I’d been wanting to go to Norway for years. And when that finally became a reality, I knew we had to get at least one of their famous hikes on our itinerary.
Upon doing some research, Trolltunga appeared to be the closest hike to Bergen. I was excited. Then, I started doing some reading and learned that it wasn’t recommended to hike Trolltunga before mid-June without an [expensive] guide. We were going to be there at the end of May and I didn’t want to hike through knee-deep snow or put us in any kind of danger. And well, I didn’t want to pay for an expensive guide for a non-technical day hike.
I started looking at other options and was planning to go to Pulpit Rock, but upon reading more accounts of people actually accomplishing the Trolltunga hike in May, we decided to go for it.
Now, I’m sure every year is different depending on the winter snowfall and how late the winter lasts, but I am 100% glad that we opted to do the hike.
With the long daylight hours at the end of May, I wasn’t especially concerned with being on the hike later in the day but wanted to get a spot at the higher up parking lot that saves you from about 5+ miles roundtrip of hiking. (So think around 13 miles versus 18+!).
We got to the parking lot a little before 6:30am, which is where we, unfortunately, learned that the winding road to the upper parking lot was closed until mid-June for construction. I have no idea if they close it every year, but just something to be aware of!
Around 6:45am we started up the winding road (I believe there is a trail you can take as well) and even without being in the sun we immediately warmed up.
After we reached the top of the road (it’s relentless and not fun!) we were greeted with a fairly flat route that took us to a set of stairs to start our climb again.
We eventually reached snow and had a few different hills (some steeper than others) to climb along the way.
The one thing I will say about the time of the year that we climbed, and on a warm and sunny day, the snow was melting like crazy. If you do choose to hike at this time of year watch out for post holing and lots of mud. We saw some people hiking up in white tennis shoes – do NOT do this unless you want to ruin your shoes and walk around with wet feet all day.
At this point, the landscape didn’t vary too much, snow, melting snow in mud, and rock. Eventually, as you got closer to the tongue you started nearing vistas of the fjord which served as beautiful spots to take a quick break along the way.
Finally, after about 9 miles of hiking through snow, mud, and rocks we reached the Troll’s Tongue! We opted to climb above the tongue at first and relax and have a snack before jumping in a relatively short line to get our photos taken. Another bonus of hiking in May – we saw less than 100 people all day – I can only imagine what July and August could be like!
And…that was it! After our photo shoot, we hiked the 9 miles back to the car (with those last 2.5 or so being absolutely hot and dreadful).
- Get an early start! Especially when that upper parking lot is open, and in the summer, I’d prefer to wake up earlier and beat the crowds (and not hike the extra 5 miles that don’t offer much in the way of exciting vistas or hiking trails).
- Wear lots of sunscreen! Especially if there is snow, don’t forget about the sun reflecting off the snow.
- The sun is very warm (plus, you’re hiking), I’d recommend wearing layers just in case the weather turns or it’s chilly in the morning.
- Bring an extra pair of socks – especially if you’re hiking in the snow or snowmelt, you’d rather carry an extra pair of socks than be stuck walking around in wet socks for hours.
- Be prepared with water, but also know that there are numerous places to fill up – the water is probably clean enough to drink without a filter, but we filtered ours just in case.
- Bring snacks! It can be a long day, especially if you’re up at the tongue for a while – we like to take along GU, Clif Blocks, bars, trail mix, and maybe a small sandwich so we can have an actual lunch at the summit.
- Be careful! You’re at the edge of a cliff, 700 meters above a fjord! But – don’t be too scared to go out onto the tongue! It’s relatively wide once you get out there, and while I didn’t think I was going to swing my legs over, the tongue points upwards a bit so you unless you were to actually peer over the edge, it doesn’t feel like your feet are dangling high above the earth!
- Have fun and take lots of photos – you might never be back there!