Svartdalen (The Black Valley)

The popular hiking route from Torfinnsbu to Gjendebu takes you through Svartdalen – meaning “The Black Valley” –, which is often referred to as the most beautiful valley in Jotunheimen. As you wander through this lush valley, majestic towering peaks will surround you, several of which are over 2000 meters high.

The journey starts out from Bygdin, where you catch the historical Bitihorn boat to Torfinnsbu. Here at the shores of the Bygdin lake, you will find the DNT cabin (mountain lodge run by The Norwegian Trekking Association) which has the easiest access to the most 2000+ meter mountaintops of all. From here, you will climb up a steep hill leading into Svartdalen. From there, the terrain through the valley will be relatively flat and easy for eight kilometres, and on your journey, you will be walking alongside beautiful lakes and streams.

During the last leg of the hike, the majestic pyramidal mountain Knutsholstind, will be your companion. This staggering 2342 meter giant, also known as the king of the Gjende Alps – a mountain range in the eastern part of Jotunheimen – was considered Norway’s highest mountain in older times. In actuality, it is the 13th highest one.

As you leave this companion, and the gorgeous valley behind, the track takes on a very steep descent, of about 500 meters over only a few kilometres. As you approach Gjendebu – which is DNT’s oldest cabin –, you will through sheltered birch covered mountainsides, and wander over beautiful flower meadows, possibly alongside grazing cows. As you make your way down, be sure to stop and soak up the view of the emerald green waters of Gjende.

From here, you can hop on one of the Gjende Boats, which will take you to Gjendesheim. The duration of the walk through Svartdalen will be anywhere between 5-8 hours, depending on walking pace. Being dependant on two boats however, only gives you 6,5 hours if you are to make the trip in a day. Should that prove difficult, you can also spend the night at Gjendebu DNT cabin. Situated at 995 meters above sea level, at the intersection of high mountains and forests with a rich variety of peaks and glaciers you can explore, as well as opportunities for mountain fishing, or even beach life with swimming and volleyball, that might not be a bad option at all.

Meal plan:

  • No meals included

Accommodation:

Agenda day 1:

  • Bus: (Nor-Way) Beitostølen - Bygdin Hotel: 08:45 → 08:58

    Ride with Valdresekspressen!

    Enjoy the scenic journey from Oslo to the Valdres Region. After leaving the bustle of the capital you will soon find yourself on countryside roads passing through small towns and surrounded by lakes and fields. As you get further into the country, you will see the mountains in the distance and before you know you’ll find yourself climbing the steep roads that take you straight into the national park. The coach has adjustable seats, free WiFi, outlets with USB charging ports and toilet facilities on board.

  • Cruise: (M/B Bitihorn) Bygdin → Torfinnsbu: 09:05 → 09:50

    Time: 1 hour(s)

    Cruise on the lake Bygdin with M/B Bitihorn. Between Bygdin and Torfinnsbu.

  • M/B Bitihorn – Eidsbugarden
    M/B Bitihorn – Eidsbugarden
    The ferry Bitihorn on the lake Bygdin taken from Eidsbugarden and Fondsbu
    The ferry Bitihorn on the lake Bygdin taken from Eidsbugarden and Fondsbu
    M/B Bitihorn
    M/B Bitihorn
    M/B Bitihorn
    M/B Bitihorn
    M/B Bitihorn
    M/B Bitihorn
    M/B Bitihorn
    M/B Bitihorn
  • Hiking: Svartdalen (The Black Valley)

    Difficulty: Challenging
    Time: 6-8 hour(s)
    Distance: 14 kilometers
    Ascent height: 610 meters

    The popular hiking route from Torfinnsbu to Gjendebu takes you through Svartdalen, meaning “The Black Valley”, which is often referred to as the most beautiful valley in Jotunheimen. As you wander through this lush valley, you'll be surrounded by majestic towering peaks, several of which are over 2000 meters high.

    The Svartdalen track is located in the eastern parts of Jotunheimen, and takes you through the municipalities of Vågå in Gudbrandsdalen, and Vang in Valdres. The route is 14 kilometres long (point-to-point), with an elevation of 610 meters.

  • Svartdalen ©Yngve Ask
    Svartdalen ©Yngve Ask
    Hiking through Svartdalen towards Torfinnsbu
    Hiking through Svartdalen towards Torfinnsbu
    Historical Route, Jotunheimen.
    Historical Route, Jotunheimen.
    Hiking through the Svartdalen valley. Historical Route, Jotunheimen.
    Hiking through the Svartdalen valley. Historical Route, Jotunheimen.
    Gjendebu-to.Torfinnsbu – Svartdalen – Yngve Ask (8)
    Gjendebu-to.Torfinnsbu – Svartdalen – Yngve Ask (8)
    Gjendebu-to.Torfinnsbu – Svartdalen – Yngve Ask (6)
    Gjendebu-to.Torfinnsbu – Svartdalen – Yngve Ask (6)
  • Cruise: (Gjendebåten) Gjendebu → Gjendesheim 16:25 → 17:15

    Gjende lies 984 metres above sea level and has peaks of more than 2,000 metres on all sides. Barely an hour by boat from the car park at Gjendesheim, you have Jotunheimen National Park and many fantastic walks before your feet.

  • Gjendebåten at Gjendebu
    Gjendebåten at Gjendebu
    Gjendebåten
    Gjendebåten
    Besseggen hike – Gjendebåten ©Jotunheimen Travel
    Besseggen hike – Gjendebåten ©Jotunheimen Travel
    Gjendebåten – Gjende.no (1)
    Gjendebåten – Gjende.no (1)
    Gjendebåten – Gjende.no (2)
    Gjendebåten – Gjende.no (2)
  • Bus: (Nor-Way) Gjendesheim → Bygdin Hotel → Beitostølen: 17:30 → 18:06

    Ride with Valdresekspressen!

    Enjoy the scenic journey through the countryside roads passing, through small towns and surrounded by lakes and fields. As you get further into the country, you will see the mountains in the distance and before you know you’ll find yourself climbing the steep roads that take you straight into the national park. The coach has adjustable seats, free WiFi, outlets with USB charging ports and toilet facilities on board.

Book now: