another key aspect of the Besseggen Ridge Hike is its cultural significance to the Norwegian people. The hike is steeped in local folklore and traditions, with stories of trolls and mythical creatures adding to the allure of this rugged landscape. As you trek along the Besseggen Ridge Trail, you’ll feel a deep connection to the rich history and heritage of the region.

Wildlife and Natural Highlights

There’s an abundance of wildlife and natural highlights to discover along the Besseggen Ridge Hike. From majestic reindeer to elusive arctic foxes, the trail offers opportunities to spot a variety of unique animals in their natural habitat. Additionally, hikers can marvel at the park’s diverse flora, including colorful wildflowers and hardy alpine plants that cling to the rugged terrain.

Trail When launching on the Besseggen Ridge Hike, it’s necessary to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. The trail features steep drops, narrow paths, and unpredictable weather conditions that can pose serious risks to unprepared hikers. However, with proper preparation and a respect for nature, the Besseggen Ridge Hike promises an unforgettable adventure through one of Norway’s most spectacular landscapes.

When to Go on the Besseggen Hike

Best Season for Hiking

On the Besseggen hike, timing is crucial for a memorable experience. The best season to undertake this iconic adventure in Jotunheimen is during the summer months, from June to September. This period offers the most favorable weather conditions and allows hikers to enjoy the stunning landscapes in their full glory.

Weather Conditions to Expect

An crucial aspect to consider when planning your Besseggen hike is the weather conditions you might encounter along the way. Jotunheimen’s mountainous terrain can be unpredictable, so be prepared for rapid changes in weather. Rainfall is common, and wind speeds can increase rapidly, so it’s crucial to pack appropriate gear to stay warm and dry.

Additionally, fog and low visibility can be challenging, especially when navigating the steep sections of the trail. It is advisable to check the weather forecast before commenceing on your hike and be prepared for varying conditions throughout the day.

Daylight Hours and Planning

Hiking the Besseggen trail requires careful planning, especially when it comes to daylight hours. During the summer months, Jotunheimen experiences long daylight hours, allowing hikers to start early and take their time along the trail. However, it is crucial to plan your route and estimate how long it will take, considering factors like terrain difficulty and weather conditions.

Daylight is a valuable resource, providing ample time to complete the hike comfortably. Start early in the day to make the most of the daylight hours and ensure you have enough time to rest and enjoy the breathtaking views along the way. Being mindful of daylight will help you stay on track and complete the Besseggen hike safely.

Preparing for Your Hike

Physical Preparation and Training Tips

All preparation for a hike as challenging as Besseggen starts with physical conditioning. It’s crucial that you build up your strength and endurance through regular exercise. Incorporate activities like hiking, running, cycling, and strength training into your routine to help prepare your body for the demands of the trail. Remember to gradually increase the intensity of your workouts to avoid injury and improve your overall fitness level. Hydration and nutrition are also key components of physical preparation, so make sure you are drinking plenty of water and fueling your body with nutritious foods.

  • Strength and endurance training are imperative for hiking.
  • Include a variety of exercises in your routine to prepare your body adequately.
  • Gradually increase the intensity of your workouts to avoid injury.

Knowing your body’s limits and listening to any signals of discomfort are important to prevent overexertion and potential injuries during your hike.

Mental Preparation Strategies

Even the most physically fit hikers can struggle on the trail if they are not mentally prepared for the challenges ahead. Mental preparation is just as important as physical conditioning when it comes to tackling a hike like Besseggen. Little things like visualization techniques, meditation, and positive affirmations can help you build mental resilience and focus during the hike. Practice mindfulness to stay present in the moment and maintain a positive mindset throughout the journey.

Training your mind to stay positive and focused during challenging moments on the trail can be just as important as training your body. Little mental tricks and techniques can make a big difference in your overall hiking experience.

Essential Hiking Equipment

If you want to have a safe and enjoyable hike on Besseggen, having the right equipment is imperative. It is important to invest in sturdy hiking boots with good ankle support to help prevent injuries on the rocky terrain. Proper clothing layers are also crucial for staying comfortable and protected from the elements. Don’t forget to pack imperatives like a map, compass, first aid kit, and headlamp for emergency situations.

It is crucial to be well-prepared with the right equipment to ensure your safety and enjoyment during your Besseggen hike. Make sure to double-check your gear before heading out on the trail to avoid any potential problems.

