A Norwegian classic…
Aurlandsdalen is a legendary walk, attracting crowds every summer. It is common to park the car in Vassbygdi (80m), take the shuttle bus up to Østerbø (820m) and then hike back down through Aurlandsdalen. The route runs through beautiful terrain and albeit there are no difficult sections, the hike is still long (16km) and some will discover that the hike is more strenuous than anticipated, even if it’s mostly downhill.
Our friends Eva and Bjørn was visiting us (in Sogndal) and as they wanted to do this hike, we decided to go. Of the four of us, Anne was the only one that had done this hike before.
We left one car in Vassbygdi and drove the other up to Østerbø. The weather was OK. As long is it wasn’t raining, we were quite happy.
We headed out 9:50am and were NOT alone. As it happened, we headed out at the same time as the hikers that took the shuttle bus.
Soon, we passed a giant pothole that I just had to check out…
Next, the path descended towards lake Nesbøvatnet.
It felt like if the trail was carved out from the mountain.
After passing Nesbø, the Aurlandsdalen route forks. Eva and I wanted to hike across Bjørnstigen while Anne and Bjørn took the regular path – not involving the extra 200 vertical meter ascent…
It was nice to get above the valley floor and get some views.
At Bjørnstigen (Bear ladder), we were reminded that this used to be bear territory…
It was altogether a dramatic landscape.
After a while, we got reunited with Anne and Bjørn.
Our next stop was “Vetlehelvete” (little hell) …
Of course, we had to go swimming in the (cold) pond.
After drying up, we moved on…
Before the hike, there was no way I could think that I would get impressed by a “valley hike”. But Aurlandsdalen was truly beautiful, and I enjoyed every part of it.
The next stop was Sinjarheim – some cabins at 600m elevation.
At Sinjarheim, we had a good break – chatting with other hikers.
Then it was time for the last part of the hike – back to Vassbygdi.
The terrain was still dramatic!
On a hike like this, it’s hard not to imagine how it used to be back in the old days…
Eventually, we got down to the forest and followed the path back to Vassbygdi. We reached our other car 4:23pm. Here, we split up. Eva and Bjørn were going eastbound while Anne and I would return to Sogndal.
I’m so glad I got to do this hike with such good friends!
Trip statistics: 15,6km, 420 vertical meters, 6h:35m
Pictures (Canon EOS RP) from the hike: