AURLANDSDALEN VALLEY HIKE

The Aurlandsdalen Valley is wild and beautiful. It is situated in the  Flåm and Aurland area in the Sognefjord, and is one of Norway´s most popular hiking destinations. Map: Aurlandsdalen 1:50000.

Many people combine this hike with biking along the Rallarvegen (the old Navvies Road), that is an excellent option if you have the time. This story is from the lowest part of the Aurlandsdalen Valley, a 20 kilometer long hike starting at Østerbø and ending at Vassbygdi in Aurland.

Visit Sognefjord

Visit Sognefjord is the official destination company for the Sognefjord area.

Hotels and Accommodation in the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area

Overview of hotels and other places where you can spend the night in the area around the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord.

FJORDS NORWAY - View towards the abandoned mountain farm Sinjarheim in the Aurlandsdalen Valley.
View towards the abandoned mountain farm Sinjarheim in the Aurlandsdalen Valley.

About season and other important information

Forget-Me-Not in Aurlandsdalen.
Forget-Me-Not in Aurlandsdalen.

GRADING – Challenging. ALTITUDE DIFFERENCE –This hike starts at 820 masl (Østerbø Fjellstove). The hike ends in Vassbygdi, 50 masl.

GUIDE – Due to the steep terrain and the danger of avalanches, we recommend you to join a Guided Tour when hiking Aurlandsdalen. The guides also know when it is not safe to hike along Aurlandsdalen.

SEASON – July to mid September, these are approximate dates that depends on the weather, temperature and the amount of snow in the mountains. This is a landslide-prone area, always make your own evaluation about this danger before and during this hike. 

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 is a summer- and Autumn hike. We recommend to avoid this hike in the spring and during and after rainfall due to this gives a higher risk of landslides. Hiking the Aurlandsdalen Valley is not without risk. There is a risk of rock fall and rock avalanches, especially during spring and early summer, and during and after rain.

MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE – Remember that there is no mobile phone coverage in large parts of Aurlandsdalen.

There are many waterfalls in Aurlandsdalen.
There are many waterfalls in Aurlandsdalen.

DURING HIGH WATER FLOW –The bridge over the Veiverdalselvi/fossen, just 250 meters south-east of Sinjareheim, is narrow and is not secured with railings.

During heavy rain, parts of the trail along Aurlandsdalen can be flooded with water. Rivers can take new courses and cross/cover the trail at exposed points. This can make it difficult, sometimes downright dangerous and impossible, to cross the exposed parts of the trail in heavy rain and high water flow. One of the most exposed places, which during high water flows is often exposed to the river crossing the trail, is Grovselvi, which runs in steep terrain just north of Sinjarheim, between Sinjarheim and Almen.

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 – Most of the pictures in this article are from hiking the lower part of the Aurlandsdalen Valley, not over Bjørnestigen.

Østerbø – the start of the Aurlandsdalen hike

Nesbø mountain farm in Aurlandsdalen.
Nesbø mountain farm in Aurlandsdalen.

We arrived at Østerbø Mountain Lodge (815 masl) at the top of the Aurlandsdalen Valley in Sogn. It was mid day. We packed our rucksacks and started to walk down the valley 15 minutes later. The day was beautiful with the sun shining from a clear blue sky.

We soon arrived at Nesbø farm close to Lake Nesbøvatnet. 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.

The trail splits in two, you can walk over Bjørnestigen or down along the river

Aurlandsdalen over Bjørnestigen
View from Bjørnestigen towards Aurlandsdalen.

Soon the trail splits into two and we chose to hike along the lower trail and not over Bjørnestigen.

Bjørnestigen is a steep rise to more than 1000 meters above sea level.

Vetlahelvete, the largest pothole in Aurlandsdalen.
Vetlahelvete, the largest pothole in Aurlandsdalen.

The lower trail continues along the river until the two trails again meet close to Vetlahelvete (Small Hell), the biggest glacial pothole in the valley.

Bjørnestigen has a great view over the Aurlandsdalen Valley but is pretty steep down towards Vetlahelvete and might be difficult if the trail is wet.

Arriving Sinjarheim Mountain Farm

FJORDS NORWAY - Bridge over waterfall before arriving Sinjarheim. This bridge is narrow and without railings.
Bridge over waterfall before arriving Sinjarheim. This bridge is narrow and without railings.

The trail continues through a fantastic landscape towards Sinjarheim Mountain Farm, which was the last farm to be abandoned in 1922 but it was used as a mountain farm until 1964.

We passed a wild, tumbling river before arriving Sinjarheim.

Sinjarheim mountain farm in Aurlandsdalen.
Sinjarheim mountain farm in Aurlandsdalen.

The farm Sinjarheim 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.

Steep trail down to Almen Mountain Farm

FJORDS NORWAY - Crossing the river below Sinjarheim can be challenging when there is high water flow.
Crossing the Grovselvi between Sinjarheim and Almen can be challenging and downright dangerous when the water flow is high.

From Sinjarheim the trail is steep down towards Almen Mountain Farm, 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.

Almen Farm in the lower part of Aurlandsdalen.
Almen Farm in the lower part of Aurlandsdalen.