Nutrition and Hydration

Hydration Strategies for Hiking

Not staying properly hydrated during a hike can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps, and even heat stroke. The key to staying hydrated on the Besseggen hike is to drink small amounts of water frequently rather than guzzling large quantities at once. Utilizing a hydration pack or a sturdy water bottle that is easily accessible from your backpack will help you stay on top of your fluid intake.

Nutritional Needs for Endurance

One imperative component of preparing for the Besseggen hike is understanding the nutritional needs for endurance. Consuming a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats is crucial to sustaining energy levels throughout the hike. It is recommended to consume a meal rich in complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains and vegetables, before the hike to fuel your muscles for the challenging terrain.

Endurance athletes often require more calories than the average person to keep going during prolonged physical activity. It’s important to listen to your body’s hunger cues and fuel up with nutritious snacks to maintain your energy levels.

Recommended Snacks and Meals for the Trail

Even though the Besseggen hike is a challenging endeavor, it presents an excellent opportunity to refuel with nutrient-dense snacks and meals along the way. Packing trail mix with nuts, dried fruits, and seeds can provide a quick energy boost to keep you going. Energy bars that are high in protein and low in added sugars can also be a convenient snack during breaks.

This hike offers stunning views and challenging terrain, so it’s crucial to pack foods that are easy to eat on the go and that provide sustained energy. Consider bringing homemade sandwiches with whole grain bread, lean protein, and veggies to keep you fueled for the duration of the hike.

Navigating the Trail

Understanding the Route

Many adventurers are drawn to the Besseggen hike in Jotunheimen for its stunning views and challenging terrain. The route spans approximately 13 kilometers and takes hikers through a mix of rocky paths, steep ascents, and narrow ridges. Understanding the route is crucial to ensuring a safe and enjoyable trek through this iconic Norwegian landscape.

Wayfinding and Trail Markers

One of the key aspects of navigating the Besseggen hike is familiarity with wayfinding and trail markers. Trail markers are typically red Ts painted on rocks, guiding hikers along the route. It’s important to pay close attention to these markers, especially in areas where the trail may not be clearly defined.

To assist with wayfinding, it’s recommended to bring a map and compass to help orient yourself along the trail. While the route is well-traveled, weather conditions can change quickly in Jotunheimen, potentially affecting visibility and making it harder to stay on course.

Times and Distances between Key Points

Trail With its challenging terrain and varying levels of difficulty, hikers should expect to spend around 6-8 hours completing the Besseggen hike. The distance between key points, such as the start at Gjendesheim and the finish at Memurubu, is approximately 13 kilometers.

Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Points between the Besseggen hike include sections of steep ascents and descents, narrow ridge crossings, and potentially unpredictable weather conditions. To tackle these challenges, it’s important to pace yourself, stay hydrated, and dress appropriately for the changing mountain weather.

Plus, ensuring you have proper footwear with good grip and taking breaks when needed can help mitigate fatigue and reduce the risk of accidents on the trail.

Safety and Risk Factors

Once again, before commenceing on the epic Besseggen Hike in Jotunheimen, it is crucial to be well-prepared for the potential safety and risk factors that you may encounter along the way. Familiarizing yourself with the various challenges you may face and taking necessary precautions can help ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure.

Weather-Related Risks

With Jotunheimen’s unpredictable weather patterns, hikers must be prepared for sudden changes in conditions. Strong winds, rain, and even snow are not uncommon, especially at higher altitudes. It is imperative to pack appropriate clothing layers, including waterproof gear, to stay warm and dry. Additionally, keeping an eye on weather forecasts before starting the hike can help you plan accordingly and avoid potential hazards.

Terrain and Trail Difficulty Levels

You will encounter a variety of terrain and trail difficulty levels along the Besseggen Hike. Steep ascents, narrow ridges, loose rocks, and sections of scrambling require a good level of fitness and agility. Pay close attention to trail markers and follow designated paths to avoid getting lost or venturing into dangerous areas. It is advisable to wear sturdy hiking boots with good grip to navigate the rugged terrain safely.

Risk: The terrain can be challenging, so always proceed with caution and stay alert to prevent slips, trips, or falls. Take breaks when needed and pace yourself to conserve energy throughout the hike.

