Mountain Hiking with kids in Jotunheimen National Park, Norway

This summer the Little Scandinavian family will be doing a child-friendly mountain adventure! Norway has several National Parks and mountain areas, one of the most stunning ones being Jotunheimen National Park. Known as “Home of the Giants”, from Norse mythology, Jotunheimen has more than 250 peaks rising above 1,900 metres. The landscape has inspired famous authors and musicians throughout the times, such as Henrik Ibsen and Edvard Grieg.
Hiking suggestions in Jotunheimen include the family friendly Hulderstigen and the more challenging Glittertind, Besseggen and Norway’s highest mountain, Galdhøpiggen 2,469 m.a.s.l. But what’s truly unique and attractive with this National Park is not only the spectacular scenery, fresh mountain air and clean lakes. It’s also the fact that the family can enjoy the outdoors together, walking from hut to hut. Jotunheimen is in fact one of the best developed touring areas in Europe with DNT (The Norwegian Trekking Association) managed and unmanaged tourist huts. A membership in DNT is recommended before you go, for discounted accomendation rates and access to a master key to unmanaged huts.

© VisitNorway


Plan your trek, before you go. Check out the DNT map and decide on what huts you would like to visit. Be prepared to make changes along the journey due to changeable weather and tired children. A safe and fun trip is important to ensure the ultimate trekking experience. When trekking with children DNT recommend to stay a few nights at the same hut and do shorter treks in the surrounding area, to allow the children some time to rest. To plan your trek, there’s a wealth of inspiration online. We quite like the tour recommendations along with lots of beautiful photographs by Cody Duncan.

Pack the rucksack with strictly needed clothes, as you have to carry it! One extra set to change into when wet or dirty is sufficient. Bring washing powder rather than too many clothes. Remember that this is a mountain area where the weather quickly can change and you occasionally can experience snow in the summer. The 3 base layers are therefor important; Thermals/wool next to skin, a protective micro fleece set covered up by a breathable wind and water proof shell outer layer. Remember warm hat and wellies although trekking shoes are probably the most comfortable to walk in. And never leave without a minimum supply of food. Packed lunch, like sandwiches, fruit and water is also essential when heading out. Guided hikes are available on several of the treks.

Other activities in Jotunheimen, when you want a change from the hiking, includes fishing and horseback riding. Buy your fishing license online and you can catch utterly delicious Mountain Trout from more than 60 lakes and rivers. Price from 75NOK a day. Horseback Riding is a wonderful way to experience Jotunheimen for the entire family with options ranging from one hour to a full day tour with a guide. Available at Raubergstulen Jotunheimen Equestrian Centre, advance booking recommended.


© Cody Duncan

Although stunningly beautiful the mountain can be very dangerous. Every year there are people who need rescue after being surprised by bad weather or simply because of insufficient clothing. DNT and the Norwegian Red Cross have worked out a safety campaign on how to stay safe in the mountains, a set of nine rules known as the The Norwegian Mountain Code.
1. Be prepared. Your physical and mental fitness, your experience and your gear determine the sensible length of a tour.
2. Leave word of your route. In an emergency, the details you give will aid the rescue service.
3. Be weatherwise. Regardless of the forecast, you should be prepared for bad weather.
4. Be equipped for bad weather and frost. Always take a rucksack and proper mountain gear.
5. Learn from the locals. Ask for avalanche train, wind and snow conditions and good choices of route.
6. Use a map and compass. Always have and know how to use map and compass.
7. Don’t go solo. A companion can give first aid or notify a rescue service in an emergency.
8. Turn back in time; sensible retreat is no disgrace. If you doubt that you can attain your goal, turn and go back.
9. Conserve energy and build a snow shelter if necessary. Start building a snow shelter before you are exhausted.


Useful links
Cody Duncan – Hiking the Besseggen Ridge – Jotunheimen National Park, Norway
DNT – your key to enjoy Norwegian outdoor life
Visit Norway – Hiking in Jotunheimen
Ut.no – Besseggen
inatur.no – Buy Fishing License for Jotunheimen online
Raubergstulen -horseback riding in Jotunheimen
DNT The Norwegian Mountain Code

5 Comments

  1. Hello Scandinavian mum I’ve came across your blog looking for some infos on Jotunheimen with kids. We’re planning a 3-4 days hike with our kids (8-10 yrs.) and we we’re thinking about this area, maybe Gjendebu-Fondsbu-Olavsbu; do you think it can be done with children? They’re quite used to hike (around 10 km per day); I don’t understand if in these paths you can cross rivers on bridges or you have to wade in high (and freezing, I guess) water.
    Any help appreciated
    thanks
    Edoardo

  2. Hi Edoardo. Great choice for a hiking holiday. They are on the young side but if they are experienced it should be undoable. You can view parts of your trek in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoTodDjcaOc and as you can see, there are no walking in freezing water. But as you also see, the weather is unpredictable, so you’ll need to be well kitted. The most challenging part of the trek is Olavsbu. It’s supposed to be a steep and hard walk.
    Alternative trek options could be Rondvassbu-Dørålseter-Bjørnhollia in Rondane or Haugastøl-Raggsteindalen-Geiterygghytta-Finse in Hallingskarvet. Let me know what you decide! Best, Bianca x

  3. Hi Bianca, thanks for your suggestions and sorry for not answering your reply before (just hadn’t seen…); actually we had also considered Rondane (it seemed to me that Dørålseter-Bjørnhollia it could be a too long leg for the kids) , we’re also going to check Hallingskarvet option. Thanks again
    Best wishes
    Edoardo

  4. I’ve been searching for information on these hut-to-hut hikes from families with children for months and finally came across yours. I have 4 kids (11,10,8,5) and we are hoping to go on this Nordic adventure in late June. My biggest concern is making sure we are hiking a trail that is suitable for our 5 year old. Do you have any suggestions for a route we can do (maybe 4 days maximum) that will include staying in a few huts along the way?
    Thanks so much!
    Betsy

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