From the verdant meadows and the lush cultural landscape of Bøverdalen you can catch a glimpse of towering mountains in the far distance, as the road slowly ascends through the valley. It makes its way up to the summit at 1,434 metres, making the road northern Europe’s highest mountain pass. From the starting point in Lom, your expectations rise even before you drive out of the small village. Not every tourist route provides such a natural dramatic setting with a profusion of powerful impressions. Along the road you will be tempted to stop at the viewing points to soak in the beauty of the natural surroundings.
At the Mefjellet stop you will find Knut Wold’s stone sculpture which allows us to view the mountain landscape from a different perspective. Continuing down towards the Sognefjord the mountain region appears untamed. Where the Hurrungane massif towers up to the heavens the mountains suddenly open up and the landscape changes once again. Towards Gaupne, the final point on this stretch, the road descends to skirt the beautiful Sognefjord whose clear waters change colour from green to blue in tune with the light and the weather. What should you do when you arrive? Relax and let your impressions sink in. Some people turn and drive the same way back, and are surprised to see how different everything is. Although everything is the same, it’s as if you see the surroundings anew.
The road over Sognefjellet was an important transport artery linking the coast and inland areas. Trading led to the transport of salt and fish eastwards while butter, pitch and leather were transported west. Travelling across the mountain in the old days was not without its perils – vagabonds robbed travellers and merchants.
The forces of nature can also be difficult for us humans to defy. In the winter the weather is so severe and the snow masses so enormous that it is impossible to keep the road open. If you make the trip just after the road opens in springtime, the almost ten-metre high banks of snow at the side of the road will be visible proof of the power relationship in the mountains in winter. Nature is the deciding force and this is a reminder that it is we who must adapt.
Lom Stave Church is well worth a visit and is a good place to mark the start or end of your trip. Lom has become a kind of culinary hub in Norway and there are many opportunities to eat a fine meal with local products and delicious tastes. There is an infinite number of hiking options in the Jotunheimen mountains and almost regardless of where you stop, you will find alternatives to suit everyone – no matter what your level of fitness and ambitions.