Besseggen is a mountain ridge forged by Thor on the anvil of earth. It is the most spectacular hike in ‘The Home of the Giants’, Jotunheimen National Park. Along the way you pass the dark blue and emerald green of Bessvatn and Gjende lakes. You reach an altitude of 1743 meters, can enjoy a well-deserved halfway lunch with views of the Gjende Alps and spend a total of 5 to 7 hours in the cleanest and crispiest air on the European continent, hiking this magnificent trail.
You find the Besseggen mountain ridge and trail in the Eastern part of the Jotunheimen NP. Most people who enjoy the 17 kilometers hike choose to start their trip taking the boat from Gjendesheim. The end of this journey over deep waters is the start of an experience on mountainous lands. You sail towards Memurubu where you disembark and walk back to Gjendesheim over the Besseggen ridge.
The first hour you will be tested by a bit of a steep incline. As soon as you feel all warmed up, the land flattens out and guides you towards one of the beloved parts of this trail: ‘The Strip’. With the dark blue 1374 meters ‘up-high’ lake Bessvatn on the left and the 984 meters ‘down-low’, emerald Gjende Lake on the right. This is the perfect place to catch your breath and loose it again thanks to the brilliant views.
Besseggen ridge is quite narrow and may be a bit of a challenge in case you ‘run’ into fellow hikers walking in the opposite direction. Once you have descended the ridge, the trail takes you over Veslefjell Mountain towards Gjendesheim. Veslefjell Mountain is the ‘roof of Besseggen’. Here you pass a large pile of rocks that serves as a marker for the highest point of the hike, being 1743 meters. Once you reached the top, the remaining K’s to Gjendesheim are like ‘a (now and then steep) walk in the park’.
Getting there and away
One kilometer from Gjendesheim, there is a fork in the trail. When you choose the left-hand side, the path leads you to Glitterheim and Bessheim. The right hand-side takes you to Gjendesheim and Gjende.
While most people choose to conquer Besseggen from Memurubu, you can also hike from Gjendesheim to Memurubu and then return by boat, (during the season), GjendeBåtene.
Another option is to hike over Besseggen and make your way back along Lake Gjende for the return trip. Depending on your pace and the time you take to enjoy the scenery, count on a 8 to 10 hours walk.
Last but not least, you can also opt to start at Bessheim, hike to and around Lake Bessvatn and ascend to Besseggen. This might take you around 7 hours.
Here you can find all the information you need for the Besseggen Boat (GjendeBåtene)
Eat and drink
Just be sensible and always take one drink and one sandwich more with you than you usually eat or drink. Better be safe than hungry or thirsty.
In case you have treated yourself to one or a couple of nights at the nearby Herangtunet boutique hotel, you’ll be given a lunch pack when you inform your hosts you are about to experience Besseggen.
There are a number of places to stay in or around Gjendesheim, but to make to most of this journey and linger a bit longer on the experience, Herangtunet boutique hotel, is the place to be.
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At the end of the trail you can stay at:
• Memurubu Turisthytte
Sleeps less than a 15 min. drive from the Besseggen trail:
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• Hindsæter hotell
• Gjendesheim Turisthytte
• Bessheim Fjellstue og Hytter
• Besseggen Fjellpark
• Gjendebu Turisthytte
• Sjodalen Hyttetun
• Gjendeosen Kiosk og Parkering
Boat (Besseggen) over the Gjende lake
Sleeps more than a 30 min. drive from the Besseggen trail:
• Herangtunet boutique Hotel Norway
• Grønolen Fjellgard