This hike starts in the high mountains and ends in the idyllic fjord village Skjerdal above the Aurlandsfjord. You will also experience Skjerdal Stølsysteri and Café, which is a short-travelled and perfect end of the hike.
This is a hike where we walked downwards, but the hike was really an upturn. We started from the rest area at Flotane at Aurlandsfjellet which is located almost 1300 meters above sea level. The hike ended in Skjerdal which is located 200 meters above the Aurlandsfjord.
Planning the hike
This is perhaps the most beautiful hike we have ever done. But it requires some planning in advance. We had two cars and drove first to Skjerdal. There we dropped off a car and drove the other car to the parking lot at Flotane at Aurlandsfjellet. This is where the hike begins. Remember that the road over Aurlandsfjellet is closed during winter.
When the hike was finished and we arrived in Skjerdal, we drove back to Flotane to pick up the other car. If you do not have two cars, then Aurland Taxi is a good alternative. You may want to have a dialogue with them in advance. The first part of the hike is in the high mountains. You should try to get information about the hike from the locals in advance. The hike between Aurlandsfjellet and Skjerdal is not marked.
You should be in good shape and bring necessary food, water and equipment (proper hiking shoes and clothes). Use map and compass on this hike.
Season: July – September, depending of the amount of snow in the mountains.
IMPORTANT! The weather can change dramatically in these mountains. This is why you have to follow the Norwegian Mountain Code when hiking in the Norwegian Mountains. It can change from summer and sunny weather to winter and frost in minutes!
The start – from high mountains to fjord view
A good friend told me about this hike, and we were lucky to have Haakon from Aurland as our guide. My friend works at Folkeuniversitetet where Haakon works as a teacher in Norwegian language. He was born and raised in Skjerdal and knows this area like the back of his hand. He has previously written about this hike in the hiker´s guide book Opptur Sogn og Fjordane. This is a guide book with descriptions of the most beautiful hikes in the area around the Sognefjord, Sunnfjord and Nordfjord.
We parked the car at Flotane rest area which is located just north of Lake Flotvatnet at Aurlandsfjellet. From there we followed an old construction road for the first three kilometers in a southwesterly direction. The construction road starts just a few meters from the rest area, between Lake Flotvatnet and Flotane. In the beginning, the trail along the construction road went upwards before continuing slightly downhill to Lake Store Soleibakkvatn where we left the trail and crossed the river at the outlet of the mountain lake.
The hike continued in southwesterly direction towards the upper part of Skjerdalen Valley in a flat and nice high-mountain terrain. We passed many beautiful fishing lakes, but this is a secret that must not be told to others. After three more kilometers we could see a glimpse of the Aurlandsfjord far away and far below us. We could also see the fjord village Flåm at the end of the fjord.
Now we walked into a fjord landscape which is part of our common UNESCO World Heritage. It was like walking into a Norwegian Romantic Nationalistic painting by the Norwegian artists Tidemand and Gude.
The descent towards Skjerdal
We walked downwards in the beautiful landscape towards the Øystølen, an old mountain pasture which is located down in the valley between the high mountains and Skjerdal. A long and beautiful detour you can walk from here is to the mountain Skulenosi which has fantastic views both inwards and outwards the Aurlandsfjord. This is a long and demanding hike that must be done as a separate hike.
Øystølen was a childhood paradise for Haakon and his nine siblings, and not least for all the animals that grazed around the mountain pasture during summer.
In the old days, it was required by law that the animals should be moved to the mountain pastures for a certain period during summer and autumn. Depending on the location and where the animals had to graze, they had to be on a mountain pasture for a certain time of year. The reason for this was the grass that grew around the farm had to be used as grass for the animals during winter.
Øystølen is still in use, just like they did it the old way. It is run by Skjerdal farm which also runs Skjerdal Stølsysteri. Øystølen is surrounded by large mountain areas which are good pastures for both sheep and goats.
The hike continued down towards the fjord, on a good trail in beautiful cultural landscape and steep terrain, towards Skjerdal Stølsysteri which is located between the mountain pasture and Skjerdal.
At the traditional Norwegian mountain farm “Skjerdal Stølsysteri and Café” at Leim in Skjerdal, the brown and white goat cheese has been produced for hundreds of years. At the café we experienced the life on the farm and the taste of traditional, local food.
You can also walk up to the café from the parking in Skjerdal. The mountain farm is about 30 minutes hike from the parking. Follow an old farm road through the steep landscape, with beautiful views over the Aurlandsfjord and the surrounding mountains. You can also combine a Fjord Safari on the Aurlandsfjord with a visit to Skjerdal Stølsysteri and Cafè, then you need to walk from the fjord and up.
Skjerdal Stølsysteri and Café are open between 1st of July and 30th of August. See website for more information about the café.
The reason why there is some background noise in the video from the café is because the goats were milked while we were filming. It is the pumps in the milking machines that are making the noise. A good sound in other words …
From Skjerdal Stølsysteri to Skjerdal – the last part of the hike
After a great and short-travelled meal at Skjerdal Stølsysteri and Cafe, we walked down to Skjerdal and to the car. The last part of the hike was on a tractor road through the cultural landscape, with fantastic views down to the Aurlandsfjord and the surrounding steep mountains.
The hike between Flotane and Skjerdal is around 12 kilometers in distance. The start is at around 1300 masl, and the end in Skjerdal is at 200 masl. We spent six hours on the hike and spent a long time so we could both see and taste what this beautiful area has to offer.
Skaldegard is an old farmstead that clings to the mountain-side with great view down to the Aurlandsfjord and towards the surrounding mountains. Skaldegard invites small groups to come and learn about the local area’s natural environment, history, agriculture and way of life, both past and present. The farm is situated at Skjerdal above the Aurlandsfjord, outside Aurland.
Skjerdal – Accommodation
SKJERDAL SUMMER HOUSE is located at Skjerdal, six kilometers outside Aurland. The unique summer house “Bygningen” overlooks the Aurlandsfjord and the UNESCO World Heritage area. The house lets you experience the fjord life up close.
Aurland is a perfect starting point for adventures on and around the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord, two of the worlds most beautiful and dramatic fjords. The Nærøyfjord is included in UNESCO´s World Heritage List.
Join a Fjord Safari, a Fjord Cruise or experience the fjord from a kayak. See the view from Stegastein Viewpoint or taste the local Goat Cheese in Undredal by the Aurlandsfjord. The Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord are part of the 204 kilometer long Sognefjord which is located in the northern part of the county of Vestland, in the middle of Western Norway.
“Sakte” is a collaboration between companies that provide adventures, accommodation, dining and short-travelled food- and products. “Sakte” are located in the area around the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord and is an offer for those who want to contribute to a sustainable society in the world heritage area.
Accommodation in the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area
Hike from Flotane to Skjerdal – Map Overview