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.
SAFETY AND RESPONSIBILITY: The nature in Norway is beautiful but also dangerous. It is important to read about your own responsibility and how to explore the Norwegian nature in a safe way. SAFETY – BEFORE YOU GO HIKING – THE NORWEGIAN MOUNTAIN CODE IMPORTANT: This hike is not suitable for children. The weather can change dramatically in the Norwegian mountains. This is why you should to follow the Norwegian Mountain Code when hiking in Norway. It can change from summer and sunny weather to winter and frost in minutes! Always bring good clothes and hiking shoes. And have enough food and water in your rucksack. Due to the often challenging and long hikes in rapidly changing weather, we recommend you to join a Guided Tour when walking Aurlandsdalen. NOTE! Most of the hikes described on this website are intended for experienced hikers that know the area. This is one of those hikes. 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. The bridge across the Veiverdalsevli River/Waterfall, just 250 meter south-east of Sinjareheim, is not secured with railings. And sometimes the river just north of Sinjarheim is flooding over the trail, and it can be difficult to cross this river at high water levels. We recommend to use a map and compass on this hike, it often happens that this mountain area is shrouded in fog. SEASON & WEATHER: July to August, depending on temperature and snow. Seasons mentioned on this website are approximately dates. Do not hike if there are ice and snow in the terrain and on the trails. This is a landslide-prone area, always make your own evaluation about this danger before and during this hike. Always check the weather before you go hiking. For safety reasons it is recommended to avoid hiking in Thunderstorms and in fog and bad weather! Use the information you find on fjords.com at your own risk and your own responsibility. Errors and omissions may occur. Always make your own evaluation. Adapt your own risk to your own skills and by choosing where, when and how you travel. Fjords.com is not a guide or a travel planner, and the information on the pages should not be used accordingly. Marked and mentioned routes are not accurate and will also often change for various reasons, always look for updated information.
Østerbø – the start of the Aurlandsdalen hike
NOTE – This hike is not suitable for children! We recommend the use of a guide. 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. It is recommended to use and know how to use Map and Compass.
NOTE – Most of the pictures in this article are from hiking the lower part of the Aurlandsdalen Valley, not over Bjørnestigen.
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
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. 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
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. 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.
Almen Mountain Farm
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. Soon we were down at Vassbygdi (50 meters above sea level), and we chose to stop here because our next goal was Gudvangen and kayaking on the Nærøyfjord.
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.
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.
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 that are also included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Join a fjord safari or a fjord cruise. See the fantastic view from Stegastein viewpoint and taste the local goat cheese in Undredal. Visit the Viking village Njardarheimr in Gudvangen and experience the history and culture of the Viking Age. You can also walk along the Nærøyfjord or enjoy the fjord view from the surrounding mountains. Flåm Railway is the train journey from fjord to mountain, perhaps the most beautiful train journey in the world. 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 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.
“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.