The Aurlandsdalen Valley is a fantastic wild and beautiful valley. The valley is situated in Sogn, and is one of Norway´s most popular hiking destinations. Many people combine this walk with biking along the Rallarvegen (the old Navvies Road) and this is an excellent option if you have the time. This description is from the lowest part of the valley, a 20 kilometre long path starting at Østerbø and ending at Vassbygdi in Aurland.
Østerbø - the start of the hike I arrived at Østerbø Mountain Inn (815 metre above sea level) at the top of the Aurlandsdalen Valley in Sogn. The time was 1300 hrs. I packed my rucksack and started to walk down the valley 15 minutes later. The day was beautiful with the sun shining from a clear blue sky. I soon arrived at Nesbø farm close to the Nesbø lake. This farm was deserted around 100 years ago but has since been restored by the new owner. It is a beautiful farm built around 1664. Most of the farms in the Aurlandsdalen Valley were abandoned between 1875 and 1907 and many emigrated to America to become farmers and start a new life over there.
Bjørnestigen and Vetlahelvete
Soon the path splits into two and I chose Bjørnestigen which is a steep rise to more than 1000 metres above sea level. The other path continues along the river until the two paths again meet close to Vetlahelvete (Small Hell), the biggest glacial pothole in the valley. I was recommended to walk Bjørnestigen but it was pretty steep down towards Vetlahelvete. Luckily the path was dry and a cable had been installed at the difficult parts.
Arriving Sinjarheim Farm
The path continues through a fantastic landscape towards Sinjarheim, which was the last farm to be abandoned in 1922 but it was used as a mountain farm until 1964. I passed a wild, tumbling river before arriving Sinjarheim. The farm consists of seven buildings, including a drying house for corn, and has through the last few years been restored to its former state. So now, once again, there is farming in the summer and the students from Sogn Agricultural School in Aurland use it as a practical teaching station.
From Sinjarheim the path is steep down towards Almen, the last farm in Aurlandsdalen before Vassbygdi. The house is well protected under a big rock, which is why, perhaps, it's so well maintained. They say the people who lived there always talked very loudly, this to drown the noise from the river. Soon I was down at Vassbygdi (50 metres above sea level), and I chose to stop here because my next goal was Gudvangen and kayaking in the Nærøyfjord.
I used almost five hours on this walk but recommend using the whole day so you can enjoy and absorb more of this beautiful valley.