Wildlife Encounters – Precautions and Tips

  • Wildlife: While exploring the natural beauty of Jotunheimen, you may encounter various wildlife species such as reindeer, ptarmigans, and occasionally, predators like foxes or wolverines. It is important to respect their habitat and observe from a safe distance to avoid disruptions to their behavior. Make some noise as you hike to alert animals of your presence and reduce the risk of surprising them.

Wildlife encounters can be exciting, but it is crucial to prioritize safety and respect for the animals’ home. This approach can help prevent unnecessary conflicts and ensure a harmonious coexistence during your hike.

First Aid Knowledge and Resources

  • To: Having basic first aid knowledge and carrying imperative supplies can be a lifesaver in case of emergencies on the trail. Be prepared to treat minor injuries such as cuts, blisters, or sprains, and know how to handle more serious situations until professional help is available.

Levels of preparedness vary among hikers, but understanding how to respond to common injuries and having the necessary resources can make a significant difference in ensuring a safe and successful Besseggen Hike.

Responsible Hiking and Leave No Trace Principles

Environmental Impact and Sustainability

If you’re planning to initiate on the epic Besseggen hike in Jotunheimen, it’s crucial to consider the environmental impact of your journey. The stunning natural beauty of the Norwegian landscape is delicate and should be preserved for future generations to enjoy. Responsible hiking involves minimizing your impact on the environment by following designated trails, avoiding trampling vegetation, and properly disposing of waste.

The Seven Leave No Trace Principles Applied to Besseggen

Principles If you want to ensure that Jotunheimen’s landscape remains pristine for years to come, it’s imperative to apply the Leave No Trace Principles during your Besseggen hike. These principles include leaving nothing behind but footprints, staying on designated trails to avoid disturbing wildlife habitats, and packing out all trash. By following these guidelines, hikers can contribute to the preservation of the natural environment and minimize their impact on the ecosystem.

Sustainability It is imperative to prioritize sustainability when hiking in environmentally sensitive areas like Jotunheimen. By adhering to sustainable practices, such as minimizing waste, conserving water, and respecting wildlife, hikers can help protect the unique ecosystems of the region for future generations to enjoy.

Respect for Local Regulations and Traditions

There’s a reason why certain regulations and traditions exist in the communities surrounding Jotunheimen. These rules are in place to protect the environment, preserve cultural heritage, and ensure the safety of both hikers and residents. Respecting local regulations and traditions means following designated paths, respecting private property, and adhering to any guidelines set forth by park authorities.

Leave Hikers can help encourage conservation and preservation efforts in Jotunheimen by participating in volunteer programs, donating to local environmental organizations, and spreading awareness about the importance of protecting natural habitats. By leaving a positive impact on the area, hikers can contribute to the long-term sustainability of the region and help create a legacy of environmental stewardship.

This comprehensive approach to responsible hiking in Jotunheimen ensures that the natural beauty of the landscape is preserved for future generations to enjoy. By following Leave No Trace principles, respecting local regulations and traditions, and promoting conservation efforts, hikers can contribute to the sustainability of the region and demonstrate a commitment to preserving the environment for years to come.

Creating a Memorable Experience

Now that you’ve decided to take on the epic Besseggen hike in Jotunheimen, it’s important to think about how you can create a truly memorable experience that you’ll cherish for years to come. Here are some key tips to help you make the most of this incredible adventure.

Photography and Documenting Your Journey

Assuming you will want to capture the breathtaking views and unforgettable moments along the Besseggen trail, make sure to pack a good camera or smartphone with ample battery and storage. Take the time to snap photos of the stunning landscapes, vibrant flora, and rugged terrain throughout your hike. Documenting your journey through photographs will not only help you preserve memories but also share the beauty of the hike with others.

Engaging with the Hiking Community

Assuming you want to enhance your Besseggen experience, consider engaging with the hiking community before, during, and after your adventure. Joining hiking forums or social media groups can connect you with like-minded individuals who can offer valuable advice, share experiences, and even join you on the trail. Building relationships within the hiking community can enrich your overall adventure and provide a sense of camaraderie.

Hiking with fellow enthusiasts can also enhance the safety aspect during your hike. By having hiking buddies, you can look out for one another and provide support in challenging situations that may arise along the trail.

Personal Reflections and Taking it All In

Creating personal reflections allows you to deeply connect with the experience and appreciate the moments of solitude and tranquility that the Besseggen hike offers. Take time to pause, breathe in the crisp mountain air, and reflect on your journey both physically and emotionally. Consider carrying a journal to jot down your thoughts, feelings, and reflections along the way.