Soon we were down at Vassbygdi (50 meters above sea level), which is where the hike in Aurlandsdalen ends. The day was still young, and our next goal was Gudvangen and to kayak out the Nærøyfjord to Skalmeneset outside Styvi.

We used almost five hours on this walk but recommend to use the whole day so you can enjoy and absorb more of this beautiful valley.

Guiding: Due to the steep terrain and the danger of avalanches, we recommend you to join a Guided Tour when walking Aurlandsdalen.

Bus to and from Aurlandsdalen

There is now  a bus-service that has made it easy to travel to and from the start and end of the Aurlandsdalen hike. The bus will transport you between Flåm, Aurland, Vassbygdi and Østerbø. This Bus-service is delivered by Norway´s Best.

Video from another hike along Aurlandsdalen Valley

This video is from another hike along the Aurlandsdalen Valley. Here we chose to hike along the other (upper) trail, over Bjørnestigen. Bjørnestigen is a steep rise to more than 1000 meters above sea level.

Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord – What to See and Do

FJORDS NORWAY - The UNESCO Protected Nærøyfjord
Nærøyfjord.

Flåm, Aurland and Gudvangen are perfect starting points for experiences in and around the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord, two of the world’s most beautiful and dramatic fjords. On 14 July 2005, the Nærøyfjord together with the Geirangerfjord became part of our common UNESCO’s world heritage.

From Flåm you can take part in a fjord safari or a fjord cruise on the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord. You can take this fjord cruise as a round trip (both ways) or one way combined with bus between Flåm and Gudvangen. See the great view from Stegastein viewpoint, 650 meters above Aurland. Taste the local goat’s cheese in Undredal or in Skjerdal, two villages by the Aurlandsfjord.

Flåm Railway is the train journey from mountain to fjord, perhaps the most beautiful railway in the world. You can combine this train journey with cycling along Rallarvegen which goes from the high mountains via Flåmsdalen Valley to Flåm. Aurlandsdalen Valley is one of Norway’s most popular hikes. The lower part of Aurlandsdalen, which is also the most popular, starts from Østerbø and ends at Vassbygdi in Aurland.

The Flåm Valley is a beautiful adventure. The valley between Myrdal (866.8 masl) and Flåm by the Aurlandsfjord is 18 kilometer long. The valley is narrow and the mountains are steep, and there are waterfalls and rivers wherever you turn around. Flåm Valley is a great place for hiking and biking. Flåm Zipline sends you off at over 100 kilometers per hour, you are just hanging in a thin steel wire high above the valley.

By the Nærøyfjord, we have the small villages of Gudvangen, Bakka, Styvi and Dyrdal. Styvi is the only place without permanent inhabitants during the winter, and is together with Dyrdal without road connection. Gudvangen is one of two ports where the iconic ferry trip along the inner part of the Sognefjord departs and arrives. Visit the Viking village Njardarheimr in Gudvangen and experience the history and culture of the Viking Age.

The Nærøyfjord and Aurlandsfjord are both 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.

Hotels and Accommodation in the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area

Overview of hotels and other places where you can spend the night in the area around the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord.

Sakte – Stay and Explore the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord 



“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.

FJORDS NORWAY - Reis Sakte - Hiking towards Skjerdal and the Aurlandsfjord
Reis Sakte – Hiking towards Skjerdal and the Aurlandsfjord

How to travel to the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area

Many roads lead to the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area.
Many roads lead to the Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord area.

It is easy to travel to Flåm and Aurland, the Aurlandsfjord and the Nærøyfjord. Almost “all roads” go to Flåm and Aurland, and you can also travel there by train, bus and boat. It is only a short distance between the two neighboring villages of Flåm and Aurland.

You can start this fjord adventure by train from Oslo or Bergen to Myrdal station. Then you get to experience the Bergen Railway between Oslo and Bergen and Flåm Railway, one of Norway’s most spectacular railway lines, from Myrdal station to Flåm, which is located down by the Aurlandsfjord. If you take Flåm Railway, you get to experience the beautiful Flåmsdalen valley at the same time.

There are several daily bus departures between Oslo/Bergen and Flåm.

The nearest airport is Sogndal Airport at Haukåsen near Kaupanger. Most flights that go to and from Sogndal Airport come from and go to Oslo and Bergen. From the airport to Flåm, it is 70 kilometers by road, including a wonderful crossing of the Sognefjord by ferry.

 

HOTELS - LINKS - FAQ

Here you will find an overview of recommended HOTELS in addition to SPA & BATH HOTELS and OTHER ACCOMMODATION PLACES in Western Norway. The combination of beautiful nature, activities that you can do in all four seasons and a stay at a great accommodation is unique. A stay in one of these places will do you good, both for body and mind.

There are ten restaurants that have awarded Michelin stars and Michelin awards in Western Norway. Eight of the Michelin restaurants are in Stavanger and two in Bergen. Here you will find FJORDS MICHELIN, where you will also find a list of recommended hotels in Western Norway, recommended by Michelin.

USEFUL LINKS is a list of websites with great information on Norway and the Fjords. FAQ is an overview of articles that answer the most common questions you have when planning to visit the fjords in Western Norway.

Aurlandsdalen Valley – Map Overview