In Hardanger, by the Hardangerfjord in South-Western Norway, there is a hiking trail called Dronningstien. The trail is famous for being one of HM Queen Sonja´s favorite hiking trails. Map to use: Hardangervidda Vest 1:50000.
It´s starting point is at Røte in Kinsarvik and ends at Lofthus, making it a total of 16 kilometers long. The 6-10 hour long hike is heavy and steep, so it is recommended for more experienced hikers.
Visit Hardangerfjord and Visit Sunnhordland are the official destination companies for the Hardangerfjord area.
About season and other important information
GRADING – Challenging. ALTITUDE DIFFERENCE – This hike starts at approximately 200 masl (Parking at Røte). Highest point at approximately 1120 masl.
GUIDE – We recommend the use of a guide on the hike along Dronningstien. Trolltunga Active organizes guided hikes along the Dronningstien trail. There you also get information about season and other practical information.
SEASON – Mid July to August, these are approximate dates that depends on the weather, temperature and the amount of snow in the mountains.
SAFETY IN THE MOUNTAINS – You should follow the Norwegian Mountain Code when hiking in Norway. It can change from summer and sunny weather to winter and frost in minutes! Always check the Weather Forecast before you go hiking. For safety reasons it is recommended to avoid hiking in Thunderstorms, in fog, in bad weather and when it is snow and ice on the trail and in the mountain! Always bring good clothes and hiking shoes. And have enough food and water in your rucksack.
NOTE – This hike is not suitable for children! This is a long and demanding hike, you should be an experienced hiker to do this hike. There are several steep, narrow and exposed sections on this hike.
NOTE – We recommend to use a map and compass on this hike, as parts of the hike go in the high mountains where there is no clearly visible trail. It also often happens that Dronningstien is shrouded in fog.
There are however, multiple view points along the way, so an option for less experienced hikers would be to hike only a part of the trail. Whether you hike the whole trail or not, you can expect stunning, paranomic views of the Hardangerfjord.
Direction: Drive 2.5 kilometer of steep and narrow road from Kinsarvik to Røte where you can park the car. From Røte you follow the forest road to Heng (890 meters above sea level). This is where the marked Queen`s Trail begins.
At Heng you can see down to the Hardangerfjord, and the view is breathtaking. The four branches of the Hardangerfjord meets here; Sørfjorden, Utnefjorden, Eidfjorden and Kinsarvikbukti. Heng is a great place for a break and to take in the view to the fjords, the surrounding mountains and the Folgefonna Glacier on the other side of Sørfjorden. The photos in this article were taken at Heng.
The descent down to Lofthus
The trail goes south towards Lofthus, and the highest point is 1100 masl. Part of the descent towards Lofthus is on the famous Munketreppene (Monk`s Steps), 616 steps of large stones that was built by British monks in the 13th century.
The monks also teached the locals how to cultivate fruit trees. You can see the result of this today, with hundreds of thousands of fruit trees spread around in Lofthus and Hardanger. Lofthus is also referred to as the Orchard of Hardanger.
You can do the hike from July to Mid September, all depending on the amount of snow in the mountains. Normally the terrain in the high mountains along the Dronningstien is covered with snow well into the summer.
The hike ends down by the fjord at Lofthus. A great way to end a great hike is a relaxing sauna with panorama views of the Hardangerfjord followed by a refreshing dip in the outdoors pool at Hotel Ullensvang. Hotel Ullensvang is a great place to stay if you are exploring the area around Sørfjorden.
It is an approximately 15 minutes drive from the Hotel Ullensvang to Røte in Kinsarvik, the starting point of HM Queen Sonja´s hike. In connection with Dronningstien and the many other mountain hikes you can do in the area, you can book transport along this road at Shuttlebus Hardanger.
The 38 kilometer long Sørfjorden is one of the many side fjords of the Hardangerfjord. Along Sørfjorden are small picturesque villages like pearls on a string, surrounded by fjords, mountains, waterfalls and rivers and not least all the fruit trees that are widely known for their beautiful blossoming in spring. Here you can read more about Sørfjorden which has attracted travellers since the dawn of time, ever since English tourists discovered Norway in the mid-19th century.
The Hardangerfjord area, the orchard of Norway, is known for Summer Skiing at Folgefonna Glacier and a spectacular fruit tree blossoming in spring. Drive in the Hardanger area and see the Vøringsfossen Waterfall and all the other great waterfalls. Hike the famous Trolltunga Hike or Dronningstien (the Queens Panoramic Trail) in the area around Sørfjorden. Lake Bondhusvatnet and Bondhusbreen Glacier was one of the first places the English tourists visited when they discovered Norway in the mid 1800´s. Join a Fjord Cruise on the Hardangerfjord which is located in the county of Vestland, near Bergen, in the middle of Western Norway.
Dronningstien – Guide
We recommend the use of a guide on the hike along Dronningstien. Trolltunga Active organizes guided hikes along the Dronningstien trail. There you also get information about season and other practical information.