Creating a personal ritual or tradition, such as meditating at a scenic viewpoint or writing a letter to yourself, can add a meaningful touch to your hike and help you fully absorb the beauty and challenge of the Besseggen trail.

Resources and Further Reading

Despite the beauty and allure of the Besseggen hike in Jotunheimen, proper preparation is necessary to ensure a safe and enjoyable adventure. Utilizing resources and further reading materials can greatly enhance your hiking experience.

Detailed Maps and Guides

Now, when preparing for the Besseggen hike, detailed maps and guides are invaluable resources. Look for maps that provide accurate topographical information of the terrain, including elevation gain, distance, and points of interest along the trail. Guides that offer insightful tips on navigation, safety precautions, and recommended gear can also be incredibly beneficial.

Recommended Literature and Documentaries

Now, delving into recommended literature and documentaries can offer a deeper understanding of the history, geology, and significance of the Besseggen trail. Engaging with books, articles, and films centered around this iconic hike can provide valuable context and inspire a greater appreciation for the journey ahead.

For further insights, consider exploring stories of past hikers’ experiences, expert recommendations on preparation, and visual documentaries showcasing the breathtaking landscape of Jotunheimen.


Now, acquiring detailed maps of the Besseggen trail and surrounding areas is crucial for route planning and navigation. Highlighted trails, emergency exit points, and water sources are key features to look for in maps to ensure a safe and successful hike.

Online Forums and Social Groups for Hiking Enthusiasts

Now, tapping into online forums and social groups dedicated to hiking can provide a wealth of knowledge and community support for your Besseggen adventure. Engaging with experienced hikers, sharing tips and recommendations, and seeking advice on specific concerns can enhance your preparation and build excitement for the journey.

Forums and groups also offer the opportunity to connect with like-minded adventurers, gather real-time trail updates, and seek guidance on gear selection and accommodation options in Jotunheimen.

Local Experts and Guided Tour Options

Literature on local experts and guided tour options can provide valuable assistance for those seeking a more structured and guided experience on the Besseggen hike. Experienced guides familiar with the terrain and weather conditions can offer additional safety measures and insightful commentary on the surroundings, enriching your overall trekking experience.

Socializing with other hikers during guided tours can also foster a sense of camaraderie, create memorable shared experiences, and offer a more in-depth exploration of the cultural and natural aspects of the Jotunheimen region.

To wrap up

On the whole, preparing for the Besseggen hike in Jotunheimen is crucial for a successful and enjoyable adventure. The key to a successful hike lies in thorough planning, ensuring you have the right gear and supplies, being aware of the weather conditions, and physically preparing yourself for the challenging terrain. By following these steps and being well-prepared, you can fully experience the beauty and magnificence of the Jotunheimen National Park and create unforgettable memories along the iconic Besseggen ridge.

Bear in mind, safety should always be a top priority when initiateing on outdoor adventures like the Besseggen hike. By respecting nature, following the guidelines, and preparing adequately, you can make the most out of your time in one of Norway’s most breathtaking landscapes. So, get ready, pack your bags, and gear up for an epic adventure in Jotunheimen!


Q: What is the Besseggen Hike?

A: The Besseggen Hike is a popular and challenging trek in Jotunheimen National Park, Norway, known for its stunning scenery and panoramic views of lakes and mountains.

Q: How long is the Besseggen Hike?

A: The Besseggen Hike is approximately 14 kilometers long, usually taking hikers around 6-8 hours to complete, depending on fitness level and weather conditions.

Q: When is the best time to do the Besseggen Hike?

A: The best time to do the Besseggen Hike is during the summer months, from June to September, when the weather is milder and the trails are free from snow and ice.

Q: What should I pack for the Besseggen Hike?

A: When preparing for the Besseggen Hike, make sure to pack crucial items such as sturdy hiking boots, plenty of water, snacks, a map, a compass, a first aid kit, and extra layers of clothing for changing weather conditions.

Q: Are there any safety tips for the Besseggen Hike?

A: Yes, some safety tips for the Besseggen Hike include starting early in the day to avoid crowds and allow plenty of time to complete the hike, staying on the marked trails, being aware of the weather forecast, and always letting someone know your hiking plans.

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